Emmy Nominations: TheWrap Picks Dream Contenders for Comedy Series

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

In this installment of our series about performers and programs that are deserving of awards recognition, even if they’re unlikely to get it, we examine comedy series

Emmy nominations will be announced on Thursday morning, and we all know what that means: We’ll sit in front of the TV and hear the same names we heard last year, and the year before …

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Emmy voters, after all, are creatures of habit who tend to go for the same shows and performers over and over. But while we have nothing against “Modern Family” and Bryan Cranston and Claire Danes, TV is so vast and so good that lots of worthy shows can stay on the air season after season without ever landing Emmy nods.

So to salute the whole wide world of great TV, TheWrap staff would like to throw out some names that we don’t expect to see on the Emmy ballot – but wouldn’t it be a wonderful surprise if some of them did make it?

Also read: 5 Questions With ‘Mindy Project’ Star Ike Barinholtz: Emmy Contender Quickie

Since 2010, “Modern Family” has dominated this category in wins, while the likes of “Girls,” “Louie,” “Veep,” and “The Big Bang Theory” must be satisfied with their annual nominations. We understand that comedy is subjective — but objectively speaking, there are way more comedy shows on television than these five. We looked beyond the favorites to see what else makes us laugh and is worthy of recognition.

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

“Alpha House”
Alpha House
“Veep” isn’t the only political comedy on TV – just the one that gets Emmy nominations. But “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau proves that he’s still got the comic chops to turn Congressional gridlock into laughs with this Amazon-backed chronicle of four Republican Senators who don’t know what hit ‘em when the Tea Party crashes their cozy little setup. –Steve Pond

Also read: ‘Alpha House’ Creator Garry Trudeau: Political Gridlock Is Good for Comedy

“Community”
Community
The little show that could has been recognized twice by the Emmys, for animation and writing, but never in any of the major categories. And yet aside from its one Dan Harmon-less season, “Community” has been one of the smartest shows on television. This past season, Harmon returned and brought the show back to its roots, with some of the most surreal and bizarre episodes yet. Sharp writing, unexpected humor and a perfectly balanced comedic ensemble should get Emmy voters to notice, but it hasn’t yet. A shift to Yahoo! for a sixth season next year probably won’t help its chances, either. –Jason Hughes

Also read: ‘Community’ to Return for Season 6 on Yahoo Screen

“Hello Ladies”
Hello Ladies
Now, this is a show that deserved a second season, but it instead got even worse treatment than another  HBO comedy, “Enlightened.” To be fair, the critical love and online presence for the latter was stronger — but “Ladies” was a good, solid sitcom. The great Stephen Merchant led a talented cast that included Kyle Mooney and Christine Woods, getting themselves into — and sometimes out of — all sorts of wildly awkward situations. Also, the very first joke in the very first scene of the very first episode is probably stronger than any individual bits from the frontrunners. –Tony Maglio

Also read: 6 Questions With ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Star Joe Lo Truglio: Emmy Contender Quickie

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
Emmy voters like shows about something bigger than themselves, and FX’s hit is dedicated to tearing down people who think they’re more important than they are. You can see how their missions don’t gel. “It’s Always Sunny” should be kind of grateful Emmy voters will never get it: a nomination might destroy its street cred. It will have to settle for just being one of the funniest comedies on TV. –Tim Molloy

Also read: 6 Questions With ‘True Detective’ Star Michelle Monaghan: Emmy Contender Quickie

“The League”
The League
The comedy of discomfort is quietly flourishing on FX, where this gleefully crass tale of arrested development has assembled an all-star group of improvisers (Mark Duplass, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Katie Aselton) to bring slackerific life to a group of misfits and losers who turn cutthroat when the fantasy football draft rolls around. –SP

Also read: 8 Questions With ‘Scandal’ Star Kerry Washington: Emmy Contender Quickie

“Looking”
Looking
A strange fit for the category, “Looking” isn’t going to knock you over the head with jokes like most broadcast comedies today. That’s not to say that the series doesn’t have its flat-out hilarious moments, but it specializes in moments that you derive joy from watching – moments that may seem awkward as they’re playing out but then cause you to laugh out load as you remember them later, while grabbing a froyo. –Jethro Nededog

Also read: ‘Key & Peele’s’ Keegan-Michael Key Talks Emmy Race, ‘Fargo,’ ‘Police Academy’ Reboot

“Silicon Valley”
Silicon Valley
“Silicon Valley” started slowly, but the show hit its comedic pace around the time that an eight-episode season has to. The season finale contains one of the greatest scenes in TV-comedy history, and the build-up to that dream payoff is a great ride in and of itself.  As a result, “Silicon Valley” was rewarded with a second season from HBO, but still is unlikely to be awarded an Emmy nom this year. Then again, most people would have said the same about “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” before the Golden Globes. –Tony Maglio

Also read: Hollywood Gets Revenge in ‘Silicon Valley,’ ‘Veep’ Views of Tech Titans

“Suburgatory”
Suburgatory
Its cancellation is a real loss for TV viewers. ABC’s “Suburgatory” planted two New Yorkers in a very heightened — surreal, at times — version of suburbia, and lets them loose to explore. There was no telling what would come next, though we could trust it would be very funny, and that it would have heart. –JN

See video: ‘Suburgatory’s’ Carly Chaikin on Dahlia’s Signature Faces, Meddling in Lisa’s Marriage Proposal

“Trophy Wife”
Trophy Wife
“Modern Family” may say it represents the diversity of current family structures, but “Trophy Wife” seemed to get it even more. Trying to raise kids with ex-wives and/or ex-husbands is a way of life for millions of people in this country, and this comedy series got it. Malin Akerman as Bradley Whitford‘s wife, with Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins as his two exes, created a powerful threesome that could reluctantly come together to co-parent effectively, but more often than not, their extreme personalities led to conflicts. This was a series that spoke to America, it just had the unfortunate job of doing it from behind the only TV show title in recent years worse than “Cougar Town.” The title helped kill it at ABC, and the title may kill it with Emmy voters as well. JH