We asked our editors to share their gut reactions.
Hadley Tomicki: I'm excited to see Pamela Adlon nominated for Better Things. I feel like this show deserved way more attention, as it was just about the funniest and nakedly raw thing I saw on TV last year. She is a force who can convey the highs and lows of parenthood in the face of a struggle to retain your sense of self. Also exciting to see Atlanta get a nod for best comedy. The show is not just funny, but brave enough to challenge the notion of what a series should look like. And here's hoping Jonathan Banks wins for Better Call Saul. He's been nominated several times but I don't think he's ever won. He's pretty much been the greatest thing about Breaking Bad and Saul all these years.
Geoff Rynex: My first gut reaction is that I’m excited for Colbert to be hosting. My other first gut reaction is that the Emmys have a relevancy problem, and do every year. Game of Thrones isn’t nominated for timing reasons, but made the cut for last year? The Night Of is nominated for Limited Series or TV Movie this year after airing more than a year ago. Now that there are shows in the mix we can watch in their entirety in a single sitting, the Emmys needs to figure out how to address this. As for the nominees, I see that once again, The Americans gets the shaft on a best drama nomination. Happy to see Westworld be rewarded for its ambition, and I really need to get on watching Handmaid’s Tale. No surprises in the comedy category, although, are we talking about this or last season of Silicon Valley? There’s that relevancy problem again.
House of Cards has no business getting any kind of series-wide nomination. It’s a bad show, and that’s coming from someone who always watches it. Did they get rid of the animated series category? If so, the fact that Bojack Horseman isn’t nominated for best comedy series is a joke. Guts: spilled.
Sam Eichner: One thing I'm happy about: the spotlight for Atlanta fell on all the right people, i.e. Brian Tyree Howard (who plays Paper Boi) and Zazie Beetz (who plays Vanessa). The Golden Globes made the mistake of only nominating (and awarding) Donald Glover in the acting category, which, with all due respect to Glover, seemed misplaced. He was great, and deserves all the credit in the world for creating/running the show, but his performance was clearly overshadowed by Howard and Beetz's.
A few things I'm not happy about: 1) I agree with Geoff that House of Cards has no business getting any kind of series-wide nomination. It's the television equivalent of a pianist who hits one note so hard he breaks the entire piano. For that same reason, I'm tired of Robin Wright getting credit for this role. Her performance is more suitable to a Westworld AI than it is to a show about actual people. It's not bad—it's just not interesting, anymore. 2) Jay Duplass is consistently underappreciated on Transparent; the Emmys tend to favor Jeffrey Tambor and Gaby Hoffman instead (as they did this year). They're both great, but Duplass was particularly effective this season navigating his character's downward spiral and tumultuous relationship with an HIV-positive transsexual (played by the equally fabulous Trace Lysette). 3) I would've liked to see TBS's Search Party, a truly original and of-the-moment comedy get some love here. Alas...4) Wait, why the hell are there 10 nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category? That seems like at least three too many.
Kelly Larson: I feel like someone's got to talk about This Is Us, and I'm happy to take that one for the team. I normally hate primetime basic cable dramas. I'd just as soon back-to-back binge every Adam Sandler movie twice (yes, even Grown Ups 2) than sit down in front of one episode of Criminal Minds.
But anyone who tells you that the first season of This Is Us didn't touch upon something, anything that's close to their hearts, is probably lying. I mostly blame the stellar soundtrack, I think. Apparently I'm a sucker for sun-flaired laundry sequences set to Cat Stevens's "The Wind." With the exception of The Crown and The Handmaid's Tale, which I've never seen, I'm a fan of all the Best Drama noms, but I'm hopeful for Jack and the gang to pull off an upset (upset?) this year.
Writing this for a friend.
Thompson Brandes: If you take a step back from all of the Emmys's criticisms and simply go down the line of performance nominees it's pretty spectacular. The stretch of top-notch, A-List talent filling up our favorite shows seems to grow wider and wider every year. But does every show and cast have to sit so close to each other every year? I'd like to see a seating chart that provokes a little more mingling. Who knows what kind of music collaboration we'd see next year should Millie Bobbie Brown snag a spot next to Donald Glover? And what's the point of inviting Zach Galifianakis if we can't awkwardly seat him next to Anthony Hopkins? If Bob DeNiro and Anthony Hopkins got paired up, would either of them be able to hear the other? Let's make this thing a party.