USA TODAY US Edition

Emmy vot­ers have some tough choices

Series are all wor­thy, so re­peat wins ig­nore other de­serv­ing work

- ROBERT BIANCO

Good nom­i­na­tions are not enough. But first, let’s re­mem­ber the good news: The Emmy vot­ers did a much bet­ter job with their nom­i­na­tions this year, of­fer­ing a slate that is more re­flec­tive of both TV’s best work and Amer­ica’s di­verse pop­u­la­tion than ever be­fore. There were first-time series nom­i­na­tions for FX’s The Amer­i­cans (fi­nally), ABC’s Black-ish and USA’s Mr.

Ro­bot, and act­ing nom­i­na­tions for Emmy new­com­ers such as Aziz An­sari, Tracee El­lis Ross and Rami Malek — just to name a few of the fresh shows and faces that broke Emmy’s old nom­i­na­tion-by-habit rou­tine.

But that’s only half the bat­tle. Choos­ing an in­ter­est­ing, in­clu­sive list of nom­i­nees doesn’t do much good if you end up with the same win­ners as you did the year be­fore — which in most of the series cat­e­gories is a pos­si­bil­ity verg­ing on prob­a­bil­ity. That doesn’t mean vot­ers should re­ject clearly su­pe­rior work just be­cause it was su­pe­rior last sea­son, too — one of the great joys of con­tin­u­ing series is that they are new, again, every sea­son. But it does mean that, all things close to equal, vot­ers might want to spread the wealth.

Look at the Best Com­edy and Best Drama races un­der that light, and the con­clu­sion should be that re­peat wins for HBO’s

Veep and Game of Thrones would be a mis­take. Yes, both series had strong years, but the series field to­day is sim­ply too com­pet­i­tive to al­low any show to es­tab­lish the kind of win­ning run Mod­ern

Fam­ily did in the first half of the decade. These are both fine shows, but they’re not so ob­vi­ously the “best” shows that they de- serve a sec­ond straight Emmy.

What shows should take their places?

On the drama side, it’s a very hard choice be­tween The Ameri

cans and Mr. Ro­bot, vastly dif­fer­ent series that share a view of the world as a place where no one can be fully trusted. I’d go with Amer

icans, if only be­cause it’s been wait­ing for its turn longer and has proven to be more con­sis­tent. But a Mr. Ro­bot win would cer­tainly not dis­ap­point.

On the com­edy side, the race is far more com­pet­i­tive, which makes the choice even harder. A case can be made for any of the nom­i­nees, but cut it down to Net­flix’s Master of None, HBO’s Sili

con Val­ley, Ama­zon’s barely-a-com­edy Trans­par­ent and ABC’s Black-ish. And from there, the win­ner should be

Black-ish, be­cause no other show on the list is as good at say­ing some­thing funny while also hav­ing some­thing im­por­tant to say.

What will vot­ers do? My guess is they’ll once again pick Veep and

Game of Thrones, which may not be the best choices, but at least they count as good ones.

Like it or not, that may have to be good enough.

 ?? PA­TRICK HARBRON, FX ?? Matthew Rhys and Keri Rus­sell are nom­i­nated for The
Amer­i­cans, and so is the show.
PA­TRICK HARBRON, FX Matthew Rhys and Keri Rus­sell are nom­i­nated for The Amer­i­cans, and so is the show.

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