Two words: Betty White. The veteran Emmy darling anchors a solid ensemble that has kept this show cooking far longer than anyone could have predicted.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”
FX leaned on its subversive stalwart to help launch the FXX spinoff channel last year. After nearly 10 years on the air, the show has its fans in the industry but has always been too out-there for Emmy voters.
Leave it to the stellar Laurie Metcalf to deliver the laughs in a show about the extended care wing of a hospital. It’s her performance that stands the best chance of a nom.
Has Courteney Cox’s wine-loving divorcee fermented long enough to command attention from Emmy voters?
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Big” makes a huge “Bang” in the ratings every week, thanks to the comic chops of Jim Parsons & Co. All that’s missing is Emmy gold. Will season seven finally be the lucky one?
Season three was a return to form for Lena Dunham’s comedy, which delights in pushing boundaries and buttons. It’s a favorite for a third consecutive series nom.
Creator Adam Goldberg’s look back at his childhood is an often-hilarious trip down ’80s memory lane, showcasing the comedic talents of stars Wendi McLendon-Covey and Jeff Garlin. But will voters share Goldberg’s nostalgia for the period?
One of the sharpest yet most uncomfortable shows of last season, Stephen Merchant shone as a Brit living in L.A. who’s single for a reason. Voters may not want to date him, either.
HBO’s tale of three gay men in San Francisco navigating rocky love lives — starring Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett — won praise for its nuanced, winsome perfs. But subtlety has never been Emmy’s strong suit.
“How I Met Your Mother”
This will be the last chance for the popular sitcom to be legend — wait for it — ary in Emmy terms, but the jury’s out on how the divisive finale will affect its chances for a nom.
The casting of a deadpan Andre Braugher opposite Andy Samberg brings the laughs every week — and the surprise Golden Globe win in January makes “Brooklyn” a contender.
Critics praise the offbeat humor of the “Girls”-esque show about two struggling twentysomething New Yorkers. But is it on Emmy’s radar?
Matt LeBlanc proves a good sport playing an exaggerated version of himself on a painfully funny show about the industry — so good, in fact, that the role has already won him two noms.
Louis C.K. continued to surprise and innovate in the fourth season, with the groundbreaking “So Did the Fat Lady” and the “Elevator” arc. He’s all but assured another nom.
Amazon’s first foray into original series — about four senators who share a house in Washington, D.C. — may be a long shot for an Emmy nom, but it carries an impressive pedigree courtesy of star John Goodman and creator Garry Trudeau (“Doonesbury”).
Last year’s Emmy queen Julia Louis-Dreyfus had her eye on an even bigger prize this season: the presidency. While we’re still waiting to find out the election results, there’s little doubt she’ll win a nom again.
Courtesy of HBO
Allison Janney and Anna Faris are sublime as a pair of mother-daughter recovering addicts in Chuck Lorre’s latest show, which tackles serious subject matters along with the laughs. That’s a combo that often grabs Emmy attention.
Perhaps the laughs weren’t as consistent in season 5, but episodes like “Las Vegas” and the hilarious and heartwarming wedding of Mitch and Cam showed that the magic is still there.
The move of oldest son Axel to college helped energize this family comedy, which kept the Hecks producing some of the most relatable and underappreciated humor on television.
“Orange Is the New Black”
In the deft hands of showrunner Jenji Kohan, life in a women’s prison revealed compelling characters, pin-sharp dialogue — and “Crazy Eyes.” With Netflix’s marketing muscle at work, “Orange” is a contender to be the new gold.
A full-season coupling of Nick and Jess changed the show’s chemistry and made for an uneven season, but Schmidt and Winston (and Prince in a post-Super Bowl episode) helped bring back the magic.
“The Mindy Project”
Another crackerjack ensemble lights up Mindy Kaling’s endearing laffer, which made strides in its second season.
Edie Falco showed exceptional range in a season that has seen Jackie on the addiction rollercoaster, while Merritt Wever and Anna Deavere Smith could always be counted on for laughs.
No series shuffles so deftly from tragedy to gross-out humor, so a shift to the comedy category — following the show’s best season yet — may be a smart bet for the Gallagher clan.
“Parks and Recreation”
The loss of Ann and Chris was a blow, but it allowed for fresher storytelling. Ron Swanson would not be pleased if this oft-overlooked ensemble comedy gets passed over again.
Sweet, funny and as smart as the computer programmers it chronicles, Mike Judge’s comedy was uneven early on but found its way as its first season concluded.
“Two and a Half Men”
Critics may love to kick it around, but don’t underestimate Emmy’s affection for Chuck Lorre’s long-running show — which has already racked up eight wins in various categories.