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Ultimate Emmys Bracket: It's Russian Doll Vs Nailed It! in a Netflix Face-Off

Plus This Is Us tries to fend off handsome Richard Madden and Bodyguard.
  • (Photos: Netflix)
    (Photos: Netflix)

    In the days leading up to the 2019 Emmy Awards, we're pitting the 26 shows with the most nominations against each other to determine Primetimer readers' favorite Emmy-nominated series of the year. Full details in our kick-off post. 

    On to the next set of match-ups in round one... (Seed number appears before show title)

    Round 1, Match 7

    (Photos: Netflix)

    Russian Doll
    Network: Netflix
    Nominations: 13, including Outstanding Comedy Series

    Netflix’s riff on Groundhog Day — game developer dies, then comes back during her 36th birthday party at the exact same time over and over again — was a big winner on Emmy nomination morning. The series got 13 nominations (high for a freshman series), including a nod for Natasha Lyonne’s tour-de-force lead performance as Nadia Vulvokov. The former Orange Is the New Black star was also nominated for co-writing the pilot. It’s a major coup for such a young series, and it gives Netflix a foothold in the Comedy Series category. You have to wonder, though: If it wins, will Lyonne keep giving her acceptance speech over and over?

    Nailed It
    Network: Netflix
    Nominations: 1, for Outstanding Reality Competition Program

    Nailed It! may only have one nomination this year — clearly voters forgot about Nicole Byer in the Reality Host category — but it’s a big one. Breaking into the Competition Program category is notoriously difficult, with last year’s winner, RuPaul’s Drag Race, not even getting a nomination until its ninth season. But that’s a testament to the infectious confections of Netflix’s bad baking series, which inspires joy every minute you’re watching. Hopefully, this nomination only leads to more exposure for the show. We need more seasons, dammit! WES!

    The Matchup: A new, exciting, deeply likable show like Nailed It! might have been primed to upset one of the bigger dogs in the bracket, but Russian Doll is not the opponent Nailed It! was looking for, as its fellow Netflix series is also new, also features a big, likable personality in Natasha Lyonne, and  a Byzantine plot structure that may prove more impressive than Nailed It!'s ambitious failed confections.

    Round 1, Match 8

    (Photos: NBC, BBC/Netflix)

    This Is Us
    Network: NBC
    Nominations: 9, including Outstanding Drama Series

    Thanks to a weaker-than-usual Drama field, NBC’s family drama scored a slew of acting nominations, including a first nod for series matriarch Mandy Moore. This, despite falling from the zeitgeist this season. It’s easy to imagine a big swing down for This Is Us next season, when heavy hitters like The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crown, and Westworld return to the race. So, will Emmy voters seize the opportunity to give the show the top prize? Or will the final season of Game of Thrones prove too irresistible to ignore?

    Bodyguard
    Network: Netflix (BBC One in the UK)
    Nominations: 2, including Outstanding Drama Series

    Bodyguard star Richard Madden didn't get nominated for the Netflix/BBC One drama series despite being fully in the zeitgeist these days — joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in The Eternals, starring in the blockbuster Rocketman, and rebuffing questions about his dating life. The government-secrets-and-sexy-security series earned just two nods, for Outstanding Drama Series and Writing for a Drama Series (for its pilot). It’s impressive that it still got into the Series category, but Madden really is the stone-faced soul of the show as Sergeant David Budd. We’re still thinking about his calm, assured introductory scene on the show, in which he diffuses a potential bombing with ease. Emmy voters, how can celebrate Bodyguard without including the titular bodyguard?

    The Matchup: This is a curious matchup! Clearly Emmy voters are still watching This Is Us, going so far as to give cast members like Mandy Moore and Chris Sullivan their first nods. But Bodyguard is definitely the sexier pick, and not just because it stars Richard "He Should Be James Bond If We Still Want James Bond Played By a Man Which We Might Not" Madden.

    Watch for more matches in the coming days (and follow us on Twitter and/or like us on Facebook for direct access to the polls as they're released).

    Kevin O'Keeffe is a writer, host, and RuPaul's Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles. Follow his musings and rantings on Twitter @kevinpokeeffe.

    TOPICS: 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Bodyguard, Nailed It!, Russian Doll, This is Us, Emmys Bracket