Ultimate Emmys Bracket: Pose Looks to Continue Its Upset Run Against Russian Doll

Plus Veep and The Good Place in a comedy showdown.
  • (Photos: FX, Netflix)
    (Photos: FX, 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 our quarterfinals... (Seed number appears before show title)

    Quarterfinals, Match 3

    (Photos: Netflix, FX)

    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 also got 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? -- Kevin O'Keeffe

    Network: FX
    Nominations: 6, including Outstanding Drama Series

    Despite Pose’s place in the zeitgeist and its deeply emotionally investing first season, it feels like this year’s Little Emmy Engine That Could. Rest assured, there would be no more rewarding victory on Emmy night than if Pose could pull of that Best Drama win — both for representation of queer people of color on television and for a great show that not enough people watched. -- Chris Feil

    The Matchup: After knocking off its queer counterpart, RuPaul's Drag Race and then scoring a big upset over The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Pose just might be the show of destiny in this bracket. Which makes sense considering how welcome its rare window into the history of queer communities (and especially queer communities of color) has been for the TV landscape. By contrast, Russian Doll isn't breaking much new ground representationally, but it is opening new frontiers in terms of a challenging story structure that's perfectly suited to this streaming era. Whether Natasha Lyonne's run through the bracket continues is up to YOU, the Twitter voter. Maybe she'll advance to the semifinals on Thursday (what a concept!).

    Quarterfinals, Match 4

    (Photos: HBO, NBC)

    Network: HBO
    Nominations: 9, including Outstanding Comedy Series

    The final season of HBO's vicious comedy series about politics and the unbelievably self-centered people who take part in it, took an extra year getting to us in order to give Julia Louis-Dreyfus time to undergo cancer treatment. Fortunately, both the show and it leading lady returned with zero signs of rust. Selina Meyer hit the campaign trail with her customary desperate zeal, and the ensuing twists and turns gave us moments like Richard Splett (Sam Richardson) killing a small-town dog mayor, while Amy (Anna Chlumsky) defected from Team Meyer to sell her soul and become the Kellyanne Conway of Jonah Ryan's (Tim Simons) campaign.

    The Good Place
    Network: NBC
    Nominations: 5, including Outstanding Comedy Series

    After three seasons of lovable characters, ethical philosophy, bonkers comedy, and wild twists of plot, NBC's fervently beloved comedy series got its first Emmy nod for Best Comedy. Having aired its most ambitious season, the show presents a double-edged sword for Emmy voters: its spotlight episodes are knockouts, but you'll need a whole lot of context to jump right in.

    The Matchup: These are two of the best comedies of their shared era, facing off after one has ended and the other is preparing to kick off its final season. Veep's final season managed to pull off a trick many a show before it has failed to do, while The Good Place has somehow managed to keep escalating the stakes on its own premise as it moved from one curiously incorporated area of the afterlife to another. These are two shows with strong fan support, so it's anybody's guess which will prevail.

    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). 

    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, The Good Place, Pose, Russian Doll, Veep, Emmys Bracket