There’s a narrowness to Emmy voting that recognizes some shows more favorably over others. Some brilliant series can get overlooked because they lack heat surrounding star-driven shows or they’ve been released too early from voting windows.
A perfect example is the touching and often hilarious, coming-of-age Netflix comedy Never Have I Ever. The Mindy Kaling produced series was a starring vehicle for newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who portrayed a hormonal teen swimming through the murky pools of grief while pining after the hot jock in school. Ramakrishnan’s Devi became romantically caught between her nemesis Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison) and swim star Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet, clearly not of high school age). As she made poor decisions in her love life, Devi alienated herself from her best friends Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young).
In its second season, Kaling and co-creator Lang Fisher delve deeper into Devi’s relationships as she adjusts to life without her father. A single voice message on her phone becomes Devi’s life raft and keeps her from recognizing her pitfalls. Season two begins with Devi dating both Ben and Paxton, with neither aware of Devi’s deceit. Meanwhile, Devi’s mother, Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan), is still considering uprooting the family, which includes Devi’s cousin Kamala (Richa Moorjani), back to India.
Thankfully, the show refreshes itself by bringing in Devi’s wonderfully exuberant grandmother Nirmala (Ranjita Chakravarty), whose presence adds to its charm. Further, an Indian girl also arrives at Devi’s school, Aneesa (Megan Suri), adding more conflict for Devi as she grows jealous of Aneesa’s ease.
It’s an incredibly winning season for a show that already had a stellar, engaging first run. Performances are fantastic, and a late intervention by Elenor and Devi with Fabiola, who is struggling with her identity, is particularly moving.
The value of award recognition is gaining more eyes on a series. Never Have I Ever could easily be placed at the top of the comedy series list. Perhaps there are better ways to channel voters toward series released many months prior. Until then, I encourage readers to watch this gorgeous show.