Emmy Drama: What Will Happen?

Emmy drama intrigue

Everything or nothing could change in category

The votes are in for the 2013 Primetime Emmys, and all that’s left is the waiting and the wondering until the nominations are revealed July 18. In the first of a series speculating on the outcome of key categories, here’s a look at drama series.

Will nothing change? Last year’s nominees were “Breaking Bad,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men” and eventual champion “Homeland.” Each is an inner-circle contender for a return trip.

Will everything change? “Boardwalk” always seems to risk being taken for granted, the “Homeland” backlash became louder and louder in the second half of its sophomore season, and there was plenty of in-season carping this year about “Downton” and “Mad Men.” Upheaval is a distinct possibility.

Safest bets? “Breaking Bad,” with nominations in three consecutive seasons (putting aside one lengthy production hiatus) heading into its valedictory final run, seems to have put firmly to rest worries about its deep dives into darkness — at least as far as the nominations go. And “Game of Thrones” seemed every bit as much on its game in its third season as it was in nominated seasons one and two.

Who’s due? Never nominated for a series Emmy, “The Walking Dead” still suffers from inconsistency, but at its best is outstanding. Also an Emmy drama series outsider, “Justified” had a fourth season that was practically the equal of its much-revered year two. “Southland” has a last chance to follow the “Friday Night Lights” template for posthumous Emmy recognition, while demand for “Parenthood” (in the wake of its season-long cancer arc) and “Shameless” noms has never been higher. And I’ll be the annual voice in the wilderness for “Treme.”

Who’s due back? It’s entirely possible that the category’s 2012 omission of “The Good Wife,” nominated in 2010 and 2011, was an aberration.

Rookies in the race? You could form an entirely separate category of first-year drama contenders, including “The Americans,” “Bates Motel,” “The Following,” “Hannibal,” “House of Cards,” “Orphan Black” and “Rectify.”

One man’s wish list: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” “Justified,” “Mad Men,” “Rectify,” “Treme.”

One man’s best guesses: “The Americans,” “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland,” “House of Cards.” I had trouble leaving “Boardwalk” and “Mad Men” off this list, but I just have this feeling “Americans” and “Cards” won the TV Academy over.

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  1. The Kingslayer says:

    It’s time they gave Game of Thrones its due, sure the first season is still the best IMO but you’ve gotta admire the scale and quality that show has brought to tv.

  2. Robby says:

    “The Americans” best of the past season. Outstanding acting, direction and writing. Haven’t been that riveted by a TV series since “Six Feet Under”. It would be unforgivable if Emmy ignored it.

  3. notTom says:

    Can breaking bad be nominated for having only half a season?

  4. Jay says:

    And also, I’m surprised to find no mention of “The Newsroom” in this article. The show opened with perhaps the best 10 minute opening pilot scene I’ve ever watched. If there’s a show that really cuts to the core of America and stands some chance at educating the masses as to what is really going on with our country, it’s this one.

    • Jon Weisman says:

      Newsroom is objectively polarizing – not just in terms of its politics but in terms of whether it’s good or awful – though you’re right that it could have been mentioned.

  5. Jay says:

    I personally think Walking Dead is very overrated. If it were to receive any noms at all it would have been from the first season alone. Straight downhill from there. Game of Thrones is the best show on television right now. Mad Men has run its course, Homeland was down this year as compared to last year, Boardwalk Empire is legitimate, but the market is overly saturated with American History-esque Dramas (The Americans, Mad Men, Boardwalk). And those who read the books knew that the Storm of Swords seasons (3 and 4) would be the pinnacle of the series. I thi nk it’s really GoT’ s time. The only legitimate contender is Breaking Bad, but I think Walt and Jesse and gang will get their due next year when the series has concluded. Southland is an interesting choice too, because it’s so damned good but unwatched.

  6. The drama category seems to have been compromised, as due to archaic, outdated unfair rules, one of the best TV series, period will be on the outside looking in – Syfy’s Continuum.

  7. Jon Weisman says:

    Well, as you can see from the article above, I don’t think “The Following” should be nominated.

  8. Question says:

    You honestly think The Following should be nominated but not Scandal? Find me one critic that thinks that the former was superior or even worthy of a nom.

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