One of the most intriguing questions of this year’s Emmy season has been answered, with HBO‘s buzzy True Detective opting to compete as a drama series. The project, created by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, was sold and done as an eight-episode limited series, which easily would’ve qualified it as a miniseries. FX’s anthology series American Horror Story, which airs 13-episode installments, started off in the drama series category at the 2012 Golden Globes before switching to longform for the 2012 Emmy Awards. It has competed as a miniseries ever since and has been dominant in Emmy nominations, landing 17 last year. The drama field is far more competitive and tough as PBS’ Downton Abbey found out after switching from miniseries to drama series after Season 1. Still, winning a drama series Emmy has a big cachet to it. Plus, True Detective does employ drama series storytelling techniques. But an entry as a miniseries would’ve pretty much guaranteed the moody Louisiana series a dominant performance and a slew of trophies. Now it will go against the final installment of AMC’s Breaking Bad among other drama heavyweights. With the TV Academy restoring separate best TV movie and best miniseries categories and True Detective not entering as mini, the longform field has a lot of room this year. Ryan Murphy is behind top contenders on both sides — film The Normal Heart and mini AHS. With the slew of event series put in the pipeline by the networks not slated to premiere until after the end of this year’s eligibility period (Fox’s 24: Live Another Day, for example, debuts in May and won’t qualify for 2014 Emmys), AHS‘ top competitor will likely be FX’s Fargo.
In the drama series category, True Detective will be submitted alongside returning HBO dramas Boardwalk Empire, Game Of Thrones, True Blood, all previous best series nominees, and The Newsroom. Getting submitted by the pay cable network on the comedy side are previous best series nominees Girls and Veep as well as departing Eastbound And Down and freshmen Family Tree, Getting On, Hello Ladies, Looking and Silicon Valley.