Since its debut, Mad Men has had a lock on the Emmys’ marquee drama series category. Last year, it fended off a formidable challenge from another period drama, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which was coming off a best drama series at the Golden Globes. In doing that, Mad Men matched The West Wing and Hill Street Blues’ record four consecutive Emmys in the top drama category.
Mad Men’s quest to become the first drama series ever to win five years in a row is becoming even more difficult this year with several hot series gunning for the prize. Showtime’s acclaimed Homeland has been on a roll, winning for best drama series at the Golden Globes, PBS’ pop culture phenom Downton Abbey is entering the drama series fray after winning the Miniseries or Made for Television Movie category last year, and AMC’s Breaking Bad is back at its best after skipping last year’s Emmys because of a long hiatus between seasons. Add to that a surging Game Of Thrones and still potent Boardwalk Empire, and we get a very competitive best drama series Emmy race this year. Here’s our assessment of the chances for drama series (in alphabetical order) and their stars:
Although HBO’s Prohibition-era Mob drama was received warmly enough in its first season to earn it a nomination, it really hit its stride in its second season. So, not only is it certain to be given another nod, but so are prior nominees Steve Buscemi (lead actor) and Kelly Macdonald (supporting actress). Furthermore, since it was the dazzling downward spiral (and eventual murder) of Michael Pitt’s Jimmy Darmody that proved to be the shot in the arm that the show needed, maybe this year he won’t be left out of the supporting actor race.
Kelsey Grammer’s new political drama delivered underwhelming ratings for Starz, which had renewed it before the premiere. However, Boss landed Golden Globe nominations for drama series and lead actor, and won for the latter. Its leading man is such an Emmy mainstay — the erstwhile Frasier Crane has won five statuettes over the course of his small-screen career — that it would be a mistake to count him out.
This intense drama is a top contender to steal away the drama series Emmy from Mad Men. After a long hiatus kept AMC’s other prestige drama out of the running in 2011, Breaking Bad returned with its strongest season to date. In its wake, nods are all but guaranteed for co-stars Bryan Cranston (who took home the lead actor prize three years in a row) and Aaron Paul (who won supporting actor the last time he was eligible). Plus, thanks to the year’s most talked-about swan song (and one riveting performance after another before it), Giancarlo Esposito is also looking good for a supporting actor in a drama series nomination.
Since the legal thriller’s penultimate season, its first on DirecTV, flew so far under the radar that it scarcely generated a blip, it’s a bit of a long shot for a drama series nod. Its stars, however, are another story. Glenn Close has been up for lead actress every year since the show’s debut except the last (and took home the prize in 2008 and 2009). (She also won in 1995 for the NBC movie Serving In Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story.) Meanwhile, two-time supporting actress contender Rose Byrne is likely to benefit from the raised profile that she has enjoyed post-Bridesmaids. (more…)