As always, the top contenders in the Emmy Best Drama race are the best of the best. A gentle reminder, those would be: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards and Mad Men.
The way I see it breaking down is like this. Game of Thrones, though spectacular and gasp-inducing is plainly "too violent." I have heard many Emmy voters state that they "won't even watch it" because of its violence. So I consider this to be the longest of longshots at this year's Emmys.
House of Cards, Netflix's first ever entry into this race, is a great show, but considering how gasp-inducing other shows are, I think its honor is the nomination.
Everyone is still trying to figure out what exactly is going on with Mad Men, and it was/is depressing, so I think it doesn't have a shot at this year's Emmy crown.
I want to focus on the two main contenders, last year's winner, Homeland, and almost invariably, next year's winner, Breaking Bad.
Homeland, for those unfamiliar, is almost like a slowed down 24. One episode of 24 stretched out to a season. The conceit of 24, other than that it all took place in one day, was that you never knew who you could trust. The conceit of Homeland is similar, using a question that plagues us every day today: who is really a terrorist, and how can you tell?
The stunning first season (Emmy-winning for Best Drama) started with Officer Brody being a terrorist. Then he wasn't. Then he was. Brilliant. And Carrie, the CIA operative who was tailing him was crazy. Then she wasn't. Then she was. Also brilliant.
But to me, the heart and guts of Homeland came in the middle of the season, the "cabin" episode (actually called "The Weekend"), falling smack in the middle of the season. It gave us the biggest of surprises, that 24 never did. There is LOVE here.
Love, which takes you by surprise, and sweeps you up. Appearing out of nowhere, these two crazy kids are actually in love. And it is the love in this show which makes it, after all else, very hopeful. Love can, after all, save us.
The heart-wrenching episode this season again came smack in the middle. It is also the episode which both actors (Claire Danes and Damien Lewis) submitted for their Emmy. It is nominated for Best Direction and Best Writing, and it was one of the six tapes submitted for Best Drama Series consideration. That tape: "Q&A" is brilliant. I do believe it's going to win Clare Danes another Emmy over a tough field of SIX other competitors. It COULD also win Damien Lewis his second Emmy, but I think not.
I loved this season of Homeland. I was sobbing in the final episode. It could very well win Best Drama Series again for the second year, and I'd be very happy.
But I think it's another show's time for the spotlight.
And in addition to having excellent tapes, AMC was smart about their choices for airing, Showtime is consistently not. Let's look at some facts. The last episode of Homeland (the one at which I was sobbing) aired in mid-December.
Now admittedly, the last episode of Breaking Bad which was in contention (the wondrous "Gliding Over All") aired in September. But what do we have going on when Emmy voters have ballots in their hot little hands? The final eight episodes of Breaking Bad start airing. Breaking Bad is all anyone can talk about. And in this tough fight for Best Drama Series, I believe it's what is going to push Breaking Bad to the top statue tonight.
I also predict that Breaking Bad is going to win Best Actor again for Bryan Cranston (edging out, just barely, the incredible performance by Damien Lewis), an historic THIRD trophy for the amazing work Aaron Paul is doing in Supporting Actor (edging out the equally amazing work by Mandy Patinkin), and I also believe Anna Gunn is going to score her first Emmy for her work on Breaking Bad.
With Direction and Writing categories, it'll be a hand-to-hand tussle between "Q&A" and its Breaking Bad competitors. In Direction, it's up against "Gliding Over All." In Writing, it's beating back both "Say My Name" and "Dead Freight." Writing also has "The Rains of Castamere" (the "Red Wedding" episode) of Game of Thrones. AND Downton Abbey's "Episode 4." A tough category. I still believe "Q&A" will beat them all. We shall see tonight.
In as much as last week was a Behind the Candelabra night (expect it to pick up some big trophies tonight too), I think tonight is really all about Breaking Bad. FINALLY.
Live Tweeting tonight @ michebella (and @ michebel if I get in Twitter jail). Join me.