Friday, September 20, 2013

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

"Hazard Pay" / "Fifty-One"
"Dead Freight" / "Buyout"
"Say My Name" / "Gliding Over All"

I predicted this show to win back in season two, and then again last year. I feel like each year it’s getting hotter, and with the penultimate episode of the series airing during the Emmy telecast, it feels like this is really when it will catch fire. That said, there’s always next year, so who knows? Out of eight episodes, this tape skips the first two and then pairs each successive set of episodes. Season five was a season that got better as it went along, so tape one and tape two are both extremely competent, but tape three is a complete knockout. They’re all great though, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if this show finally broke through and won this race this year.

"Episode 1"
"Episode 4 and 5"
"Episode 6"

After watching all of the first two seasons over Labor Day last year just a few weeks before the Emmys, I watched season three as it aired in the U.S. each week. Unlike other shows, its extra-long installments make for tapes all on their own. The wedding spectacular in episode one speaks for itself. Tape two covers the Sybil plotline for season three, which is quite effective. Tape three, interestingly enough, is not the special, but instead the second-to-last-mega-installment that proves to be just as entertaining and less ultimately devastating. No one would argue with this show winning, but the fact that it couldn’t pull it off at the height of its popularity suggests it won’t be able to do so this year either.

“And Now His Watch is Ended” / “Kissed by Fire”
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” / “Second Sons"
"The Rains of Castamere" / “Mhysa”

This is the third nomination for this show, which managed to hold onto its spot and perform better than ever despite being snubbed by Golden Globe and SAG voters in favor of “Boardwalk Empire.” Tape one contains dragon fire and forced betrothals. Tape two features some excellent unexpected conversations and a great wedding plotline. Tape three is made up of the last two episodes of the season, the first of which is nominated for writing and the second of which is fine but hardly as fulfilling. This show was well-represented with nominations this year, but I don’t see it winning this race.

"The Smile" / "Beirut is Back"
"New Car Smell" / "Q and A"
"In Memoriam" and "The Choice"

I was so excited that this show actually won last year for a stellar first season. Its second season was, impossibly, just as good as season one, and given even greater enthusiasm than last year, this show could pull off a repeat win in a magnificently crowded category. Though they once again omit two of the season’s best episodes – “The Clearing” and “I’ll Fly Away” – these tapes are very well put-together. Tape one features the season premiere, which is less exciting than episode two, which really gets the action going. Tape two is excellent and features a powerful duo of episodes that change everything. Tape three is the final two episodes of the season, which change things in a whole new way again. These are superb submissions, and I could definitely see this show winning again.

“Chapter 1” / “Chapter 2”
"Chapter 7” / “Chapter 8”
"Chapter 10” / “Chapter 11”

This show makes history as the first Netflix original series to crack this category, and it’s interesting to see the episodes selected because many viewers likely watched them all in quick succession. I, for one, screened the episodes included on tape one in April and then didn’t return to the show again until August. They were good, interesting hours, but not enough to compel me to get into the show. Episodes four and five, which were not submitted, really made the case for me. Tape two sees Frank getting more personal, heading back to his hometown in the second of the two episodes. Tape three is inarguably the strongest, featuring Frank having to make tough decisions regarding his wife and his congressman puppet Peter. If this show won, it would be groundbreaking, but it would also deserve it since it’s exactly the fare Emmy voters love. I’m not sure it will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

"The Flood" / "For Immediate Release"
"The Better Half" / "Favors"
"The Quality of Mercy" / "In Care Of"

This show lost this award for the first time last year after four consecutive victories, and with a field this competitive, it will be a long climb back to the top. The tapes skip over the great Hawaii opener right to the equally compelling fifth episode, which focuses on Martin Luther King’s assassination and its effects. That installment is paired on tape one with a great game-changing episode featuring Don and Ted. Tape two contains Don and Betty’s memorable trip to Bobby’s camp and Sally interacting with the grownups in a major way. Tape three, which includes the final two episodes of the season, is full of big developments that transform many things in an irreversible way. This show is still terrific, but I think Emmy voters are over it.

What should win (based on entire season): “Homeland,” but I like them all!
What should win (based on individual episodes): A tough call again. “Homeland,” “Mad Men,” or “Breaking Bad.”
What will win: It’s a three-way-race: “Breaking Bad” vs. defending champ “Homeland” and newcomer “House of Cards.” My vote: Breaking Bad.

Next up: Best Comedy Series

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