Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Emmy Preview - Series Awards

Can "Orange Is the New Black" end "Modern Family's" reign?

It’s NBC’s year to host the Emmys, which means it’s time once against for the broadcast to air in August.  Additionally, thanks to the network’s Sunday Night Football contract – and the primetime preseason game that comes with it – the awards are also bound for a Monday night.  So with the ceremony airing tonight, I figured that I would take a look at the nominees and lay out my hopes and predictions.  Granted, most of this won’t matter because the Emmys are usually a crapshoot (I mean, Jeff Daniels), but I like writing about the Emmys and I hope you like reading about them.  Previously we looked at the movie and miniseries awards, the writing and directing awards, the supporting actors and actresses, and the lead actors and actresses.  Today we’ll discuss the final two categories: Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Hope:  I like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Silicon Valley well enough, and they are perfectly fine examples of their form, but none of them really transcends the form or excels beyond expectations.  Louie, on the other hand, is doing things that no other show on television is doing – whether it’s telling a six-part story, or dedicating a pair of episodes to an origin story that doesn’t involve the show’s star at all.  Orange Is the New Black, meanwhile, has one of the best casts on television and manages to expertly blend comedy and drama.  Some might argue that OItNB would be more suited to the drama category, but it’s not the first dramedy to find its way here.  Choosing between the two, I have to go with the more well-rounded and consistent: Orange Is the New Black.

Prediction:  I truly believe this is the year that Modern Family finally releases its firm grip on the Outstanding Comedy Series award, not because of anything the show has necessarily done, though I think it has been a couple of years since it was the best comedy on television, but simply because it is hard to win five outstanding series Emmy awards, let alone five in a row.  In fact, only Frasier has ever done it.  Even so, Modern Family might still be the favorite.  I think, though, that the winner will come down to Orange Is the New Black and Veep.  In these circumstances, I always default to the new show,* so I predict that Orange Is the New Black will win Outstanding Comedy Series.

* The last comedy series to win its first series Emmy for a season that wasn’t its debut was Everybody Loves Raymond, which won its first Emmy for its seventh season in 2003.  I’m not counting The Office here, which won the Emmy for its second season after a truncated freshman year.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Hope:  A year ago around this time everybody (myself included) was already handing Breaking Bad the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series – and for good reason.  Bad had just won the 2013 award and was in the middle of a tour de force final campaign.  But then January rolled around and True Detective took the world by storm.  Either series will make a worthy winner, but Breaking Bad had the higher degree of difficulty.  True Detective had the ability to come in, tell a story, and leave again, while Bad had to wrap up six years’ worth of storytelling and deliver a satisfying conclusion.  Given that both succeeded spectacularly, I’ll be rooting for Vince Gilligan and company tonight.

Prediction:  Again, this all comes down to Breaking Bad versus True Detective.  Neither would really surprise me here, but I think Breaking Bad still has the momentum from last fall’s finale and its Emmy win, and I think it takes home the big prize.

Tyler Williams is a professional library and an amateur television critic.  You can reach him at TyTalksTV AT gmail DOT com or on Twitter @TyTalksTV.

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