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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Predicting the 2014 Emmy Winners: Best Television Show



* Breaking Bad (AMC)
* Downton Abbey (PBS)
* Game of Thrones (HBO)
* House of Cards (Netflix)
* Mad Men (AMC)
* True Detective (HBO)

SURPRISED IT'S NOT NOMINATED: Masters of Sex (Showtime)



* Breaking Bad is the greatest television show that has ever existed, and its final 8 episodes are some of the best television ever made. After failing to win this category during its first four seasons, Breaking Bad finally took home the gold last year. Many believe that Breaking Bad won Outstanding Drama Series at the 2013 Emmy's was because of the hype of Breaking Bad ending plus three episodes of this current season aired during the 2013 voting eligibility period. Breaking Bad has now been off of the air for about 10 months now, and there's a chance that the AMC drama doesn't have the same hype or impact this year as it did last year. However, I think it took Emmy voters just as long to get on board with this show as the rest of America. Breaking Bad received terrible ratings when it first aired, but as word of mouth and Netflix viewership progressed, the ratings kept getting bigger and bigger until by the series end, everybody in America was finally on board. I think most of the Emmy voters now realize not only what a great show Breaking Bad was, but how great its last 8 episodes were, that they will honor Breaking Bad with the win this year. 

* The other show that realistically has a shot to win this category is HBO's mini series True Detective. Personally, I am not a fan of this show. While Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are fantastic in this and the direction is gorgeous, I think the writing is below average. From a technical level, it's some of the best writing on television ever, but it failed to suck me in as a viewer and I didn't find it the least bit compelling. If this show wasn't a leading contender to win a butt load of Emmy's this year, I would have stopped watching the show after the second episode. But it is going to win a handful of Emmy's, most likely this one, and so I trekked my way through the entire 8 episode season. I think True Detective suffers from The Emperor's New Clothes syndrome; this show aired on Sunday nights on HBO with two mega-superstars, therefore, it HAS to be good. The TV critics felt they had to call this show "great" and because critics call it "great", now everyone else calls it "great". That buzz alone will mean True Detective will get a lot of Emmy love come August 25th.

* Mad Men is one of the few shows that won Outstanding Drama Series 4 times in a row as it won this award during the show's first four seasons. I am very dubious that the show will ever win this award ever again, nor should it. The quality of the show, while still above average and still deserving to earn a nomination, is clearly on the decline, and shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and even The Good Wife have surpassed it in terms of quality. Mad Man almost didn't deserve to earn a nomination in 2014, as the first 5 episodes it aired were uneven at best, but then it concluded it's 7 episode season with "The Strategy" and then "Waterloo" and made this nomination very worthy. Mad Men may not be the very best drama on television anymore, but it certainly was one of the six best that aired during the past 12 months.

* I am confident when all is said and done that Game of Thrones will end up as my #1 show of 2014. I've always felt that Game of Thrones was always on a tier below the great television shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, but after the spectacular fourth season GoT just had, it's quickly rising up the ranks. Maybe the source material was just better, but as a television show, what made this past season so good was that it didn't spend 10 episodes building to something like the show normally does, but it instead had multiple mini-arcs throughout the season. This made the fourth season as a whole more enjoyable to watch as you didn't get bored by episodes 3-8 like you may have in year's past. Plus, it felt like the show focused on its core 15 characters as opposed to spending time with 100 million characters I neither know nor care about.

* I loved the first season of Netflix's House of Cards. I literally would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning just so I could binge watch the next episode. The same was not true for the show's second season; I would watch episodes just so I could finally be done with the season and move on to my next show. There were so many subplots I couldn't have cared less about including Doug's obsession with Rachel, anything involving the Press (both old and new), and Frank Underwood's feud with Raymond Tusk- which was some of the most boring and non-compelling aspects of the show. I liked Robin Wright and Claire's quest for a sexual reform bill, but while noble, seemed completely irrelevant to the plot at large. The only subplot I truly enjoyed was new Majority Whip Jackie Sharp scenes, and that's only because Molly Parker made the most out of dull material. But the icing on the cake for me last season was just how President Walker was the stupidest fucking man alive. I can't believe any U.S. President would allow Frank Underwood to have as much power as he had, and I don't know how many times Walker needed to yell at Frank to "stop back channeling". Based upon how strong Season 1 was and how Season 2 ended, I am extremely excited for Season 3, but in a year where shows like Masters of Sex and The Good Wife were snubbed, House of Cards should not have been nominated.

* I watched the first two and a half seasons of Downton Abbey and it was so terrible that I couldn't watch it anymore, not even for posts like these. However, from both my parents and the zeitgeist, even fans of the show thought Downton Abbey's last season was pretty weak and terrible. The PBS show's third nomination in a row in this category is clearly because of laziness and complacency on the part of Emmy voters, and not because Downton Abbey had an award-worthy season. 

WHO WILL WIN: Breaking Bad (AMC)

God, it's so close between Breaking Bad and True Detective. History favors rookie shows so my head says it's True Detective, but Breaking Bad is just so damn good, that I'm going with my heart.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Breaking Bad (AMC)



* Louie (FX)
* Modern Family (ABC)
* Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)
* Silicon Valley (HBO)
* The Big Bag Theory (CBS)
* Veep (HBO)




* Modern Family has won this award for the past four years, but with the show losing many major nominations, I can't imagine it makes it 5 for 5. But with all that being said, I thought the ABC sitcom had a pretty good fifth season. I used to love this show when it first came out, but soon after it kept repeating the same character beats, and it got old. But the addition of the Cam and Mitchell wedding adding much needed spark to the season and Modern Family's fifth season felt fresh and new.

* The show that I think is going to take the crown away from Modern Family is Orange Is The New Black. While I don't know who watched the show and considers it a comedy, it's in this category nonetheless and it deserves to be judged on its own merit. Creator Jenji Kohan created a wonderful world full of fantastic characters that you can't help but fall in love with. I've already seen the first season (the season that's up for awards, not the current season that just "aired") three times already, and I'll gladly watch it for a fourth. 

* The other show that could de-throne Modern Family is Veep. The show aired its third season this year, so I decided to try and catch up on the entire series. I forced my way through the first season, and I tried to do the same for the second, but I just couldn't finish. The episodes are too long (a full 30 minutes) with very few laughs in between. I can see why all the actors, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, keep getting Emmy nominations, but how the show itself could even be a contender in this category is beyond me. Plus, there's no reason the Vice President would continue to hire this incompetent staff that she has unless she's the main star of a television show.

* The other HBO comedy in this category, and another one I don't enjoy, is Mike Judge's Silicon Valley. The show stars a meek, borderline autistic computer nerd named Richard who ends up starting his own company in Northern California based upon a computer program he created. Despite Silicon Valley being about this new technological revolution, it's completely not relatable. Much of the humor of the show centers around the timidness of Richard versus the gregariousness of his three friends/company mates, but what ends up appearing on screen is great comedy actors like T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, and Martin Starr being funny every now and then while Richard makes you want to punch him in the face. The best episode of Silicon Valley was when Richard was barely in it. 

* I can't stand The Big Bang Theory because I hate Sheldon Cooper as a character so much. There's no reason anyone else on the show would be friends with him considering he's thrown them under the bus so many times. It's because of that that I can't continue to watch the CBS sitcom. However, it's the most popular sitcom on television, so not only will it unfortunately continue to be around forever, it will continue to earn Emmy nominations. 

* FX's Louie is probably brilliant, but I don't enjoy it. I saw the first season of this show and I don't care for it. I love Louis C.K.'s stands up specials and I enjoy him in projects like Parks and Recreation and American Hustle, but his brand of dramedy doesn't do it for me as a television show. 

WHAT WILL WIN: Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)





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