Emmys 2012 Predictions: Outstanding Drama Series

Senior Television Writer
09.22.12 26 Comments

Time for Dan and I to wrap up our Emmy picks for who should and will win all the major categories with Outstanding Drama Series.

Your nominees:

“Boardwalk Empire”

“Breaking Bad”

“Downton Abbey”

“Game of Thrones”


“Mad Men”

Should win

Alan’s pick: “Homeland” had a fantastic debut season, but the two AMC series remain the cream of the crop, and I would say “Breaking Bad” season 4 (with the relentless intensity of the Walter White/Gus Fring cold war) was a little better than “Mad Men” season 5 (which experimented stylistically while also giving us a Don Draper at war with his own nature).

Dan’s pick: “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are the best shows on TV, but it’s a struggle to remember what we’re comparing in this category. I think “Mad Men” had a vastly superior 2012 season to the half-season turned in by “Breaking Bad.” However, we’re comparing 2012 “Mad Men” to 2011 “Breaking Bad” for Emmy purposes and that’s MUCH closer. On the podcast, I gave “Mad Men” the advantage, but I think here I’m going with “Breaking Bad.” It’s that close, though. But really? I like all six of these shows quite a bit. Emmy voters did a subpar job of recognizing the best comedies on TV, but they did a very good job of recognizing the best dramas on TV.

Will win

Alan’s pick: I would rank the field as “Mad Men” (a great series that appeals to every Emmy demographic) followed by a big gap, then “Downton Abbey” (which did very well when competing as a miniseries and appeals to voters’ Anglophilia) and “Homeland” (the hot new show with a great first season), then another gap before “Breaking Bad” (where voters seem to like the performances but are reluctant to embrace the scuzzy Southwestern vibe of it all), while the two HBO shows should just be happy to be nominated. I’m betting on “Mad Men” to make Emmy history as the first show to win five awards in a row in this category, but an upset could come from PBS or Showtime.

Dan’s pick: “Breaking Bad” has been adding nominations each year as Emmy voters slowly warm to the show. “Downton Abbey” was a surprise miniseries juggernaut last year and the number of nominations this year suggest it still has ample support. “Game of Thrones” was the big winner at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, so some people in the Academy respect a lot of things about it. And “Mad Men” is “Mad Men.” Barring something wacky, it’s going to be my No. 1 show of the year, once again. BUT… “Homeland” is shiny and new and buzzy and zeitgeisty. And it’s also quite good, delivering “24”-style thrills with a backdrop that suggests it all means something important. I don’t think “Homeland” is better than “Mad Men,” but I do predict that, in an upset, it ends Matt Weiner’s reign atop the Emmy drama charts.

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