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Emmy predictions: 'Breaking Bad' ready to topple 'Mad Men'?

September 18, 2012|By Glenn Whipp
  • Bryan Cranston, left, and Giancarlo Esposito hold up a trophy of sorts from the Season 4 finale of Emmy-nominated "Breaking Bad."
Bryan Cranston, left, and Giancarlo Esposito hold up a trophy of sorts from… ( Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through Emmy races this week, predicting the winners for Sunday night's show. To get the party started, he looks at the comedy and drama series categories.


The nominees:

“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

“Downton Abbey” (PBS)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“Homeland” (Showtime)

“Mad Men” (AMC)

And the winner is … “Breaking Bad.” It’s a coin flip, really, between the two acclaimed AMC series. “Mad Men,” which has won the category in each of its first four seasons, didn’t slip this year so much as “Breaking Bad” delivered a note-perfect, Fring-tastic season. Also in its favor:  “Breaking Bad” was in the midst of airing a series of riveting new episodes while Emmy ballots were out, putting the series square in voters’ minds and DVR storage.

Unless … Voters want to make a little history and give “Mad Men” an unprecedented fifth series Emmy. (The show is currently tied with “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “The West Wing” with four wins.) “Homeland” is too new, “Thrones” too complicated and “Downton” too British to challenge the front-runners. And for all its critical acclaim, we just don’t hear anyone talking about “Boardwalk Empire.”


The nominees:

“30 Rock” (NBC)

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)

“Girls” (HBO)

“Modern Family” (ABC)

“Veep” (HBO)

And the winner is … “Modern Family.” The ABC ensemble comedy has been an Emmy juggernaut, vacuuming up 31 nominations and, thus far, 11 trophies for its first three seasons. The legal battle between the cast and 20th Century Fox would have needed to venture into “Hatfields & McCoys” territory for the show not to win its third straight series Emmy. And since negotiations were settled soon after they went public, the window of opportunity to dethrone the reigning champ quickly shut.

Unless … More voters than we can possibly imagine were turned off by the “Modern Family” cast’s demands. (And we have a healthy imagination.) Meanwhile, the only HBO (or, for that matter, cable) series to win this category was “Sex and the City” in 2001. Much like “Sex,” Lena Dunham’s “Girls” has become a topic of conversation, albeit one with fewer viewers. If it seems that coverage of the show has exceeded its reach, consider that it enjoys strong support within the industry. It’s a superbly crafted program, one to watch as a strong challenger to "Modern Family" next year.


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