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Emmy Reactions: The Dramas

Should've been on the short list
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

All right, more than twenty-four hours have passed. I'm now more than ready to evaluate the specific problems I have with this years nominations. Let us begin with that continuing source of disappointments known as the Best Drama Category
Best Drama: Breaking Bad is, until some future time, one of the top five candidates for greatest show of all time. House of Cards is very rapidly proving that it may be the next show to fill that void. And say what you will about where it is, True Detective was one of the more singular experiences this season.
But why do so many people perpetually worship Game of Thrones. Maybe, like with The Sopranos, I'm incapable of grasping the nuances, but The Good Wife was a far better series. And even the most reverential fans of both series have to admit that both Mad Men and Downton Abbey were far inferior to their peak a few years ago. The Americans and Masters of Sex were far better this season. I suppose I should be grateful they didn't get rigid and nominate Homeland instead.
Best Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConnaghey both gave extraordinary performances this season. Woody Harrelson, as is so often the case, didn't get nearly the credit he deserved for True Detective, so on balance I'm glad he was nominated. And Kevin Spacey is one of the greatest actors who ever lived in one of the great roles of our time.
But Jeff Daniels? Honestly, I think it was a major error to even nominate him last season, never mind this year. James Spader was well more capable and far more charismatic. And Jon Hamm was a brilliant actor, and I think it's criminal that he never got an Emmy when he was at his peak. But his peak was three years ago. Michael Sheen was far better in his role. Again, at least they didn't nominate Steve Buscemi or Damien Lewis.
Best Actress, Drama: Harder to measure this group. Juliana Margulies was absolutely brilliant, so I'm glad they welcomed her back to the fold. Lizzy Caplan actually seemed to get overlooked for her work as Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex, so I'm glad she wasn't overlooked. Robin Wright is on the verge of creating a new mold of character on House of Cards: the anti-heroine. So good for her.
But where the hell is Tatiana Maslany? She plays six different roles on Orphan Black. This year, she played a transgender clone of herself, and made it realistic. This is just another case of the Emmys refusing to acknowledge science-fiction. God knows Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anna Torv had to pay for that when they were on the air. Vera Farmiga's work on Bates Motel was harder to measure this season, because the series was, overall, much weaker, but she certainly deserved a place at the table more than Claire Danes or Kerry Washington did. And if we must nominate a series like Scandal, why must we nominate the least interesting character on it? Yes, there are very few good roles for black women on TV. I assure you, Olivia Pope isn't one.
Best Supporting Actor, Drama: I really can't argue with Aaron Paul's nomination. Ditto Jon Voight's--- even though Ray Donavan's a weak show, his role is very strong. And I'm very grateful that the Emmys took this last chance to nominate Josh Charles. I'm even willing to give some latitude to Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones--- I've always been an admirer of his work, and there's no question Tyrion Lannister is the role of a lifetime.
But Mandy Patinkin was a mistake. I know how much I argued in his favor for the last two seasons, and his work on Homeland was still the best thing about the series this year, but this is a case of carrying over from last year a nominee from the previous season. And for all the good character actors that this category recognize, was it really asking to much to honor Jack Houston for his swan song in Boardwalk Empire?
Best Supporting Actress, Drama: Anna Gunn deserves the nomination that she got. Christine Baranski assuredly did as well. Beyond that, its a mess.
I realize that Monica Potter as a nominee was something of a pipe dream, but realistically speaking Bellamy Young had by far the most interesting storyline on Scandal this season. For the second straight season, the Emmys ignored the Best Supporting Actress performance of the year in favor of relics from previous years such as Maggie Smith and (sad to say) Christina Hendricks. And since they were able to recognize some one other than Spacey and Wright for House of Cards, maybe they could've found room for Molly Parker, too. Better her than Lena Headey, anyway.

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