Can ‘Sherlock’ pull off an Emmy upset against ‘Game Change’?

In our prediction center, HBO’s “Game Change” gets field-leading 7 to 5 odds to win Best Movie/Miniseries at the Emmys. Next in line is “American Horror Story” with 7 to 2 odds, but is it possible the biggest threat to HBO’s political docudrama may be “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia“?

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Currently, the modern update of the Arthur Conan Doyle detective classic gets odds of only 5 to 1 to win and is backed by just three of our Experts (John Kubicek, Rick Porter, and Mo Ryan) and 41 users. Though it received only four nominations in 2011 (for the episode “A Study in Pink”), it picked up a surprising 13 nominations this year, one more than “Game Change.”

Other factors work in “Sherlock’s” favor. The detective drama enjoys greater acclaim, scoring 91 on Metacritic, compared to 74 for “Game Change.” The opinion of critics doesn’t always matter (“Hemingway and Gellhorn” picked up 15 nominations despite critical pans), but it may indicate that “Game Change” inspires less passion from its fans than “Sherlock.”

“Sherlock” also aired more recently. It premiered at the end of May, while “Game Change” aired back in March, which means “Sherlock” will be fresher in voters’ minds. And it has the benefit of airing two additional episodes — “The Hounds of Baskerville” and “The Reichenbach Fall” — which were not entered for Emmy consideration, but fans of the drama may vote for “Scandal in Belgravia” to honor the series as a whole.

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It wouldn’t be the first time a British miniseries from PBS Masterpiece upset an American frontrunner on HBO. In 2005, “The Lost Prince” defeated “Empire Falls” for Best Miniseries. In 2009, “Little Dorrit” seemed to have little buzz, but it nevertheless defeated the high-profile war epic “Generation Kill,” which was the only other nominee in that year’s Miniseries category. And just last year, expected winner “Mildred Pierce” lost its bid to “Downton Abbey,” which this year threatens to knock off another American frontrunner (“Mad Men“) in the race for Best Drama.

The last PBS Masterpiece detective drama to win was “Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgment,” which won Best Miniseries in 1997. Will “Sherlock” follow suit?

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