This week’s well-received episode of “Game of Thrones” — “The Mountain and the Viper” — began with a bloody massacre in a tavern, featured a man’s graphically filleted corpse and concluded with a character’s head being crushed to pieces.
Just another day in Westeros, right? But will such an unapologetically violent show ever win the Best Drama Series prize at the Emmy awards?
While Emmy voters aren’t necessarily prudes per se, history tells us that they do have an infatuation with slickly-produced, vanilla dramas that feel more like something your grandparents would enjoy as opposed to something you watch while covering your eyes, daring to peek through your fingers.
Just look at some of Emmy’s multiple Drama Series winners over the past few decades: “Mad Men,” “The West Wing,” “The Practice,” “Picket Fences” and “L.A. Law.” By and large, these are all pure, innocent-feeling shows where characters at most try to kill each other’s careers, as opposed to literally kill each other. (Though who could forget Michael Emerson‘s bloody-good turn as a creepy serial killer on “The Practice”?)
But there is good news on the horizon for “Game of Thrones.”
We’ve seen a gradual evolution in the habits of Emmy voters over the years, ever since the fifth season of “The Sopranos” won Best Drama Series in 2004. Lest we forget, Season 5 was the year that a fan-favorite female character was executed in cold blood, disturbing millions of fans for years to come
Several violent series soon followed in the bloody footsteps left behind by “The Sopranos,” including life-or-death “Lost” (2005), torture-heavy “24” (2006), anti-terrorism drama “Homeland” (2012) and, most recently, “Breaking Bad” (2013), a show about a chemistry teacher who turns into a murderous drug kingpin.
Fifteen years ago, it would have felt slightly off-putting to see a show like “Game of Thrones” honored with the Best Drama Series prize, but as television has changed in the wake of “The Sopranos,” so too have the Emmys’ ideals for what constitutes quality television.
This year, Gold Derby’s predictions center gives “Game of Thrones” 8/1 odds of winning Best Drama Series. That’s good enough for fourth place on the overall leaderboard behind “Breaking Bad” (19/10 odds), “True Detective” (11/2 odds) and “House of Cards” (11/2 odds).
Do you think “Game of Thrones” is too violent to win Best Drama Series at the Emmys? Vote in our poll below, then give us your comments about “The Mountain and the Viper” at the bottom of this post.