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Here’s Why ‘Downton Abbey’ Could Beat ‘Mad Men’ for Best Drama Series

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  • Tom O’Neil
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    #256761

    So …. whatcha think of my theory of Emmy Snobbism bolstering the possibility of “Downton Abbey” beating “Mad Men”?

    http://www.goldderby.com/television/news/3261/downton-abbey-emmys-television-news-372169485.html

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    Tony Ruiz
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    #256763

    I think that you could be right.  I just don’t get all the Downton Love.  I adored the first season, but the second season just felt like a big step down in quality.   With the exception of the Christmas episode, I felt like the second season was nothing special.  But I certainly concede your point, Tom, that the snob factor and its acroos-the-board nominations make it a real threat.

    But I am being stubborn and saying that the biggest threat to Mad Men is Breaking Bad for the following reasons:
    1) It’s airing its current season during the voting period and this season five has received near universal acclaim.  This has helped Mad Men in the past.
    2) Mad Men and Downton could split the snob vote clearing a path for Breaking Bad, whose season was more acclaimed than Homeland.
    3) Breaking Bad has six absolutely stellar submissions that pretty much cover the arc of the whole season. 

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    TV12
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    #256764

    OJ (wow, those are your initials ), your #2 has no relevancy in Emmy voting panels. “Splitting the vote” does not occur. Remeber the voting process. That’s why Mad Men always wins writing awards despite the fact they have muliple worthy episodes nominated. And it’s why MF can’t lose in Supporting Actor.

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    dannyboy.
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    #256765

    Breaking Bad will win. I have Downton Abbey third (behind MM) BUT, I think any of the three can win it. This is the first time I don’t see Mad Men winning.

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    Tom O’Neil
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    #256766

    the problem with your breaking bad theory is that the program has NO ELITIST appeal — NONE — it’s about thugs and vile druggies. Sure, The Sopranos was about thugs, but it had style and panache and Tony and Carmela had a lovely home in Jersey, etc. Breaking Bad has such a high ick factor that, after you watch it, you feel like you gotta take a bath FAST
    Snobbish Emmy voters want aspirational TV in their program categories. Like uppity Modern Family. Remember, Roseanne Barr’s version of the modern American family was never even nominated for best comedy series during its nine years on the air, even though it won the Globe, Peabody and was often #1 in the Nielsens (“NOCD”)

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    dannyboy.
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    #256767

    I agree its tough to root for the character’s on the show for viewers at home, but if the Emmys can get over rewarding the characters (performances) they should have no problem rewarding its rather brilliant writing, directing, editing, cinematography with a series win. I am with you though Tom, Downton Abbey certainly has a shot! Its almost mediocre sophomore season certainly hasn’t slowed its buzz! Speaking of buzz, I’ll put Mad Men fourth on that front. Even behind the poorly written Homeland.

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    Kevin Jacobsen
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    #256768

    Yes it’s about “icky” people, but it also has a score of 98 on metacritic with 20 perfect scores of 100.  Its critical buzz is at a fever pitch right now with many claiming it the best show on television.  In terms of the style and panache, its visuals are some of the best on television, the incredible landscapes, the symbolic colors of the characters (Walt = green, Jesse = red, Skyler = blue, Marie = purple), plus I think it does have the cool “elitist” factor. I’m not in Hollywood or anything but if you’re involved in television and you’re NOT watching Breaking Bad, then there’s something wrong!  I know critics aren’t the same as Emmy voters but I would find an increasingly overdue BB hard to resist over an already rewarded MM.  

    Sure, it’s not as overtly obvious with its style like Mad Men and Downton, but to dismiss it as being about icky people sounds like a gross oversimplification of voters.  I know they tend to fall for Emmy bait often but to think voters will rank Mad Men and Downton ahead of BB simply because Don Draper looks good in a suit or Lady Mary’s dress is so fabulous seems a little off.  The Sopranos often depicted an ugly side of New Jersey, most of the characters weren’t very attractive, and they still rewarded it twice.

    It’s entirely possible that Downton could take it this year. Considering its absurd amount of nominations I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it does.  I just don’t think we should be dismissing Breaking Bad, it got THIRTEEN nominations this year. This, combined with its overdue status shows that there’s no way it isn’t one of the frontrunners this year.

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    Andrew Eng
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    #256769

    If Breaking Bad has no elitist appeal, then how has it increased its nomination count every year, and scoring major wins each time? If the actors’s branch is so snooty, then why have they rewarded Cranston three times as well as giving a win to Paul? Clearly, the academy likes the show and, as with The Sopranos, could ride their overdue factor to a win, especially with the race being so close as it is. 

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    Vincent Georgie
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    #256770

    I agree with Tom that BB likely has too much of an “ick” factor to take it, despite being competitive.  That being said, I would rank Downton Abbey lower than BB. I can’t see voters being knocked out by those tapes or, in the end, giving the top prize to a British series.

    There would have to be one clear, hefty alternative to MM to take it down. We saw that last year with Boardwalk Empire and it didn’t happen.

    The other key: Mad Men submitted absolute perfection (as usual). Sure, I would have thrown in “Mystery Date” but it likely does not pair as well with the sublime “Signal 30” as “Far Away Places” does.

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    FrozenBarbie
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    #256771

    Breaking Bad has such a high ick factor that, after you watch it, you feel like you gotta take a bath FAST

    Funny…
    after I watch it, I count the days until the next episode, and
    speculate like crazy about what future episodes might bring. I certainly
    didn’t feel that way after watching Downton Abbey this year, and not
    even with Mad Med.  I consider myself somewhat of a TV snob, and
    Breaking Bad excites me in ways that other shows don’t… intellectually, emotionally and visually. It was my
    absolute all-around favorite series last year.  I don’t love it in spite
    of its vile characters, but because of them. They are fascinating. I
    don’t know how anyone can say BB lacks style.

    And of all the ways you can describe BB, I would never say it was about
    “thugs and vile druggies.”  That’s selling it short.  And if Emmy voters
    see it that way, that is really a shame. Sure, there is some thuggish
    behavior (nowhere NEAR the level of the Sopranos), but it’s definitely
    not about druggies.  If I had to use only two words to
    describle it, they would be “transformation” and “consequences.”
    Transformation in the lead character of Walter White, and consequences
    of the actions of just about everyone on the show. In no way does this
    show glorify drugs. It does quite the opposite.

    The possibility of that less-than stellar DA beating Mad Med is hard
    enough to wrap my head around, but knowing it will probably beat BB is
    the real disappointment for me.

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    CanadianFan
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    #256772

    If you think “Breaking Bad” is about thugs and vile druggies, you should really watch the entire series instead of select episodes. That oversimplification is just ridiculous and wrong.

    Mr. Taloson hit everything — major momentum with nominations, universal acclaim, airing stellar episodes during the voting process, a proven body of voters that love BB due to the wins for numerous actors… If voters actually watch “Downton”, there’s no chance it will win. Poor writing, ridiculous convoluted scenarios and overwrought melodrama will not produce a victory on Emmy night. It may have worked for the 70’s but in 2012? C’mon.

    And how is “Modern Family” uppity? I think it’s about time you actually start watching these shows… I could see that label thrown on “Girls”, “Curb”, “Louie” and maybe “Veep”… but MF? It’s one of the most accessible comedies on television.

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    Renaton
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    #256773

    “Breaking Bad” might not feel snobby, but it defnitely does well with “elitists”. It’s looks and feels like a feature film every week, and is full of memorable quotes and scenes that have a lot of impact. The only thing missing are “classy” elements, but it’s definitely seen as a cool, stylized show. And if anything, being so different from “Mad Men” actually helps it more than hurts it. Voters familiar with “Mad Men” watching the “Downton” tapes would hardly switch support or has a response as strong as they do with MM. And the ones that aren’t that into “Mad Men”, might be the type of voters more drawn to “Breaking Bad” than “Downton”.

    Sure, “Downton” got tons of nominations, and it might win based on passionate support alone, but considering tapes and outside factors, like the way both MM and BB were received with a certain enthusiasm by public and critics (at least more than shows in their fourth and firth seasons usually get), and that they still feel much more a part of cultural and art discussions than “Downton”, helps them a lot. Both are just seen as more important to the medium. Which is why I have “Downton” at third, even though “Homeland” also has better tapes.

    And really, “Downton” only has the Christmas episode as a strong part of its submissions in comparison to the other shows. I don’t think they can win based on the strength of only one episode.

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    Vincent Georgie
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    #256774

    I’m glad Meth Damon brought us back to the key focus of the discussion: the tapes!

    DA can have all sorts of overall support and snob appeal but what do they have to submit? I love that show, no doubt, but they can’t take on MM, BB or maybe even Homeland. MM has tapes B and C that are extremely hefty, while tape A is still a doozy ( I find “Signal 30” to be an A+ while I was not on the “Far Away Places” bandwagon but the writers branch backed it so there is love for it)

    I’m looking forward to a strong tape by tape analysis of this race. Until then, broad appreciation for DA is deserved but a bit fluffy where it really matters.

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    24Emmy
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    #256775

    Forget the boring period pieces, how about Homeland winning drama series, lead actor, lead actress, writing, and directing?

    Breaking Bad can take home both supporting categories leaving Mad Men and Downton Abbey with no major Emmys.

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    sorcery
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    #256776

    I don’t know, 24Emmy. It could happen, but the Emmy winners are always so disjointed/spread out–remember when the ER finale won directing over Mad Men and Battlestar Galactica, or when an episode of House bested the pilots of Breaking Bad, Damages and Mad Men? What about Kyle Chandler last year? I wonder what their offbeat choice will be this year?

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