Can ‘House of Cards’ topple ‘Homeland’ and win Drama Series Emmy?

The freshman show “House of Cards” ranks in our top six Drama Series contenders for the upcoming Emmys. Yet it sits in the 11th position among all dramas with the scores at MetaCritic

Why is that? 

We asked our editors for their insights into this odd disconnect between the critics and Emmy voters when it comes to this series about a wily politician (Kevin Spacey) that recently wrapped its first season with the online streaming service Netflix. 

Leading off the discussion is Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil, who thinks: 

House of Cards” will not only be nominated for Best Drama Series, it might WIN.

It’s perfect Emmy bait because it’s just like “The West Wing,” which won the category four times in a row. It’s about back-stage power dealings in Washington D.C. It’s loaded with film stars – one of them a double Oscar champ (Spacey), who breaks the mold in one key way. He’s not portraying a candy-coated hero like Martin Sheen. No, he’s a diabolical anti-hero. He’s not the president of the United States, but he becomes the de facto equivalent as a congressional leader who  schemes to pull all of the same power strings. Arguably, that makes this TV show much more hip, interesting, even relevant today than “West Wing.”

“House of Cards” also has socko reviews from key TV critics and deafening Emmy buzz. The fact that it streams on Netflix instead of being televised the old-fashioned way makes it a sexy Emmy threat that Hollywooders are talking about.

Expect “House of Cards” to nab Emmy noms for best drama series, lead actor and actress (Robin Wright), director (David Fincher), writing and tons of crafts awards.  Remember, the 1990 British version was nominated for gads of BAFTAS and it won best actor for Ian Richardson. When it was recut as a U.S. miniseries, it won a primetime Emmy for writing.

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Agrees Rob Licuria:

I have two words that for me, almost seal the deal for a nomination at the very least: David. Fincher.

Also in the show’s favour is Netflix. They are surely going to throw everything they’ve got at ensuring Emmy voters will see the show. All it then has to do is overcome some of its weaker elements (smarmy and unlikeable main character) and its probably in. 

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Marcus Dixon observes:

The reason “House of Cards” might be reviewing so low with some critics is because, simply, they don’t know what to make of it. For the first time on record, a non-televised series is actually GOOD — something that’s really never happened before.

“House of Cards” is a rare breed. It looks and feels like a movie, it airs over 13 hour-long installments like a TV series, and it streams online like a webcast. In the near future, shows like “House of Cards” may become routine, but the question of the day still remains: Is “House of Cards” the trailblazer that puts web-based series on the Emmy map, or is it just another step forward in this strange new direction? Based on critics reviews, it may be the latter.

I’m not currently predicting it but in it’s favour is white collar snob appeal, Spacey and Fincher. Also the fact that it’s release was groundbreaking has created buzz, although being on Netflix could be a drawback.

However,  Daniel Montgomery cautions:

I’m actually not so sure “House of Cards” will be nominated for Best Drama. Netflix is an untested platform at the Emmys, which have typically taken several years to catch up with the times; consider how long it took them to fully embrace cable TV. So while the show does have an awards-friendly pedigree — it’s produced by Oscar nominee Fincher and stars two-time Oscar-winner Spacey — so did “Boss” last year (Gus Van Sant and Kelsey Grammer), which ended up completely shut out, probably because few voters were paying attention to the little-watched Starz network.

“House of Cards” also has the same problem as every other new drama this year: the glut of shows already crowding the field, none of which have shown signs of weakening this year — “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men,” whose seasons just started, are still question marks. The revolutionary distribution of “House of Cards” could give it enough buzz to help it enter the race, but it could just as easily miss out completely.

What do you think? Weigh in with your comments below and make your Emmy predictions here

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