Can ‘Breaking Bad’ sustain awards romp through Emmys?

Breaking Bad” just romped easily through the Golden Globes and guild awards, but that doesn’t mean it will easily win the Emmy for Best Drama Series on Aug. 25.

It’s not uncommon for programs to take the top Emmy for their final seasons as did “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Barney Miller,” “The Sopranos” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but it would be unprecedented for voters to reach back almost a year to reward a departed series.

Right now it’s clear that “Breaking Bad” is still fresh in the minds of award voters even though it aired its final episodes last September. The Golden Globes finally caught up with the show with overdue victories for Best Drama Series and Actor (Bryan Cranston) after previously snubbing it in all categories. And the Screen Actors’ Guild gave Cranston his second consecutive award for Drama Actor while the show won Best Ensemble.

At the WGA, three different episodes were nominated, with Gennifer Hutchinson winning for “Confessions.” “Breaking Bad” also won its third consecutive award for Best Drama Series.  Creator Vince Gilligan won the show’s second consecutive DGA Award for directing the series finale “Felina”, beating out Cranston, who was nominated for directing the season premiere (“Blood Money”).  The show also took the top drama series trophy at the Producer’s Guild Awards.

But even with this run of success, there are still four months to go until the Emmy begins in earnest and, without any new episodes airing, the show loses one of the strongest advantages it had last year.  It is conceivable that the show’s Emmy win last year can be attributed to the deafening buzz and critical acclaim that accompanied its final eight episodes, which aired during the peak Emmy voting period. This strategy certainly contributed to “Mad Men’s” string of Emmy wins; the series routinely kept its presence fresh in voters’ minds by airing its newest season during balloting.

It remains to be seen whether “Breaking Bad” can continue this winning trend over the course of the next six months.  There is, after all, still time for another show to grab the spotlight.  But it seems clear that this is one show that will not, in the words of Walter White, “tread lightly.”

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