It’s Emmy war: ‘True Detective’ battles for Best Drama Series

Up until now, it looked like the Emmy clash over Best Drama Series would be between “House of Cards” (4 to 1 in our racetrack odds) and last year’s champ “Breaking Bad” (15 to 8). But now comes the news that sneaky HBO will enter megahit “True Detective” in that contest, too – and not in the miniseries category.

Many Emmy-watchers presumed “True Detective” would compete as a mini since it follows the same structural formula as frequent Emmy mini nominee “American Horror Story“: its basic story setup and characters get scrapped at the end of the TV season, then reinvented for the next year.

But “American Horror Story” initially competed as a drama series at the 2011 Golden Globes, then switched over to the mini classification at the Emmys when it failed to succeed with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “Downton Abbey” straddled similar category confusion. Initially, it competed for Best Miniseries at the Emmys, then switched to Best Drama Series.

If “True Detective” had stayed in the Emmy mini race, it was the heavy favorite (8 to 5 odds) to beat “American Horror Story: Coven,” “Dancing on the Edge,” “Sherlock,” “Fargo” and “The White Queen.” But HBO senses that the current drama contest is light. “Breaking Bad” won last year when most Emmy voters believed they were giving it a farewell hug. However, it still had episodes airing during the next, most current eligibility period.

Beware: HBO may be throwing away what seem like surefire Emmys in the mini races for a tough fight in the drama lineup. “Breaking Bad” may return for more gold and “House of Cards” — even better in season two than season one — is overdue and more formidable than ever.

True Detective” must also compete against HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” however, but neither series has demonstrated sufficient Emmy strength to nab the category trophy in the past.

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