Unpopcult at the Emmys part 5: Best Drama

All right, nominees, let’s form an orderly queue.  What do we have here?

Y’know, I’ve only ever seen one minute of Breaking Bad.  I didn’t like it.  I know that’s a completely arbitrary and ridiculous way to judge a show, but it was my minute and I didn’t enjoy it.  So, yes, Breaking Bad is a potential, probably deserving, maybe even likely winner this year, but it wouldn’t be mine.  Next.

Ah, I’ve seen a few episodes of Dexter, although they were way back in season 1.  I liked them more than that minute of Breaking Bad but I didn’t really like them.  So, whether it’s got a chance of beating the other nominees, I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be my winner either.  Next.

The Good Wife’s a tricky one.  I started watching it at the beginning of the season but lost interest after a few episodes.  It was perfectly watchable and reasonably entertaining but, amongst the deluge of tv this year, perfectly watchable and reasonably entertaining weren’t enough to keep me on the hook.  Much as I adored the cast, the few episodes I saw weren’t Emmy-worthy.   Jed stuck with it though, and his reviews suggest it became much more  than perfectly watchable and reasonably entertaining.  Not my winner then, but maybe in with a shot?  I’m not sure.  Next.

True Blood is actually nominated?  For Outstanding Drama Series?  Seriously? I watch it, I quite like it, but come on.   It’s too patchy, too erratic and too anxious to shock to merit a nomination, let alone a win.  It’s not the best drama on television.  It’s not even the best vampire drama on television.  Next.

Mad Men, now that’s more like it.  It’s won the past couple of years, and it’s deserved to.  And it probably deserves to again, after a strong third season with some utterly brilliant material and some fantastic acting.  Yes, I’d be perfectly happy if Mad Men won again.  But…

Look, I know.  Breaking Bad’s edgier.  Dexter’s cooler.  The Good Wife’s easier.  True Blood’s sexier.  And Mad Men’s worthier.  But, in a year of superb drama – plenty of which didn’t make it onto the shortlist – Lost’s final year was special.  Despite a few misfires, the season and the show as a whole, as Jed has said, was a momentous, astounding achievement and, for me, “The End” was the tv experience of the year.  Nothing else on this list came anywhere near affecting me in the same way as that last couple of hours with the passengers of Oceanic 815.  So I know a lot of people don’t agree, and maybe the Emmy voters won’t agree, but Lost is my winner.  Feel free to use the comments to tell us yours.

8 thoughts on “Unpopcult at the Emmys part 5: Best Drama

  1. Snoskred July 13, 2010 / 5:42 am

    I think teevee is such a personal thing which is why people rarely agree on it.

    For me, Breaking Bad is currently one of the best shows on tv. I have never seen Lost, nor Mad Men. This is not by choice but because the teevee people over here do not like to show tv at the same time each week or in any kind of order.

    Breaking Bad & Dexter are both on pay tv which sets in a time each week for the shows to be seen as well as a lot of repeats in case you missed it. So it works better for me.

    I don’t think the awards get it right most of the time but I am not sure they are really about rewarding the best – to me it often seems like they are about rewarding the most popular or making a choice they think will be popular when it comes to who wins.

    I do think Breaking Bad is so timely in the US – you guys live in the UK and I live in Australia, where if we got cancer we would not have to rob a bank or break laws or take out massive loans (unlikely we would get them anyway if we had cancer) whereas in the US, if they don’t have insurance or don’t have a spare 100 grand or so sitting in the bank, they get no treatment. That is probably one reason why it is winning awards over there, but it is certainly not the only one. The writing and acting is excellent. However it isn’t for everyone.

    Dexter had a great year after a sadly disappointing 3rd season. While I am glad MCH finally got rewarded for his hard work at the Emmys last year, I do not think it was for the right season at all.

    And damn it, can’t they just give Mariska Hargitay one small win? Either that or quit nominating the poor girl. But I agree Julianna Marguiles probably has this one sewn up.

    • CJ Cregg July 13, 2010 / 7:51 pm

      Hey Snoksred. Hargitay apparently did win once – in 2006 – although I didn’t realise that till I came across it on the internet about 5 minutes ago. I would stop nominating her to be honest – she’s absolutely fine but L&O: SVU has been the same schtick for 10 or 11 years now. Based on the eps I saw over the last few years (before this season admittedly) it’s not the actors’ fault, but there’s nothing particularly note-worthy about the performances any more, it’s the same old same old.

  2. Red July 13, 2010 / 4:50 pm

    I didn’t know that’s what Breaking Bad is about, Snoskred. Am currently dreading the arrival of a bill for two and a half weeks in an American hospital, so maybe i should watch it for ideas. 😉 Seriously tho, the healthcare system in the US is nuts. I don’t know why everyone is so opposed to Obama reforming it. But then i don’t know much about American politics period.

  3. Jed Bartlet July 13, 2010 / 6:58 pm

    Hi Snoskred, good to hear from you again. If it makes you feel any better you’re still a season ahead of us in respect of ‘Dexter’, although we’re getting season 4 in August. You’re also at least a season ahead of us with ‘Breaking Bad’: I missed it at the time, but I now believe that season 2 was sneaked out under cover of darkness and without warning over Christmas/New Year 2009-10.

    Scheduling in the UK is variable but better than it used to be. The BBC’s treatment of ‘Seinfeld’, years ago, has become legendary – it used to schedule it late at night and more or less randomly, delaying or cancelling episodes when other shows over-ran. This was before Sky+ and V+, so if you wanted to keep up with it you needed a VCR and a very strong work ethic. Most people didn’t bother, unfortunately. (It then did the same with ‘Arrested Development’.) The BBC still tends to hold on to shows for too long and then schedule them idiosyncratically, but, as with you, some of the satellite/cable channels are a bit better.

    Back with ‘Breaking Bad’, I watched season 1 but wasn’t overwhelmed by it, to be honest, although I will give seasons 2 and 3 a go. Good point about the cultural significance, though: I suppose in countries with national healthcare providers it’s possible to lose sight of the fact that there’s a financial imperative underpinning what Walter does, as well as a sort of fatalism.

  4. Jed Bartlet July 13, 2010 / 7:17 pm

    As to the winner… Like you, CJ, I don’t for a second see ‘True Blood’ as a runner, and (although I haven’t seen season 3) if ‘Breaking Bad’ hasn’t won before I wonder whether it’s done enough this time. ‘The Good Wife’ was good at what it did, but perhaps that’s not enough. ‘Lost’… did the ending take the edge off a bit? ‘Dexter’ vs ‘Mad Men’, then.

  5. Snoskred July 14, 2010 / 2:58 am

    I’ve always been reading, it is just the shows aren’t ones I am able to catch.. 😉 I still enjoy the posts anyway.

    Yay that Hargitay won it once – yeah I think they can stop nominating her now. Though, she does always look fantastic on the red carpet.

    I think that is why I have such strong feelings about Walt and what he chooses to do in Breaking Bad – because I so strongly disagree with the American health care system. Walt loves his family and he wants to make sure they’ll have enough money once he is gone but the way he chooses to do it has enormous consequences for not only himself but everyone who is close to him and of course the people who use his “products”.

    The show does get better each season but there was a standout this year for me called The Fly – keep an eye out for that one. 🙂

    I was not a Seinfeld fan because our tv people did the same thing – and they would replay about 20 episodes over and over in between the new ones. The thing with Seinfeld that I never understood until one of our pay tv channels had a marathon and showed all the episodes, and I *taped* them in long play so we had every single one – they have to be watched in order for the jokes to make proper sense. After that I developed a love for the show. 😉

    Dexter did have an incredible season 4 – I am looking forward to you seeing it!

  6. Red July 14, 2010 / 11:31 am

    I was just saying to a friend the other day that i never got into Seinfeld because it was on so late.

  7. Jed Bartlet July 14, 2010 / 1:46 pm

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

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