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60th Primetime Emmy Awards Preview: Nominations Predictions for The “Other” Awards

When people predict the Emmy Awards, they predict the big awards: the ones with names we recognize, the ones that we’ll see on TV, and the ones that we’ll remember when the show is over. However, there are dozens of Emmy Awards given out each year, and when the nominees are announced Emmy fantatics like me will be poring over the epic list looking not just for the usual suspects but rather some of the trends that emerge elsewhere.

And it’s really a question of trends more than individual categories – I can’t possibly predict a category like Best Direction in a Comedy Series, but I can tell you who is likely to be kicking around and what kind of shows will perform well in the category. It’s one last bit of Emmy coverage before we head into tomorrow, where I’ll have live coverage of the nominations themselves followed by the full list of nominees and full analysis of how things went down. In the meantime, let’s discuss the “Other” awards, ranging from writing to directing, guest acting to individual performance, and everything in between.

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series

Trend: The category is usually used to represent the best in episodic television along with the year’s standout pilots. It’s considered one of the best categories, mainly because of said high quality.

Changes: Unlike last year, there’s no show that is going to dominate with a large number of episodes in the tradition of The Sopranos – only Mad Men has a chance at that.

Watch for: Lost’s “The Constant” seems like a lock unless something goes hideously wrong (Even last year, with the show snubbed, they won a nomination for “Through the Looking Glass,” while the Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Damages pilots might represent new series on the list.

Repeat Offenders: Ronald D. Moore was a surprise nominee for Battlestar Galactica last year, so he could be back. Meanwhile, since three Sopranos episodes made the cut last year, there’s room for some returns – David Simon is likely back in the race for the finale of The Wire, for example.

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series

Trend: A huge, expansive category representing quality drama pilots and standout segments of established series.

Changes: We don’t know if we’ll see yet another seven nomination kudos list, but if we do it means more of the same from the Academy.

Watch for: In terms of the year’s pilots, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll see cinematic Damages and intoxicating Mad Men on this list (Alan Taylor, who directed the Mad Men pilot, won for The Sopranos last year). As far as other series go, expect Lost’s Jack Bender to pop up again.

Repeat Offenders: Battlestar Galactica could see another nomination here, but Heroes and Friday Night Lights are likely both going to miss the cut. There could be other series, however, that would be more than willing to step in and fill the gap (The Wire and Dexter, in particular).

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Assessing the Contenders: Drama Series Catchup (Dexter, FNL, Grey’s, House)

So, last week I was all set to really dig into all of the various submissions that the panels saw in both Comedy and Drama a few weeks ago now, but then life got in the way and I’ve been distracted. It also didn’t help that I had actually seen most of the episode, so I had already formulated opinions and therefore didn’t feel an urgency to write about them (Something I do have when I’m seeing something for the first time). So, I figure I’ll provide some short-form reviews of at least some of the remaining episodes over the next few days, and then offer a more comprehensive overview next week leading up to the nominations themselves. First, a view into the drama contenders.

Drama Series

Dexter – “The Dark Defender”

Synopsis: Dexter, with the help of his similarly crazy friend Lila, confronts his mother’s murderer in an emotional attempt to achieve closure.

My Thoughts: I hate Lila with a fiery passion, and found the character ultimately disruptive, but her role as Dexter’s kindred spirit of sorts was strong. Michael C. Hall is great in the episode, and it displays the show’s usual great use of violence and gore to serve story purposes.

Panel Potential: Unfortunately, its use of blood and gore has been what has held it back, as pretty well all awards potential goes out the window when older voters can’t stomach the show’s bloody reality. So, all signs point to a rough panel performance.

Friday Night Lights – “Leave No Man Behind”

Synopsis: Tension between coach and quarterback reaches its climax, and love triangles and parental strife round out the episode.

My Thoughts: The best episode of the show’s second season, it is most importantly a view into where football and life intersect as opposed to simply the lives of these characters. For the scene where Eric Taylor throws Matt Saracen into a cold shower to wake him up from his depressive state alone, this one’s a winner.

Panel Potential: There’s a lot of strong elements here, from performance to relativity to the standard lives of panelists, so it should have a decent performance (but likely not enough to make up for its poor Popular vote showing).

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