Ask Matt: Game of Thrones, Rectify, Orphan Black, Americans, Following, Good Wife
Finn Jones, Sophie Turner | Photo Credits: Keith Bernstein/HBO
Question: Looking at the Best Drama shortlist from last year as an example, do you think many of the usual suspects like Mad Men and Breaking Bad may have their best days behind them (maybe not so much objectively as much as in short-attentioned minds of many voters), along with Homeland seeming to have edged ever-so-slightly into ludicrousness (get pacemaker serial number and induce heart attack, all without Chloe opening a socket), Downton Abbey now having a "perennial obligatory nominee" vibe, and Boardwalk Empire maybe not even deserving to make the final cut anymore, could this be the year that Game of Thrones finally breaks out of the fantasy ghetto and gets enough votes to have its name called when the big envelope is opened?
Scenes so far this year involving Lannisters sitting across a table from and talking to (or yelling at) each other are among the most enjoyable I've seen from any show all season. Thrilling scenes such as Dany acquiring her army of soon-to-be freed slaves, the Night's Watch rebellion and the Hound's trial by combat leave the viewer breathless. Quietly mesmerizing speeches such as Jaime confessing to a selfless act that saved thousands but was dubiously honored with "Kingslayer" for his trouble (all while holding his stump in front of him, reminding us that, yes, the show actually did go there). And since producers have kept the broad strokes close to George R.R. Martin's original story, there's no reason not to expect many viewers to require oral surgery by the end of the season given how hard jaws will hit the floor as the events those of us who are reading ahead are giddily awaiting will finally come to pass. In spite of passing within shouting distance of crazytown, I still think Homeland had a very good season, I'd say that Breaking Bad has not shown a dropoff in quality, I believe that Justified reached and arguably exceeded the greatness of season 2, and although those are the only dramas that come close, Game of Thrones leaves them all in the dust. Now that we're close to the end of the current TV season, how do you think Game of Thrones stacks up this year? — Mike
Matt Roush: This has been a remarkable season so far for Game of Thrones for all of the reasons you so cleverly articulate. It absolutely deserves the Emmy nods it will get, and if the momentum continues as we expect it to, up to and including the "events" you hint at thankfully without spoiling, Thrones could end up a front-runner, and wouldn't that be great. Mad Men for me is only now starting to catch fire this season, and between Breaking Bad's incomplete half-season (to me, a corporate misstep on AMC's part to split the final season into two) and Homeland's lurch into ludicrousness in the second half of the season, this does present an opportunity for Thrones. I would take issue that Downton Abbey's inclusion among the top dramas is a rubber-stamped inevitability. Few current dramas bring such joy to so many, and I'd hate to see it ignored. Ditto The Good Wife, which had another tremendous season. I'd also like to see FX's The Americans acknowledged for its smart, taut first season, although maybe not at the expense of Justified. And then there's Rectify, which like Breaking Bad suffers from feeling incomplete with only six hours in the first season.