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Emmy Analysis: Directing of a Comedy and Drama Series (Orange is the New Black, True Detective, Breaking Bad)

Our Emmy Expert Nicol (who has his own fantastic website, Back to the Frying Pan) is breaking down the series directing categories and nominations to tell us who he thinks is going to win. Will freshman shows Orange is the New Black and True Detective run away with these or will 4-time winner Modern Family triumph? Will Boardwalk Empire and Glee ALWAYS be nominated here?


For the comedy category Silicon Valley went with the pilot of the show which is always the safe bet for some sort of a recognition. That was obvious this year as it lead them to a nomination, but with almost no buzz for it, I think the nomination is the reward this time. Louis C.K continues his streak of nominations as well, and this year he chose the finale of his six part “Elevator” episode. I can see this being some sort of a dark horse in this category given that his direction was a standout here. I think we just have to accept from hereon that Glee will get a mention here (though we only have one season left!). To be fair, this wasn’t as random as last year since it’s one of their two event episodes of the season (the other being “The Quarterback”) and had Paris Barclay at the helm so this should have been given already. Episodes is the first episode that voters will check in its reel, and with this surprise nomination, I think it’s really well deserved. There’s a lot of obvious direction at play in this episode and while I don’t think it’ll win, it can be one who’ll find itself in the middle rankings a lot. I see this race as a two woman race (hurray!). On the left corner, we have current champ Gail Mancuso in Modern Family’s “Las Vega”s which is the most obvious showcase of direction here. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the season’s best episode with the direction at the forefront. It’s some sort of a homage to the classic Frasier episode The Ski Trip. But then we also have Jodie friggin Foster for Orange is the New Black’s most emotional episode of its pilot season. I mean I could already really stop with the name recognition as I think it’ll be in play here; thus I’m going with it. But really, don’t be surprised if Modern Family wins its fourth consecutive direction nod since it’ll be more deserved than its last two wins in this category.

Prediction: Orange is the New Black, “Lesbian Request Denied“
Alternate: Modern Family, “Las Vegas“

Full Rankings:
01. Orange is the New Black, “Lesbian Request Denied“
02. Modern Family, “Las Vegas“
03. Louie, “Elevator Part 6“
04. Silicon Valley, “Minimum Viable Product“
05. Episodes, “Episode Nine“
06. Glee, “100“


As for the drama side, let’s begin with Downton Abbey‘s season almost two hour season opener. In the tradition of its usual one episode for season submission, the show really knows what episode it has to submit, and that’s the reason why it’s on its third nomination in this category. Sadly for them, I think they’ll have the same fate as their last two tries. Meanwhile, Boardwalk Empire continues its hold in this category by getting its fifth nomination here in a span of four seasons. This year, they’ve submitted the season finale “Farewell Daddy Blues.” Remember when the show pulled off that upset two years ago? While I don’t see them repeating that this year, it’s really unwise to discount the show’s chances overall. “Chapter 14” of House of Cards is nominated for both its writing and directing which is quite of a surprise, but between the two, directing is where its more obvious since that talked about scene in the episode is as showy as one can get. After all, they are the current champ in this category so there’s that in play. After two years of snubbing here, Game of Thrones finally gets its second directing nod for “The Watchers on the Wall.” While there is no denying of the show’s directorial achievement, its last two years of snubs quite indicate that they really aren’t over the moon about the show’s direction, and I think that affects its chances. And like in writing, I guess this will be between Breaking Bad and True Detective. The former is hoping for its first win here after five chances with their finale helmed by the show creator and 2x nominee in this category, Vince Gilligan. However, True Detective has the most talked about shot this year with its seven minute long tracking shot at the end of the episode. I don’t know if we can call this a lock, but I’d say that’s more than enough to declare Cary Fukunaga the victor here.

Prediction: True Detective, “Who Goes There“
Alternate: Breaking Bad, “Felina“

Full Rankings:
01. True Detective, “Who Goes There“
02. Breaking Bad, “Felina“
03. Boardwalk Empire, “Farewell Daddy Blues“
04. Game of Thrones, “The Watchers on the Wall“
05. House of Cards, “Chapter 14“
06. Downton Abbey, “Episode One“