July 15, 2011 5:28pm PT by Tim Goodman
Emmys Failure Analysis: Lead Actor In A Drama
Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, Boardwalk Empire
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, Dexter
Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor, Friday Night Lights
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, House
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, Justified
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men
Most Obvious Problem: Since some of the Emmy voters apparently don't have anything more than basic cable, they missed easily three exceptional performances that were Emmy worthy. Probably more. But you can't compile this list without Wendell Pierce from Treme. He might be a new face to some voters who bypassed him for five seasons on The Wire, but in the two seasons he's logged on HBO's Treme, he's imbued the series with a sense of live-life-for the-moment fun while also wrangling the hardships his musician character carts around in his DNA. And then there's Holt McCallany, who delivered an incredibly nuanced performance as a heavyweight boxer in FX's Lights Out Yes, the series was canceled after one season, but McCallany took the role of his life and nailed it every single week. Based on the finale -- when the series cemented the pugilistic dementia story line -- we lost a chance for McCallany to really shine.
Remaining Problems: Let's see: White, white, white, white, white aaaaaaaand -- yep -- white. Last time I checked, some minorities were actually getting cast on shows. And some of them turned in really great performances. You've got a color TV set, right?
Other Issues: There's an exceptional new HBO series called Game of Thrones. I know you've heard of it because you nominated it for outstanding drama series. Well, anyway, the guy who had the most screen time -- Sean Bean as Ned Stark? Yeah, really nailed it. Really needs to be on this list. Also, for your consideration next season, now that you've blown it -- try Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead. Need a network actor? No problem: Michael Imperioli from Detroit 1-8-7. Check that, canceled. Not a problem, try John Noble from Fringe.
The Fix: Hugh Laurie is superb, but last season House wasn't. Same goes for Michael C. Hall. You sort of missed out on all of his great early years (although, truth be told, you really got it right with Bryan Cranston, so there's that). Anyway, Dexter is long in the tooth. There are only so many times he can narrowly miss getting caught, or dodge fate. So now the role seems less thrilling -- probably even to Hall. Drop those two out of the race and you've got a spot for both Pierce and McCallany. It really wasn't that difficult. You just have to expand your horizons and stop rubber-stamping.