This is a bittersweet moment: my last edition of the Deggys for the Tampa Bay Times. • As you may already know, I'm leaving the newspaper in October to become NPR's TV critic. And who knows if the home of Nina Totenberg and Carl Kasell would ever be crazy enough to present my pronouncements on who really should take home TV's top honor: a.k.a., The Deggys.
The Emmy awards air at 8 p.m. Sunday on WTSP-Ch. 10, marking an interesting time. With Netflix bringing quality, original TV series online, this year's Emmycast will show if the industry nominated House of Cards and Arrested Development as consolation prizes or as evidence a new set of players are making an impact. | And yes, I'm probably going to get some predictions wrong. That's what happens when you second-guess an academy smart enough to honor Homeland but dumb enough to snub Jim Parsons for that guy from Pretty in Pink.
Best drama series: Breaking Bad, AMC; Downton Abbey, PBS; Homeland, Showtime; Game of Thrones, HBO; House of Cards, Netflix; Mad Men, AMC.
The Deggy goes to ... Breaking Bad. Not just for its currently amazing run of final episodes (which started after Emmy voting was done), but for its consistency. Fans can argue about which season of The Wire or The Sopranos lagged, but there is little doubt creator Vince Gilligan and his crew have created a show that never falters, season to season, right to its (presumably) bitter end. I'm betting the Emmy academy agrees and Breaking Bad also will win Emmy gold.
Best drama actor: Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey, PBS; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, AMC; Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO; Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC; Damian Lewis, Homeland, Showtime; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix.
The Deggy goes to … Jon Hamm. Always the bridesmaid, Hamm has been nominated in this category every year since 2008 without a win. And every year he seemingly comes back with another spellbinding performance to prove Emmy voters must not be watching the same episodes as the rest of us. This year, he pulled another layer back from Don Draper as the adman showed his kids exactly where daddy's demons were born. Too bad the guy who will win is Cranston, capping a showbiz year owned by Breaking Bad.
Best drama actress: Connie Britton, Nashville, ABC; Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, PBS; Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel, A&E; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC; Kerry Washington, Scandal, ABC; Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix.
The Deggy goes to … Tatiana Maslany. Don't bother looking. The star of Orphan Black isn't nominated in a field of seven, even though she played seven different roles in BBC America's mind-bending drama about clones living separate lives. But in my TV awards show, the Canadian actor gets her props, right next to Danes, who likely will win again in real life.
Best comedy series: The Big Bang Theory, CBS; Girls, HBO; Louie, FX; Modern Family, ABC; 30 Rock, NBC; Veep, HBO.
The Deggy goes to ... The Big Bang Theory. I have tried so hard to resist this show, mostly because I hated the pilot. But these guys are now like Everybody Loves Raymond or Friends, the last, best example of an old-school sitcom built on familiar characters and smart scripts. In fact, this is likely the year Big Bang will win too, convincing Emmy to stop handing statues to Modern Family.
Best comedy actor: Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Netflix; Louis C.K., Louie, FX; Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory, CBS; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock, NBC.
The Deggy goes to … Louis C.K. I said this last year, but it remains true; Louis C.K. does the most acting in his New York-set indie drama of any TV funnyman, coming off like a ginger-haired, tubby Woody Allen. But Jim Parsons likely will win if Emmy voters stay old-fashioned; should they choose to send a message about TV's new frontier, they'll pick Jason Bateman.
Best comedy actress: Lena Dunham, Girls, HBO; Laura Dern, Enlightened, HBO; Tina Fey, 30 Rock, NBC; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime.
The Deggy goes to … Tina Fey. This isn't just for the last year of 30 Rock. It's for serving as a pioneering example for everyone from Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig to Mindy Kaling and Rebel Wilson. Too bad Julia Louis-Dreyfus actually will win, mostly because Emmy likes her, it really likes her.