'Downton Abbey' Stole 'The Good Wife's Emmy Nomination & We Need to Discuss this Atrocity
In case you missed it, the nominations for the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Thursday morning, and Downton Abbey stole what should've been The Good Wife 's spot in the Outstanding Drama Series race — and I've got some things to say about it! Season 4 of Downton Blabbey was, in my opinion, nothing more than an overblown, poorly written soap opera with rigid characters and either totally boring or totally ridiculous plot lines. The only reason I continued to tune in was to watch Dame Maggie Smith's expert eye-rolling and strange, birdlike mannerisms as the Dowager Countess. The rest of the show was just...not up to snuff.
On the other hand, Season 5 of The Good Wife was firing on all cylinders and featured some of the series' best, most compelling story arcs to date. There was betrayal, backstabbing, sex, and oodles and oodles of intrigue. To top it all off, lawyer Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) spent most of the season storming around the halls of her law firm, mercilessly chewing scenery and cackling like a Disney villain! How could you not love that? Alas, it wasn't enough. Emmy voters were all too content to stick with Downton Abbey — a once enjoyable (but always soapy) drama that has truly fallen from grace. For shame, Emmy voters. For shame.
Now, I realize that, historically, once a show falls out of the series race, it very rarely makes it back in — but Season 5 of The Good Wife was just so darn good, I guess I was hoping for a miracle! At the beginning of the season, Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) left Lockhart/Gardner in order to start her own law firm with frenemy Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) — a decision that absolutely destroyed her relationship with former lover Will Gardner (Josh Charles). After Will was shockingly gunned down in a courthouse shooting, one of the most unexpected and gut-wrenching moments of the entire 2013–14 television season, we watched as Alicia, Diane, and Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) each struggled to come to terms with the loss in their own unique way. This resulted in some of the most impressive and memorable acting in the show's history.
Oh, and then Alicia and her husband, Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), decided that they were going to stay married purely to keep up appearances. Alicia then met assistant state's attorney Finn Polmar (Matthew Goode), a total dreamboat and all-around great guy, and my heart just melted every time the two characters were on-screen together. The chemistry, the feelings — it was almost too much for me to handle. The point is: Season 5 of The Good Wife had so many incredible conflicts and exciting plot developments! How could the Emmys ignore it?
Now, let's compare all of The Good Wife's aforementioned awesomeness to Season 4 of Downton Abbey: Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) was still mean to everyone. Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) still couldn't catch a break to save her life. Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) was still a massive, incompetent jerk. We spent all of Season 3 learning to care about resident butthead Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier), but in the blink of an eye, with seemingly no explanation at all, he was back to being a total and complete one-dimensional asshole with absolutely zero redeeming qualities. All he did all season long was lurk in the shadows and pester that one lady for hot gossip and "secrets" (spoiler alert: She never had any). Practically no one changed or evolved — most things stayed the same. Talk about boring!
Oh, and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) reaffirmed the fact that he's a freakin' murderous psychopath with an insatiable bloodlust, and yet, I think we were supposed to feel like his relationship with Anna (Joanne Froggatt) was the most wonderful, loving, perfect thing in the entire world? What poppycock! I think Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has become waaay too comfortable writing the show, and unfortunately, another Emmy nomination certainly isn't going to drive him to make any changes.
Now, I am pleased as punch that the Emmys recognized Margulies, Baranski, and Charles for their superb acting during Season 5 of The Good Wife — but it's not enough. If voters had given Downton Abbey the old heave-ho and let The Good Wife back into the race, the nominees for Outstanding Drama Series would've actually been pretty solid (I'm sort of "meh" on Mad Men these days, but I would've let it slide). Unfortunately, that's not what happened.
That's the trouble with awards shows — everything's so subjective. Curse peoples' diverse taste in television! In my humble opinion, this morning, justice was not served. Better luck next time, The Good Wife.