Best Emmys Torch-Pass: Mad Men’s Out; Homeland’s In
Two things can happen when a show sweeps an entire subsection of categories like Homeland just did: either fans who aren’t watching jump in and catch up on this new phenomenon so they can be a part of the club, or they sniff that obviously it’s already “too popular” and agree to miss out.
It’s one of those things you can’t quite call -- after all, who knew tiny cable show Mad Men was gonna become the behemoth? -- but after tonight’s splashy wins, it’s all column A for Homeland. I like the show, and think it deserves the attention, but it’s not just that Homeland was good, it’s that people are ready for Mad Men not to be the defining drama anymore.
When a show is as popular and pop-culture-y as Mad Men and stays on top for that long, it’s in the awkward position of being a lot of things to a lot of people. But it’s telling that, unlike previous years, Peggy got most of the lines in the Emmy montages. Don’s strong, definitive statements used to stand in for what the show was, but he floundered last season – so Don Draper as bygone-era masculinity touchstone is kind of over.
Homeland makes no such promises about redefining what men or women or honesty or truth are about. It’s declarative about nothing, which is what feels fresh and new. I literally never know which way is up for more than five minutes. And you could easily say “Well, Mad Men’s doing that too, now, as the 60s change!” It’s not untrue, and I’m still excited to see what they do with the characters’ paths. But it’s no longer got a zeitgeist’s worth of people hanging onto it’s every word – and Homeland, I suspect, is about to.
Also, it’s Barack Obama’s favourite show. So there’s that.
Kevin Winter/ Kevork Djansezian/ Getty