2012 Emmy preview: ‘American Horror Story,’ ‘Sherlock’ fight as miniseries

Is there a clear-cut favorite here?

It’s been a long, but also incredibly fun, journey with our 2012 Emmy preview series, but today the road is coming to an end for us, at least until the show actually announces its nominees in mid-July, with the last category that we are going to be looking — Outstanding Miniseries or TV Movie. (Be sure to view the other articles in our series by heading over to this link.)

Surprisingly, this is the first time that the shows and movies that we feel should be nominated likely will be — and due to a few shows that have a bit of questionable qualifications for this category, it may be the most competitive we have ever seen this race. In the end, there will only be one winner — and while the six nominees aren’t too hard to figure out, saying the same thing about the possible winner is an entirely different story.

The deserving nominees

“Game Change” (HBO) – Any other year, and this bold (albeit controversial) look at the 2008 Presidential Election would be a lock to win — this time, it will simply have to settle for being a favorite. Anchored by some incredible performances from Ed Harris, Julianne Moore (who is also a shoo-in for the Best Actress field here), and Woody Harrelson, seeing this telefilm not getting a nomination would be as shocking as some of the dirty tricks alleged in this movie.

“American Horror Story” (FX) – Is it really a miniseries? By the letter of the law, it is — and that’s enough for us to say that it is a worthy nominee. While the first season of “American Horror Story” did have its shaky moments, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk deserve serious credit for actually taking a genre that has been long-shunned in the world of television, and giving it a chance to shine anew.

“Sherlock” (PBS) – “Downton Abbey” (now competing as a Drama Series) took home this award last year, and now we have an opportunity to see another stellar British show take the prize this time. We like how “Sherlock” manages to effortlessly combine the traditional and the new, and even to this day there’s still something special about seeing one of Britain’s most-popular characters even on the small screen that is engaging.

“Luther” (BBC America) – In staying with the British imports, we now turn to Idris Elba — otherwise known as an anchor who brings it in every frame of every product he’s ever done. As a whole, we don’t think that “Luther” is on par with “Sherlock,” but Elba still makes it a worthy project as a whole.

“Hatfields & McCoys” (History) – This miniseries barely met the deadline to be included for the show thanks to it premiering over Memorial Day Weekend, and this may be a case where the Emmys need to pay attention to viewership. In addition to having Kevin Costner, this was the highest-rated show ever on the History Channel — and also posted the best numbers for a scripted program on basic cable ever. You just can’t argue with success.

“Five” (Lifetime) – Was every part of this miniseries perfect? No, but we have an immense amount of respect for a product that brought together so many creative women and gave them such an outlet to create work. This nomination may be built more on ambition than executive, but it is still worthy.

Who do you think is the worthy winner of this award? We want to hear from you below! Even though we are done predicting nominees for the time being, we will have more Emmy coverage leading up to the announcement ceremony. In other words, stay tuned!

Photo: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

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