EMMY TWISTS AND TURNS

Los Angeles Times - - THE ENVELOPE - By Glenn Whipp glenn.whipp@latimes.com

“Home­land” show run­ner Alex Gansa re­mem­bers look­ing over at Claire Danes while shoot­ing the fourth episode of Sea­son 3, the one con­tain­ing the big re­veal that then CIA chief Saul Beren­son (Mandy Patinkin) and em­bat­tled agent Car­rie (Danes) had not, in fact, been at odds when he pub­licly blamed and shamed her for the Langley bomb­ing but had been work­ing to­gether all along on a covert op­er­a­tion. In that mo­ment, Gansa and Danes shared the same crazy grin, be­liev­ing they were shoot­ing a land­mark episode in the cel­e­brated se­ries.

Crit­ics and view­ers didn’t fully agree, call­ing “Home­land’s” third sea­son, on the whole, pa­tience-try­ing. For the first time in its run, it wasn’t Emmy-nom­i­nated for drama se­ries.

So, af­ter that sea­son ended with the death of Brody (Damian Lewis), re­mov­ing, in the words of Times tele­vi­sion critic Mary McNa­mara, “a prob­lem that be­gan as the show’s most glo­ri­ous as­pect and soon be­came its mill­stone,” Gansa and the writ­ers took the op­por­tu­nity to rein­vent “Home­land,” send­ing Car­rie abroad to Afghanistan.

Judg­ing from the re­views and the abate­ment of snark on the show’s mes­sage boards, the re­boot worked. The ques­tion now: Will the Tele­vi­sion Academy em­brace “Home­land” again?

In to­day’s se­ri­al­ized land­scape, some chap­ters are bound to be bet­ter than oth­ers. Like “Home­land,” CBS’ le­gal drama “The Good Wife” won drama se­ries Emmy nom­i­na­tions for its first two sea­sons only to fall out of fa­vor af­ter­ward. Last year, af­ter a fifth sea­son that gen­er­ated a num­ber of buzzy plot­lines ( Civil war in the of­fice! Will? “Nooooo!”) and near-uni­ver­sal ac­claim, many thought it might be nom­i­nated again. But it was passed over in fa­vor of “Break­ing Bad,” “Down­ton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men” and the first-year HBO se­ries “True De­tec­tive.”

“When you look at all the great shows on, it’s an al­most im­pos­si­ble de­ci­sion,” says Robert King, “Good Wife” cre­ator and show run­ner with wife Michelle of the bevy of choices af­forded to Emmy vot­ers.

“You just never know,” adds “Break­ing Bad” cre­ator Vince Gilligan, who has a new show, “Bet­ter Call Saul,” try­ing to break into the drama se­ries cat­e­gory this year. “When you’re in the mid­dle of these sea­sons, you’re fly­ing by the seat of your pants, hop­ing ev­ery­thing works out. When it does, that’s the vic­tory. Awards are the ic­ing on the cake.”

To make what King called an “im­pos­si­ble de­ci­sion” a lit­tle eas­ier, the Tele­vi­sion Academy ex­panded both the com­edy and drama se­ries cat­e­gories from six nom­i­na­tions to seven ear­lier this year. Of course, with emerg­ing plat­forms like Net­flix and Ama­zon Prime de­vel­op­ing more se­ries, it’s de­bat­able whether any kind of en­large­ment can keep up with the out­put.

“The in­crease in vol­ume is so dra­matic that ex­pand­ing from six to seven isn’t a stretch in the least,” says Tele­vi­sion Academy Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Bruce Rosen­blum.

The ex­pan­sion might en­cour­age vot­ers to re­ward older fa­vorites like “Home­land” for re­bound­ing with strong sea­sons af­ter los­ing Emmy ap­proval. The TV academy’s track record of do­ing that hasn’t been strong in the past — “Friends” is the only show re­cently to swing back into fa­vor.

But one more nom­i­na­tion slot might make a dif­fer­ence.

“That will ei­ther make me very happy if we get nom­i­nated or even more de­pressed if we don’t,” Gansa says.

Joe Al­blas Show­time

“HOME­LAND” with Claire Danes thought it had a win­ner in Sea­son 3 yet failed to draw an Emmy nom­i­na­tion. The writ­ers have hit the re­set but­ton for Sea­son 4 in an ef­fort to win back dis­sat­is­fied view­ers. It ap­pears to be work­ing.

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