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Shameless is a comedy and True Detective isn’t a miniseries, at least for Emmy purposes

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In a move that definitely has nothing to do with awards-show politics and is instead about the purity of their respective genres, Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s True Detective both announced yesterday that they’d be submitting for nomination in the comedy and drama Emmy categories, respectively. Shameless, now in its fourth season, has submitted in drama for the last three years,  never winning. Now it’s capping off its darkest season yet by emphasizing the screwball comedy inherent in the lives of a huge, dysfunctional family living on the brink of destitution, all while struggling with addiction and unemployment.

True Detective, meanwhile, will submit as a drama, pitting itself against favorites like Mad Men, Game Of Thrones, and Breaking Bad, rather than taking on the much less steep competition of the miniseries. This despite the fact that, as Variety mildly puts it, “[True Detective] fits the objective definition of a miniseries in that it is designed to be reinvented with an entirely new cast, setting and premise each year.”


All the category-switching means that, in addition to stacking already-competitive races for primetime comedy and drama, acting awards across all those categories are going to pit a lot of wildly different performances against each other. Shameless’ Emmy Rossum will go up against actresses like Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, while True Detective’s Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey will likely compete with Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, and Kevin Spacey.