The 2014 Emmy nominees have been announced, and you may find yourself wanting to know more about Veep, or True Detective, or Game of Thrones, or any of the series nominated. You are in luck! Vulture has been covering these shows obsessively, and so we are in a unique position to provide you reading lists for all the Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy nominees. (This list also pairs well with Where to Stream, if you're a little behind.) Have at it! Learning about TV is fun.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Seitz: One Last Look at the Breaking Bad Finale
“It's amazing that any episode of TV could feel so rock-solid yet be so fluid in its possible meanings.”
Vulture TV Awards: Deadwood Creator David Milch on Why Walter White Is the Year’s Best Villain
“We see a little of ourselves in him, and that’s precisely why we should fear him most.”
Aaron Paul on His Sundance Drama Hellion, Breaking Bad Withdrawals, and What’s Next
“I got a text from Bryan Cranston saying, “I miss you already.” We really loved — we really love — one another.”
Warren Ellis on Breaking Bad and the Horrible Glory of Heisenberg
“He is, at last, the Bad Guy, and his final act is as operatic as that of Al Pacino’s Scarface, a film referenced in the series.”
Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte on Bacon, Booze, and the Inevitable Finale
“I know I ate a lot of bacon. A lot. But bacon is the one thing I could never complain about.”
A Psychiatrist Analyzes Breaking Bad’s Skyler, Walt Jr., and Jesse
“Someone has a bad experience, disappears, creates a new identity somewhere else, and barely remembers their old identity.”
Can We Make Walter White Our Last Antihero, Please?
“We don't want to watch another troubled special snowflake purposefully glare into the camera while the muzzle of a handgun obscures his body in the foreground.”
Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan on the Finale’s Toughest Scene
“The sequence with Gretchen and Elliott at their house was the hardest thing of all for the writers and I to figure out.”
Basically Everything on Downton Abbey Is Lord Grantham’s Fault
"The patriarchy is a problem, but so is Lord Grantham's stupidity."
Surprise, Downton Abbey’s Lady Edith Is Great Now!
"Edith has become the most progressive Crawley sister."
Everything We Know About Downton Abbey Season 5 (So Far)
"After a brief illness last season, the Dowager is back on her feet."
Dear Downton: Don’t Screw Up the Carson–Mrs. Hughes Story Line Next Season
"The point is: The worst thing that can happen on Downton Abbey, aside from dressing wrong for dinner, is a happy relationship."
Downton Abbey Executive Producer Gareth Neame Unpacks the Major Stories of Season Four
"We often have big, explosive moments like this one in every season. You’re always looking for very big obstacles."
Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael on Edith’s Missing Baby Daddy, Her Carrie Bradshaw Musings, and Creepy Bates
"But, as a person and a fan, I hope things will turn around, because I love Edith and I root for her. She definitely deserves some good luck."
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones Makes It Possible to Miss the Worst Characters and Despise the Best
" It's also because, without stinting on the double-crossing and bloodshed and general badassery, the show is committed to writing main characters about whom you cannot feel exclusively one way."
Vulture TV Awards: Casting Director Allison Jones on Why Maisie Williams Is the Year’s Best Child Actor
" I can’t imagine she was anything else but mind-blowing when she came in, because day one, from the first line that came out of her mouth, she was so strong."
Kit Harington Knows Nothing About Jon Snow’s Parents
"He figures Jon Snow not knowing as well is probably something that helps keep the character alive just a while longer."
What Will Happen in Season 5 of Game of Thrones?
"It will likely draw largely from GRRM books four, A Feast for Crows, and five, A Dance With Dragons."
6 Questions Game of Thrones Has Yet to Answer
"For instance, why is security so lax in the quarters of the King and the King's Hand, given how many Kings and Hands have died recently? "
Game of Thrones’ Hannah Murray on Gilly’s Hiding Skills, Mutton Legs, and Going Off-Book
"Gilly's a good hider, even with the risk of the baby and the noise."
Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams on Her First Film Role and Her Desire for the Hound to Return
"And for Arya, she's not doing so great at the moment, she's not in a good place. She needs someone to come back who's not going to betray her."
House of Cards
Vulture TV Awards: Damon Lindelof on the Year’s Best Plot Twist
"The one that made a lot more noise, at least in the culture sphere, was what happened in the premiere."
Investigating Kate Mara: A Walk With House of Cards’ Star Reporter
“Obviously, I do not agree with a lot of the shit that she does. The stuff that I connected with was the human, emotional stuff. Her ambition.”
House of Cards Boss Beau Willimon Answers Vulture Readers’ Questions
"We don’t really think about Frank’s story in terms of redemption, because that presumes he operates on the same moral compass as most people do."
Cashew’s House of Cards Trainer on the Squish Scene and the One Time Cashew Got in Trouble on Set
"What they wanted was a really calm, laid-back, easygoing guinea pig that loved to be held."
House of Cards’ Nathan Darrow on Meechum’s Fierce Loyalty and That Scene
"There’s also the possibility that it was the expression of a real amount of trust on the part of all three characters for each other."
The Very Bright Future of Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss
"Recently, at work, Moss asked her colleagues, “Do you remember when I used to come in and bring you assholes drinks and leave and that was my job?”"
‘I Only Do Outraged’: Vincent Kartheiser on Pete Campbell, Mad Men’s Final Season, and Internet Haters
“It’s a standing joke on our set that I only do outraged,” Kartheiser says. “It’s really the only emotion I can do.”
Mad Men’s Robert Morse on Dancing for Jon Hamm, His Bursting Inbox, and Bert’s Orchiectomy
"I didn’t know what I was in for? I had no idea. It aired 36 hours ago, but I had no idea. "
What Has Each Death Meant on Mad Men?
"Death is destabilizing — it shocks us into realizing that life is short, but no one can live for very long in a state of shock."
Matthew Weiner Talks About Mad Men’s Mid-Season Finale, 2001, and Why Joan Is So Mad at Don
"That's the miracle of telling a story in film: You can express something inside someone's mind."
What’s Really Happening When Mad Men’s Characters Sing
"Mad Men is a show about artifice, how we convince other people that who we are is who we are."
John Slattery on Mad Men’s Final Days, Hippies, and Why Nude Acting Is a Breeze
"As his shrink would say, he has basic character issues. That’s the hard-wiring."
Mad Men’s Ben Feldman and Rich Sommer Talk About Testing for Matthew Weiner and the Grueling TV Pilot Process
"You wave to everybody, and they’re silent and they just stare at you and you just sort of sprint out of the room."
A Psychiatrist Analyzes Mad Men’s Michael Ginsberg
"Through the contemporary psychiatric lens, which is very biology-based, the show has really dropped hints all along that Ginsberg is an odd guy and possibly on the schizophrenia spectrum."
Seitz: The Murder Mystery Is Beside the Point in HBO’s Existentialist Cop Drama True Detective
"And yet somehow McConaughey, who has never credibly played an intellectual, much less a tortured one, is furiously convincing here."
Vulture TV Awards: The Year’s Best-Directed Scene Is From True Detective
"It shows Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) committing to their cockamamie scheme to flush out an accused serial killer by having Rust infiltrate a biker gang. It’s a perfect example of how to design a montage that gets across salient plot points while simultaneously giving the audience an eerily beautiful something extra."
True Detective’s Michelle Monaghan on Maggie’s Big Moment and Connecting With Cohle
"I think her decision to sleep with Rust was the ultimate betrayal and revenge for Maggie after what Marty’s done to her. It was the only way that she could save herself and save her family."
Was There a Hidden Comic Book Homage in the True Detective Finale?
"After describing his near-death experience, Rust tells Marty he's been thinking about the stars and how they've reminded him that there's an eternal battle going on between light and darkness."
True Detective’s Glenn Fleshler on Playing Lawn-Mowing Monster Errol Childress
"The helpful thing he said was my mind was a hall of fun-house mirrors due to the years of abuse. So I tried to not think about the grand scheme too much and think about each individual moment and what was going on to make it as personal as I could."
True Detective Director Cary Fukunaga on the Season 1 Finale and Why So Many ‘Clues’ Aren’t Addressed
" In fact, that last image of the tree over the cane stocks, that was from the first images we shot, the cane field burning. So the beginning is the end, the end is the beginning, which is nice."
True Detective’s Production Designer on the Finale’s Mazelike Fort
"The chase was originally scripted to take place in a cane field leading to an altar hidden within, but that was quickly scrapped when we realized the cane would barely be knee-high when we'd be filming it."
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
The Big Bang Theory
Jim Parsons on What Makes The Big Bang Theory So Big
"You can enjoy our show without a weekly appointment.”
Why Are 23.4 Million People Watching The Big Bang Theory?
"In TV you can’t just cast a star like in movies — you have to cast unknowns, and what [Big Bang co-creator] Chuck Lorre is good at is picking the right people for the right parts — and picking people the public will like."
Wrestling With Louie, Part 1: Is Louis C.K. Trolling the Internet?
“I wonder if he's airing the episodes in an order that encourages everyone to jump to conclusions that they'll have to retract, qualify, or amend later. I don't think this is the only thing he's doing, mind you — but it's not hard to imagine that it's at least a part of it.”
Californication’s Pamela Adlon on the Louie Rape Scene, Acting With Debbie Harry, and TV Recap Culture
“Louis and I have been talking about this recap culture and how people just, you know, start a big conversation while a season of television is running. All these fucking recaps, they’re crazy. It’s just the temperature of where social media is at now.”
For All of Louie’s Ambition, That One Ugly Scene Still Lingers: A Conversation About Season 4
“It often leaves me unsure of how to feel, not just about what happened, but about how it happened. Structurally, it's an incredibly ambitious season, and I think it holds together as a kind of grand mosaic.”
Louie’s Ursula Parker on Jumping Off Subway Cars and Playing Louis C.K.’s Daughter, Jane
“What in general Jane does is a bit unusual and even a little insane. It makes her sort of colorful, complex, and even mysterious! I love playing her. She isn’t boring and predictable. She’s definitely not afraid to be different.”
Louie’s Sarah Baker on That Epic ‘Fat Girls’ Speech
"She likes him. That’s why they’re there. She sees something in him, the same way we all sit at home and see this tenderness between them. But this is something she’s encountered before with guys, and she sees how ridiculous it is and wants him to understand that it’s difficult."
Here’s Mitch and Cam’s Modern Family Wedding
“Just be a family, you guys! We can overcome Jay's homophobia with a couple of wacky hijinks — and just in time for him to walk his son Mitch down the aisle.”
Orange Is the New Black
A Psychiatrist Analyzes Piper, Crazy Eyes, and Other Orange Is the New Black Characters
"Let me speak a little bit about meth use."
Orange Is the New Black’s Fig Explains the ‘Beer Can’ Scene
"There’s a Game of Thrones quality to that episode in a deep way. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and she is just single-minded. She is deeply focused."
Orange Is the New Black’s Kate Mulgrew on Season 2, Stunts, and Her Special Mashed Potatoes
"I would say what Red loves, and what's given to Red to love, are things that are life-inducing and life-affirming: the kitchen and the greenhouse, where things grow."
Orange Is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling on Cockroaches, Laura Prepon, and Piper’s White-Privilege Rant
"There’s a little bit more of a ‘fuck it’ attitude. She’s spent her entire life trying to be a good girl, please people, even unwittingly, and that identity is getting stripped further and further and further in prison."
Orange Is the New Black’s Kimiko Glenn on Prison Showers and Shooting a Sex Scene With Natasha Lyonne
"I'll try to push them in that direction, be like: Give Brook a friend, please! She’s really lonely."
Orange Is the New Black’s Yael Stone on Lorna’s Crime, the Chain-Print Dress, and Stalkers
"I was definitely playing this idea that if Lorna got too angry with her sister, she would not get any more information. So somehow I knew there was a secret in the bottled-up violence of the scene."
Orange Is the New Black’s Lorraine Toussaint on Playing Vee and Doing Nudity in Her 50s
"I have my own backstory. I had to. The audiences have come to claim, identify, and deeply love these characters because Jenji has slowly revealed their souls."
Why Orange Is the New Black’s Flaca Is So Important
" She’s a Latina that loves the Smiths. Maybe the way she was raised might be similar to others, but what she likes is very awesome."
Hanging Out With Orange Is the New Black’s Yael Stone
“Doing a scene where you’re in the shower getting fisted, someone’s going down on you, it could be pretty awkward,” she says. “But it’s not with Natasha. It’s funny and easy and nice.”
Mike Judge Explains His Cultural Influences
"The first American Splendor comic I bought had a cover with Harvey washing dishes and his wife glaring at him for his substandard dishwashing skills. I was hooked."
Christopher Evan Welch Died Four Months Before His Breakout Role in Silicon Valley: A Look at His Career
“I feel a real loss. I was a big Christopher Evan Welch fan; I just didn't know who Christopher Evan Welch was. And now I do, but he is gone. Why didn't I just look up his name sooner?”
Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller Talk the Show, Success, and Time Travel
"As you said, it’s the white whale. A show on HBO. And to be with these iconic comedians and all of your friends. It’s all of these perfect things, and then people actually like it."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the Present Tense: How the Actress Made Her Transformational Turn on Veep
“Indeed, by playing Selina, she has put so much distance between herself and the NBC sitcom that there are probably millions of people who have never even heard of Elaine and who know her only as the foulmouthed woman gamely playing the mess of a vice-president on HBO.”
Can Veep Still Be Veep If There's No Veep?
"There are a few options on the table, story-wise, for what happens next, but no matter what, Selina's current stint in the Oval Office can only last a year."
Veep’s Matt Walsh on Improv-ing About IVF and Suits As Sleepwear
"The challenge for Mike is, with finding someone who understands his life, there’s strings attached, because he’s still married to the Veep. His wife, even while she understands it, is going to have to be kept in the dark about stuff."
Veep’s Timothy Simons on Jonah’s Near Victory, ‘Goober Peas,’ and Letterman-Induced Stress Dreams
"At the White House, he’s a complete suck-up, he likes the D.C. metal scene, and he thinks he and Jay Z would get along."
Gary Cole on Veep, Will’s Death on The Good Wife, and the Christopher Walken Rule
"We really don't know what their gig is. My character worked for the president as a polling guy for the campaign and election."