Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC; AMC; Nadav Kander/SHOWTIME

Ever since Mad Men entered the TV fray back in fall 2007, AMC’s critically acclaimed ’60s-set drama has dominated the Outstanding Drama Series category, winning the award four years in a row. (We have to assume much of the credit goes to Jon Hamm’s strong jawline.)

The glossy show is wholly deserving of all its accolades, but we predict Don Draper’s alcohol- and smoke-laced Emmy reign is about to end.

This year, Mad Men is up against Breaking Bad, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey for the evening’s biggest prize — and as much as we love Jon in a well-tailored suit; Steve Buscemi as a badass gangster; the sprawling medieval fantasy world of Game of Thrones; and Downton Abbey’s upstairs-downstairs take on WWI-era Britain, we’re gunning for either Breaking Bad or Homeland to take home the top honor.

Breaking Bad’s fourth season solidified chem teacher-turned-ruthless meth kingpin Walter White’s transformation into a bona fide BAMF, culminating in the goateed baldie eliminating his biggest rival. It’s a completely preposterous premise made relatable by three-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston, who plays criminal mastermind and devoted father to creepily unconflicted perfection.

The only ticking time bomb threatening to blow Walt’s cover is his DEA agent brother-in-law, which makes for a tense twist on the cat-and-mouse trope.

In a similar vein, Showtime’s freshman drama Homeland revolves around a father with a massive secret and the one woman who knows it (or will hopefully remember it). Damian Lewis reminds us that he can produce a killer American accent as war hero-turned-terrorist Sergeant Brody, and Claire Danes is deeply compelling as brilliant-yet-mentally unhinged CIA agent Carrie Mathison.

The series is equal parts family drama, psychological drama, and political thriller, and we couldn’t help but marathon our way through its 12-episode first season.

If pressed, we’ll admit that we’d kinda prefer a Homeland win, but we’d be just as satisfied if Breaking Bad gets its much-deserved due.

For more Emmys 2012 coverage, click here.

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