Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Emmy Musings: Best Drama Series

Now that the 2011-2012 TV season is almost over, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about the Emmy nominations, which will be announced in July. Consider these preliminary thoughts rather than official predictions – look for those at the beginning of July. As always, chime in with your reactions and predictions in the comments, and don’t hesitate to let me know if I left any strong contenders off the list!

Last year’s ineligible nominees: Friday Night Lights

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Boardwalk Empire
This show followed up its strong first season with an equally terrific second season that’s sure to garner it another nomination. SAG voters gave its ensemble and star Steve Buscemi back-to-back awards, and Emmy voters are likely to nominate it again, even though it didn’t actually take home many awards last year. This show’s still hot, and HBO series tend to command respect in this category.

Breaking Bad
After nominations for season two and three, this show took a year off and came back with an incredible fourth season that’s sure to net it another nomination. I thought that this show might eclipse “Mad Men” in season two, which it didn’t, but now it has an even better chance considering how much it’s continued to improve with age.

This Showtime drama has been nominated for the past four years in this category. I personally thought its sixth season was just as strong, but it seems that many viewers have grown tired of the show. Golden Globe voters discarded the show this past year, but SAG voters were just as enthusiastic as ever. I think that Emmy voters might be inclined to let it go, but they do tend to support shows even after public opinion has turned against them.

Game of Thrones
This show was brand new at last year’s Emmys and still managed a strong showing. Season two has been just as good, if not better than, season one, and the enthusiasm voters showed last years indicates that it will surely be back in this category, if not a few new ones as well. If it didn’t win last year, I’m not sure it would this year either, but it’s a possibility.

The Good Wife
This show has been nominated for the past two years in this category, and earned a whole handful of acting nominations to go with it last year too. Season three has proved to be equally entertaining, and unless voters aren’t as taken with the show, it’s pretty likely to be back. It shows no signs of slowing down, so a snub would be truly surprising.

Mad Men
This show has taken home this award for the past four years. There’s absolutely no way that it won’t be back again, and it’s probable that it could take home the trophy again too. AMC’s hit period drama is still on top, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. This show stands to break the record in this category if it wins a fifth award.

New contenders:
Golden Globe voters were enthusiastic about the Kelsey Grammer-led Starz series, nominating it for Best TV Series – Drama. I doubt that Emmy voters will like the show nearly as much, and the network has yet to break into the regular series categories. Grammer will likely be the show’s sole representative. It’s always a possibility, however, since it came from out of nowhere to earn a top Globe nod.

This Showtime thriller was a smash last fall and took home the Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Drama. It’s rare that such a win doesn’t translate into a corresponding Emmy nomination, and given how much Emmy voters loved “24,” it’s a good bet that they’ll like this one too. Its only weakness is the fact that it hasn’t aired in months, but that’s not usually a deterrent.

Other possibilities:
Downton Abbey
This PBS miniseries swept the miniseries and TV movie categories last year, and its second season is eligible in the drama series race. The show is an enormous hit, and the only question is whether it will fit in well with the other nominees in this category or if its sweep last year was a one-time thing.

This FX drama was almost entirely ignored in its first season, and then received a whopping four acting nods (and one win) last year. Sometimes, shows are rewarded inch by inch, and a Best Drama Series nod for this increasingly excellent show wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The only FX show that’s ever made the cut in this category has been “Damages,” but hopefully that will change this year.

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