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Emmys 2011: Predicting Outstanding Drama Series

July 5, 2011

Outstanding Drama Series

Here’s how it works: some of these shows will get nominated, some deserve to get nominated and some haven’t got a chance in hell. I am listing everyone who’s a real player, but for MY dream ballot, the chosen six are written in orange. You will notice, as you read, that there’s only one show that is in orange that has a chance. A shame. As I have said in the past, this is my list; if you don’t like what’s on it, go sign up for a website and make your own list. 

Boardwalk Empire – The pilot was great; it made for a really good movie. As a TV show, I got tired and stopped watching. That being said, no one else did. It should be a lock.


Fringe – Conventional wisdom says this show is way too sci-fi for a nomination. I disagree. I’m not a fan of traditional science fiction, but find myself drawn to Fringe. At the beginning of the show’s third season, I found myself looking forward to the next episode. By the end of the season, it had become my new “must watch live” show. The storytelling is amazing (they mine that mythology to the point that even the writers themselves must be impressed.), the acting is amazing (Anna Torv as Leonard Nimoy was priceless) and even the production seems to have stepped up their game. I wouldn’t rule this one out at all.

Shameless – This is a comedy running as a drama. Makes you wonder what the folks at Showtime are thinking, when you consider the number of dramas in the running for Outstanding Comedy Series. That being said, this is a good show, with a well-respected actor (William H. Macy) headlining. It’s witty and entertaining. While it might not make the final ballot, I bet it ends up being number 7 on many voter’s lists.

The Killing – It’s on AMC. It generated a huge fan base and lots of buzz. Until the finale disappointed most of the fans. We’ll see.

Parenthood – Great show, great (albeit huge) cast, great writing, great sets (I’d kill to live in Julia’s house). Really, a very very good show… that doesn’t stand a chance of getting nominated.  A shame.

Game of Thrones – Not my cup of tea, but the ratings were there, as was the buzz. I doubt Thrones and Killing both make it, but expect one of them to be on the final ballot.

Southland – Not going to happen, even if half of these shows opted out of the category. Cancelled by NBC, picked up by TNT, forgotten by many… this is one of the best shows on television. And while it is a procedural, it’s backed by amazing acting and production values more befitting film than television. I’d dare say it is the new NYPD Blue.

True Blood – This over-the-top melodrama may be too much for Emmy voters. Much like Glee, it often swerves when it shouldn’t, but it was nominated last year and does have a strong following. Plus, despite having the most annoying lead since the early days of Meredith Grey, the supporting cast – specifically Nelsan Ellis and Kristin Bauer van Straten – is superb.

The Good Wife – A clear favorite. The most well-rounded show on network television. With sharp writing, a deep bench of seasoned actors, accessibility due to its procedural format, Wife is sitting pretty.

The Walking Dead – I’m not sure why we watched, but we did. And, with each episode of the AMC thriller, more people tuned it. Alas, it was for an abbreviated six-episode season. No nomination this year, but if that genie-in-a-bottle can strike two years in a row, the show will definitely be nominated next year.

Treme – David Simon shows don’t get Emmys. Treme, despite its slow-as-molasses plotting, accentuation on the mundane and dwindling audience, is one of the best shows of the past decade. With mesmerizing performances (Khandi Alexander is giving a weekly acting class), topical storytelling and an ingenious format that integrates the city of New Orleans, jazz and 5-star dining into the series, Treme is worthy of a standing ovation.

Mad Men – ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz… but it will probably win.

Dexter – This was an uneven season for the show, but it always gets nominated.

Justified – Although they got no nominations for their stellar first season, the second was superior. The show also picked up a prestigious Peabody Award, so someone is paying attention. Besides, acting-wise, this is one of the few shows that can go head-to-head with The Good Wife.

joseph’s choice to winFringe is amazing and I love it. Treme is phenomenal and deserving. Both, however, have teeny tiny audiences, which means that while good, they clearly aren’t doing something that everyone wants to see. Parenthood, Justified, Southland… any of which would be a worthy candidate… but they won’t win. The Good Wife has this in the bag.







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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 4:29 PM

    I adore The Good Wife, Game of Thrones and Dexter but for me it’s Fringe, without a doubt.

  2. passing permalink
    July 5, 2011 4:44 PM

    This is the first correct view on drama series I have seen, up to the zzzzzz factor and not going for new ground.

    And I totally agree with your comments on Fringe. Anna Torv is special class, no idea why she is not an Emmy favourite.

    The writing on Fringe is brilliant, especially the episodes written by the ladies Schaepker and Breen.

    I am not sure if the sci-fi bit hinders, fantasy in the past (Thrones) or zombies (Walking Dead) are considered, but they are on cable not the wrong network.

  3. July 5, 2011 5:24 PM

    As a fan of the medium of television – and dramatic series in particular – this was a hard decision to make. Wait till I get to supporting actress… But… I did recognize that out of MY dream ballot list, The Good Wife is the only one with a real shot at a nomination, let alone a win.

    I have supported Fringe like I was getting a paycheck this year… it’s an amazing show. The way they go back to season 1 – and it makes sense – to tell a story in season 3 is brilliant. Anna Torv has grown from an actress who did an okay job in her role to a woman well worthy of an Emmy. John Noble is, without a doubt, one of the best working actors in Hollywood. Even Joshua Jackson, who I had doubts about in the beginning, does a stellar job. Very good show.


  1. Emmys 2011: Predicting Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series « kitchensofa [the blog]
  2. Emmys 2011: Predicting Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series « kitchensofa [the blog]
  3. Emmys 2011: Predicting Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series « kitchensofa [the blog]
  4. Emmys 2011: Predicting Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series « kitchensofa [the blog]

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