2012 Emmys Pre-Nominations Top Contenders (Drama Series)
Interestingly enough, there was a time when, before the actual nominations came out, voters would narrow down all the contenders to the “top 10″. They obviously don’t do that anymore. But…we can still assume which contenders are at the top of the voter’s minds. Before I release my official nomination predictions around early July, I am going to run down which 10 or so contenders are the biggest threats…and maybe some personal long shots that I believe voters should consider. Here we go!
I am basing the category placements, based on the official ballots which were just released. Here they are.
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In alphabetical order, here are the top contenders for Best Drama Series.
1. BOARDWALK EMPIRE - Pros: This show received plenty of buzz even before its first season, and after the season aired, it certainly didn’t disappoint in terms of critics’ expectations or awards. The show and its star, Steve Buscemi, have won both Golden Globes and Guild Awards. In terms of Emmys, it won 8 Emmys last year, including a Direction win for its pilot. And, of course, it was nominated for Drama Series. With its second season winning the Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild, with other major nominations under its belt, a snub for a second Emmy nomination would be a pretty big shock. Cons: A small, yet passionate group of people really really dislike this show. They call it overrated. Their vocal-ness could could affect votes. The show was also snubbed at the TCAs and the Critics Choice Awards. With Breaking Bad coming back to the mix, and Homeland breaking in…Boardwalk Empire doesn’t seem as hot as it used to be.
2. BREAKING BAD - Pros: The 9.3 rating the show has on IMDB should be enough, but I’ll go farther since I’m being paid the big bucks (roughly 0 dollars and 0 cents). The show wasn’t eligible last year, but the the 2 years before then it received 2 Drama series nominations among other things. Aaron Paul won an Emmy. And Bryan Cranston has won the Emmy 3 straight years in a row, 1 for every season. The show has been nominated for other awards, and it even received its first SAG nomination for the ensemble this year. The show also received a bunch of nominations for the various critics awards, and has generally made the top of critics top 10 lists. Outside its awards count, the show has a received a lot of buzz and positive feedback and word of mouth. Virtually every episode of this season has received buzz through Twitter and Feedback. Truly, the writers have done a great task, creating one of the most riveting seasons of television. On a personal level, as someone who has loved this show since its first season, I am so glad the show is receiving the applause its always deserved. And a win would be perfect. Cons: Voters who don’t really watch the shows and simply vote based on buzz may forget to put this show on its ballot because it wasn’t eligible last year…Honestly, there’s nothing.
3. DAMAGES - Pros: Admittedly, I have not watched an episode of this series, so I can’t speak on quality. But, objectively, the show has a lot going for it. Besides Glenn Close, the show has never done terribly well with awards outside of Emmys. But…it has still done well during their first three seasons. Their first two seasons got nominations for Drama Series (with Glenn Close winning of course). It didn’t receiving a Series nomination during their last year (2010), but it still received enough major nominations to still be considered an Emmy favorite. In short, this show is still in the minds of Emmy voters and it, at least, deserves to be considered a top contender. Cons: After a year of ineligibility, the show is back in the race. While Glenn Close, maybe Rose Byrne, and any supporting actor is expected to get nominated, the Show itself is receiving very little buzz. It’s simply not a show that most people talk about. With so many new shows from the last year and this year coming into the race, it’s going to be very tough for this show to breakthrough.
4. DEXTER - Pros: The show has gotten the nomination for the last 4 years, winning in 2010 for Direction. The show has also received many other award nominations, including the SAGs, PGAs, DGAs, and WGAs just recently. It’s an award favorite and a critics favorite and a lot fans still watch/love the show. Cons: I didn’t watch this season so everything I’m writing will be pure speculation. Has this show really received that much buzz? Would people really be that shocked if the show was snubbed? And aren’t fans saying that this last season wasn’t so great? The show has a lot going for it…but, again, similar to with Damages, it’ll be very hard for voters to resist voting for the newer, fresher, more critically acclaimed shows on the ballot.
5. DOWNTON ABBEY - Pros: Y’know, after finishing this second season (and re-watching the first season), I’ve come to really appreciate this show, and I have become a fan. Do I still believe it wrongfully stole awards from Mildred Pierce last year? YAH! But do I now understand why so many people love this show? I do. And people really do like this show. Like stated earlier, it did win the Emmy for Movie/Miniseries last year, and this year, it’s gotten various award nominations in the regular Series category, including for the two critics awards. And this wouldn’t be the first “British upstairs/downstairs” series to do well at the Emmys. During the 70′s, Upstairs/Downstairs did very well, winning during one of the years. It’s very possible that this international success will follow that older series’ footsteps. Cons: The show isn’t as hard hitting and intense as some other shows. It’s very light and airy. And, it being a period show, voters may not fully relate to what’s going on. Besides that, just because the show did well last year in Movie/Miniseries, doesn’t mean the second season will do as well in more competitive categories.
6. GAME OF THRONES - Pros: Ugh, can I just interject and say the Drama category is filled with more critically acclaimed shows than the Comedy Category. Just sayin’. Anyway, this show is not my style, but it is definitely the style of people, critics, award groups and, most importantly, Emmy voters, who gave the show a million nominations last year (including for Drama Series), winning two, most notably for the show’s MVP Peter Dinklage. Judging from skimming the grades AV Club has given the show, the magic that the show had during its first season seems to still be there. Cons: The show had a little controversy because uh, apparently, they chopped off George W. Bush’s head in one episode (I know, wtf). That could affect the 2 or 3 stubborn conservatives in the industry. Also, it’s just worth pointing out, that voters have always tended to enjoy realistic drama, over genre, fantasy television. It seems like GoT has broken that tradition though.
7. THE GOOD WIFE - Pros: The pro is that this show is amazing and that the voters would have to be blind, deaf and dumb to not vote for this show. OK, seriously, in an age where cable dramas are prevailing at the Emmys, this show stacks up quite well, receiving two Drama Series noms in a row, and a win last year for its star Julianna Margulies, plus five other acting nominations. The show does very well with nominations for other award groups. And, if the voters needed to award one and only one network show, The Good Wife would probably be the most appropriate choice. Cons: Although they still believe the show is great, most fans agree that season 3 wasn’t as great as season 2, with the show slowly becoming more of a standard anthology crime procedural than serial drama. Besides that, the show has always been 5th or 6th, which means it will probably be knocked off in favor of a newer drama.
8. HOMELAND - Pros: Even before the Emmys, the new show has already received many honors from the Critics Choice Awards, the Writers Guild Awards and the Edgar Allen Poe Awards, winning the Drama Series award at the Golden Globes.The show, and particularly Claire Danes, have also nabbed enthusiastic reviews from many critics and fans. And has received so much buzz that the bee would have to be the size of a cruise ship. It’s one of those “new shows” that’s expected to take the spot from one of the older shows. It might be the only new show to be honest. Cons: The biggest con is the fact that the show didn’t receive any Screen Actors Guild Awards, which was pretty much one of the biggest award snubs in recent memory. So…do” other actors not like this show? Considering that’s a very large group of Emmy voters, the producers of Homeland should be a little worried. With some effective campaigning the show should still do well.
9. JUSTIFIED - Pros: This could be the year Justified breaks through. I mean, it has everything going for it, fans, good ratings, enthusiastic critical reviews, and an Emmy for Margo Martindale last year, along with the three other acting nominations. Sometimes it takes a couple seasons for a show to break through. If Justified followed that same route, a lot of people would be very happy. Cons: The show is similar to The Wire, people love it, Award voters do not. After two pretty lame years in terms of nominations, maybe we just have to accept that Emmy voters do not care for this /watch this show.
10. MAD MEN - Pros: This is pretty much the “Modern Family” of the drama category, in that it gets at least nominated for every award possible. It gets plenty of critical acclaim, and, you have to admit, I can’t be the only one who has Facebook walls filled with “OMG! I love Mad Men!” And this season was really good. In my opinion, this show has never been number 1 on my list, but it gets better and better with every season, so, in that case, it should be a lock for another Drama Series win (its 5th…for its 5th season). The show isn’t going anyway. End of point. Cons: Ugh. I still have to do this? Hm…what’s working against this show? Nothing. Nothing. It’s a lock.
11. SMASH - Pros: Haha! I know! I know! This is silly. But we have to consider this. We have to consider this show. Like…voters love Glee (which we know they did), then maybe they love this dramatic equivalent (in terms of the “musical idea,” not in terms of “quality”). I also believe that this will pick up a few technical nominations, so if that happens, I don’t see why Smash can’t be considered a threat. And, we have to remember the golden rule…critics are not voters. So even though critics had very lukewarm feelings about this show, voters may actually quite like it. It’s a fun show that features a lot of musical performances and celebrates New York theatre. If voters want to honor that, they may end up voting for this show. Cons: The show has a been a disappointment all around: with critics, with ratings, and even regular viewers. Although the show had a little buzz after the pilot premiered, the buzz got quieter and quieter as the season progressed. Jaws will drop if Smash ends up getting that nomination.
12. THE WALKING DEAD - Pros: During the show’s first season, it did decent in terms of nominations, most notably getting WGA, DGA, and a Golden Globe nomination for the series. It didn’t get any major Emmy nominations, but it still won an award for make up which, at least, shows that it’s getting some attention. It’s a popular, fun show, and it could very well get an unexpected nom the same way True Blood did a few years back. Cons: It probably won’t, despite the fact that most people thought the second season improved from the first.
FYI Other contenders include: The Borgias, Boss, House, Luck, True Blood
Longshots Worth Mentioning: The Closer, Fringe, The Killing, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Suits, Touch, The Vampire Diaries
They have no chance in hell but I still love ‘em: The Client List, Grey’s Anatomy, Harry’s Law, Shameless
That is all for this series. In a couple weeks, you should be expecting my official predictions for the Emmy nominations. But, until then, please continue to check back because there may be more posts from me (Emmy related or non- Emmy related.)
Thank you so much for coming here and reading. I’ve actually gotten a pretty good uptick in views since I started these articles. So thank you and I can’t wait to talk Emmys with you guys for these next few months!