Yidio Emmy Spotlight: Outstanding Dramatic Series
In the Yidio Emmy spotlight we examine some of the toughest races in this year's Emmy Awards. Today, we're looking at one of the most coveted and hotly contested categories in the competition.
It’s been years since so much ridiculous quality was combined into one category, and no matter how you cut it, a deserving show is going to go home feeling rightfully gypped.
Outstanding Drama Series
“Mad Men” has absolutely owned this category for the past few years. It has landed the Outstanding Dramatic Series in 2008, 2009, 2010 and looks to be the odds-on favorite this year.
What to say about “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s an extraordinary achievement in episodic television, bringing together well-regarded cinematic forces like Steve Buscemi, Kelly MacDonald and Michael Shannon with extraordinary young talent like Michael Penn to tell riveting tales of Atlantic City gangsters in the Prohibition Era. With a hand from Martin Scorsese (who directed the pilot - the most expensive episode of TV in history), Emmy Award winner Terence Winter from “The Sopranos” has crafted an epic new series for HBO that will hopefully be around for a while.
Michael D. Hall, aka Dexter, had a treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma during season four, got treated before season five and managed to deliver one of the most psychological rich, nuanced and downright enjoyable seasons in the show’s already incredible run. Not that you have to give the guy points for that, but “Dexter” is such a magnificently devilish show, and it’s due largely to Hall’s superhuman acting efforts.
"Friday Night Lights"
Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton were both nominated for their acting in this popular series, which ended its run on Direct TV with a fifth season earlier this year. Always a critical darling with little to show in the way of ratings, this show could very well be a sleeper for the Outstanding Dramatic Series.
"Game of Thrones"
It’s easy to dismiss “Game of Thrones” as an expensively produced and lavishly decorated series aimed at a narrow, fantasy-geek audience, until you realize that the show is already garnering more money per episode overseas than the proven all-time TV classic “The Sopranos.” From the always-special performances of Peter Dinklage to the brooding badass Sean Bean, the acting performances in “Game of Thrones” almost match the majesty of the cinematography and set design, and the realistic violence and hyper-sexuality make this show hard to turn away from.
"The Good Wife"
The only network television offering in this race, “The Good Wife” boasts a great ensemble cast, including Emmy nominees Juliana Marguiles, Josh Charles, Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi. Even Michael J. Fox garnered an Emmy nom for his guest role on the show. Based on sheer volume of nominations, “The Good Wife” is in the running.
What can we tell you about “Mad Men” that you don’t already know? As always, this last season was impeccable, from the insanely good writing from Matthew Weiner and crew to the psychological nuance of Jon Hamm’s superb performance as an increasingly enlightened advertising Alpha Male. Will the Emmys punish “Mad Men” for the familiarity of its excellence and give someone else a chance? Would that be fair? Has that ever mattered?
“Mad Men” is the odds-on favorite by a reasonable margin, according to British bookmakers, who may be relying on the show’s remarkable run. The show has had this category locked down for several years now and there’s been zero discernable decrease in quality.
Nonetheless, “Boardwalk Empire” cleaned house at the Creative Emmys, and the big-budget, high-production value HBO series could make a run at it. Likewise, many critics are predicting “Game of Thrones” as a potential sleeper. “Friday Night Lights” could get a nod since it’s on the way out the door, and “The Good Wife” has enough nominations to contend.
My heart is with “Dexter,” but this one is most probably “Mad Men” once again. If “Boardwalk Empire” surprises, I’m not going to be too upset, and if “Game of Thrones” wins, it won’t be too shocking, but the odds are on Draper for good reason.