Emmy Talk With JWalk: Best Drama Series Predictions

With Game of Thrones finally out of the way, a new drama series will be crowned this year, but its anyone’s guess which show it will be. With a slew of returning dramas, past winners, and new series eligible this year, let’s take a look at the nomination possibilities for Outstanding Drama Series.

In addition to Game of Thrones not returning to the race, Netflix’s one season drama series Bodyguard is gone too. Out of last years six remaining nominees, Better Call Saul (AMC), Killing Eve (AMC), (NBC), Ozark (Netflix), Succession (HBO) and Pose (FX), in theory, could be frontrunners and return. In my opinion, I think that’s highly unlikely due to the fact there’s a handful a drama series back in contention this year that weren’t eligible last year due to airing outside the Emmys eligibility window. If any of last years nominees fail to earn a nomination this year, I’d safely bet t and Pose are the most vulnerable. Not only because there’s a lot of competition, but also because the third season of Killing Eve has been sort of a let down, and Pose aired so long ago voters may have forgotten that its second season was far more superior than its first.

What shows could knock Killing Eve, Pose or any other the others out of the race? Plenty!

2019 was an interesting year for the Best Drama race seeing that there were many shows not in contention. The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and Stranger Things all sat out of the Best Drama race last year (The Handmaid’s Tale did earn 11 nominations in the craft categories due to The Television Academy’s hanging episode rule). These series are ready to come back with vengeance in hopes to earn a nomination. HBO’s Big Little Lies will also be competing for Best Drama series for the first time after winning Best Limited Series in 2017. However, its sophomore run wasn’t as well-received as its first season, so it’ll be foolish to think it’ll replicate its 16 nominations again, especially in the much more competitive Best Drama Series category.

Apple TV+ hopes to arrive at its first Emmy Awards with nominations for its flagship drama series The Morning Showstarring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

I’m betting big on Succession this year, the show I think has the most momentum coming into awards season. If it weren’t for obvious assumption that Game of Thrones was going to sweep in its final year (it did), I would’ve bet all my chips that Succession could have won Best Drama Series last year. It did take home Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series however, and picked up Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes, so there’s no need for me to think that Succession won’t earn another Best Drama nomination, along with a few more acting nominations as well.

The much-talked-about third season of Ozark, and the equally talked-about and critically-acclaimed fifth season of Better Call Saul are also at the top of my list in getting nominated. Many people have doubts about the awards longevity of This Is Us, but it’s never been excluded in this category since its debut three years ago, so I’m not ready to throw in the towel on NBC’s crown jewel. You also won’t see me bet against The Handmaid’s Tale – if a show can earn a whopping eleven nominations in one year just from hanging episodes, including wins for Bradley Whitford and Cherry Jones in Guest Actor/Actress in a Drama Series, respectively, it shows that Emmy voters really love this show.

That leaves two other nominees, and my predictions go to The Crown and Stranger Things. I’m hesitant on predicting an automatic nomination for The Morning Show because we literally don’t know how Emmy voters are going to react to Apple TV+ as a service and their shoes. I would next to guarantee that Apple will be going full throttle with For Your Consideration events to attract the attention of voters. Personally, I thought the third season of Stranger Things was phenomenal! After a questionable sophomore season, I feel like The Duffer Brothers brought back some of the freshman season’s magic, humor and horror and it felt like a fresh series again, with the show successfully acknowledging its child stars are getting older, and working that into the story of the season. That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing it be nominated once again, but wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t nominated. The Crown, just like Stranger Things and This Is Us have never missed an Emmy nomination for Best Drama, and I can’t predict The Morning Show, an unproven show at the Emmys, over series that garner numerous nominations each year.

One big spoiler we must not leave out of the conversation is Showtime’s Homeland. Despite not being nominated since 2015, it did win in 2012 for its first season, and its leading lady Claire Danes won Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series in 2012 and 2013. Even though nominations have slowed down to just few in the last few years, it did get two acting nominations last time it was eligible in 2018, so we cannot count out a farewell Emmy run for Showtime’s departing Emmy-winning series.

At this point, I believe Big Little Lies and Westworld will receive acting nominations, but will be left out of the Best Drama category.

Here are my frontrunners for Best Drama Series

  • Succession (HBO)
  • Better Call Saul  (AMC)
  • Ozark (Netflix)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • This Is Us (NBC)
  • Stranger Things (Netflix)
  • The Crown (Netflix)
  • The Morning Show (Apple TV+)

Here are my threats for Best Drama Series

  • Homeland (Showtime)
  • Big Little Lies (HBO)
  • Westworld (HBO)
  • Killing Eve (AMC)
  • Pose (FX)

Follow me on Twitter @TVTalkWithJWalk

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