Before we even know the title of the first episode of Game of Thrones’ final season— the groundbreaking series has already won its fourth consecutive Best Drama Series prize. How do we already know this? How is it possible that all pundits and prognosticators are so certain?
It’s simple – four of last year’s nominees: The Crown; The Handmaid’s Tale; Stranger Things and Westworld have all decided to sit this Emmy season out. The Americans aired its final season last year. Big Little Lies, which won the Outstanding Limited Series Emmy, will return as a Drama Series — but not until June. That leaves only This Is Us and Game of Thrones from the 2018 Best Drama Series lineup. It makes sense since GoT is a force to be reckoned with already being the most-winning prime-time show in Emmy history. But, which five shows will benefit from the vacancies?
Let’s take a look at who’s likely to take one of five open spots.
Looking to make a comeback:
Better Call Saul
House of Cards
Both series sat out the 2018 Emmys. However, each are formidable to make the Best Drama Series lineup as neither have previously missed. But, with the controversy surrounding Netflix’s House of Cards star Kevin Spacey and his subsequent firing, not to mention its diminishing quality, could prove to be too much to overcome. And if this wasn’t bad enough, House of Cards has missed the SAG Drama Ensemble lineup for its last two seasons (2018-2019). AMC’s workhorse Better Call Saul, on the other hand, received a momentum boost with its first SAG Drama Ensemble nomination earlier this year.
Returning Shows looking for their first nomination:
Ozark had a great start to award season with four SAG Award nominations, the most for any Drama Series, and a win for star Jason Bateman. The Netflix series is already on the Emmys radar with above the line nominations for Best Drama Actor (Bateman) and two for Best Directing last year (another for Bateman). This should easily equal a Best Drama Series nod this year.
Killing Eve has been a darling of awards season this year with Sandra Oh winning a Golden Globe and SAG Award for its first season. The show received two Emmy nominations last year: Best Drama Actress (Oh) and Best Drama Writing. However, Killing Eve is a wild card. With a second season airing in April it remains unknown if BBC America can land in the top category for the first time in the network’s history.
First season series:
The most likely on the list is Amazon’s first Sam Esmail project Homecoming, which just happens to feature one of the biggest movie stars on the planet — Julia Roberts. Amazon will attempt to parlay their recent success on the comedy side to make even more of an impact landing their first Best Drama Series nomination. For both HBO’s Succession and Netflix’s Bodyguard their chances will rely on their respective networks decision to mount a campaign. And it’s never a good idea to bet against Ryan Murphy and his latest FX hit Pose — this would be his first Best Drama Series nomination.
My Preliminary Picks:
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
Why does making the Drama Series lineup matter? For the past two years all Emmy wins in the Drama categories came from shows nominated in Drama Series. So, if you want to win Lead Actress, Supporting Actor or Writing — or anything below the line – your show needs to make the Drama Series cut first.