Drama is where things begin to get a little tricky for me. Considering the genre jumping of Shameless and Orange is the New Black-two shows I considered being some of my favorite drama series-I had a harder time thinking up shows that would end up in my top five without slipping into my sillier, light hearted series such as Sleepy Hollow and Arrow. So, again, with the help of Chris, we’ve come up with a better, well rounded list of nominees we’d like to see on July 10th. It seems like there’s a lot less wishful thinking for the drama section then comedy but we’ll see how it all turns out.

Breaking Bad

Best Drama Series:

Breaking Bad

True Detective


Mad Men

Masters of Sex

Best Drama Series was maybe the easiest considering the names are for the most part high profile. The two that will have seemingly no problem are Breaking Bad and True Detective. The former finished its final season on a high note with stories being wrapped up in a blaze of glory and will go down as one of the best television shows of all time. The latter broke through as the surprise hit of the season and allowed for a show to mix philosophical inquiry with typical action, buddy cop moments allowing it to be unlike many genre heavy shows. There’s Mad Men which seems like less and less of a likely pick but who knows, fans and critics have praised the following season. Masters of Sex is the new player on the field with its heavily stylized atmosphere but it perhaps may be too clinical for the average voter. And then, over in the never, ever, ever going to happen category is poor Hannibal, one of the best shows on television right now with some of the most inventive directing but due to its horror leanings and low ratings doesn’t stand a chance-fans will just have to be happy if it continues to be picked up.

Should Win: Breaking Bad

Will Win: True Detective

Matthew McConaughey


Best Drama Actor:

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)

Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)

Woody Harrelson (True Detective)

Matthew Rhys (The Americans)

Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex)

What happens when two of the actors who are likely locks for best actor nominations are being nominated for roles of a life time? I don’t know about you, but to me the likelihood of Bryan Cranston or Matthew McConaughey getting roles again that match the magnitude of Walter White of Rust seem pretty slim to me. Both actors gave tour de force performances. Cranston as a man who had lost everything, Rust as a man trying to find meaning in anything, they were very particular characters and I’d be happy to see either of them win. Very few performances will touch those two in upcoming years. My praise for McConaughey shouldn’t take away from his costars though because Woody Harrelson put in admirable work as well as the less showy and less sympathetic character. Then there’s Matthew Rhys from The Americans who has been putting in steady but unnoticed work and Michael Sheen who brought empathy to a character who could have easily been a caricature or seen as too cold (although he might still be to most Emmy voters-his costar may have an easier chance) and then, again, in my not a shot in hell category, is Hugh Dancy for Hannibal. He again is doing stellar work which isn’t being seen so wont’ be rewarded. Such a shame.

Should Win: Matthew McConaughey or Bryan Cranston (I refuse to choose!)

Will Win: Matthew McConaughey

Tatiana Maslany

Best Drama Actress:

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex)

Keri Russell (The Americans)

Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow)

Claire Danes (Homeland)

For some reason, to my great disappointment, this is the category that was the most difficult to fill. Despite this there are some amazing performances worth talking about. The most obvious to me is Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black who for two seasons now has been giving one of the most impressive performances on television as she plays up to five different characters each week, all with their own distinct personality traits and distinguishable characteristics. It could have seemed gimmicky but Maslany never allows it to become so and without question she is the only actress on television doing what she’s doing. For a prime example compare her performance as Helena juxtaposed next to her Allison.

As much as I’d like to just talk about Maslany for this entire piece that would be wasting time so on to the others. Keri Russell is having a moment on The Americans that no one is seeing and she’s a definite long shot despite doing better work than an old favorite Claire Danes who I only really added to this list because I needed a sixth spot. Elizabeth Moss was allowed a range of emotions this season as Peggy and it’s a shame that she’ll likely never win an Emmy for this role. Lizzy Caplan was my favorite part of Masters of Sex as she played against type and brought a warm, sensitivity as well as a necessary toughness to a role that could have been overlooked. And then, in my wishful thinking, I love fantasy shows slot is Nicole Beharie from Sleepy Hollow. I am not naïve enough to think she’s giving a fantastic performance but she is giving a great one for the role she’s in. Fantasy and science fiction shows need more love!

Should Win: Tatiana Maslany

Will Win: Julianne Margulies

Peter Dinklage

Best Supporting Actor Drama:

Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones)

Laurence Fishborne (Hannibal)

Jordan Garvaris (Orphan Black)

Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)

It seems that this year the award is really Peter Dinklage’s to loose. Tyrion was given a phenomenal arc this season and Dinklage gave a series best performance. Moments such as his speech at his trial come to mind but also the quieter moments such as when Oberyon announced himself as Tyrion’s champion. Dinklage is a pretty fantastic actor and when he’s given material he’ll always deliver. But then there’s his co-star Alfie Allen who has been tremendous the past three seasons and hasn’t seen a hint of recognition. As Theon he was heartbreaking this year and he deserves some praise for his performance. Over in Breaking Bad there’s Dean Norris and Aaron Paul. Paul has been awarded in the past for seasons that offered him greater material and Norris was given a fantastic exit. Jordan Garvaris does great work as Felix on Orphan Black but is often overlooked due to Tatiana Maslany’s impressive performance as the multiple clones each week. Laurence Fishborne was maybe the surprise high point of season two of Orphan Black where Jack had to deal with the fallout of his relationship with Will.

Should Win: Peter Dinklage

Will Win: Peter Dinklage

 Anna Gunn

Best Supporting Actress Drama:

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

Mae Whitman (Parenthood)

Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)

Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)

Michelle Monoghan (True Detective)

Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow)

With the Best Supporting Actress nods again I’m kind of behind on the times but I’ve been told by my editor that most of these names are worthy so I’ll talk about the ones I don’t know as well first. Mae Whitman is a name I know of and has been doing some wonderful work on the family drama Parenthood and Christina Hendricks is a staple on Mad Men. Now on to the names that I know very well like Anna Gunn who was perfect, perfect I tell you, in the last season of Breaking Bad outshining nearly everyone around her. In Ozymandias she played broken, enraged, and devastated and she did all effortlessly. Michelle Monaghan was often given the thankless role on True Detective but towards the end you can’t tell me she wasn’t doing as good or better work than many on this list. To add to my genre/campy tv loving lit is Emily Bett Rickards who plays Felicity on Arrow and gives the show a welcome, necessary heart. I just love her.

Should Win: Anna Gunn

Will Win: Anna Gunn

true detective

Best Writing for a Drama:


Echo (The Americans)

Ozymandias (Breaking Bad)

The Children (Game of Thrones)

Waterloo (Mad Men)

The Secret Fate of All Life (True Detective)

Your friendly neighborhood TV section editor Chris Peck here! TV dramas are my kind of my thing. Nothing riles me up quite like discussing the merits of well-executed long form narratives. And this year’s crop was exceptionally stirring. It was difficult to narrow down the pool to just five when there six shows that I felt deserved a spot (deepest apologies Masters of Sex), for those shows with multiple episodes on the ballot, the elimination process was harder still. Struggles aside, I’m confident this list captures not only the best these shows produced over the past year, but the best drama television had to offer.

True Detective was that rare new show that had the blogosphere and the viewing public buzzing from the beginning. A rare breed of Southern gothic meets buddy cop gold. While questions were raised about the conventionality of the center mystery, there was nothing typical about the two main characters. Written with striking specificity in their character philosophies, demeanor and speech, the marriage between Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey’s performances and Nic Pizzolatto’s scripts was harmonious and thrilling. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Academy, considering how it showered the new kid on the block (Showtime’s Homeland) back in 2012 with accolades, that HBO’s new hit will ensnare voters with its grim, star-powered vibe.

But this would be a mistake. While all of these episodes exhibited excellence on a craft level—crisp dialogue, authentic emotion, high-stakes drama and compelling characters—only one of them accomplished the culmination of arguably the best tragic arc in television history. That was Breaking Bad. I realize that last year may have been the show’s Emmy swan song. Riding high off the press from its final half-season, the fifth season’s first half got its first Drama Series Emmy and Anna Gunn snagged a well-deserved Supporting Actress Emmy. “Ozymandias” though, is Bad’s crescendo. Without spoiling (because everyone should experience the show for themselves), Walter White hits his rock bottom, realizing the true impact of all his choices and the fallout reaches nuclear proportions. The execution is beyond brilliant and I admire the entire Breaking Bad writing staff for their conviction in bringing this story to its grueling conclusion. While the essence of the award is episodic, the potential of TV drama hit its peak in “Ozymandias.”

Should Win: Breaking Bad

Will Win: True Detective


Best Directing for a Drama:

Comrades (The Americans)

Felina (Breaking Bad)

Ozymandias (Breaking Bad)

The Watchers on the Wall (Game of Thrones)

Who Goes There (True Detective)

Big Bad Editor’s back! Each of these episodes made it on the list because I immediately thought of the stylistic brashness they displayed in particular sequences. Whether it’s shocking set pieces like the grisly murders in The Americans’  “Comrades,” or the epic-scale battle in Game of Thrones’ “The Watchers on the Wall,” all these directors showed admirable technical skill. The last six minutes of True Detective’s “Who Goes There,” however, was the talk of the town. An unedited, sweeping take of a heist gone awry was a chaotic masterpiece. It’s exactly the sort of pins-and-needles scene that would make voters go gaga.

And I’m not hating on True Detective or the episode’s director Cary Joji Fukunaga. The show and that sequence had my eyeballs bulging and gums flapping for days. If this was the award for Rookie of the Year or Most Outstanding Six Minutes I would be sold, but it’s called “Directing in a Drama Series.” Nominations are based on a episode so the voters can evaluate the show’s directing based on what the creative team feels was their very best. But again, I feel the award should go to the show who over the course of a season displayed the best directing chops. And for its final eight installments, Breaking Bad delivered the kind of scintillating cinematography that set it apart for six seasons. Whether it was breathtaking location shots or playing with unprecedented POV takes, Vince Gilligan’s vision was a grand and unique one. And never was that made more apparent or more masterfully than in the series finale, “Felina.” I could walk you through the scene-by-scene breakdown of the visual storytelling genius Gilligan was able to capture, but nobody has that kind of time. Let me just say that when that camera held on the wounded Walter White embracing his true love for the last time, I almost lost it. The emotional heft was carried with grace by the show’s creator and his vision was completed. That’s something to celebrate.

Should Win: Breaking Bad

Will Win: True Detective

So television fanatics-who are your picks? Who do you cross your fingers for and who do you think actually have a shot? Agree or disagree with anything we’ve said? Let us know in the comment section!

About The Author

Ally Johnson is a Blast correspondent

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.