HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones led the Emmys field in total nominations for the past three years and in total wins in each of the last two, claiming the drama series prize in 2015 and 2016. But this year, it won’t receive any recognition after, well, abdicating the throne. (It’s seventh season bows July 16, missing this season’s May 31 eligibility cutoff.) So which show will be the TV Academy’s favorite this season? It could well be one of two other HBO offerings, the limited series Big Little Lies or the comedy series Veep; FX’s limited series Feud or Fargo; Netflix’s drama series The Crown or Stranger Things; or NBC’s variety sketch series Saturday Night Live or drama series This Is Us.
2. Hail the conquering streamers?
In the drama series category, with Game of Thrones‘ slot opening up and the major streaming services — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — offering better options than ever before, we could be looking at the first instance in history in which as many as three streaming shows earn drama series noms, and maybe even more. Netflix probably can expect noms for The Crown (which won this year’s best drama series Golden Globe), Stranger Things (which won this year’s best ensemble SAG Award) and House of Cards (which has been nominated for all four of its previous seasons). And Hulu looks poised to snag its first series nom for The Handmaid’s Tale, which has become a cultural phenomenon.
3. Drama for HBO?
Without Game of Thrones, HBO’s best — and only realistic — hope in the drama series category is rookie Westworld, which boasts a star-studded cast (including Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wrightand Thandie Newton) but has proved to be rather divisive. In an ultra-competitive year, the sci-fi show might very well get boxed out of the final seven (perhaps by AMC’s Better Call Saul, Showtime’s Homeland, USA’s Mr. Robot or another show that’s also considered on-the-bubble), which would be statistically significant: only one time this century, in 2008, has the pay cable behemoth not been represented in the category.
4. Signs of life from broadcast?
Pay cable and streaming increasingly have dominated the Emmys landscape in recent years, particularly in the drama series category. Indeed, the last broadcast drama series to land a nom in the category was The Good Wife back in 2011 and the most recent winner was 24 more than a decade ago, in 2006. But the highest-rated new drama series in 2017, which also received widespread critical acclaim, was This Is Us, which hails from The Peacock Network and looks all but certain to land a drama series nom — and maybe even win. On the comedy side, ABC’s popular Black-ish and Modern Family seem likely to receive series noms again. But broadcast’s biggest ratings behemoths — the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory and the Fox drama Empire — appear destined to watch from the sidelines.
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