Emmy Awards 2016: Drama Writing frontrunners – ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mr. Robot,’ ‘The Americans’ …

The Emmy Awards ballot for Best Drama Writing lists a staggering 247 episodes come from 101 series. This is the first year that there will be officially six nominees. Last year’s five nominees were:

The Americans” season 3
“Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” (Joshua Brand)

Better Call Saul” season 1
“Five-O” (Gordon Smith)

Winner: Game of Thrones” season 5
“Mother’s Mercy” (David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)

“Mad Men” season 7B
“Lost Horizon” (Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner)
“Person to Person” (Matthew Weiner)

Of these four shows, “Mad Men” is the only one that is finished and no longer eligible for Emmy consideration.

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Reigning champion “Game of Thrones” has submitted only one episode. The writers have been nominated every time that they have done so; they were snubbed for their second season when they entered four episodes. And after breaking into this category last year and then the Best Drama Series race at the Writers Guild Awards, “The Americans” is a safe bet to return.  They too are concentrating their votes with only one episode submitted, down from two last year, eight for the second season and four for the first.

“Better Call Saul” submitted over half of its season again this year, in line with fellow AMC dramas “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “Hell on Wheels,” “Turn” and “The Walking Dead,” which makes them prone to vote-splitting. “Breaking Bad” regularly also submitted around seven episodes and was snubbed for many years. By the time that it was popular enough to overcome vote-splitting, for its Best Drama Series-winning fifth season, it had already won four WGA Awards. One of the six submitted episodes of “Better Call Saul” stood out last year. Was any as singularly memorable this year?

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The single-submission strategy is popular this year. “The Good Wife” was nominated for its pilot six years ago and has submitted only its series finale. While the “Downton Abbey” series finale was eligible, writer Julian Fellowes is instead on the ballot for the penultimate episode. “Downton Abbey” hopes to follow in the footsteps of “Mad Men,” which similarly returned to the race for its final episodes after consecutive snubs. Like Fellowes for “Downton Abbey,” Louis C.K. is the sole writer of “Horace and Pete,” so that show is limited to a single submission. C.K. has not contended in this category before, but he is a favorite of the writers’ branch, having won an Emmy or two each of the last four years for writing the comedy series “Louie” and his stand-up comedy specials.

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The Leftovers” has entered only “International Assassin,” which scored a WGA nomination for Best Drama Episode Writing. “The Leftovers” hails from Damon Lindelof, who was nominated four times in this category for “Lost.” His “International Assassin” co-writer Nick Cuse is the son of Carlton Cuse, who shared three of those “Lost” writing nominations. Nominated against “International Assassin” by the WGA was the “Explosivos” episode of “Narcos,” which has been submitted for Emmy consideration alongside that series’ first two episodes.

Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award winner for Best Drama Series “Mr. Robot” has entered only its pilot. “Mr. Robot” has quickly proved to be an industry favorite, at least among writers. The WGA, which shares voters with the Emmys, nominated it for Best Drama Series Writing and awarded it Best New Series over, among others, “Better Call Saul,” an incumbent Emmy nominee for Best Drama Series and Writing.

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Submissions from top contenders:

“The Americans” season 4
“Persona Non Grata” (Joe Weisberg & Joel Fields)

“Better Call Saul” season 2
“Amarillo” (Jonathan Glatzer)
“Bali Ha’i” (Gennifer Hutchison)
“Gloves Off” (Gordon Smith)
“Klick” (Heather Marion & Vince Gilligan)
“Nailed” (Peter Gould)
“Rebecca” (Ann Cherkis)
“Switch” (Thomas Schnauz)

“Downton Abbey” season 6
“August 1925” (Julian Fellowes)

“Game of Thrones” season 6
“Battle of the Bastards” (David Benioff & D.B. Weiss)

“The Good Wife” season 7
“End” (Robert King & Michelle King)

“Horace and Pete” season 1
“Episode 3” (Louis C.K.)

“The Leftovers” season 2
“International Assassin” (Damon Lindelof & Nick Cuse)

Mr. Robot” season 1
“eps1.0_hellofriend.mov” (Sam Esmail)

“Narcos” season 1
“Descenso” (Chris Brancato & Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro)
“Explosivos” (Andy Black)
“The Sword of Simón Bolivar” (Chris Brancato)

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