2017 Emmy Awards: Watch our Editors battle over Best Drama Series

At this year’s Emmy Awards, Best Drama Series is up for grabs as back-to-back champ “Game of Thrones” is out of the running. I joined Gold Derby’s in-house team of Emmy watchers — Chris BeachumMarcus DixonDaniel Montgomery, Tom O’Neil and Paul Sheehan — in a webcam chat (watch above or listen to audio podcast version below) to find out what show could benefit the most from the absence of HBO’s fantasy behemoth.

With “Downton Abbey” also out of the mix, that leaves five of last year’s nominees — “The Americans,” “Better Call Saul,” “Homeland,” “House of Cards,” and “Mr. Robot” — to fight off a variety of newcomers. Among the strongest rookie contenders are “The Crown,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us,” and “Westworld.” As Chris observes, “Emmy voters are going to have to kick some regularly nominated shows out to make room for all this new stuff, and I’m not quite sure what it’s going to be.”

Chris is currently predicting NBC’s blockbuster family drama “This Is Us” to prevail, as is Marcus. “‘This Is Us’ is the “Modern Family’ of dramas,” Marcus proclaims. “It is the most buzzed about show of the year,” and, “it has the most broad appeal, which really helped ‘Modern Family’ win five times in a row.”

Paul, on the other hand, is betting on Netflix’s period drama “The Crown,” which chronicles the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, to snag the gold after victories at the Golden Globes and SAG. “It’s got a huge amount of money behind it, it’s beautifully shot, it’s lavish, it’s got great performances, wonderful writing, and it’s Netflix’s time to win.”

While I’m currently siding with Chris and Marcus and predicting a victory for “This Is Us,” I feel certain that it is probably not going to compete in the sheer amount of categories as “The Crown.” “It’s going to appeal to the actors, and probably the writers, and perhaps the directors as well, but when you get into things like cinematography, art direction, costumes, hair and makeup, it’s just not going to be a factor there.” Could that hurt its chances?

Daniel thinks the fifth time will be the charm for FX’s espionage thriller “The Americans.” “It’s a little bit of wishful thinking,” he admits But on the other hand, “if there’s going to be a successor, it’s going to be the one that’s been building gradually. It has the cool factor, it’s a year away from its planned ending like ‘Breaking Bad’ was when it won for the first time.” As well, “it’s the sudden, unusually relevant subject matter of KGB spies influencing American government.”

One of the key factors in predicting the victor, as Tom explains, is the new voting system, which was introduced last year. “Before, you would rank things, 1-7 in this case, and the contender with the lowest score would win. Last year, it was just an outright plurality vote.” As well, Emmy membership has grown from about 12,000 members to about 20,000. Therefore, “if you can only win with 15 or 17% of the vote, is that enough for the cool factor to take over?” This could benefit Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” an adaptation of Margaret Atwood‘s bestselling novel about a dystopian future where women are forced to serve as concubines, which just debuted to rave reviews.

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UPLOADED May 5, 2017 9:20 am