Can ‘The Walking Dead’ come alive at Emmys?

AMC, which originally specialized in airing classic films of yesteryear, was hardly a blip on Emmy’s radar before the miniseries “Broken Trail” put the network on the map, winning four of its sixteen nominations in 2007, including Best Miniseries. Since then, the network has never looked back. It debuted “Mad Men,” which has won each of its three bids for Best Drama Series (2008-2010). Then it premiered “Breaking Bad,” whose star Bryan Cranston is similarly undefeated in the Best Drama Actor race, winning the last three in a row.

This season, the network has continued its growth. Last fall’s complex conspiracy thriller “Rubicon” struggled in the ratings and was subsequently cancelled by the network, but “The Walking Dead,” based on graphic novels about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse, was a blockbuster, ending its six-episode first season with 6 million total viewers and a higher rating in the coveted 18-49-year-old demographic than any basic cable series in history. Considering its positive reviews (scoring an 82 on Metacritic), it should be a shoo-in for Emmy nominations, right?

Maybe not. “The Walking Dead,” developed for TV by Oscar-nominated film vet Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile”), has one major hurdle to overcome: its subject matter. It’s a gory show about zombies trying to curry favor with voters for whom science-fiction and fantasy are dirty words. In the six-decades plus history of the Primetime Emmys only one sci-fi or fantasy series has ever won Best Drama Series: “Lost,” in 2005.

“The Walking Dead” may prove too big for Emmy to ignore, much like HBO’s vampire saga “True Blood,” which broke into the Best Drama category last year (losing to “Mad Men”). How do you think the series will fare? Will it win the top prize, or is “Dead” dead in the water? Take a look back at 25 previous sci-fi/fantasy programs throughout the years that tried (and mostly failed) to woo TV’s golden girl. VIEW GALLERY

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