The Best Drama Series category at the 2020 Emmys is predicted to be mostly established shows that have earned previous nominations, with “The Crown” (Netflix), “Ozark” (Netflix) and “Succession” (HBO) the presumed top three. Then it is presumed that perennial nominees “Better Call Saul” (AMC) and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) will get in, though with less certainty. “Those two are not necessarily in the top five but they’ve definitely gotta be somewhere in the top eight,” states Gold Derby contributing editor Riley Chow in a new Emmy slugfest with me (Kevin Jacobsen) and Luca Giliberti. But what kinds of new shows could break into the party now that there are eight slots in Best Drama Series? Watch the video slugfest above.
All three of us agree that “The Morning Show” (Apple TV+) is the likeliest first-season show to nab a Best Drama Series nomination this year. While Giliberti still has it getting nominated, he points out, “there is a bit of a melodramatic soapy tone” to the show that Emmy voters don’t always go for. The buzzy series also received a lukewarm reception among critics but I note that it is “a classic case of a show that is mixed with critics but is very much celebrated by a general TV watching audience and the industry.” After all, it received three SAG Award nominations and a win for Jennifer Aniston in Best Female Drama Actor.
Chow is thinking there could be a surge of support for HBO series, based on the network’s success among precursor guilds. “Right now the industry is just going back to their old well of HBO,” observes Chow, which is why he is seriously considering “The Outsider” as a possibility. There’s also “Euphoria,” which may not have received nominations at places like the Golden Globes or the SAG Awards but was hailed as one of the four best shows in the world by BAFTA. HBO has many contenders in the race this year, including “Big Little Lies” on its second season and “Westworld” on its third. Both shows have done well in the past with the TV academy but reception among critics and Twitter users was a little more mixed than in previous years. Giliberti thinks “Big Little Lies” could still sneak in regardless, stating, “The goodwill for its first season alone might be enough to carry it to a nomination.”
It is difficult to nail down the final few slots in Best Drama Series, but we all think the popularity of “Stranger Things” (Netflix) will carry it through to another nomination. “It’s still enough in the prestige conversation that it can hold on this one last time,” predicts Chow. Giliberti adds that unlike another show in contention, “This Is Us” (NBC), “Stranger Things” is “able to get nominations across the board,” including directing and writing. There’s also “Killing Eve” (BBC America), which Chow believes was a “top three show” to win Best Drama Series last year. Meanwhile, I am going with “Pose” (FX) for one of the final slots. With so many white-centric shows in the race and considering the increased attention to Black Lives Matter, I state that “a show like ‘Pose’ really sticks out.” Then there is another X-factor type of show in this year’s crop that could find its way in: “The Mandalorian” (Disney+). Either way, predicting anything beyond the top five is “a mess,” as I state in the slugfest, with dozens of contenders fighting for three slots.
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