Emmys 2020 predictions slugfest: Is Best Drama Series ‘Succession’ or ‘The Crown’?

Even with four-time winner “Game of Thrones” out of the running, the Emmy race for Best Drama Series is still packed with hefty contenders. In order to dissect this crowded field, I recently joined Contributing Editor Riley Chow and Associate Editor Zach Laws in our first drama slugfest of the season (watch above).

After sitting out the 2019 Emmy cycle, “Stranger Things,” “The Crown” and “Westworld” are back in the running for their third seasons, alongside “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which competed for the final three orphaned episodes of its second season last year. Also in contention are perennial nominees “Better Call Saul” and “This Is Us,” as well as last year’s first-timers “Killing Eve,” “Ozark,” “Pose” and “Succession.” Rookie contenders looking to break into the field include Amazon’s “Hunters,” Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” and HBO’s “The Outsider.”

After recently claiming four prizes thanks to the now-ended “Game of Thrones,” HBO could expand its reign thanks to “Succession,” which currently tops Gold Derby’s combined odds. “It does have that passion,” Chow admits, citing its Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe Awards wins for Best Drama Series, plus its victories at the PGA and WGA. As well, Laws reminds us that it already scooped up wins for it writing and main title theme at last year’s Emmys, kick-starting its momentum.

However, “it’s closest competition is perhaps ‘The Crown,’” Laws anticipates, “which feels like a brand new show” now that it’s assembled an entirely new cast to accurately depict the aging of its characters. The show, which sits in second place in our odds, is also just off its first Best Drama Ensemble win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and has returned to great acclaim.

In addition to “Better Call Saul,” “Ozark” and “Westworld,” I urge to keep a sharp lookout for 2017’s drama series champ “The Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s third season “ended on a high note,” and it just bagged its third straight drama ensemble SAG nom. Plus, as Laws reminds us, it “got the second-most Emmy nominations of any show [in drama] last year” and won three prizes.

“Big Little Lies,” which is now competing as a drama series after contending as a limited series for its first season, also looks good to break into the lineup following its drama ensemble SAG nom and PGA bid. Finally, Chow and Laws are holding out hope for Netflix’s “Mindhunter,” which received a single nom for guest star Cameron Britton in its first season, but is coming off a stellar sophomore outing and a surprising WGA citation.

As for first-timers, Chow feels “pretty good” about HBO’s “The Outsider,” reasoning his predicting with the “incredible audience response” and it possibly being “the HBO equivalent to ‘Ozark.” Laws, on the other hand, is putting his money on “The Morning Show,” which reaped three noms at the Golden Globes as well as two surprising SAG noms for Steve Carell and Billy Crudup and a win for leading lady Jennifer Aniston. Although I don’t believe it’s “the type of show the TV academy likes to award anymore,” I do take its over-performance at SAG into consideration.

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UPLOADED Mar 17, 2020 10:32 am