When the Television Academy announced their rule change in February of what qualified as a comedy series, it shook up the drama category as well. The Television Academy now defines inductees into the comedy category as a series containing episodes that last no more than thirty minutes in length. The Television Academy further stated that petitioning a show longer than thirty minutes would be judged by a panel who would determine whether the show was comedy or not. Shows such as Glee or Shameless were allowed entry into the comedy category, but the same cannot be said for Orange is the New Black. This year Orange is the New Black in the position of competing as drama series instead of comedy series, as it did with its first season last year. Yet this shouldn’t be an issue for the show due to its fierce popularity and its high ratings with critics. Regardless of category, Orange is the New Black shouldn’t have any issue being nominated in the drama category.
The one thing The Television Academy did do that aided the drama category was allowing for the Drama and Comedy Series categories to both have seven nominees instead of the traditional six. This, along with Breaking Bad’s exit last year and True Detective no longer qualifying as part of the Drama Series category (it will be regarded as “Limited Series” when its second season is released later this year), offers six open slots after Orange is the New Black.
It can be easily deduced that show veterans such as Netflix’s House of Cards, AMC’s Mad Men, and PBS’ Downton Abbey will take three of those open slots. All three shows have maintained their audiences and have been hailed by critics. Any of these three shows not being nominated would be regarded a tremendous upset. HBO’s Game of Thrones is likely to take one of the open slots as well despite the recent controversies thrown at the show’s content, such as rape and brutal imagery. However, the George R.R. Martin saga is too epic of a saga to be ignored.
This leaves leaves two wildcard nominees this year, but which shows have enough traction to garner a nomination? FOX’s Empire has gained a tremendous following with its first season. Empire’s soap opera-ish plotline about a family immersed within the music industry is captivating and also well made in its acting and writing. Easily Empire could take one of these open slots. There is also Showtime’s Homeland, whose fourth season was considered an improvement over its misstep of a third season. Homeland is a former ‘Best Drama Series’ winner, but has found itself sluggish with the voters since its first season win. Was Homeland’s fourth season enough of a redemption to earn itself back to its ‘Best Drama ‘status? There is also Netflix’s newest show, Bloodline, which has recently been getting some attention with critics and newfound fans. The thriller also has the added weight of Sissy Spacek and Kyle Chandler, both of whom are well liked by Academy voters. CBS’s The Good Wife has always had a loyal following, but its chances of a nomination doesn’t seem likely since voters seem to favor its acting more. The same goes for popular shows such as The Walking Dead, Gotham, Hannibal, Daredevil, Scandal or Bates Motel, whose traction is limited and appeals only to its fan base. One show that could upset the chances for many of these shows is AMC’s Better Call Saul. The Breaking Bad spinoff has proven to be uniquely its own and not riding off the tails of its predecessor. Better Call Saul has been well-reviewed and regarded by many as television excellence. One other upset could be the Showtime Original series, The Affair, which is still riding high after its recent Best Drama Series win at the Golden Globes. Could this momentum be enough to grab The Affair a nomination?
Below are Dan’s Best Drama Series Predictions:
1. “Mad Men”
2. “Game of Thrones”
3. “House of Cards”
4. “Downton Abbey”
5. “Orange is the New Black”
7. “Better Call Saul”
Spoiler: “The Affair”
Long shot: “Bloodline”