Early Emmy Nomination Advice: Drama Series

05/12/2011 12:59 pm ET | Updated Jul 12, 2011
  • Ed Martin TV Critic, MyersBizNet; Editor, MediaBizBloggers; Contributor, TV Worth Watching

Television actors and actresses are busily submitting their work from the last twelve months for 2011 Emmy Award consideration. The official announcement of actual nominees is still a long way off (nominating ballots won't be available until June 6, final nominees will be announced July 14), but the buzz about who should be nominated in what category will kick into high gear within the next couple of weeks and stay there until July. So there is no time like the present to look back on the best series and performances of the last year and offer serious advice on who belongs where.

Here's a rundown of the series and actors that I believe are the most deserving in the drama series categories. (I'll tackle the comedy series categories in a few days.) While many readers will undoubtedly feel that I have left a few of their favorites off this list, surely we can all agree that the people and the programs mentioned below warrant special attention.

The point is to remind voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences of the outstanding work included here, since they have an annoying habit of bypassing some of the medium's best. I tried to limit my final choices to six per category, but as always I found it impossible to do so when considering the extraordinary supporting work on so many shows. Feel free to add your own suggestions to each group (and please remember that perennial Emmy favorite Breaking Bad is not in the running this year.)

Outstanding Drama Series

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Justified (FX)
The Killing (AMC)
Mad Men (AMC)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Kyle Chandler - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC)
Michael C. Hall - Dexter (Showtime)
Jon Hamm - Mad Men (AMC)
Timothy Olyphant - Justified (FX)
Matt Smith - Doctor Who (BBC America)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Connie Britton - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC)
Mireille Enos - The Killing (AMC)
Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife (CBS)
Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men (AMC)
Katey Sagal - Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer (TNT)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Alan Cumming - The Good Wife (CBS)
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones (HBO)
Walton Goggins - Justified (FX)
Michael B. Jordan - Friday Night Lights (DirecTV/NBC)
John Noble - Fringe (Fox)
Brent Sexton - The Killing (AMC)
Michael Shannon - Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
John Slattery - Mad Men (AMC)

Note: I would also include the very deserving Jeremy Davies of Justified here but I believe his performance falls within the category of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gabrielle Anwar - Burn Notice (USA Network)
Christine Baranski - The Good Wife (CBS)
Michelle Forbes - The Killing (AMC)
Sharon Gless - Burn Notice (USA Network)
Christina Hendricks - Mad Men (AMC)
Laurie Holden - The Walking Dead (AMC)
Archie Panjabi - The Good Wife (CBS)
Kiernan Shipka - Mad Men (AMC)

Note: I would also include Julia Stiles of Dexter and Margo Martindale of Justified here but I believe their performances fall within the category of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. And because I can't say it enough, let me add that I think Martindale's portrayal of the mighty Mags Bennett wasn't simply the best performance by a supporting or guest actress in a drama series -- it was, quite simply, the television performance of the year.


Emmy Awards