Emmys 2016: ‘Outlander,’ ‘Hannibal,’ ‘Penny Dreadful,’ ‘Vikings,’ ‘The Leftovers’ among Drama Series picks

Emmys -Emmy season is back! It’s one of our favorite times of the year, since this is a celebration of the medium we work in and love so much. It’s also a chance to debate snubs, nominations, surprises, and much more. In the end, it’s going to be a fun next few months!

Today, we’re kicking off our annual tradition of posting our own personal Emmy ballot (we are posting one category a day); if we were an official voter, this is what we would mark down. We also open these up every year to the readers to get some of their thoughts via comments and polls. The first category we are looking at is Drama Series, and below you can see our picks for the seven most-deserving candidates this year. Voting on the attached poll is open from now until July 13, which is the day before the actual Emmy nominations are announced. At noon Pacific time on that day, we’ll announce the reader picks from all of the categories. Vote as often as you’d like, and just remember that this is meant to be fun! Any publicity that these articles bring to show campaigns is fantastic and well-deserved.

Later this month, we’ll also be back to discuss some “underdog” candidates — shows and actors who may have missed our primary list, but are still worthy of consideration.

Now, without further ado, let’s bring you our nominees!

Outstanding Drama Series

The Good Wife (CBS) – Given all of the flack that there is “nothing good on network TV anymore,” it is nice this year to bring you two exceptions to the rule. The sad side of the coin is that both of these shows, “The Good Wife” and “Hannibal,” ended over the past year. In the case of the CBS drama, we’ve got one of the smartest, most thought-provoking legal dramas in TV history, anchored by a great casting and stellar writing from Robert and Michelle King. The further we get away from the series finale, the more that we think that the slap was a perfect full-circle moment to end seven phenomenal years on the air.

Hannibal (NBC) – Sure, almost every person out there who watched the Bryan Fuller adaptation wishes it was still on the air, but alas, it’s not. At least the story concluded for the time being with some sensational arcs and stellar performances from Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and the rest of the cast. This show is a real feast for the eyes and ears, which is sadly appropriate given the M.O. for its title character. It strays from sensory overload, while still surrounding you in the most stunning and at-times jarring ways. There was nothing else like “Hannibal” on TV, and it may remain that way for a rather long time.

The Leftovers (HBO) – The improvement from season 1 to season 2 is so monumental that it is hard to even chart it. The second season played out as a series of emotional journeys all about dealing with grief and trying to find a home, whether it be in this life or the next. For anyone questioning the legitimacy of this show as a contender, go watch “International Assassin.” We may contend that this is one of the best episodes for any show ever created.

Mr. Robot (USA) – One of the most innovative, thought-provoking series ever created, and one that has zero problem breaking conventions. Its pacing is totally unique, its narrator is incredibly unreliable, and it forces you to pay attention to every move and rewards you for your intelligence. “Mr. Robot” is a show that perfectly exemplifies the present-day climate in America, and still makes you want to strive for greater understanding about humanity, technology, and the relationship between the two.

Outlander (Starz) – It is rare that a show is at the peak of many different genres, but “Outlander” truly is. It’s fantastic as romance, wonderful as a historical drama, and it even works as a stellar entry in the science fiction / fantasy realm with time-traveling Claire at the helm. It’s a show that makes you cry, occasionally makes you laugh, and has you caring more for its characters and the complications in their lives than almost any other. It’s also managed to avoid the sophomore slump, something other fantastic shows have struggled with.

Penny Dreadful (Showtime) – There are so many adaptations of fairy tales / fictional legends out there, and “Penny Dreadful” is a prime example of how to do it right. It’s the rare show that includes characters like Victor Frankenstein, the Werewolf and Dracula and doesn’t have them as mere gimmicks. It’s a haunting, visually-arresting story that does not get the attention it deserves for its writing or its acting.

Vikings (History) – Speaking of under-appreciated series, we conclude here with what is one of the best shows currently on TV that few people are putting in awards consideration. What “Vikings” does from an acting, writing, and set design perspective is remarkable. It throws you into this world, makes you care about its characters (even the awful ones), and also incorporates enough universal themes to have these stories and relationships be applicable to present day. It’s an epic like no other.

Now, we’re turning this over to you! Vote now in the attached poll, and head over here to get some other Emmy coverage! Also, sign up over here to secure some other TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Emmys.)

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