Emmy Preview 2018: Drama Series wishlist; vote for your favorite!

What shows should be nominated for best Drama Series at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards? We are back with another edition of our annual CarterMatt Emmy Preview Series to answer this very question!

This year, the Drama Series field is as varied and fascinating as it has ever been — you have shows that are epic, shows that are intimate, and shows that set out to transport you to places that are beyond the furthest stretches of your imagination. Hopefully, these are shows that you will remember in the years to come. One of the priorities that the CarterMatt staff had when choosing the shows for our wishlist was coming up with the ones that drew the biggest reaction out of us — maybe we were left in awe, maybe they made us smile, or maybe they made us break down into tears. No matter what, these are the shows that helped define television in the past twelve months.

In addition to sharing both our dream nominees and some other likely possibilities based on current industry projections, at the bottom of this article is a poll for you to vote for your own favorites! We will announce our reader picks on July 11, 2018, one day before the actual Emmy nominations are announced. Hopefully, this is a way to kick off the Emmy campaign period in a fun, super-engaging manner for everyone.

Voting Rules – Vote however many times you like! Voting is open between now and 1:00 p.m. Pacific time on July 11. By voting, you consent to have your vote tabulated in the final result. As a reminder, CarterMatt polls are simply for fun and to help aid in Emmy campaigns. Voting for the Emmys themselves is conducted by members of the Television Academy.

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Drama Series – CarterMatt Wishlist

Game of Thrones (HBO) – From start to finish, this season was everything you could possibly hope for: Action-packed, mesmerizing, epic, and anchored by moving performances. It is clear that the series is starting to approach its endgame and as we get closer to that, we’re continuing to see everyone involved give this show all that they have. We’re not sure there has ever been a series this ambitious in terms of its size and scale — luckily, it’s also incredible entertainment to go along with it.

Good Behavior (TNT) – Michelle Dockery leads the way as Letty in the fantastic crime series, one that remains criminally underrated for both its writing, its style, and also its ability to completely transport the viewer into another world. Each episode feels almost like a separate movie, whether it be seeing Letty undercover at a drag club, or throwing her headfirst into a personal rock bottom. It’s one of the most creative series out there and that makes it all the sadder that the show’s future is, at least at the time of this writing, in limbo.

The Good Doctor (ABC) – A deeply personal and wonderful medical drama that does so much more than just show a number of doctors saving lives. Freddie Highmore shines as Dr. Shaun Murphy, but beyond that the series excels in giving you stories of imperfect people trying to tackle different situations. It’s a show stuffed to the brim with gray areas and discussion points. It makes you watch at times with a bleeding heart, and makes you care about its patients as more than just faces who drop by for an episode likely never to be seen or heard of again.

Outlander (Starz) – Sure, it may be a love story, but it feels wrong to mischaracterize Outlander as simply that. It’s also a time-travel adventure, a period piece, and a character study of how people react to extreme circumstances. Led by the brilliant Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, each episode presents a beautiful tapestry of visuals, storytelling, and performances. One builds on the next, and within a matter of minutes every episode perfectly transports into the world of Jamie and Claire Fraser.

Poldark (PBS) – It remains a shame that the British drama doesn’t receive an even larger stateside audience, mostly because it tackles humanity, adventure, and responsibility in a way few other shows do. Ross Poldark may not be outwardly the most open an expressive man on TV, but in diving into his thoughts and actions you have one of TV’s most introspective characters. The entire series is a rich character study that teaches you something about the period while occasionally smashing your heart into pieces. Also, the costumes and cinematography are on another level.

Vikings (History) – Even if it doesn’t have the same viewership, Vikings often rivals Game of Thrones and even surpasses it at times in terms of its scale and the ruthlessness of some of its battles. Watching the show is a visceral, emotional experience as you come to know these characters and understand their actions — even if they live so far in the past. Creator Michael Hirst has found a way to incorporate timeless, resonant themes into this story, making it about so much more than different factions fighting on a battlefield.

Wynonna Earp (Syfy) – It’s certainly an underdog insofar as the actual Emmys go, but from our vantage point this is one of the most entertaining, dynamic, inspiring, and inclusive shows out there. Within the span of an hour, it will give you belly laughs and then cause tears to run down your face. It tackles important themes and delicate topics, while also giving you some badass action in the process. It remains from start to finish one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences in all of television.

Other Favorites

The Americans (FX) – A powerful and poignant series about identity and espionage came to a close this spring, but we have a feeling that both its story and performances left a mark that will be remembered for quite some time. Despite being set in the past, it bore at times an eerie resemblance to the present — if there’s one word to describe it in the aftermath of the series’ run “haunting” would be it.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) – Speaking of series that are haunting and topical, few fit the bill quite like the Hulu drama. Going into this season, there was a serious concern that it wasn’t going to match much of what came beforehand — luckily, the writers have figured out a way to avoid the sophomore slump. It certainly helps when Ann Dowd and Elisabeth Moss are on the call sheet.

This Is Us (NBC) – Few shows succeeded in making its viewers sob uncontrollably week after week. This Is Us is television at its most powerful — it strips away much of the fluff and leaves you with a story of family and the important moments that often define who we are. The writing by Dan Fogelman and the staff brings these wonderful characters to life and beyond that, the performances will stick with you.

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