Welcome to CarterMatt’s 2019 Emmy Preview series! This is an annual tradition that we’ve done on the site since 2013, which revolves around us highlighting some of the best from the TV world. These choices were voted on by our staff, and they represent what the ideal Emmy nominations would be for each category. To go along with that, we then ask you which one of our choices you most want to see recognized with a nomination. It’s strictly for fun, but it’s one of our favorite polls to run and it’s a great way to get the word out there about shows and performers during this key campaign window.
Today, we are featuring what is one of the most important categories of the entire Emmys in Outstanding Drama Series. It’s the one that’s often featured at the end of the show and yet, here we are highlighting it first. This is an extremely competitive category with a lot of fantastic shows that each offer varying degrees of power, intensity, heartache, hope, and so much more. We like shows that leave a lasting impact, and ones with worlds you can get sucked right into in just a few seconds.
Below, you can see our choices for this category — following the description of our “nominees,” you can find the poll to vote for your favorite. (We’re also including some other popular contenders within that poll to widen the field.)
Voting Rules – Voting will remain open until Monday, July 15 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time, which is the day before the official nominations are announced. The length of the poll coincides with both Emmy campaigns and lead-up to the official nominations being announced. You can vote however often you’d like; for more technical information if you’re having issues, check out the bottom of this article.
Better Call Saul (AMC) – Is season 4 actually the best one of the AMC series to date? It’s hard to argue against the notion, as we saw the strongest performances to date from Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn alongside a story that was about managing grief, destruction of labels, and Jimmy deciding to slip so far that he wasn’t quite recognizable as his old self. Despite how sad his downfall into faux-confidence really is, the writing and the outstanding direction and cinematography make this the show you want to keep coming back to.
The Good Doctor (ABC) – Powerhouse performances were present from start to finish in the second season, whether it be Freddie Highmore as Dr. Shaun Murphy going toe-to-toe with Dr. Jackson Han (Daniel Dae Kim) or Richard Schiff tackling Dr. Glassman’s cancer story with so much pain and forlorn reflection. This was a season that managed to both focus on medicine, but also the people responsible for practicing it. Somehow, each episode managed to get stronger than the one that aired before leading to many great character revelations.
Killing Eve (BBC America) – The richness of the story, the strength of Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, and the constant ability to keep you guessing — Killing Eve is a brilliantly-played game of chess with emotional stakes and devastating reveals. Season 2 managed to build on the already-fantastic first season by taking a further dive into Eve’s soul, really to the point where you may examine the title with a whole new meaning. We feel like that final scene will haunt everyone for quite some time.
Lucifer (Netflix) – Somehow, television’s most critically-underrated show became … more underrated? It’s hard to fathom, but we’re not sure a show has embraced a move quite like Lucifer did to Netflix. The show’s recent fourth season was darker, funnier, edgier, and all the more inventive. Yet, none of the extra bells and whistles came at the expense of its story or performances — Lucifer is fundamentally about identity, and understanding that finding yourself can at times come with a heart-shattering cost.
The Orville (Fox) – No doubt, Emmy voters will see the name Seth MacFarlane and hop in their nearest escape pod (as they are often one to do), but this is unequivocally fantastic sci-fi at its finest. MacFarlane and the rest of his team have created a beautifully-written, personal sci-fi epic that does combine space action and imagination with thought-provoking character drama. While it does have long-term storylines, it is really demonstrating the art of the standalone hour in a way few shows are willing to brave. Could The Orville get away with submitting as a comedy? Maybe (Shameless does), but this is where it belongs and it more than holds its own here.
Outlander (Starz) – Is Outlander a show with a whole lotta love in it? Absolutely, but it’s just as much about survival. The fourth season finds Jamie and Claire Fraser in a new home on a completely new continent amidst political turmoil, and soon after that, they find themselves with unlikely guests — including Brianna on the heels of devastating trauma. The beauty of this show often comes in the subtle moments — the dialogue between the actors, a look from Jamie to Claire, the way the light comes into Fraser’s Ridge in the morning, and the feeling that you know these characters and exist in their world.
SEAL Team (CBS) – Through the second season of the David Boreanaz-led military series, we saw the members of Bravo Team deal with such issues as mental health, a crisis of faith, post-traumatic stress, suicide, grief, recovery, isolation, financial peril, and being on the other side of the country away from everyone you love. That’s a lot of weight on these broad shoulders. Every single episode was compelling and written and produced with so much care — not only do the creative team touch on critical stories that real active-duty military and veterans face, but they turn them into art, devastating and challenging as they may be.
Vikings (History) – The performances remain outstanding, but what still is astounding is how little credit this series receives for the best battle sequences and action choreography on television. Michael Hirst effectively throws you into this world filled with greed, power, faith, and fear and somehow finds a way to make these struggles and trials feel relevant and relatable. He’s created a spectacle, but underneath all of that armor and dirt, there is still a beating heart that commands your constant attention.
Now, we turn this to you
Be sure to vote for your favorite Drama Series contender below!
I can’t see the poll; what do I do? – If you are on mobile, scroll to the bottom of the page and click to view the non-AMP version. If that does not work, give the poll a moment to load! On some mobile browsers, it may take a moment.
How can I vote more than once? – If you are having trouble casting multiple votes, try switching your browser, your device, or visiting the page under private browsing or incognito mode. There should be many handy guides online explaining how to do so if interested.