Returning series deliver high drama

These shows will draw Emmy consideration

Big Love
(HBO) Season 2
Re-emerging from a 12-month hiatus last summer amid HBO’s farewell to “The Sopranos” and hyped “John From Cincinnati” premiere, “Love” quietly became HBO’s top hourlong drama. Choosing substance over sensationalism, the series offered riveting seasonlong arcs while packing emotional punches in each episode. But with no new segments since August, the show is back in its typical spot: out of the spotlight.

Boston Legal
(ABC) Season 4
With 14 nominations and five wins in three seasons, “Boston Legal” is an Emmy darling. The elimination of four regular characters, a new post-strike timeslot and implausible subplots like Denny considering a run for president may have tarnished the show’s reputation among Emmy voters, but bumping Emmy winner Christian Clemenson from recurring to regular status might have been the show’s smartest move yet.

Brothers & Sisters
(ABC) Season 2
Whether the midseason departure of “Brothers & Sisters” creator Jon Robin Baitz had a noticeable impact on the series is debatable. The multigenerational drama continued exploring volatile subjects — addiction, infidelity, gay marriage, war — with honesty and humor, giving actors opportunities to shine, including 2007 Emmy winner Sally Field and the underused Ron Rifkin.

(Showtime) Season 2
When “Dexter” leaped from novel to screen in 2006, it accomplished the impossible: giving a serial killer heart. Then it did the impossible again this February, as the first program to leap from premium cable to broadcast TV, debuting to 8.1 million CBS viewers — 7 million more than had seen it before. This could make “Dexter” a stealth killer on Emmy night … or send it home in a body bag.

Friday Night Lights
(NBC) Season 2
Fans and critics howled at the Academy when it shut “FNL” out of the drama category in 2007 after its beloved debut season. Controversy over a soap-operatic killing in the second-season premiere took some of the wind out of everyone’s sails; nonetheless, the show continued hitting numerous high points, firmly re-establishing itself as worthy of the top five.

Grey’s Anatomy
(ABC) Season 4
Even creator Shonda Rhimes admitted the George-Izzy relationship — dubbed Gizzie by a sometimes critical “Grey’s” fanbase — never quite worked, but pairing Meredith and McDreamy back together again toward the end of the season seemed to quell the naysayers. Despite the over-the-top histrionics at Seattle Grace Hospital, continued stellar work by two-time Emmy nom Chandra Wilson and the underrated T.R. Knight might be enough to keep the show on kudos alert.

(NBC) Season 2
After receiving eight Emmy noms last year, including one for top drama, “Heroes” staggered through its second season with eyebrow-raising plot and character choices. The Writers Guild strike, and the subsequent decision following the strike’s end not to bring the show back until the 2008-09 season, curtailed attempts to rehabilitate the show on the fly, but those who voted for “Heroes” in 2007 might still be in its corner.

(Fox) Season 4
Rejuvenation or desperation? This season, “House” marginalized the doctors played by Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer and to a lesser extent Omar Epps in favor of a multiweek experiment to bring in new blood. Anchored by Hugh Laurie’s magnetic presence, the process can be considered a success — and certainly the quality of the series, nominated for drama in 2006 and 2007, didn’t suffer.

(ABC) Season 4
With the burden of an overflowing cast and storylines that demand viewers’ undivided attention, creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse continue to make “Lost” the most compelling show currently in primetime. Whether it’s Jack figuring out whom to believe, Ben time-traveling through the Middle East or a guilt-ridden Michael acting as a spy, the “Lost” contingency triumphs in a convergence of great acting with superior writing. After winning for top drama in its first season, there’s no excuse for the series to be forgotten once again come nominations morning.

The Tudors
(Showtime) Season 2
This pulpy gloss on Henry VIII’s court made some major cast changes — most by the executioner’s blade, like Thomas More and Anne Boleyn. But death from heartbreak took the show’s beloved Queen Katherine, Henry’s sidelined first wife. Perhaps to compensate, the series added Peter O’Toole as Pope Paul III and the Icelandic beauty Anita Briem as Jane Seymour, but you’ll have to wait until season three to see her marry Henry.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety