Riled-up rookies could shake up Emmy drama race

Several new series have potential to unseat nomination mainstays

Several new dramas have potential to unseat Emmy nomination mainstays:

“Blue Bloods”
Strengths: Tom Selleck. New York. Lingering scenes where this “Law & Order”-like family comes together and tangentially discusses crime over green beans and pot roast.
Weaknesses: Creative differences between showrunners and CBS make the show appear uncertain of its identity: Is it purely a procedural or a character-driven drama?
Best days ahead or behind? As a quality show that fits well into CBS’ stable of hourlong crimefighting, this Selleck vehicle should drive on for some time.

“Boardwalk Empire”
Strengths: Arguably television’s most gorgeous show, with every episode meticulously constructed and shot. The writing, acting and cinematography are nothing less than cinematic, which is, of course, what we would expect from a Martin Scorsese project.
Weaknesses: Like many critically acclaimed series, “Boardwalk Empire” takes time to tell its stories, and those stories are complex. Viewers need to be smart, curious and tuned-in to appreciate this show.
Best days ahead or behind? Definitely ahead. Season one of “Boardwalk Empire” was just the beginning of what this series has to offer. – — Paige Albiniak

“The Borgias”
Strengths: When you can boast Jeremy Irons in the lead, there are few places you can’t go with script and character. The bawdy world of political and sexual maneuvering is fascinating no matter what the century.
Weaknesses: Never a good thing when the scenery and costumes have more flair and color than the characters.
Best days ahead or behind? The series had a fast start out of the gate as a showy soap, but may have peaked early.

“Game of Thrones”
Strengths: Complicated, compelling characters played by clever actors. Peter Dinklage has never been better. Themes of power struggles and dark forces gathering make for a riveting epic saga.
Weaknesses: Fantasy doesn’t appeal to a wide audience. With so many characters, plots and subplots, you need a cheat sheet to keep up.
Best days ahead or behind? Weighted down with complex histories, the storytelling gets easier as the exposition — the series’ main flaw — is no longer needed.

“The Killing”
Strengths: Mireille Enos captivates in a lead role seldom allowed for women: A dedicated rumpled detective who isn’t playing off her sexuality. Densely plotted, always revealing deeper layers in this absorbing concoction.
Weaknesses: You can’t dip your toe into this tale and get the full experience. Moves at a pace much slower than some can tolerate.
Best days ahead or behind? As well-received as the season-long Rosie Larsen mystery has been, the idea of the next big case definitely intrigues.

Strengths: Surprisingly gritty performance from Emmy Rossum, previously known for her film work and songbird turns in “Phantom of the Opera” and “Songcatcher.” William H. Macy’s performance is also strong, but we’ve come to expect that from him.
Weaknesses: All the squalor and rawness gets exhausting after a while, especially considering how young some of the kids are. The Gallagher home isn’t a place anyone wants to hang out.
Best days ahead or behind? Ahead. We were only just getting to know the Gallaghers in season one.

Strengths: The artful plotting showcased a wonderful rapport between leads Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, set against a San Diego backdrop that felt gritty but fresh.
Weaknesses: Not that the pilot was anything to complain about, but it does seem that the series made its best qualities immediately clear — to fatal effect.
Best days ahead or behind? Regrettably, the most “Terriers” can look forward to is being seeded in competition for the best one-season series of the decade.

“The Walking Dead”
Strengths: Creator Frank Darabont proved there’s plenty of life left in the zombie genre, transforming what could have been just a freak show into an edge-of-your saddle Western.
Weaknesses: Dramatic loopholes the size of hubcaps and no major stars — yet. Unlike vampires, no one wants to make out with walking corpses.
Best days ahead or behind? Ahead. The departure of much of the writing staff could kill the series’ mojo, but with only six episodes under their belts, we’re betting Darabont and company are just getting started.

New roles rock hit shows | Will people never tire of cop shows? | Fantasies aim to change Emmy realities | Swan song for these Emmy hopefuls | Sorting out the best of TV dramas | Riled-up rookies could shake up Emmy drama race | High stakes for top Emmy drama contenders

More TV

  • Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium

    Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium Series 'Herzogpark'

    German media group Leonine has taken international distribution rights to the six-part premium series “Herzogpark,” following a deal with its producers Letterbox Filmproduktion (“Bad Banks”). The rights for German-speaking territories are held by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The dramedy centers on four women from Munich’s upscale Herzogpark district, for whom keeping secrets has become a life’s [...]

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content