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Emmy poll: Will 'Walking Dead,' 'Dexter' or 'Mad Men' win best TV drama series?

March 9, 2011 | 12:59 pm

When we asked our forum moderators to predict the Emmy race for best drama series, they cited 11 potential nominees (see list below) and two likely winners ("Mad Men," "Boardwalk Empire"). Now let's use that list of contenders and ask you -- the real experts -- which program will win.Emmy Q

"Mad Men" has reigned undefeated over this Emmy category for three years in a row. It continues to reap strong ratings from viewers and ace reviews from TV critics, but Emmy voters may be bored and want a change. That's what happened in the past when "The Defenders" (1962-1964) and "L.A. Law" (1989-1991) lost after three consecutive victories. However, two shows managed to continue their romps for a fourth year: "Hill Street Blues" (1981-1984) and "The West Wing" (2000-2003).

Our forum moderators believe "Mad Men's" most serious rival is "Boardwalk Empire," probably because Emmy voters are nuts for HBO programs and the pay channel's new series about Atlantic City bootleggers recently won best drama series at the Golden Globes. HBO also has "Big Love" (nominated once) and "Treme" and "In Treatment" (never nominated), but they're not considered to be serious threats now. Debuting April 17: "Game of Thrones." Yeah, yeah, fantasy fare usually doesn't do well at Hollywood peer-group industry awards, but that's what they said about "Lord of the Rings" before its historic Oscar sweep. Last year, HBO stunned Emmy watchers by nabbing a nom for "True Blood," which could rise again.

Don't give up on "Dexter" or "The Good Wife," which have lost in the past ("Dexter" three times; "Good Wife" once). When "Law & Order" won in 1997, the victory followed five previous defeats. Both shows will probably be nominated again.

If TV critics' darling "Friday Night Lights" finally gets its first nomination, it could garner widespread support from the industry. "Sons of Anarchy" is overdue -- and beloved -- too.

Among new shows, AMC's "The Walking Dead" is red-hot, and the network will soon debut "The Killing." Also to be unveiled during the tail end of the Emmy eligibility period will be Showtime's "The Borgias." The network's previous historical pageant, "The Tudors," failed to rule at the Emmys, but this time God is on its side.

Showtime will enter its new show, "Shameless," as a drama series, which is a bit of a surprise considering that it has recently been classifying its many dramadies as comedies because competition is less fierce in those slots.


It's Emmy war! Can "Boardwalk Empire" conquer "Mad Men"?

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo credit: Academy of Television Arts and Sciences