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Emmys: Can 'Game of Thrones' or 'Friday Night Lights' win best drama? [Poll]

July 14, 2011 |  7:47 am

The Emmy race over best drama series is a real drama, pitting reigning champ "Mad Men" against "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter," "Friday Night Lights," "Game of Thrones" and "The Good Wife."

After sweeping the category for three years in a row, "Mad Men" seems poised to win for a fourth consecutive time, just like "The West Wing" and "Hill Street Blues." ("L.A. Law" won four times too, but not consecutively.) Perhaps its strongest rival is "Boardwalk Empire," which won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award for ensemble drama. However, "Mad Men" and "Boardwalk Empire" aired in late 2010. Out of sight, out of mind?

Emmy nominations game of thrones friday night lights newsAlthough "Game of Thrones" is certainly top of mind right now, based on its mega-buzz driven by fanboy obsession, it faces a tough time reigning on Emmy night: It probably skews too young for the old guys who rule the TV academy. And let's be honest: "Dexter" hasn't got a shot. If it couldn't win last year after its greatest, critically hailed season, it can't win for just a very good one since.

Possible spoilers may be CBS' "The Good Wife" and DirecTV/NBC's "Friday Night Lights" –- the former a broadcast-network show and the latter a program that began its life as one. Remember, most of the 16,000 members of the TV academy work in the broadcast-TV business. One of their shows hasn't won for drama series since "24" (2006). "The Good Wife" is relatively new and sexy, and it has another thing going for it: It's a legal drama like past champs "L.A. Law," "The Practice" and, heck, even "The Defenders" back in the 1960s. It could very well pull off an upset.

But watch out for "Friday Night Lights," which could very well catch a Hail Mary pass and go for a surprise touchdown. In Hollywood, there's enormous love for that program beloved by TV critics but overlooked by Emmy voters in this race up until now. Yes, the show is canceled, but that may not matter. Over in the comedy category, let's not forget that "Barney Miller" got the last laugh after it was off the air. Yes, "Friday Night Lights" didn't have amazing ratings, but neither did "Arrested Development" when it won for comedy series. It had the Cool Factor –- just like "Friday Night Lights."


HBO dominates the Emmy nominations

Complete list of 2011 Emmy Awards nominees 

Emmys: 'Mad Men,' 'Boardwalk Empire' score big in best drama

-- Tom O'Neil

Left photo: A scene from "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO

Right photo: Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton in "Friday Night Lights." Credit: DirecTV, NBC