Culture of Pop

Emmy Picks: My Longshot Choices for Outstanding Drama Series

Until Emmy nominees are announced, I get to be in denial about what has a real shot of getting acknowledgment. In that spirit, here are my Emmy Picks for outstanding drama series, drawing only from shows that have never received a nomination for outstanding series before.

The Fosters

The Fosters is possibly the most earnest, emotionally resonant show on TV right now. Its drama comes from great character work. A lot of the attention the show received this year was because of the relationship between Jude and Connor. This was absolutely the best portrayal of a very early romantic relationship between two male characters I’ve seen on TV, but there was much more to the show than this one great relationship. In particular, the character of Mariana Foster is one of the most unique and important characters I’ve seen. The Fosters sucks you in and makes you care deeply for these people, watching every week wanting to know what will happen to them. This show finds so much drama in small character moments and in the subtle dynamics of familial relationships.

Bates Motel

Although this show has only gotten Emmy recognition for Vera Farmiga’s performance, there’s much more to the show than its incredible lead actress. It’s a tense drama full of fascinating characters and relationships. They’ve taken an iconic character and truly made him their own.


This show immediately worked right out of the gate and managed to keep up its quality for an almost perfectly executed first season. The balance of humor, drama, horror and mystery is beautifully crafted.


This is an intriguing superhero show that takes a lot of risks. Over the seasons, Oliver Queen has become a strong and completely unique protagonist, while at the same time the ensemble has become more fleshed out than ever.


Much like Bates Motel, this show mostly only gets Emmy recognition because of its lead actress. While Kerry Washington is amazing, there are many other elements that make Scandal a great series. This show has one of the best ensembles on TV, with strong supporting characters like Cyrus Beene and Mellie Grant.


This runaway ratings success, came out the gate as an intriguing, fun and unique show with a strong cast of characters and a tense, well-crafted plot. The creative team of Lee Daniels and Danny Strong has created a truly great series.

The Flash

Although it had its stumbles– that finale was a misstep to say the least– overall, The Flash’s first season did an incredible job of defining each of its major characters to create one of the most instantly lovable ensembles on TV.

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