Emmys 2011: What Show Should Win Outstanding Drama Series?

Can Mad Men make it a four-peat? With more 2011 Emmy nominations (19) than any other series, AMC’s acclaimed drama certainly has a good shot at continuing its domination of the Outstanding Drama Series category. That said, HBO’s freshman series Boardwalk Empire, with 18 nods of its own, is certainly registering on Emmy’s radar. Those Emmy front-runners will face Showtime’s Dexter (up for the fourth straight year), CBS’ The Good Wife (nominated for the second straight year), and first-time combatants Friday Night Lights and Game of Thrones.

Which drama series deserves top honors when the Emmys are handed out Sept.18? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 10, so act now! — then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every day for the next month, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win” Emmy poll, so come back to TVLine.com every day to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s biggest honor, and to stay up to speed on all our races, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. DL says:

    I would be ecstatic if Game of Thrones won. Definitely my favorite show of the season.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      I agree, coming from someone who is a fan of all six shows, Game of Thrones should definitely win.

      • Adam Newland says:

        Hands down Game of Thrones. They seamless integrated 4 different sets of story lines, the acting was superlative, and they kept you guessing at every turn. Dinklage is going to win supporting actor and he deserves it. I can’t wait to see season 2.

        • ReMMeZ says:

          Game of Thrones all the way FTW. It’s by far the best dramaserie wordwilde television had to offer in 2011. I live in the Netherlands and am totally hooked. Bought all the George>R.R.Martin books at once after the first season…

          A shame Breaking Bad started to late this season .. a real shame

    • Dessy says:


    • JohnDoe says:

      Most definitely. Hands down.

    • Sourabh says:


      Actually I wouldn’t mind any of them, as long as it’s not Boardwalk. I like the show, and I’ll be watching it next season, but please, not Best Drama.

  2. kyrjar says:

    Can I vote for Justified?

    Alot of these are past their prime. Love Mad Men, but many episodes were boring.

  3. Chmarin says:


    Without a doubt in my mind. It’s the show’s (first and) final chance. It SO deserves it.

    • Olive says:

      It really wasn’t FNL’s best season though.

      • Dick Whitman says:

        Yeah, Seasons 1 and 3 definitely deserved it.

      • Michael says:

        I agree, but they’ve awarded emmy MANY times for the body of work, especially when quality shows and actors were overlooked for the vast majority of the run. Plus, most of the voters will only screen a few episodes. There were more than a couple stellar ones this season.

        A lot of people don’t understand me when I say this, but when I watched FNL, I felt like I was a part of something magical, like a was a part of something greater than myself. Very strange. TV NEVER has that kind of an affect on me.

  4. CarolH says:

    Absolutely without a doubt…..FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Devin Murphy says:

    Friday Night Lights deserves this Emmy because this show’s final season was just down right outstanding there wasn’t a moment that I was disappointed at. The series finale was unbelievable sure i would have liked to see some resolution with other characters but still it made me cry like a baby. This show will truly be missed

  6. Ryan says:

    I don’t care if its Friday Night Lights last season or year to win. Boo hoo. Completely overrated show, the best thing that happened to that show was Kyle Chandler and Connie Brittion, other than that the show was boring which is why it would have been cancelled its second season had DirectTV and CBS not merged to keep the show going. . .only for FNL to never have a decent amount of viewers. *yawner*

    GAMES of THRONES, FTW. Or, Dexter.

    • Chmarin says:

      First of all, it was on NBC, not CBS.

      Second of all, this past season of Dexter was a disgrace and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence with FNL. FNL rules. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

  7. Laura says:

    I vote for The Good Wife! it’s amazing

    • Alicia says:

      THIS. So. Much. TGW is consistently the best-written and acted show out there. Every episode is like an abridged movie and the plots are always engrossing. I actually get anxiety watching because of the high stakes on the cases and all the other drama/mysteries going on are so gripping.
      TGW FTW!

  8. MaidenCanada says:


  9. TJ says:

    True Blood! Oh, wait…

    • Danielle H. says:

      I don’t watch any of these shows actually. Most of the Emmy races this year I don’t even care about. And that’s fine with me. Getting an Emmy doesn’t make you an all powerful entity; it’s just a damn statue. *end soap box speech*

  10. Tim says:

    Game of Thrones.

    Easily in my top 5 favorite shows and made me read the books so :P

  11. Andy says:


  12. hannah says:

    A show that’s not Mad Men

  13. Soso says:

    FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the way !!!!!!
    I don’t know what Dexter is doing here, season 5 was horrible… while Big Love, Treme, Justified, Southland, The Killing, In Treatment or Sons of Anarchy had better season !!
    So for me :
    #1 FNL
    #2 Mad Men
    #3 The Good Wife
    #4 Game of Thrones
    #5 Boardwalk Empire
    #6 Dexter

    • Chmarin says:

      I completely, completely, TOTALLY agree with you. Except for maybe Big Love. :p

      Dexter sucked big time, so I’ll be happy with whoever wins, as long as it’s not Dexter.

    • Joey says:

      I accept your ranking. If “Friday Night Lights” doesn’t get it, “Mad Men” had its best season ever. Truly outstanding television.

  14. Steven says:

    Should be Shameless!

  15. Mags says:


  16. Kay says:

    This is easy for me. Game of Thrones.

  17. V says:

    Justified or Sons of Anarchy!!

    • Olive says:

      SOA should have been nominated just for having such a fantastic season finale. Furthermore, Katey Sagal should have at least received a nomination too.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Game of Thrones!!!

    If Justified was nomimated then I would be cheering for it as well.

  19. sally says:

    Just as long as it’s not mad men. I’m so sick of that overrated soap opera winning everything.

  20. Alienware says:

    The two with less votes are the only ones with any chance of win the award.

  21. chris says:

    Anything but The Good Wife or Mad Men AGAIN!

  22. Jay says:

    Friday Night Lights all the waaaaaay!

  23. JBKR73 says:

    The show that should win isn’t even nominated. Justified is the best show on television, hands down.

  24. Elly says:


    Too bad it wasn’t nominated!

    • Anonymousfish says:

      I’m sure that in the alternate universe, Fringe would be the one who one for three straight years… Right?

  25. opus says:

    What is all this hate for Mad Men. The fourth season was absolutely the best season Mad Men has had (with the unfortunate exception of the final episode) and “The Suitcase” was the finest episode they have ever done. I didn’t think it deserved the award last year (Lost should have won), but this year Mad Men truly deserves to win.

    • Mafalda says:

      I totally agree with everything this you just said, Lost should’ve won last year but this year Mad Men was the best drama series, completely flawless!

  26. nanda says:

    I’m torn between Mad Men and Game of Thrones. I think they both had exceptional seasons so I would be happy with either of them.
    The Good Wife is not perfect but it’s a great show. I don’t watch FNL or Boardwalk Empire and Dexter fifth was pure crap (booooring)

  27. Jake says:

    I watch all the shows except Boardwalk Empire. and I think Friday Night Lights deserves it the most! Its such an amazing show and this is the first and last time it will be nominated. all the other shows could win later on.

  28. Darryl says:

    As much as I would love to see GAME OF THRONES win, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was overall a better show and is long overdue. I love FNL, will miss it terribly and we need an impetus for more shows like that. GoT will have other chances.

  29. JJ says:

    Interesting that FRI NITE LITES wins the poll here but unfortunately, the show with the lowest votes, BOARDWALK will likely win. C’mon!?

  30. Amy says:

    Friday Night Lights!!!! It deserves the win not only for this season, but for all five seasons. It deserves recognition as the brilliantly acted, written and directed show it is. No other show on TV is as realistic. Clear eyes, full hearts.

  31. Anna says:

    I’m so sick of Mad Men winning everything. It’s time for FNL to get the accolades it deserves. People just tick next to Mad Men’s name out of habit.

  32. Jane says:

    They are all fantastic shows but I vote The Good Wife!

  33. Carolina says:

    I really wish they would separate out cable (or at the very least premium) shows from the network shows when it comes to the awards. Not everyone watches HBO, etc.

  34. Jamie says:

    Mad Men! Or it at LEAST better win for best dramatic episode for The Suitcase. Seriously, that episode in itself merits the show getting this year’s award.

    That being said, I would also be happy with either The Good Wife or Game of Thrones receiving the award. Both had fantastic seasons and are superbly written, acted, produced and directed.

    I don’t watch Friday Night Lights so I unfortunately cannot judge whether it deserves to win or not.

    Dexter honestly shouldn’t have been nominated. This season was weak and lacklustre compared to previous seasons of Dexter and other shows that were not nominated.

    Boardwalk Empire also didn’t really deserve to be nominated. It’s got an intriguing setting and a lot of potential but frankly it never really lived up to it.

  35. Andrea says:

    The Good Wife is the best !

  36. Jay says:

    I feel(& hope) that Mad Men has no momentum right now with the show being off for so long…my heart would love to see Friday Night Lights win, but I have a feeling it is going to be Boardwalk Empire this year.

  37. matt says:

    The Good Wife!

  38. Amanda says:

    It’s gotta be Friday Night Lights! I love the Good Wife too, but it’ll have another chance to win. FNL deserves it, has done for years so this should be the year!!

  39. ddutchie88 says:

    1. Game of Thrones (I’ll be extatic if they win, it’s been a long time since I fell for a freshman show this hard)
    2. The Good Wife (I have a big crush on Kalinda)
    3. Dexter (not it’s best season, but still, it’s Dexter bitch)
    4. Friday Night Lights
    5. Boardwalk Empire
    6. Mad Men
    But you just know it’s gonna be between Boardwalk and Mad Men :\

  40. jay says:

    The good wife, every cast member is a dream top to bottom.

  41. Nathan says:

    Mad Men had arguably its best season yet. Not trying to knock Game of Thrones, but it broke new ground just by getting a nomination, it won’t break THAT much by getting a win. Emmy voters haven’t progressed that far yet.

    That being said, Mad Men totally deserves it. I also say this as a HUGE Friday Night Lights fan.

  42. Aly R says:

    It should be WHITE COLLAR!!!

  43. erin says:

    How about HOUSE MD ?

  44. Waage says:

    All these shows. God. They are in luck, that Breaking Bad can’t enter this year.

    • WhiteWolf says:

      Don’t think any episode of Breaking Bad could top “The Suitcase”. I watch both shows and I can say that while, Cranston operates at a slightly higher level than Hamm, the writing on Mad Men is just too good in its moments. Breaking Bad is much more consistent. Love both shows though.

  45. ultimate troll says:

    Even though I think Game of Throne was brilliant, blending all sorts of genres into one totally cohesive miniseries – I think they may have fooled the odd viewer into giving a fantasy series a chance, those dragons at the end likely caught a few off guard – but I still have to give my vote to The Good Wife.

    FNL & TGW are the only network shows on the list and The Good Wife manages to hang with all these cablers despite being forced to dim down its level of realism and forego some of the bigger shocks a mature rating allows. In fact the show is bordering on a legal “case of the week” procedural but it doesn’t hamper them a bit. They’ve got some of the best writing, acting and long form storytelling in all of television. No mean feat.

  46. Elaine says:

    Games of Thrones!

  47. Kyle. S says:

    As long as The Good Wife, Game of Thrones, Mad Men or Friday Night Lights wins I’ll be happy.

  48. cmzhang42 says:

    If I can’t vote for Fringe or Justified, there’s NO reason for me to vote…

  49. madeline says:

    friday night lights all the way. freal. clear eyes full hearts can’t lose.

  50. David says:

    This year Mad Men truly deserves to win.

    • Teneille says:

      Yeah, they really haven’t been getting the attention they are so due. How much longer must they suffer with only three best drama Emmys!?