Michael J. Fox, Matt Czuchry, Julianna Margulies
Emmy ballots are due Friday! Voters have mere hours to check off the names and shows they think are worthy of getting a nomination come July 10. We here at TVGuide.com have a few picks in mind ourselves. And so, here's our final dream ballot for Best Drama Series:
Emmys: TVGuide.com's picks for lead actor in a drama series
The Americans scored a meager two nominations last year, including one for Margo Martindale, and hopefully voters will right that wrong this year. Finding sustained excellence in a high-wire premise, the drama raised the stakes under a terrific, tautly woven arc with professional and personal threats to Philip and Elizabeth. It culminated in a finale twist that makes such perfect sense, we wish we saw it coming.
Like Heisenberg, Breaking Bad's final eight-episode run had one thing that sets it apart: confidence. Instead of wilting under expectations and pressure, it charged ahead, unspooling chaotic, organic and gut-wrenching twists, and then dared to go against the grain, wrapping with a reflective coda befitting the tragedy of a fallen king. The defending champ would be the sixth show to win for its final season afterThe Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Barney Miller, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Sopranos.
Emmys: TVGuide.com's picks for lead actress in a drama series
The Good Wife
If there is any justice, The Good Wife, which was nominated in 2010 and 2011, would make a triumphant return to the series race for its creatively resurgent Season 5. Highlighted by the superb "Hitting the Fan," the show audaciously blew open its story, climaxing with the season's best-kept secret: Will's death (watch it here). Unlike the acting races, it's much more difficult for a snubbed show to return to the shortlist; the last to do so was Lost after a two-year absence.
There is no show that sits with you quite like Hannibal. Lush and terrifying, Bryan Fuller's intoxicating rendering is a cinematic feast, but more stunningly, it's a brilliant psychological tango between Will and Hannibal — made even better this season with the duo's cat-and-mouse role reversal — that's rewriting the serial killer genre as we speak. It's a show that's not just rare on network TV, but all of TV.
Emmys: TVGuide.com's picks for supporting actor in a drama series
Masters of Sex
If you came for the sex, you most likely stayed for all of Masters' other virtues. There are the stellar yin-yang turns from Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, and heart-shattering ones from Beau Bridges and Allison Janney. And the real-life tale is provocative in every sense of the word. Nuanced, assured and intelligent, Mastersnot only beautifully explores human sexual behavior, but the unquantifiable, unscientific mysteries of the heart.
Category-flopping is a flat circle. HBO clearly doesn't want easy victories and a hard-earned one here would be well-deserved. Anchored by powerhouse performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, the drama is a cerebral, moody masterpiece that reinforced that smart, satisfying storytelling doesn't require bombshells and reveals galore.
Emmys: Check out our picks for supporting actress in a drama series
What would you nominate?