The contenders for Outstanding Drama Series at the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards feature spies, royals, dragons, handmaids, monsters, robots, and Sterling K. Brown. The number of genre shows making an appearance in the list of nominees is proof that we've made some serious progress over the last 20 years, but even as we admit it this, we also realize that the race for Best Drama is less exciting than it used to be. The real race of the night belongs to Best Comedy, but since someone still has to win for Best Drama, let's break down who will win, who should win, and who might prove to be a dark horse.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Who Will Win: The Handmaid's Tale
I'm going to be brutally honest — because if you can't be brutal when it comes to the Handmaid's Tale, when can you? — I don't think the second season of Hulu's dystopian nightmare is worthy of winning the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. It swerved too far in the wrong direction, and turned off too many viewers in the process. But the series is still relevant to the cultural conversation, whether we want it to be or not. It is also well made, and the incredible performances at its center are strong enough that even if the narrative quality of the series doesn't carry it to the podium, everything else definitely does. So yeah, don't be surprised if The Handmaid's Tale repeats.
Who Should Win: The Americans
In a perfect world, The Americans would have numerous Emmys by now, not just two guest wins for Margo Martindale. But Emmy voters have never been all that bright, and this is why I don't trust them to do the right thing now, even though it's their final opportunity to recognize The Americans for its brilliance. The final season of the FX drama was as close to perfect as you can get; there wasn't a weak link in the entire production as the show came to a close, and stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys gave performances that some might describe as being the best of their careers.
Watch Out For: Game of Thrones
Never underestimate the people's love for Game of Thrones. The HBO fantasy series, which is heading into this year's ceremony with 45 total Emmys (it picked up seven more at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmys), took home the night's highest honor in both 2015 and 2016. And Seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones were actually worse than Season 7! If the series wins again, it will have more wins in this category than Breaking Bad. And really, is a world where Game of Thrones is more critically acclaimed than Breaking Bad a world you're comfortable living in?
The 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air Monday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.