Claire Danes Claire Danes

Emmy ballots are due Thursday! Voters have hours, really, to check off the names and shows they think are worthy of getting a nomination come July 19. We here at have a few picks in mind ourselves. And so, here's our final dream ballot for Best Drama Series:

Emmys:'s picks for lead actor in a drama series

Breaking Bad
Back after sitting last year out, Breaking Bad may have the best chance of ending Mad Men's reign. Season 4 roared to new, taut, bone-chilling heights while Walter White sunk to Machiavellian lows. The TV academy has already rewarded Bryan Cranston (three times) and Aaron Paul, so it seems like it's only a matter of time before the show takes the big prize.

Downton Abbey
The British import will roll the dice and switch from the miniseries/TV movie race (where it won last year) to the far more competitive and crowded series category. It's a gamble, but Downton's delightfully snobby yet heartwarming accessible appeal, not to mention newfound pop-culture phenom status, ought to land it a deserved spot on the shortlist. 

Game of Thrones
Sprawling and frequently eye-popping as war commenced this year, Thrones continues to be the poster child for realized ambition. It did the hard work last year, being one of the few fantasy shows to break in to the series race. After a win for Peter Dinklage, a return is almost assured.

Emmys:'s picks for lead actress in a drama series


Arguably the year's best new show and anchored by top-notch performances from Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, the tense, psychologically charged CIA thriller was tantalizingly gripping as it spun more twists than Carrie's color-coded crazy board. Homeland is the breakout hit of the season and should lock up the "hot new show" spot.

Mad Men

The question isn't if Mad Men will get nominated, but if it will win. The four-time defending champ is gunning for an unprecedented five-peat in the category, which would also give it the most wins. The slow-burning Season 5 reached a fever pitch toward the end with some divisive, but no less compelling, story lines (ahem, "The Other Woman") and the show should benefit from having just wrapped its run.


Who says revenge is best served cold? Revenge is hotter than ever, what with its engrossing web of lies, backstabbing schemes and, of course, murder. It's a longshot for a nomination, but there hasn't been a prime-time soap this deliciously juicy and fun since the heyday of Desperate Housewives, which is the also the last sudsy show to land a series nod, though in comedy. Don't make Emily Thorne add you to her revengenda, voters.

Which show do you hope gets a nod?