Finally the main even is here! All of the other drama series categories have built up to this, the dream nominees for Outstanding Drama Series. This year most of the shows are in their second season, there were few first year shows that lived up to the hype. Most of the shows in their first year fell flat, which is unusual. This just proves that shows are maintaining strong quality throughout the years as opposed to failing to deliver quality television. (Next up is the comedy categories).
Breaking Bad (AMC)-Like a good wine this show gets better with age. Like throughout most of the other seasons there is an incredible buildup, and show runner and series creator Vince Gilligan continues to push things to a constant build up. In season four Gus's story line was working towards its peak and the showdown between and Walt and Gus came to a head. Gus was a brilliant creation; he started out as this simple restaurant manager/drug dealer, in the same way Walt was school teacher/drug deal and manufacturer. The tension between Walt and Gus was at a high and this drove the drama. The shows rich intense feeling mixed with the gripping "war on drugs" vs. battle over drug territory and family struggles makes this easily one of the best drama series of all time.
y (PBS/BBC) Season two shows a war torn Europe during World War I, and the way the family, and the servants lives changes a result of having to deal with everything. The show has this mystical quality that moves time forward quicker than most shows, and doesn't mice words only creates a show with a terrific family dynamic, and also talks about issues of their time. Julian Fellows who created the show which was originally considered a mini-series has grown into a phenomena. Losing Mr. Bates for a time was heartbreaking. Watching Mary actually fall in love was beautiful (even if it is her relative), and watching Maggie Smith in anything brightens my day.
Game of Thrones (HBO)-The episode entitled "Blackwater" is enough to make this show a nominee this year. While the second season was just under the level of quality for the first season the show still continues to deliver week after week making the battle for the iron throne a must watch event. The series does not use major star power, but rather the story of these different families battling for power, and uses this compelling narrative to hook you in week after week. Characters like Tyrion Lannister played by Emmy winner Peter Dinklage command the screen with great acting and indelible wit. The show has also created some of the best female characters I have ever seen from young Arya Stark who fights onward as a young girl to no longer be deemed a lady but wants to be a warrior to Cersei Lannister the Lady Macbeth type female. This show is brilliantly run/written by creators David Bennioff and D.B. Weiss, on a side note HBO get over the GW head on a stick thing it was a joke.
The Good Wife (CBS)- The only network television series that comes close to making this list is The Good Wife. The show has one of the best casts on television and utilizes their guest stars better than any show I have seen in recent history. This season our heroine Alicia Florick stepped out from her husbands shadow, and worked on her for a change; she bucked her normal careful behavior and finally owned up to her feelings for her boss and partner at her law firm Will Gardner. The relationship eventually faded but Will had his own things to deal with, and was under grand jury investigation and almost lost his license to bar license. The show is consistently the one of the best I watch, and they never become heavy handed while incorporating their procedural aspect into the story lines of their characters. Creators Michelle and Robert King should be proud they have the best network television drama.
Homeland (Showtime)- The only series in its first year to rise above the rest and fit into this category. Every episode of Homeland had me on the edge of my seat, and built the tension masterfully. Claire Danes and Damien Lewis are one of the most dynamic/tragic duos to grace the small screen. Their game of cat and mouse in the shadow of the world of intelligence investigation, terrorism, and and the general fear in today's society is hard to hate. The show fires on all cyllinders, there was a not an episode where you can sit on your laurels, something is always happening, and writing and direction help to make this one of the best shows of the year. The supporting cast including Many Patinkin, and Morena Baccarin also shine as they are part of the worlds of the lead characters and have to struggle with dark and twisted destinies.
Mad Men (AMC)-The advertising agency was missing from television for about 18 months, and faithful viewers were excited to see everyone back in action. After five seasons the shows quality has dipped, but even with the quality dipping ever so slightly it's still must see television, and one of the best shows. Don was married to Meghan (one of the shows most hated characters, ever), Peggy was fighting back more, Roger was taking revelatory LSD trips, Pete got punched in the face and slept with Rory Gilmore, Lane played with the companies money to a dangerous level, and the star of the season Joan Harris fought back with her husband who returned home from war, and sold her body to become a partner at the firm. Doesn't sound boring, it wasn't, but this year the show took an evolutionary path, and made new steps in many directions. The show stands on solid ground, and I am ready for it to be back already.