By Peter Knegt and Ben Travers | Indiewire July 9, 2014 at 12:29PM
If we left it up to the networks and their campaign departments, almost no one worthy of an Emmy nomination would make the cut (stop nominating Jim Parsons!). So we here at Indiewire are hoping to start some grassroots campaigns of our own, pushing the best of the unlikely nominees to the forefront and hoping to receive some support from you, our wonderful readers. So far, we've already done our comedy series picks as well as the acting groups -- supporting drama & comedy as well as lead drama & comedy. Below you'll find our picks -- from Indiewire Awards Editor Peter Knegt and Assistant TV Editor Ben Travers -- for the dramas we'd like to see honored by the Television Academy, as well as video evidence of their best work. Votes have been counted and the nominations will be announced tomorrow. Here's hoping some of these make the cut:
6) "Mad Men"
PK: Now, I know it's hard to feel sorry for a show that's won four best dramatic series trophies, which is indeed the case with "Mad Men," but for the first time the conversation revolving around the show is very muted heading into Emmy time, and I suspect it might very well end up not getting nominated for the first half of its split up seventh season. Which well on the one hand might open the door for the shows that I'll be listing after this, on the other it wouldn't be a deserved snub. Like any season of "Mad Men," round No. 7 was a slow burn, but it paid off significantly in its final episodes and collectively came together in a way that was as layered and complex as any of the seasons to come before it... So if it loses out and say, "Homeland" or "Downton Abbey" make it in, that would just be plain wrong.
6) "The Walking Dead"
BT: You couldn't have said it better regarding "Mad Men" (though I may try a new angle later on in my list). For my No. 6 pick, I've chosen a program I'm actually not a big fan of, but would still love to see make the cut. Why? Because "Game of Thrones," that's why. If I'm forced to pick sides between gory, soulless TV shows with rabid fan bases that thrive on shock value, I'm taking AMC's entry every time. While I wouldn't stack it up against the likes of "Mad Men" or a few other choices on this list, I'd much rather see the zombie drama break into the pack than George R.R. Martin's humorless exercise get another undeserved nomination.
PK: I remain one of the few people on Earth who has seen neither "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones," so I'm just going to happily take your word on all that. And there's really no respectable segue way from them to my No. 5, other than maybe, like: "The Walking Dead" is a genre series the Emmys have never nominated in the top category. "Justified" has got a bunch of nominations over its now five season run (and acting wins for Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies), but never series. And that is highly unlikely to change this time around given the competition and the lack of buzz surrounding the series' excellent, penultimate season.
BT: I'm already hoping for next year in regards to "Justified." Maybe the Academy will give it a sympathy nod in its final season, much like the love it showed "Friday Night Lights" when it was too late to save it. But it's funny you mentioned "Homeland" in your earlier post. While I've spoken with many fans (former fans now) about the show's disappointing third season, I would still argue the Showtime drama outsmarts enough of its peers to deserve contention. Yes, so-and-so's death was a major bummer, but it also delivered on the promise (/expectation) given to us from Season 1. Yes, Carrie seems to be spinning her wheels a bit, but Claire Danes performance hasn't been dampened and she handled the third season solo for most of its run. The real turning point will come in Season 4, as a whole new story needs to be introduced. Can it succeed? Maybe not, but Season 3 didn't make me lose as much hope as the rest of the viewership.
4) "Orphan Black"
PK: I can half not stand by your "Homeland" defense, only because it was half way through the season that I couldn't take Carrie and company anymore and called it quits. I did hear from even the most severe Season 3 detractors there was some redemption, but I haven't worked up the nerve to seek it out just yet. I just wonder how many Emmy voters found themselves in the same boat? But I digress, and turn your attention to my No. 4: "Orphan Black"! Which, yes, gets a lot more (deserved) attention for its powerhouse lead performance from Tatiana Maslany, but the series itself is pretty consistently awesome itself. And while I have a mild bias in being Canadian (it's the only Canadian show ever to stand even a remote chance at a best series nomination at the Emmys -- sorry "Degrassi" fans), I suspect there's many a non-Canuck that would wholeheartedly agree with me.
BT: Oh, Canada -- finally putting forth a worthy Emmys contender. From the Great White North, I'll head to the San Francisco Bay and the Braverman family who carry enough awards prestige between them to establish their own ceremony. Peter Krause was on "Six Feet Under" (9 Emmy wins); Lauren Graham from "Gilmore Girls" (1 Emmy win); Craig T. Nelson from "Coach" (2 wins); and the rest of the prestigious cast form a group of actors with a wealth of awards experience. Yet all Jason Katims' family drama has earned from Emmy is a Guest Actor nod for Jason Ritter, which frankly is the least deserving actor to appear on the show. The whole cast should be annual contenders, and the show as a whole is an impressive example of how to best wrangle a large ensemble to full effect. Each character is given his or her own time to shine without losing dramatic emphasis, a practice perfected by Katims on his previous show, "Friday Night Lights." Here's hoping the Academy finally recognizes it for fulfilling the potential of its respected cast.