2023 Emmys Predictions: Outstanding Drama Series

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We will update this article throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2023 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting takes place from June 15 to June 26, with the official Emmy nominations announced Wednesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be presented over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10, with an edited presentation of the ceremonies to be broadcast on FXX at a later date. Finally, the 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards take place on Monday, September 18, and air live on FOX at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

See our previous thoughts on what to expect at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards here.

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The State of the Race

There is a level of resignation to the high chance that HBO will at least tie the record for most series nominated in one category within a year, given its surfeit of Outstanding Drama Series contenders. “Succession” won last year, despite being up against global phenomenon “Squid Game,” while “The White Lotus” won the Emmy for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series, despite being up against the deluge of high-profile limited series that premiered spring 2022. Now, the two hit shows’ greatest competition is each other.

Genre programs have recently done well in the category, and both fantasy drama “House of the Dragon” and post-apocalyptic video game adaptation “The Last of Us” have Emmy-winning producers behind them, but the former two HBO shows have a sense of finality to them (with one fully ending, and the other closing the chapter on a beloved character), so a win for “Succession” or “The White Lotus” seems more urgent.

All that said, there is a chance all the votes for HBO dramas cancel each other out in some way, and make room for another network to win big. “Better Call Saul” is another show on its final Emmy run, earning 46 nominations over five and a half seasons, yet no wins. Unfortunately, history shows that the TV Academy way more often chooses to honor the actor(s) rather than the series itself when it hands out an Emmy as a parting gift, so AMC faces a steep uphill battle in this category.

Former Outstanding Drama Series winner “The Crown” (Netflix) and “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) have a better chance at winning according to statistics, but the specific seasons that are up for the award failed to resonate in any way close to the shows’ peaks.

Similarly, “Yellowjackets” (Showtime) has been in a sophomore slump according to several critics, but the same could have been said of “Ted Lasso,” which won Outstanding Comedy Series for its second season. Based on the several above the line nominations the survival series got, including two entries in the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series category, fans of the show that also happen to be Emmy voters are more than likely to show even more love for “Yellowjackets” this time around, making it HBO’s greatest threat.

Current Contenders (In Alphabetical Order):
“1923” (Paramount+)
“Andor” (Disney+)
“Bad Sisters” (Apple TV+)
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Boys” (Prime Video)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“House of the Dragon” (HBO)
“The Last of Us” (HBO)
“Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Prime Video)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)
Star Trek: Picard” (Paramount+)
“Succession” (HBO)
“The White Lotus” (HBO)
“Yellowjackets” (Showtime)

More Drama Category Predictions:
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

To see IndieWire’s full set of predictions for the 75th Emmy Awards click here.

Last Year’s Winner: “Succession”
Still Eligible: Yes.
Hot Streak: Although “Succession” has won the category the past two seasons it’s been eligible, both “The Crown,” which won the category during the HBO drama’s year off, and “The White Lotus,” a new category entry that won Best Limited Series last year, stand in its way of a three-peat.
Notable Ineligible Series: “Severance” (Season 2 was not eligible); “Squid Game” (Season 2 was not eligible); “Bridgerton” (Season 3 was not eligible); “Euphoria” (Season 3 was not eligible); “The Morning Show” (Season 3 was not eligible); “Stranger Things” (Season 5 was not eligible); “Killing Eve” (ended); “Ozark” (ended); “This is Us” (ended)

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