Like Drama Actor, this category is loaded from top to bottom (with one notable exception) with excellent series having phenomenal years.

It’s so loaded that there are about ten series that were definitely worth of a nomination left off this ballot and it doesn’t even feel like they got robbed. How can one really argue with the likes of Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, The Good Wife, Friday Night Lights and Game of Thrones getting nominated over a deluge of other excellent shows?

Whoops, I may have just given away the one show I don’t think is worthy of a nomination. We better just get to the column.

Boardwalk Empire
HBO made a huge Emmy statement with this series, piling on the pedigree with actors, writers, directors and even Martin Scorsese to try and climb back to the top of the Emmy heap, and they just might do it.

Boardwalk Empire delivered a sterling first season, that just got better as it went along and a cast loaded with so many good performances that they could filled out both sides of the Supporting acting ballots and still felt like they were giving someone the short shrift.

The only reason not to think this show is the favorite is that Emmy does not often reward a show in its first season and it has to go up against category king Mad Men if it wants to triumph.

All that is probably too much for Boardwalk Empire to overcome, but it’s definitely not impossible.

A down year for Dexter, a show that doesn’t normally have much of a shot at winning anyway, means that this is the longest shot on the board. It’s hard to even see why it was nominated with superior shows like Justified, Terriers, Rubicon, The Walking Dead and Fringe being left without a nomination.

I better just move on before I wind up in Dexter’s kill room.

Friday Night Lights
Lights went out with one of its strongest seasons and a ton of sentimentality as it was rightly recognized as one of the great shows of this decade.

From an Emmy standpoint, it has an advantage over many of these other series in that it has an entire networking campaigning for only one show – as it’s the only show currently on DirecTV’s ‘Audience’ network.

That, however, is also a detriment in that, as beloved as this show was and still is, it remains a very small show that premiered on a network that nobody really takes seriously.

It was a great year for Dillon, but they’ll probably remain as nothing more than the lovable underdog.

Game of Thrones
There probably wasn’t a buzzier show on television the last few months than Thrones, a fantasy epic that absolutely exploded in its first season, growing in popularity week-after-week and earning legions of rabid fans.

The question is if any of those fans are Emmy voters, as Emmy is notoriously stingy with Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows, no matter how popular or acclaimed they are. That, plus the fact that this show has the hurdle of winning in its first season – another tough sell for Emmy voters.

That Emmy history equation means that this probably isn’t the year for Thrones, but it should make some noise in the next few years.

The Good Wife
I actually predicted The Good Wife to win last year due to its overwhelming critical praise and many in the industry wanting to reward a lucrative, 22-episode, old-school network drama. And, of course, I was wrong.

Despite this, all of those factors still hold true and The Good Wife remains a solid contender in this category following a second season that garnered even more acclaim than its debut. If any show has a chance at upsetting Boardwalk or Mad Men, this has the best shot.

Mad Men
The returning three-time champion had another excellent season with the greatest Emmy submission episode in recent memory – ‘The Suitcase’ – helping it to make it four-in-a-row. This show is so well entrenched in this category that it feels like something devastating was going to have to come along to rip the prize away from it, and nothing quite got there this season.

Mad Men is still a major favorite.

So Who’s Gonna Win?

With three straight victories, Mad Men is firmly entrenched in this category much in the way The West Wing and Hill Street Blues were previously. There are some strong freshman contenders in Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones, but Emmy can usually be a little late to the party in handing out the big award.

This is still Mad Men’s category to lose, though Empire and Thrones could oust it next year. And both certainly deserve to.

Road to the Emmys Series

August 24: Miniseries/TV Movie Acting Roundup – Dantzler Smith

August 25: Outstanding Miniseries or TV Movie – Dantzler Smith

August 26: Outstanding Reality Competition Host – Erica Scandariato

August 29: Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series – Phil Wallace

August 30: Outstanding Reality Program – Erica Scandariato

August 31: Outstanding Reality Competition Program – Savanna New

September 1: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy – Dave Morris

September 2: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Kendra Beltran

September 6: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama – Angela Stern

September 7: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama – Adam Spunberg

September 8: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Megan Lane

September 9: Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series – Megan Lane

September 12: Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Kit Bowen

September 13: Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Andrew Payne

September 14: Outstanding Comedy Series – Amy Lindorff

September 15: Outstanding Drama Series – Andrew Payne

September 18: 63rd Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards