Emmys 2023: Drama power rankings

A well-dressed man and woman stand face to face looking tense in a scene from "Succession."
Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in “Succession.”
(David M. Russell / HBO)
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“Succession,” to borrow a phrase from Kendall’s eulogy for his father, Logan, is going to be a “terrible force” this Emmy season. Jennifer Coolidge is the only sure thing to defy it. People love her, adore her work and simply can’t get enough of her digressive awards speeches. Encore!

But otherwise, that might be it. So get ready to hear Nicholas Britell’s theme song played again and again Emmy night — and who doesn’t want to bathe in that melancholic piano a few more times? — as we celebrate the end of one of the greatest shows in the history of television. It’s going to be a night of good TV!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. A number of series will be in play when nominations are announced next month. Let’s sort through them in our Emmy drama power rankings. (Note: The total haul predictions include every category, not just the ones specifically noted here.)


A man and woman face each other speaking intently in a scene from "The Diplomat."
David Gyasi and Keri Russell star in “The Diplomat.”

Might be nominated: Drama series, lead actress Keri Russell, supporting actor Rufus Sewell
Total haul: A handful if things break right
Could go on to win: This zippy political thriller will be happy with whatever comes its way. It did give us the best messed-up marriage outside of “Succession,” so it will come down to how many voters binged this late(ish) arrival.

A man in futuristic armor appears to fly through the air while holding a Yoda-like creature in "The Mandalorian."
Pedro Pascal and Grogu in “The Mandalorian.”

Might be nominated: Drama series, guest actors Giancarlo Esposito and Christopher Lloyd
Total haul: More than you think, given the grievances fans aired against the show’s third season. The last time around, “The Mandalorian” earned 24 nominations, so even with a drop-off, figure on around 10 to 12.
Could go on to win: There’s room for only one “Star Wars” universe TV show (“Andor”) and just one Pedro Pascal Daddy performance (“The Last of Us”).

A man in a leather jacket carries a satchel in "Andor."
Diego Luna stars in “Andor.”
(Des Willie / Lucasfilm Ltd.)


8. ‘ANDOR’
Might be nominated: Drama series, lead actor Diego Luna, supporting actor Stellan Skarsgård, guest actress Fiona Shaw, guest actor Andy Serkis
Total haul: It’s “Star Wars” ... for grown-ups! And if voters made it through the plodding pace of the first few episodes, they’ll probably give it a ton of crafts nominations, plus maybe a couple of acting nods.
Could go on to win: The hearts and minds of anyone who loves to wallow in ennui.

A teen sits in a rundown cabin in "Yellowjackets."
Sophie Nelisse stars in “Yellowjackets.”
(Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME)

Certain to be nominated: Drama series, lead actress Melanie Lynskey, supporting actress Christina Ricci
Might be nominated: Lead actresses Sophie Nélisse and Juliette Lewis
Total haul: The show’s sprawling ensemble works against it, splintering votes. It earned seven nods last year — series, Lynskey, Ricci, two for writing, one for directing and casting. It might not match that for its uneven second season.
Could go on to win: “Euphoria” won’t be back until 2025, so two-time winner Zendaya is out of the picture for now. Lynskey, also memorable playing a vicious rebel faction leader in a guest spot on “The Last of Us,” could be primed for a walk to the podium.

A man in medieval clothing and surroundings in "House of the Dragon."
Matt Smith stars in “House of the Dragon”
(Ollie Upton/HBO)

Certain to be nominated: Drama series
Might be nominated: Lead actress Emma D’Arcy, lead actor Paddy Considine, supporting actor Matt Smith
Total haul: “Game of Thrones” received 13 nominations for its debut season, and that sounds about right for this prequel, which, gratuitous childbirth scene aside, seemed to meet fans’ expectations.
Could go on to win: Nothing this year ... but once “Succession” is out of the way, who knows?

A man and a woman wearing a crown in "The Crown."
Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce in “The Crown.”

Certain to be nominated: Drama series, lead actress Imelda Staunton, supporting actress Elizabeth Debicki
Might be nominated: Supporting actress Lesley Manville, supporting actor Jonathan Pryce, guest actress Claire Foy
Total haul: “The Crown” swept through the 2021 Emmys for its fourth season, becoming the first show to win the seven major prime-time prizes — series, directing, writing and the four acting categories. Seems like a distant memory, doesn’t it? After a year break, the show returned with a divorce drama that must have pleased the newly crowned king, what with Dominic West cast as Charles. Critics weren’t particularly kind, but die-hards (and royalists) liked it well enough. At least a dozen nominations is within reach.
Could go on to win: Well ... they’ll always have 2021.

Carol Burnett peers out of a window in "Better Call Saul."
Carol Burnett guest stars in “Better Call Saul.”
(Greg Lewis/AMC)


Certain to be nominated: Drama series, lead actor Bob Odenkirk, supporting actress Rhea Seehorn, supporting actor Giancarlo Esposito
Might be nominated: Supporting actress Carol Burnett, supporting actor Jonathan Banks, guest actress Betsy Brandt, guest actors Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Tony Dalton
Total haul: “Saul” earned a meager seven nominations last year for the first half of its sixth and final season. (But one — finally! — for Seehorn!) You could argue that the show finished in a more satisfying way than “Breaking Bad” and deserves recognition for writing and directing as well as for the actors mentioned above. Given voters’ ... how shall we say ... curious relationship to the series over the years (46 nominations but zero Emmys), it’d be foolish to expect the moon.
Could go on to win: There is a path for Odenkirk to finally prevail, what with three likely nominees from “Succession” in his category all demanding attention from the show’s supporters. But, realistically, we’re probably heading for yet another shutout.

A man and a young woman walk through a dark room with a flashlight
Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal star in “The Last of Us.”
(Liane Hentscher/HBO)

Certain to be nominated: Drama series, lead actress Bella Ramsey, lead actor Pedro Pascal, guest actresses Melanie Lynskey and Anna Torv, guest actors Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett
Might be nominated: Guest actress Storm Reid
Total haul: With at least seven acting nominations likely, I’d guess around 16.
Could go on to win: Can Offerman and Bartlett share an Emmy? The way they conveyed a love story spanning 16 years in just 40 minutes’ screen time made for one of the year’s best episodes of television.

A man and woman sit on a bed in "The White Lotus."
Jon Gries and Jennifer Coolidge in “The White Lotus.”
(Fabio Lovino/HBO)

Certain to be nominated: Drama series, supporting actresses Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza and Meghann Fahy, supporting actor F. Murray Abraham
Might be nominated: Supporting actress Sabrina Impacciatore, supporting actors Michael Imperioli, Theo James and Tom Hollander
Total haul: It might be hard to match the 20 it earned as a limited series for its first season. But it’ll come close.
Could go on to win: You’re not tired of Coolidge’s acceptance speeches, are you?

A man stands at the front of a church to speak into a microphone in "Succession."
Kieran Culkin stars in “Succession.”
(Macall Polay/HBO)


Certain to be nominated: Drama series, lead actress Sarah Snook, lead actors Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin and Brian Cox, supporting actress J. Smith-Cameron, supporting actors Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Braun and Alan Ruck, guest actresses Harriet Walter, Hiam Abbass and Cherry Jones, guest actors James Cromwell and Arian Moayed
Might be nominated: Supporting actor Alexander Skarsgård, guest actress Hope Davis
Total haul: As many as the stars in the sky. But if you have to put a number on it: 30.
Could go on to win: Again ... get ready for that theme song.