Emmy Nominations 2015 Predictions: Will 'Empire' & 'Better Call Saul' Enter Tough 'Drama Series' Field?

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The Emmy nominations for 2015 are less than a month away and speculation is increasing as to which shows will be nominated for Best Drama Series.

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Often regarded as the most important Emmy Award, Best Drama Series is an important category to win for increasing a show's reputation. With the huge increase in quality dramas over the past few years, the category is more competitive than ever. To be more inclusive, the Television Academy expanded the category to have seven nominees instead of six this year.

Over the next few weeks, Enstars will be making their predictions for who we think will be nominated at the 2015 Emmys.

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First up is Best Drama Series. The following is ranked in over of most likely to be nominated to shows on the bubble.

1. Game of Thrones (HBO)

In its fifth season, Game of Thrones reached new levels of popularity and acclaim, as well as a fair share of controversy. It is one of the most popular shows on television and had plenty of buzz after Sunday night's finale, which saw characters like Cersei and Jon Snow reaching unfortunate fates. The Emmys have nominated GoT for its first four seasons so there's no reason to believe they won't nominate it again.

2. Mad Men (AMC)

The always critically acclaimed Mad Men reached a polarizing ending last month, but that shouldn't prevent it from one final nomination for Best Drama Series. The '60s-set series won the trophy for its first four years, making it one of the most popular shows at the Emmys over the past decade. Mad Men helped to usher in this whole era of the "Golden Age of TV" and while a final win may be slightly unlikely, a nomination is almost guaranteed.

3. Downton Abbey (PBS)

Downton Abbey has carved out a small yet powerful niche at the Emmys in the drama categories, as the only real representative for Brit-friendly, older-skewing TV. Like Game of Thrones and Mad Men, it has been nominated every year since its inception with acting nominees in the double digits. The show continues to be popular even as it heads into its final season next year.

4. House of Cards (Netflix)

Since House of Cards premiered in 2013, the Emmys have seemed to have more of a respect for it than a genuine love. It has received plenty of nominations for its first two seasons but very few wins. Season 3 was released this year to divided critical acclaim, with some thinking this was its worst season and others thinking it maintained the quality of past seasons. Regardless, it is still popular among a big segment of the population so it's probably in.

5. Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

Orange Is the New Black is perhaps the biggest wildcard heading into the 2015 Emmy nominations. The show received 12 nominations in the comedy categories last year, but the Television Academy made a new ruling this year that all hour-long shows would have to compete as dramas unless they filed a petition to compete as comedies. The series filed that petition but were ultimately denied, meaning they are forced to compete as a drama. Voters seem to like the show and it is critically acclaimed and buzzed about this month, so it should be in, but there are no guarantees.

6. Empire (Fox)

Far and away the biggest TV success story of the year was Empire. The hip-hop drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard blew up on Fox when it premiered in January and continued to grow in ratings all the way up to the finale. The addictive soap has also hosted many For Your Consideration events for the Academy in the months since. Regardless of how voters feel about the show's quality, many will probably be happy to vote for such a huge hit - especially for a network show.

7. Better Call Saul (AMC)

It is difficult to determine how Better Call Saul will do at the Emmys. The Breaking Bad spinoff may not have reached the heights of its mother show in season 1, but it did not exactly fail like other spinoffs in the past. Instead, it became its own unique drama with great performances by Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. The Emmys showed a lot of love to Breaking Bad the last two years, so Better Call Saul could benefit from the afterglow.

Other shows on the bubble that could still make it into the lineup include Showtime's The Affair, FX's The Americans, Netflix's Bloodline, CBS's The Good Wife and Showtime's Homeland. And another show could very well enter the lineup that no one is predicting. The Emmys can be predictable, but sometimes they like to throw a curveball.

The 2015 Emmy nominations will be announced Thursday, July 16.

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