Television quality has really boomed thanks to higher budgets, feature-like visuals, and most of all, great writing and acting. With the buzz already started, and Emmy ballots now being cast (the nominees will be announced next month), it's a good time to consider some of the best television of the 2011-2012 season.
Tasting a little too much like pop candy, "American Horror Story," may not make the cut for "Best Drama," but it might be considered in other categories. This bumpy FX Network ride teased audiences with a mystery of a haunted house, but the Harmon family turned out more haunted than audiences guessed. Jessica Lange's performance as the worst neighbor ever, and the creepiest grandmother in television history, shouldn't be overlooked.
Comedian Louis CK (of the failed HBO series "Lucky Louie"), has finally found his groove with this one. Critics agree, and viewers are on board. There's nothing else like it on TV, and with Louis CK penning all the episodes, a writing Emmy is highly probable.
It won several honors for its first season, and will likely come away with something for Season 2. Peter Dinklage, who has graced the cover of numerous magazine cover this year, is a strong contender for another Emmy; this would be his second for the series. This fantasy series about kingdoms, dragons, and ultimate power, is the kind of crossover success that generally eludes sci-fi/fantasy TV.
It's still hard for genre shows to pull off Emmy wins in "Best Drama" or "Best Series" categories, but "The Walking Dead" is made from the best material. Following a group of wanderers as they try to survive in a world increasingly overrun by zombies, "The Walking Dead" focuses more on character than gore and shock value. If not a win, this should get a nomination. Chances are, as with most sci-fi based shows with Emmy consideration, it should easily take the "Make-up" category win.
With so much focus on live action, comedy, and drama, it's easy to forget that there is an "Outstanding Animated Program" category. George Lucas and his team of animators, led by Dave Filoni, have succeeded with fans where the "Star Wars" movie prequels failed -- the show is almost universally praised for its storytelling. This achievement alone (22 episodes) should at least give the show a nod. Following the exploits of a young Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker), the series, now in its fourth year, is edging closer to the final moments of the once elusive Clone Wars.