Emmys 2017: This Is Us winning Best Drama is what network TV needs

THIS IS US -- "What Now?" Episode 117 -- Pictured: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC). Acquired from NBCUniversal Media Village.
THIS IS US -- "What Now?" Episode 117 -- Pictured: Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC). Acquired from NBCUniversal Media Village. /
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If This Is Us wins an Emmy Award for Best Drama, it will be a victory not just for the show but for all of broadcast television

Perhaps the biggest story at the Emmys this year is the rousing success of This Is Us. We all know how amazing the series is, but this Sunday will be a reminder to the world that a show about a family from Pittsburgh stormed the castle of television drama in ways no one saw coming.

A win for Best Drama would be the completion of not only an underdog story but would go a long way in restoring the broken pride of basic cable dramas.

When you think about major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC), comedy is what comes to mind. Shows like The Big Bang Theory, Black-ish, Family Guy and SNL are closely associated with the networks they air on, but there’s a serious lack of critically acclaimed dramas.

Praise for Dramas is reserved for the Game of Thrones and House of Cards of the world. It’s no surprise that some of the best shows of the last decade — award-winning, star-turning dramas — aired on AMC, FX, Netflix, or HBO.

That’s why it’s such a big deal that This Is Us has returned some glory to the network drama. Not since 2011 has a broadcast network landed a Best Drama nomination (CBS for The Good Wife) and 2006 was the last time a win was secured (FOX won for 24).

Of the nominees for Best Drama, only This Is Us airs on something other than cable or streaming.

Drama Series
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)
“Westworld” (HBO)

This isn’t a knock on the fantastic competition that This Is Us faces, but it’s a reminder of where the Drama series tide has shifted. Shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones have all been credited with ushering in this golden era of television drama.

It’s no coincidence that they all air on cable.

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It’s for this reason that This Is Us carries more than just a flag for NBC; it’s stepping into the ring like Rocky to try and complete an unforeseeable underdog story. All of the basic networks should be rallying behind This Is Us because an Emmy for the show is bigger than network feuds. Basic cable drama is a dying brand and breed, and a win would go to great lengths in breathing fresh air into those lungs.