The nominations for this year's Emmy Awards will be announced next Thursday, July 19. That means it's high time we started to speculate about which shows will be selected and which will be snubbed. Here are 10 of the things I hope happen when the names are read next week:
No. 10: A drama series nomination for "The Wire."
Alright, yes, I'm starting out with one that I'm sure is not going to happen; "The Wire" has fervent devotees, but it's not accessible enough for an Emmy nod. I understand why: Series creator David Simon has created such a busy, bustling world that it's tricky to jump in and see what it's about. When I finally started watching the show, I had to watch the pilot twice; even after that, I only knew one character's name. A show with that kind of niche appeal tends to get acting nominations only (see: Michael Chiklis on "The Shield"), and "The Wire" is too much of an ensemble show for even that to be likely. But hey, a girl can dream.
No. 9: "24" left out of the series nominations. Don't get me wrong: I still like this show. But I want the producers to know that "24" can't coast by on the strength of its previous seasons when this one was not up to par. Yes, having it rank second-worst in the critics' survey should be a wake-up call, and the production problems the show's been having lately seems to suggest that the powers-that-be know they need to change things up, though they might not know how best to do it. Leave it out of the nominations this time around, and wait to see if it reclaims its old magic.
Eight more, including my No. 1 hope, so
No. 8: Nominations for the CBS comedies that aren't "Two and a Half Men." When the list of the series finalists leaked a while back, I was sad to see that "Two and a Half Men" was the only CBS sitcom up for consideration. If one of the network's shows was going to be picked, I would have preferred "How I Met Your Mother" (at left) — or, frankly, even "The New Adventures of Old Christine." If voters only want to nominate one comedy from that group, I'm afraid they've chosen the wrong one.
No. 7: A writing nomination for Tina Fey. The first season of "30 Rock" might have started out a little rocky, but it totally smoothed itself out by the end, and I think Fey has done a superb job. I don't know Fey personally, but I feel oddly proud of her for having created the show. She's head writer and lead actress of a hit TV show all while being a fairly new mother and working on a movie. She's clearly very clever, funny and determined, and it would be most excellent to see her rewarded.
No. 6: Acting nominations for the women of "Brothers & Sisters."
I was a little surprised when this show didn't make the list of Emmy finalists, but I suppose I shouldn't be; it had a rough start, and that might have turned a lot of people off. But this Sunday-night drama got progressively stronger as the season went on, and that had a lot to do with the performances from the female half of the cast, including Sally Field as the Walker family matriarch, Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockhart as her daughters, Patricia Wettig as the "other woman," and Emily VanCamp as the family's surprise half-sister. Maybe this show isn't ready for a best drama nomination yet, but the women have earned their spots.
No. 5: Love for some of comedy's great supporting players.
Just a handful of the folks I'd like to see recognized: Becki Newton, Vanessa Williams and Michael Urie of "Ugly Betty," Jack McBrayer of "30 Rock," and Rainn Wilson and Angela Kinsey of "The Office," Elizabeth Perkins of "Weeds." They make their shows fuller and richer creations, and sometimes, these so-called supporting actors are the main reason I tune in.
No. 4: An acting nomination for "Lost" that's not Evangeline Lilly or Matthew Fox.
In an ensemble cast chock-full of fabulous actors, it bugs me that these two are consistently given so much praise and attention. I find their performances to be repetitive, one-dimensional and often bland. There are many other more deserving actors in this show, so here's hoping at least one of them gets some attention at the Emmys. Specifically, I'd love to see Yunjin Kim (Sun, pictured at right), Michael Emerson (Ben), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), or Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond). But any of them, barring Kate or Jack, would be fine by me.
No. 3: Some recognition for "Gilmore Girls." Nobody loves a canceled show more than the Emmys (is Megan Mulally still being nominated for "Will and Grace"?), and I think that, in its last season, "Gilmore Girls" should finally get a nomination. I wouldn't give it a nod in a "best series" category; this season wasn't the strongest, and that's the kind of pandering I despise when it happens to a show I dislike. But Lauren Graham has been snubbed out of an acting nomination for years now, and I hope this year will finally be her time.
No. 2: Nominations for Pam and Jim. Yes, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski are getting their own category here. They've both done work deserving of an Emmy this year — and I'm worried that neither one of them is going to get the recognition they've earned. Emmy voters seem to have particular trouble with shows that don't fall easily into "comedy" or "drama" categories, and that goes double for performances that blur the lines. Fischer, in particular, is a perfect example of that; her "Beach Games" speech was a fantastic moment of acting, but it's not the kind of work people think of when they think of comedies. Krasinski's best work comes when he's being the straight man, setting up Dwight and Michael for embarrassment. This season of "The Office" was rocky at times, but these two could be counted on to deliver the right mix of humor and heart.
No. 1: At least one major nomination for "Friday Night Lights" — be it for drama series, best actor, or best actress (if not all three).
I'm not delusional enough to think that a nomination alone — or even a win — would be enough to boost this show into the top 10 programs in the ratings next season; I learned that lesson well enough from "Arrested Development." But it would be some kind of proof to the world at large, beyond the critics and the few million devoted viewers, that this is a show worth watching. No, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it has undeniably strong acting, tackles with themes that many shows either shy away from or make trite, and consistently aims to be great — exactly the kind of work the Emmys should be praising.
"Friday Night Lights," "The Office" and "30 Rock" photos Source
"Brothers & Sisters," "Lost" and "Ugly Betty" photos copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.
"How I Met Your Mother" photo courtesy of CBS
"The Wire" photo Source
"Gilmore Girls" photo courtesy of The CW
"24" photo courtesy of Fox