Aside from the bevy of mind-dumbing reality programming - this past year has been one of the best years for television that I can remember. Here are the shows and the talent that I feel deserve an Emmy nomination:
1. Best Supporting Actor (Comedy) - Most of my picks here have to belong to Glee. Mike O'Malley, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer are perfection- although O'Malley might be included as a "guest actor" I am not really sure of the qualifications, his performance is standout enough for me to be included in this category. Cory Monteith has really shined in the most recent episodes, while Colfer had my heart from the beginning. Rounding out the category, I would say that Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation and Josh Hopkins from Cougar Town always bring the funny to their respective shows. None of that matters of course when they are up against Ty Burrell - who steals the spotlight on Modern Family in every episode. I actually think the entire cast of Modern Family deserves some Emmy love, but Burrell is by far the best.
2. Best Supporting Actress (Comedy) - I would be really surprised if Jane Lynch didn't get a nomination (let alone win the category!), she has helped create a character that will live forever. To be honest, I don't think anyone else compares - but for the hell of it here is her biggest competition (i.e no competition at all...): Julie Bowen for Modern Family, it is hard to match comedic wits with Burrell - but I think she holds her own pretty well. Christa Miller and Busy Phillips for Cougar Town are fantastic as rivals for the BFF crown. Alison Brie for Community and Aubrey Plaza for Parks and Recreation - essentially they both accomplish the same thing on their respective shows, which is to quietly and awkwardly steal our hearts.
3. Best Actor (Comedy) - This is probably the only category that I didn't have to narrow down from a dozen. Two of the nominations are a given: Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell. Personally, I would throw Joel McHale for Community in there (knowing that yes, his supporting cast is much funnier than him - but I am bias. His work on The Soup should have garnered him a nomination years ago). My fourth pick is Adam Scott from the little watched but brilliant Party Down - and yes if Jane Lynch didn't kill as Sue Sylvester on Glee, I would insist on a nomination for her work on this little gem of a show. I am usually a little behind on premium channel programming, so I can't really say for sure - but I loved David Duchovny on Californication last year, I am assuming he is just as good this year. I also wouldn't be upset if Zachary Levi was nominated for Chuck - although I think this past season was the weakest yet. Please, oh please do not nominate Charlie Sheen for a 5th time.
4. Best Actress (Comedy) - Tina Fey finally has some challenging competition and not just Amy Poehler. While both of these comedians are deserving of nominations, I think Courteney Cox might steal both of their thunder. Cox has proved to be extremely talented, not only is she the first "friend" to have a successful television show, she is also the first "friend" to truly shed her "friend" persona. I do not see Monica Geller while watching Cougar Town - not even a little bit. Also competing should be Leah Michelle from Glee and Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives (although the show is quickly sliding down hill, Longoria has been consistent through out the series). I am assuming that Edie Falco or Toni Collette (or both) might make the list of nominees this year for Nurse Jackie and The United States of Tara respectively and I also assume that they are both deserving (I still haven't watched either show).
5. Best Comedy - This is really just a show-down between Glee and Modern Family, with the latter having a minor edge only because its target audience is slightly older (and wider). Both shows are deserving and so completely different that it is really hard to gage which is actually the "better" of the two. My other picks for the category are Cougar Town, Community, Parks and Recreation and Party Down. I am calling for a shut out of 30 Rock (which has won the past 3 years in a row) simply because my other picks are consistently funnier. Also, my usual "lock" in this category is Weeds, however the last season was incredibly disappointing and also really not funny (although I won't include it in the "drama" category either).
6. Best Supporting Actor (Drama) - Please, let this be Aaron Paul's year! I can't even describe to you how fantastic he is. He stands out against other fantastic supporting performances, including his Breaking Bad co-star Dean Norris who surely deserves a nomination for one of the series best episodes "One Minute". Grey's Anatomy has proven to "own" most of the supporting talent on television this year (although their "stars" are lacking - Pompeo and Dempsey just can't compare to their co-stars). This year I would give the edge to Justin Chambers and Kevin Mckidd. I would also single out John Noble for Fringe (although I think technically he could possibly be submitted as lead actor) and Terry O'Quinn for Lost (the only Lost actor worthy of a nomination this year).
7. Best Supporting Actress (Drama) - The usual players in this category from Grey's Anatomy, Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson both deserve another nod (Oh has been nominated 5 consecutive times for this role - maybe this year they should just give it to her already). Their biggest competition comes from Parenthood, Monica Potter delivers every scene with such emotional resonance that I practically cry every time she appears on screen, but the best performance on that show belongs to Mae Whitman who blew me away with her honest portrayal of teen angst. Jennifer Carpenter deserves some credit for her work on Dexter and Christina Hendriks continued to be outstanding on Mad Men (although she was seriously under-used last season). On a side-note, I could argue that all of the supporting actresses on Grey's Anatomy deserve a nomination - Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw are amazing at creating the only relationship that I actually root for on the series, Kim Raver finally finds a challenging role and kills it, while even the newcomers from Mercy West prove to be talented - Sarah Drew's performance in the season finale was incredibly powerful. However, an all Grey's Anatomy category would just be ridiculous.
8. Best Actor (Drama) - Two of my favorite television actors will compete against each other this year - former co-stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Peter Krause (Parenthood). My vote will always be for Hall for his sublime portrayal of serial killer Dexter Morgan, however Krause does a fantastic job on Parenthood as the father of a son with Asperger's syndrome and a loyal brother and husband who is often stuck in between these duties. The only other actor who compares to these two heavyweight actors is Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad (he has won the last two years). I would love to see some younger talent nominated such as Ben McKenzie for Southland or Paul Wesley for The Vampire Diaries (although both are unlikely). I also wouldn't mind if Hugh Laurie is nominated for House (I don't watch the series, but I love his speeches) and I guess I can't leave out Jon Hamm for Mad Men.
9. Best Actress (Drama) - Last year this category was filled with actresses on shows that I don't watch - Glenn Close, Kyra Sedgwick, Sally Field and Holly Hunter will likely get nominated again. All are amazing actresses so, I really can't argue against them. However, there are some talented actresses on shows that I do watch that I would like to see get some recognition. Lauren Graham from Parenthood is a fan favorite and she is now a favorite of mine. Anna Torv is a force to be reckoned with on Fringe. I will include my favorite actress, Mary Louise Parker, in this category because her work on Weeds is always fantastic - even if the show has lost its spark. I think Taylor Shilling did fantastic work on Mercy, even if the show was mediocre (and cancelled). Rounding the category out, I will include Regina King from Southland and January Jones from Mad Men (who was wrongfully snubbed and replaced with the awful Elisabeth Moss last year).
10. Best Drama - My favorite new drama Parenthood will have a hard time competing with previous nominees Breaking Bad and Dexter. Emmy favorite Mad Men will likely win again. Other shows I would like to see included are Southland (simply so NBC will wince in pain) and Fringe. I do not feel that the last season of Lost is nomination worthy but since it is the last season of such an innovative show, I will not be upset if it is nominated (and awarded). Also, again it would be nice to see The Vampire Diaries get some recognition - I think the show is truly fantastic (as you can tell from my previous posts), but I know this is a long shot since its target audience is tweens and it is on the CW (has anything on the CW ever been nominated?).