TV Eye

Emmy Gets Hip

Give this guy an Emmy.
Give this guy an Emmy.

As evidence that things can change, there are some welcome surprises among this year's Emmy Awards nominees. One is the inclusion of the wonderful Jennifer Garner (Alias) on the Best Actress in a Drama list. Her nomination is surprising because the Emmys -- with the exception of the creative arts categories -- have traditionally snubbed action-adventure-fantasy series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files). The same can be said of excellent new series, which are usually pushed aside in favor of the same old warhorses. This year, the very tired ER (NBC) and The Practice (ABC) are moved aside to make room for new shows like 24 (Fox), The Shield (FX), and Six Feet Under (HBO).

That's not to say there aren't some strange omissions. Absent is the howlingly funny Scrubs (NBC), as are the prematurely canceled Once and Again and The Job, both formerly on ABC.

Who will take trophies this year? Got me. In the end, all I really care about are my choices. So, with my glow-in-the-dark statuette of St. Clare, Patron Saint of Television, at my side, here are my choices from this year's nominees.

Actor, Drama Series: Michael Chiklis, The Shield (FX); Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause, Six Feet Under (HBO); Kiefer Sutherland, 24 (Fox); and Martin Sheen, The West Wing (NBC). This is a tough one. Hall gave a heartbreaking performance as David Fisher. However, my vote goes to 24's riveting Kiefer Sutherland. Would a nod to David Boreanaz (Angel, WB) kill the Emmy voters?

Actress, Drama Series: Jennifer Garner, Alias (ABC); Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy (CBS); Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under (HBO); Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under (HBO); and Allison Janney, The West Wing (NBC). If anyone pushes me, I have to admit that between Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy (BtVS) and Jennifer Garner's Sydney, Garner is tops. I would vote for Garner, though I think Conroy's delicate performance is also deserving.

Actor, Comedy Series: Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show (Fox); Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); Kelsey Grammer, Frasier (NBC); and Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry, Friends (NBC). LeBlanc had a good year, but Bernie Mac gets my vote for his edgy, laugh-out-loud performance. MIA on this list is Zach Braff from Scrubs.

Actress, Comedy Series: Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); Jennifer Aniston, Friends (NBC); Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle (Fox); Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City (HBO); and Debra Messing, Will & Grace (NBC). Jennifer Aniston deserves credit for being the only cast member of Friends to develop from a whiny, self-centered dilettante to a whiny, self-centered working woman and now mother. That's as much Friends support as you'll get from me. Ahem -- where's Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls?

Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Victor Garber, Alias (ABC); Freddy Rodríguez, Six Feet Under (HBO); and Dulé Hill, John Spencer, Bradley Whitford, and Richard Schiff, The West Wing (NBC). Why don't the Emmys create an ensemble award already! I have a soft spot for Freddy Rodríguez but was disappointed to not see Michael Vartan from Alias or Dennis Haysbert, who plays TV's next dream president on 24 (Fox).

Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Tyne Daly, Judging Amy (CBS); Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under (HBO); and Mary-Louise Parker, Stockard Channing, and Janel Moloney, The West Wing (NBC). My vote goes to Lauren Ambrose for bringing nuance to what could otherwise be another sullen TV teenager. But where's Sarah Clarke, who turned out to be evil Nina on 24? Speaking of evil, it was a head-spinning performance from Alyson Hannigan's Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (UPN).

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Peter Boyle and Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); David Hyde Pierce, Frasier (NBC); Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle (Fox); and Sean Hayes, Will & Grace (NBC). Hands down, Bryan Cranston. However, John McGinley, who plays the acerbic Dr. Cox on Scrubs, deserved a nomination.

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS); Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me (NBC); Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City (HBO); and Megan Mullally, Will & Grace (NBC). Cynthia Nixon deserves props for handling Miranda's life-changing storyline brilliantly. But at the top of the MIA list is Cheryl Hines, who plays Larry David's wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), Gilmore Girls' Kelly Bishop, and Scrubs' Judy Reyes and Christa Miller.

Many of the above series are included in the outstanding series categories. This year I vote for 24 for Outstanding Drama Series and the funny, but uneven, Curb Your Enthusiasm for Outstanding Comedy Series. Typical TV fare they're not, and for that they should be rewarded.

The 54th Annual Emmy Awards airs Sunday, Sept. 22, 7pm, on NBC. For more info and a complete list of nominees, visit www.emmys.com.

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