This is my annual plea to the Emmy voters for nominations that might otherwise get overlooked.
Each of these picks are ones I'd consider to be longshots; I'm not necessarily arguing they should win, but they at least deserve a nomination.
So, you won't see names like Peter Dinklage's or Jon Hamm's below; since those are virtual locks, I don't feel the need to plead their cases even though both are clearly worthy of nominations and are certain to be on the final lists.
The drama category itself will be particularly interesting this year, since the Emmy voters have re-classified "Downton Abbey" as a drama rather than a miniseries. With that show -- which nearly swept all of the miniseries categories last year -- now in the drama mix, it makes the races that much tighter, since the show is a critical darling.
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What it really means is that most of my picks below are unlikely to make it. Anyway:
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA: Jared Harris, "Mad Men." Harris also ought to be listed just for his work on "Fringe" this season, but the whirlwind season of his character, Lane Price, was the single best thing on one of TV's best shows. (Hey, for punching Pete Campbell and kissing Joan Harris in the same episode, that alone deserves some sort of award!) Anyway, Harris has been so good of late in any role that he may no longer be known as Richard Harris' son. If he gets the recognition he deserves, Richard Harris may become known as Jared Harris' dad. Honorable Mention: Neal McDonough, "Justified."
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA: Maggie Siff, "Sons of Anarchy." Let's be honest, whomever gets nominated, Dame Maggie Smith is a virtual lock to win for "Downton Abbey." But it'd sure be nice if Siff got a nomination for her continued excellence, and with the storylines she was given this year, this might be her best chance. Honorable Mention: Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad."
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA: Timothy Olyphant, "Justified." Actually, I think Olyphant's chances are pretty good for a nomination, but considering the depth of this field -- Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Laurie, Michael C. Hall, Damian Lewis, etc. -- it's not a lock, which is a shame. This was "Justified's" best season yet, and frankly, the entire cast deserves nods. Honorable Mention: John Noble, "Fringe."
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA: Katey Sagal, "Sons of Anarchy." Seriously, Emmy voters, Sagal has been the single biggest omission over the past four years. What's it going to to take? I can't say Sagal has been better now than in previous years, only because she's been the best thing on TV's most overlooked drama since Day 1. If you bypass Sagal in favor of someone like Madeleine Stowe, I'm seriously thinking of having the Sons put a hit on you voters. Honorable Mention: Anna Torv, "Fringe." (If, for no other reason than she does the world's best Leonard Nimoy impersonation.)
BEST DRAMA: "Fringe," Fox. Had "Sons of Anarchy" not blown it with its finale, I might have picked it, but the fact remains that "Fringe" is the single most imaginative hour on TV. With the exception of "The Good Wife," it's also the best drama the networks have to offer. In this case, the nomination would really be a win in a field that will likely include "Breaking Bad," "Justified," "Mad Men," "Game of Thrones," "Downtown Abbey" and "Homeland." Honorable Mention: Wow, looking at that list, I'd almost have to say "Good Wife," since the category is so deep that nothing may be a lock. By the way, if "The Killing" somehow beats out any of the shows listed above, Emmy voters, consider that hit by the Sons of Anarchy still on.
Which longshots would you like to see nominated?
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Somewhat slim pickings tonight. NBC has more Olympic swim trials, followed by "America's Got Talent" and "Love In the Wild." There's something called "The Catalina" (The CW, 8 p.m.) as well.
On cable, TNT airs new episodes of "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Franklin & Bash" from 9-11 p.m.