No need for a big build up. With the Academy switching the rules and moving "Downton Abbey" from miniseries to regular series, it's shaken up the whole field. Here are the nominees in the main categories for this year's Emmys:
Outstanding Drama Series"Boardwalk Empire" (HBO)
"Breaking Bad" (AMC)
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
"Mad Men" (AMC)
COMMENTS: With the exception of "Boardwalk Empire," it's hard to argue with these picks. But "Empire" is a plodding drama that is arguably TV's most overrated show. Either FX's "Justified" or CBS' "The Good Wife" would have been a much better pick.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates, "Harry's Law"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men"
COMMENTS: With their acting pedigrees, Bates and Close were locks to get nominated, while Danes, Dockery and Margulies were also virtual cinches. Moss was more borderline for me -- she didn't really have a breakout episode this year, and you can make an argument that Jessica Pare had a bigger impact each week on that show. Of course, no surprise, the Academy passed over Katey Sagal ("Sons of Anarchy") yet again.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville,"Downton Abbey"
Steve Buscemi, "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Damian Lewis, "Homeland"
COMMENTS: Again, no real surprises. If the Academy loves "Empire," then Buscemi was always going to get a nom, even if he's really just playing Steve Buscemi a lot of the time. The biggest omission here is Timothy Olyphant of "Justified."
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Joanna Froggett, "Downton Abbey"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Archie Panjabi, "The Good Wife"
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
COMMENTS: No real arguments here, though I don't see anyone beating out Dame Maggie Smith. And given the Academy's lack of love for "Sons of Anarchy," not surprisingly, no nomination for Maggie Siff.
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jim Carter,"Downton Abbey"
Brendan Coyle, "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Giancarlo Esposito, "Breaking Bad"
Jared Harris, "Mad Men"
Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
COMMENTS: Arguably the toughest category in all the Emmys, the voters did a terrific job in getting Esposito and Harris in there. Sure, there are plenty of great supporting actors out there, but it's hard to quibble with this list.
Outstanding Comedy Series
"Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO)
"Modern Family" (ABC)
"30 Rock" (NBC)
COMMENTS: Seriously, three HBO shows? What about "Louie" or "Wilfred" from FX? What about NBC's daring "Community"? As usual, the Academy stays in a rut while picking the one overrated new show, "Girls."
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"
Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"
Amy Poehler, "30 Rock"
COMMENTS: This is what the Academy should be doing -- when you have so many potential nominees, expand the list to seven. I find Dunham and her show to be highly overrated, but they are the current darlings in the TV world.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin,"30 Rock"
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
Louis CK, "Louie"
Jon Cryer, "2 1/2 Men"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
COMMENTS: This category has become somewhat pedestrian, with the same nominees re-appearing. Seeing Louis CK crack the list, however, gives me some hope.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, "Big Bang Theory"
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Kathryn Joosten, "Desperate Housewives"
Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family"
Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie"
Kristen Wiig, "Saturday Night Live"
COMMENTS: It was nice for the late, great Joosten to get a nomination; it's sad she missed seeing it by only a few weeks. It'd have been nice to have seen one of the funny ladies from either "Happy Endings" or "Cougar Town" on the list.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell,"Modern Family"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"
Max Greenfield, "New Girl"
Bill Hader, "Saturday Night Live"
Ed O'Neill, "Modern Family"
Eric Stonestreet, "Modern Family"
COMMENTS: Nice to see Greenfield deservingly make the list, since he stole every scene he was in this year and was one of TV's breakout characters. Should the "Modern Family" actors cancel each other out, he might stand a chance. But here's hoping O'Neill finally gets the win he's deserved for so long.
What were your favorite nominees and snubs?
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: TBS launches a new comedy tonight called "Sullivan & Son," which airs two episodes from 10-11 p.m. I didn't get a chance to watch the screeners, but I hear it's in the vein of "Cheers."
Also on cable are new episodes of "Burn Notice" and "Suits" from 9-11 p.m. on USA. In wacky casting news, Denise Richards shows up on ex-husband Charlie Sheen's new show, "Anger Management" (FX, 9:30 p.m.), followed by new episodes of "Wilfred" and "Louie."
On the networks, there's a new "Saving Hope" (NBC, 9 p.m.) and "Rookie Blue" (ABC, 10 p.m.)