I'll be on furlough next week, which prohibits me from working on the blog. So here's my Emmy picks a week early to get you ready for the broadcast Sept. 23 on ABC.
I'll say this: Drama-wise, this is the hardest one to pick in recent memory. Not only are there a great many dramas and actors worthy of winning, but you also have to take into account the "Downton Abbey" factor. Normally, a show like this would compete in the Miniseries category, but the Academy decided to move the wildly popular piece of "Masterpiece Theatre" into the general drama category.
The result? "Abbey" could be a major spoiler Emmy night, or it could find itself shut out against tougher competition. As you'll see, it throws the hole thing for a loop.
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Series: Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men.
Who should win/should win: Are you kidding me? Every show listed (except Boardwalk Empire -- seriously, how does this show keep getting nominated) is worthy of an Emmy. I'm going to go with Breaking Bad, simply because of the electrifying performance by Giancarlo Esposito as the villainous Gus Fring. Mad Men wouldn't be a shocker, and Homeland is probably the dark horse.
Who was robbed: The Good Wife, the best show on network TV. Also, Rescue Me in its final season. Also, Justified for its pure awesomeness.
Supporting Actor: Jim Carter, Downton Abbey; Brendan Coyle, Downtown Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad; Jared Harris, Mad Men; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad.
Who should win: Arguably the toughest category to call, I'm going off the beaten path just a bit and will say Harris, not only for his work on Mad Men, but also on Fringe.
Who will win: Esposito, who is equally deserving. His Gus Fring will go down as one of TV's best-ever villains. Dinklage, who has created one of the most popular characters on TV and who won last year, has a legitimate shot as well.
Who was robbed: Mandy Patinkin, Homeland. A wonderfully understated performance in his portrayal of a pivotal character.
Supporting Actress: Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Joanne Froggatt, Downtown Abbey; Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men; Archie Punjabi, The Good Wife; Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey.
Who should win/will win: As much as I love the Goddess Christina Hendricks, and I do love her quite a bit, no one is going to beat out Dame Maggie Smith, who has created one of TV's most talked-about characters.
Who was robbed: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones. The standout female on a show full of great female characters, Headey's viciousness as Queen Sersei remains one of the best things on the show. As Tyrion would say, that, and her wonderful cheekbones.
Lead Actor: Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Damian Lewis, Homeland.
Who should win: As much as I love Cranston, who has owned this category since his show began, I think it's time to pass the torch to Lewis and his wonderfully conflicted Marine-turned-terrorist.
Who will win: Cranston, obviously. When it's done, Breaking Bad will go down as one of the best dramas in TV history. If Hamm didn't win last year, when Cranston wasn't eligible (and having an episode as powerful as "The Suitcase" as his showpiece), he won't win gold this year.
Who was robbed: Timothy Olyphant, Justified. Damn, Academy, a goose egg for Justified? Man, they need some new blood in there.
Lead Actress: Kathy Bates, Harry's Law; Glenn Close, Damages; Claire Danes, Homeland; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men.
Who should win: Danes. Her nutty CIA agent character gave the viewer the full roller coaster ride.
Who will win: Danes or Margulies, unless the Academy goes with the blue bloods of Bates or Close.
Who was robbed: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy. For a list of reasons, please go back and read every single awards show blog I've written over the past four years.
Series: Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Veep
Who will win/should win: Modern Family. Did you watch the Emmys last year?
Who was robbed: You can make a strong case for either Episodes or Louie. And though it didn't have a snowball's chance, Community remains the most outlandish risk-taking show on TV.
Supporting Actor: 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.
Who should win: O'Neill. It's his time, and the guy has done great work on TV for the past three decades. Do the right thing, voters.
Who will win: If the Modern Family guys cancel each other out, Greenfield has a strong shot at this given his breakout performance this year.
Who was robbed: I wouldn't say robbed necessarily, but Jeff Garlin has been a great foil to Larry David over the years on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Supporting Actress: 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.
Who should win: If you go by how the Academy has voted the past two years, it's Vergara's turn. Wever also deserves a lot of love.
Who will win: This could be Vergara's time, but Joosten, who died a few months ago, will get some sympathy votes.
Who was robbed: Allison Brie, Community. One of the show's many abnormal, yet hilarious, characters.
Lead Actor: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Don Cheadle, House of Lies; Louis CK, Louie; Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiam; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory.
Who should win: Louis CK, who stars in one of the most innovative comedies since "Seinfeld." But I think his act may be over the heads of some of the Academy's older voters.
Who will win: Parsons will likely repeat, but Baldwin may get consideration.
Who was robbed: Joel McHale, Community. Matt LeBlanc, Episodes.
Lead Actress: Zooey Deschanel, New Girl; Lena Dunham, Girls; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly; Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation.
Who should win: Louis-Dreyfus or Poehler. Louis-Dreyfus has found the best role of her career, which is saying a whole lot, while Poehler has been pure excellence.
Who will win: Louis-Dreyfus. Dunham may be the popular choice among voters who think Girls is the hip thing to like on TV (newsflash: it's not), but she'll probably win in writing. McCarthy, who won last year, won't have the "Bridesmaids" momentum this time around.
Who was robbed: Patricia Heaton, The Middle. The show is a strong performer for ABC, and Heaton is the center of The Middle.
Who are your picks?
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: It's a shame I'm off next week (mostly because I don't get paid), but it's also when most of the new shows start getting rolled out and the old ones return. You'll just have to get by without me.
One of my favorite shows, however, returns tonight with a new season of "Shark Tank" (ABC, 8 p.m.) I've seen the first two episodes, and there's some really great moments of tension.
Also new tonight on cable are "Boss" (STARZ, 10 p.m.) and "Strike Back" (MAX, 10 p.m.)
On Saturday, in addition to all of the college football, "Doctor Who" (BBC America, 9 p.m.) visits an Old West town on an alien planet, with guest star Ben Browder of "Farscape."
Season 38 of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) stars Seth MacFarlane and musical guest Frank Ocean.
On Sunday, the incredibly overrated "Boardwalk Empire" (HBO, 10 p.m.) returns for a new season of overratedness. Seriously, I can understand why it gets love from the Golden Globes, because those voters are all French guys who can be bought with enough swag. But the Emmys?
TNT has two, count 'em, two new episodes of "Leverage" Sunday from 9-11 p.m. "Masterpiece Mystery" continues with a new "Wallander" at 9 p.m. on PBS.
On cable, I finally gave up on "Hell On Wheels" (AMC, 9 p.m.) when I realized I didn't care about a single character. Meanwhile, BBC America has a new "Copper" at 10 p.m.
Finally, Showtime airs the series finale of "Weeds" at 10 p.m.
See you in a week.