My pick for the clearly the 3 best dramas on TV right now--LOST, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad--were all nominated for "best drama." And none of the other nominees were *bad* shows per se, and I heard that Big Love really hit its stride this season, so I need to catch up with that. Maybe this makes up for ignoring three of the greatest shows ever--Deadwood, The Wire, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer--for all those years. And, I would have to say that Breaking Bad deserves to win, but it probably will not. But Breaking Bad's second season was pretty amazing, beating the first season by a mile. I know some people find this show *too* painful to watch--a complaint I heard about The Wire too--but, even forgetting the drug-stuff, Breaking Bad has the best TV depiction of a marriage falling apart since Sopranos Season 4. The argument scenes capture the exact nature of marital power-trips and dishonesty-via-honesty.
Hugh Laurie was nominated *again* for playing Greg House. And, really, this character should be annoying and the show should be horrible, but he carries the whole thing on his back. He makes the show. That being said, Bryan Cranston should win for Breaking Bad.
And, YES, Michael Emerson--who I recently tributed on this blog--was the only *acting* nomination from LOST. This is forgivable, and even laudable, because LOST is much more of a writer's show. Its best episodes--Walkabout, The Constant--certainly have great performances, but the show is really about the possibility of a complex non-linear narrative on television. It is really a show concerned with narrative form itself. Only Terry O'Quine--as the pathetic/heroic John Locke--and Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus are stand-out actors on the show. (That being said, bobody but Evi Lily and sometimes Matt Fox is particularly bad, it is--like the characters on the show itself--that the actors are more like chess pieces that the writers move around the "play-board.") Even great emotional LOST moments--"Kate, we have to go back: WE HAVE TO GO BACK" or the Desmond/Penny moments--draw as much from narrative cleverness as they do from acting. It is telling that most LOST fans are as emotionally invested in characters we barely know--Jacob, the Man in Black, Penny Widmore, hell, even, a smoke monster--as we are in Jack, Kate, and the rest. It is also telling that this year, Mad Men and LOST are the only two shows nominated in the Drama Writing category. Both are "writer's" shows, though Mad Men in a completely different way than LOST.
Anyway, decent job Emmys. And, good luck Michael Emerson!