Snap Judgment: The Emmy Drama Nominations

As usual, this year's Emmy nominations are something of a mixed bag. A bunch made me cheer. A bunch more made me boo. And several more are just baffling in their very existence. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing my first thoughts on the nominations. I'm looking first at the drama nominees, because that's where some of my favorite nominations came from — but also some of the harshest snubs.


  • I know people like Boston Legal. It's a fine show. But better than Friday Night Lights or The Wire? No. I'm glad it only has one more season left in it, because I'm starting to see it as just the series that consistently takes an Emmy spot away from a more deserving show. I pretty much hate it on principle.
  • At least for The Wire, I can be satisfied with the writing nomination David Simon and Ed Burns got for the series finale, "-30-." Not the case for FNL. A casting nomination? Don't insult me, Emmy.

  • On the positive side, hooray for Damages and Mad Men, which are making history as the first basic cable series ever nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category. The love for Mad Men was overwhelming (16 nominations overall!); Damages was a little more restrained, with seven nominations, but that includes three acting nods in addition to the series honor.
  • But what's with the women of Mad Men getting shut out? Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks were both on the semifinalist lists, but neither actually made the finals.

Some more griping — and some positive thoughts, too! — if you read more.

  • Even more than FNL and The Wire, here's the snub that actually upsets me most: Anne Dudek missing out on the Outstanding Guest Actress category. Her performance still haunts me. To be fair, I haven't seen all of the other performances in the category — but as great as Diahann Carroll was as Mama Burke on Grey's, I'd absolutely leave her off the list in favor of Dudek.

  • OK, some happy thoughts. One of the people I'm truly happy for this morning: Michael Emerson. I thought he could have won the Emmy last year, and this year was just as good (if not better) for Ben. I'll be rooting for him.
  • The Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama category is fascinating: Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Gabriel Byrne, and Bryan Cranston are all newcomers, while Hugh Laurie has been nominated two previous times but never won. And then there's James Spader: Two previous nominations for Boston Legal. Two wins. Might as well just give him the Emmy now.
  • Nice to see two of the three Grey's Anatomy ladies who were nominated last year (Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh) back in the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama category. Wonder if Heigl could have made it a three-peat if she'd only deigned to submit her name.
  • More proof that this is the Year of the Cable Show, at least where dramas are concerned: All five episodes nominated in the writing category for dramatic series came from cable. Two episodes of Mad Men were nominated, along with one Battlestar Galactica, one The Wire, and one Damages.

Photos copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.

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