It isn't a perfect world. We all know that. Our country is at war. Our stocks are tanking. And, after the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences mails out its 2001-2002 nomination ballots this week, Will & Grace is probably going to muster up enough support to vie once again for the Best Comedy Emmy. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In fact, with The Sopranos out of the running in the drama categories (a side effect of its postponed premiere), so many slots are left vacant that new blood virtually must be infused into the race. So, members of the Academy, we would thank you from the bottom of our hearts if, while you were checking off familiar favorites like Sex and the City and David Hyde Pierce, you also considered a few series and performers that are flying underneath the radar.

For instance, while a past winner like Dennis Franz hardly is a rookie of the year, his squadroom romance with NYPD Blue colleague Charlotte Ross makes us want to put another certain golden girl back in his hands. And, although Buffy the Vampire Slayer — which you shamefully ignored when it was brilliant — flatlined following its dazzling musical episode, its spinoff, Angel, came to life, hitting (and maintaining) a new creative peak. Besides, just think how with-it you'd seem, were you to be the first industryite on your block who dared to admit, "I picked Scrubs — it leaves me in stitches!" or, "Lauren Graham had my vote at hello!"

To that end, your friends at TV Guide Online, helpful lot that we are, have compiled a list of alternative Emmy contenders. Some of them are likely to be on your short lists already; all of them belong there. So please, we beseech you, review these names and titles — more than once, if necessary — and then do your part to ensure that, on nomination day (July 18), no announcer is forced to utter the word Ted followed by the word Danson.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Alias
Angel
CSI
The Shield
24

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Ben Browder (Farscape)
Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue)
Chi McBride (Boston Public)
Michael Chiklis (The Shield)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claudia Black (Farscape)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Keri Russell (Felicity)
Sela Ward (Once and Again)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue)
Victor Garber (Alias)
Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under)
James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Esai Morales (NYPD Blue)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under)
Leslie Hope (24)
Mary Louise Parker (The West Wing)
Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue)
Susanna Thompson (Once and Again)

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
The Bernie Mac Show
Everybody Loves Raymond
Friends
Gilmore Girls
Scrubs

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Zach Braff (Scrubs)
Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle)
Denis Leary (The Job)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show)

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jennifer Aniston (Friends)
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls)
Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Lenny Clarke (The Job)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Kelly Bishop (Gilmore Girls)
Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls)
Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Judy Reyes (Scrubs)
Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond)