Although nominations for the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards won't be announced until July 15, one thing is certain (at least if history is any indication): The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is gonna get it all wrong! That's why for the fourth year in a row, TV Guide's Matt Roush and Michael Ausiello (with a little help from Bruce Fretts and freelancer Ben Katner) have compiled a list of the shows and actors we feel are truly deserving of recognition. Please, Academy members, we implore you: Print out these pages and use them as your personal cheat sheet when the official ballots begin arriving in your mailboxes this week. Otherwise, we all run the risk of Will & Grace getting the last laugh over Scrubs. And that would be, well, not funny at all. Below are our picks for Best Drama and Comedy. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to proceed to the acting categories.Outstanding Drama Series
24: After a rocky midseason, Fox's real-time thriller rebounded with a string of spectacular, action-packed bioterror-themed episodes that had us back on the edge of our seats. And we have the ulcers to prove it. The Shield: The police detectives in this intense drama — think of it as a squad-room 24 — don't just walk a beat, they walk a fine line between cops and robbers. But to ignore a roster of characters as layered as a blooming onion would be truly criminal.The Sopranos: Delivering more jolts than an EKG, HBO's mob soap opera raised the bar on quality that it already had set, then did the unthinkable — topped itself. What can we say? "Business" is good.The Wire: Unlike most HBO shows, this magnificent crime drama undeservedly flies under the media radar. The second season, unfolding against the Baltimore waterfront, was complex, tragic and completely engrossing.Without a Trace: The best of TV's (and Jerry Bruckheimer's) many procedural crime dramas. A fine cast led by Anthony LaPaglia digs deep into psychological mysteries in a fascinating array of missing-persons cases.
Outstanding Comedy Series
Arrested Development: Answers the question: Will the networks ever make an HBO-like comedy? This smart, biting satire about a family of delusional, spoiled-rotten wack jobs is so deliciously offbeat it's a miracle it got renewed for a second season.Everybody Loves Raymond: The exception to the rule that traditional sitcoms are no longer funny. The explosive dynamics of the Barone household — with sibling, generational and spousal rivalries — continue to amuse after eight seasons.Reno 911: It's like Cops gone berserk in an improvisational, hilarious parody of true-crime reality TV. Every tour of duty is a study in humiliation for the most inept group of officers since the Keystone Kops.Scrubs: With Friends gone, maybe the Academy will finally make the acquaintance of a clique we embraced years ago: the oddball doctors and nurses of TV's NBC (Next Big Comedy). Even the Peacock's suits have already saluted the white coats — by renewing the comedy for two more seasons.Sex and the City: Avoiding obvious jokes about "satisfying climaxes," we'll say only that, in their final season, the Womanhattanites got mixed up in some of their funniest — and most poignant — stories. And the finale left both longtime fans and fussy critics reaching for a cigarette. (Darn. We almost made it.)
To read our drama acting picks, click here!