This could be the year the Emmys finally get it right. For the first time ever, a blue-ribbon panel will play a key role in determining who gets nominated in the major categories. The goal? To even the playing field between stalwarts like The West Wing and Will & Grace and smaller shows like Battlestar Galactica and Gilmore Girls. While we at TV Guide applaud such an approach, we can't leave anything to chance. That's why for the fifth year running, we present you with who we think should be recognized when nominations are announced on July 6. So when your ballots begin to arrive in the mail next week, keep this issue handy and feel free to copy off of us. We won't tell.

Best Comedy
Arrested Development
Everybody Hates Chris
My Name Is Earl

Although late, lamented Development still couldn't get arrested in the Nielsens, prime-time comedy remained a laughing matter, with Entourage gaining confidence and Scrubs defying the odds in its sixth season by hitting a new creative high. Plus, the arrivals of Earl and Chris (not to mention the emergence of The Office, which would have been our sixth nominee) boded uproariously well for the future of the genre.

Best Drama
Battlestar Galactica
Grey's Anatomy
The Shield
The Sopranos

It kills us not to include 24 and House, but what would we bump off of our list? Battlestar continues to redefine the sci-fi genre, The Sopranos killed by shooting Tony, Lost proved it was anything but in its second season, The Shield shone in all its tarnished glory, and Grey's established itself as a top-notch, ahem, operation.

Lead Comedy Actress
Marcia Cross (Bree, Desperate Housewives)
Lauren Graham (Lorelai, Gilmore Girls)
Lisa Kudrow (Valerie, The Comeback)
Tichina Arnold (Rochelle, Everybody Hates Chris)
Mary-Louise Parker (Nancy, Weeds)

Mamma mia! You don't need maternal instincts to recognize the sharp turns by Arnold, Parker and Cross, all of whom hit the mother lode (Cross, miraculously, pulled off her feat even as Housewives went to hell). Underrated Comeback kid Kudrow gave a tour de force that nobody watched. But once and for all, people, what does Graham have to do to get a nomination?!

Lead Comedy Actor
Jason Bateman (Michael, Arrested Development)
Zach Braff (J.D., Scrubs)
Steve Carell (Michael, The Office)
Fred Goss (Cameron, Sons & Daughters)
Jason Lee (Earl, My Name Is Earl)

This category ought to be a study in contrasts. Braff was wackier than ever; Bateman, remarkably grounded; Carell, the height of arrogance; Goss, hysterically neurotic; and Lee, endearingly goofy. Yet all of them were brilliant.

Lead Drama Actress
Kristen Bell (Veronica, Veronica Mars)
Edie Falco (Carmela, The Sopranos)
Mary McDonnell (Laura, Battlestar Galactica)
Ellen Pompeo (Meredith, Grey's Anatomy)
Kyra Sedgwick (Brenda, The Closer)

While Soprano Falco gave good grief over Tony's near-death, McDonnell juggles vulnerability and authority as a cancer-stricken president, doctor-playing Pompeo polarizes fans but unites critics, and Sedgwick brings home the bacon on Closer. As for Bell? Get a clue. Her teenage PI is outta this world.

Lead Drama Actor
Michael Chiklis (Mackey, The Shield)
James Gandolfini (Tony, The Sopranos)
Hugh Laurie (House, House)
Denis Leary (Tommy, Rescue Me)
Edward James Olmos (Adama, Battlestar Galactica)

Shield's Mackey-Kavanaugh showdown revitalized Chiklis, Gandolfini brought Tony back to life, Laurie kept a (emotionally) messy House, Leary rose to the occasion when his TV son was felled, and Olmos wowed with a show of restraint as Galactica's embattled captain.

Supporting Comedy Actress
Kelly Bishop (Emily, Gilmore Girls)
Sarah Chalke (Elliot, Scrubs)
Jaime Pressly (Joy, My Name Is Earl)
Judy Reyes (Carla, Scrubs)
Jessica Walter (Lucille, Arrested Development)

By now, Chalke and Reyes have grown into marvelously nuanced comediennes, Bishop earned the right to look down her own nose as the tube's snootiest socialite, and Walters, of course, remained as intoxicating as the martinis she swilled as Development's dragon lady. But Pressly? Who knew? Her take on white trash is a treasure.

Supporting Comedy Actor
Donald Faison (Turk, Scrubs)
John Krasinski (Jim, The Office)
John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox, Scrubs)
Jeremy Piven (Ari, Entourage)
Ethan Suplee (Randy, My Name Is Earl)

Forget Dwight, Krasinski is The Office's secret weapon (check out the season finale again if you don't believe us). Meanwhile, Suplee smartly played dumb, Piven made self-destructive hysteria hysterical, McGinley busted our guts by venting his character's spleen, and costar Faison nailed the physicality and timing required of his role with the precision of, well, a surgeon.

Supporting Drama Actress
Katherine Heigl (Izzie, Grey's Anatomy)
Sandra Oh (Cristina, Grey's Anatomy)
CCH Pounder (Claudette, The Shield)
Chandra Wilson (Bailey, Grey's Anatomy)
Jean Smart (Martha, 24)

Grey's triple threat broke hearts even as their characters mended them, Shield's Pounder went toe-to-toe with the big boys (even while her character battles lupus), and Smart, as 24's kooky first lady, brightened and lightened what otherwise would be considered a very harrowing day.

Supporting Drama Actor
Joseph Gannascoli (Vito, The Sopranos)
Gregory Itzin (President Logan, 24)
TR Knight (George, Grey's Anatomy)
Omar Epps (Foreman, House)
Forest Whitaker (Kavanaugh, The Shield)

Apparently, change really is good: Gannascoli's Vito came out and his portrayer came into his own, Itzin revealed that President Logan was less an ineffectual dullard than a sinister baddie (sound familiar?), Whitaker imbued Kavanaugh with enough moral ambiguity to fill an entire precinct, Epps came to life as Foreman nearly died, and Knight transformed George from lovesick puppy to almost-dude.

Ready. Set. Discuss.