Outstanding Drama Series: Friday Night Lights. Again, as long as this show is on the air (and probably even beyond that), I’ll be thinking it needs to get nominated for things. It kills me how underappreciated FNL is, because it is hands down the best show on television. 30 Rock makes me laugh, Lost makes me deliciously frustrated, but it’s only this show that can move me to tears every single week. For its inventive storytelling, honest portrayal of its subjects and their lives, and warm-fuzzies amidst crap-crappys (i.e. Matt Saracen forgoing college to take care of his Grandma), this show is hands-down the best one on television--and it’s high time it gets recognized for that.
Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock. It’s won the last two years in a row, and dammit if it doesn’t deserve it again. 30 Rock is consistently funny. It’s so inventive. There was a long period in there where all the jokes on television seemed stale--after you’d heard them the first time on Seinfeld and the second time on Friends, they were old. But 30 Rock didn’t just update the old jokes; this show has a different sense of humor, with updated characters and a fresh single-camera style that makes comedy television new again.
Outstanding Actor in a Drama--Joshua Jackson, Fringe. As the “civilian consultant” who liaises between his father’s wacky science and the FBI, Peter Bishop often has to be a translator, a mediator, and a calmer-downer for Walter. He’s at once frazzled by his relationship with his father, an arrogant ass with a mysterious (and dangerous) past, and a sensitive, affectionate friend to Olivia. Joshua Jackson plays him with a nice edge; he never gives away too much. It’s a performance I enjoy week to week, as the most normal member of this crime-solving team. Oh, right, and he’s from another dimension.
Outstanding Actress in a Drama--Evangeline Lilly, Lost. Only one person in the cast really rocked that DHARMA jumpsuit, and that was this woman. If that’s not deserving of an Emmy, I don’t know what is. In all seriousness, Evangeline pulled off a real coup this year. Her character (Kate? Is that right?) had the strongest arguments both for and against Island Return ’07. Pro: Find Claire and return Aaron to his rightful mother. Con: Stay and keep living the charmed life you’ve set up with your kid. Her conflictions during Young Ben Death Watch ’77 and Jughead Explosion ‘?? were similarly awesome and well-played. Watching Evangeline play these emotional stories, especially in “The Little Prince” and “Whatever Happened, Happened,” was a thrill, even as it pained us to see Kate in such distress. Both Skaters and Jaters came out of this season kind of shrugging our shoulders, because Kate’s story this year was (finally) all her own.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama--Justin Chambers, Grey’s Anatomy. When we found out about the Izzie drama coming down the pike, this team was more excited for how this would affect Alex than his girl. Seeing their romance unfold--remember, it was just last season finale that they started things up with awkward comfort/pity sex--has been the shining light in an otherwise pretty dull season of Grey’s. Watching Alex mature in the face of his relationship with Izzie, watching him become a married man who thinks about his future children and their careers and their life together--it’s extraordinary.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama: Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights. As long as Connie Britton keeps submitting her name, I’ll keep praying for her to get nominated. Her performances on Friday Night Lights are consistently jaw-dropping in their honesty. Tami Taylor is, I swear, the most realistic character on television. Somewhere in rural Texas, she exists. And Connie plays her with such depth, such heart, such poise, that I can’t help but be moved by everything she does. From taking on Buddy Garrity’s Jumbotron to navigating Dillon’s fiscal crisis, this has been another banner year for this show and especially this character.
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory. Probably a shoo-in, Jim Parsons is announcing the nominations next month. And if-slash-when he gets nominated, it will be heartwarmingly well-deserved. As Sheldon Cooper, the neurotic brainiac physicist who sucks the fun out of everything and can’t handle change, I can’t help but laugh out loud at just about everything he does. Watching him handle otherwise uncomplicated life dilemmas (such as someone taking your spot on the couch) with atypically ridiculous behavior is the best part of watching The Big Bang Theory. And Jim Parsons plays this character with such earnestness, such matter-of-fact rationalism, that I would be remiss to champion anyone else’s cause.
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy--Tina Fey, 30 Rock. Fine. I’m boring. Tina Fey wins everything already. But (A) this is a weak-ass category and (B) there’s a reason why Tina Fey wins everything. It’s because she’s awesome. This year, Liz Lemon did more crazy Liz crap. She met Oprah (but not really), dated Jon Hamm before that went south, and, you know, just generally handled the business of TGS with Tracy Jordan. As awesome--some might even say as unbeatable--as ever, my money’s still on Tina.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy: John Krasinski, The Office. Just for the last fifteen seconds of the finale. Well, there's more than that. But seriously, watching Jim this year has been similar to watching Alex this year--only without ghost!sex. Jim took a little responsibility for his life this year--getting engaged to, buying a house for, and starting a family with Pam. He also tried to take his job seriously this year, even though he didn’t do a convincing enough job for Charles. For his maturity with a sense of humor, I think this is the year John should be considered.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock. She’s an underappreciated part of an otherwise highly appreciated series--and wouldn’t Jenna Maroney love to hear me say that? This year, a little spotlight was shone on Jenna as she prepared for her role as