Beyond those four, the choices become harder. "House" was too erratic, and while "Friday Night Lights" remains a favorite, there has to be some punishment for that wildly out-of-character murder plot. Cases can be made for "The Tudors", "Breaking Bad" or "CSI", which shook up its cast and its formula while maintaining its ability to produce crowd-pleasing episodes. Still, go with "Rescue Me", which remains basic cable's riskiest and often most rewarding series.
"30 Rock" (NBC)
"The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
"Ugly Betty" (ABC)
"Pushing Daisies" (ABC)
"The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS)
If no show fared better post-strike than "Grey's", none fared worse than "30 Rock", which makes its status on the list iffy. Still, when it was funny, it was the funniest show on TV, and that should count for something.
The other choices are easier. "Pushing Daisies" was the best new show; let's pray voters remember it. "Big Bang" and "Old Christine" restore your faith in conventional sitcoms. And while "Betty" faltered badly at the end, it was still good enough to earn a slot. Anyone who disagrees should feel free to turn that spot over to "Weeds", "Californication" or "Samantha Who?"
READERS: Which TV performances deserve recognition from Emmy voters? Share your suggestions in the comments below.