The voting process for the Emmys changed this year, supposedly to get perennially overlooked shows and performances into the big categories. But I don’t think a Charlie Sheen nomination for Two and a Half Men was what most people had in mind. It looks like even when you set aside a super-special, neato-keeno panel to cherry pick the five nominees from a broader list voted on by the entire academy, you still get ho-hum past winners like West Wing’s Allison Janney and Martin Sheen, and huge ratings hits like the multinominated Grey’s Anatomy, but not Kristen Bell for Veronica Mars, or Lauren Graham for Gilmore Girls, or anyone/anything for one of the most critically acclaimed shows around, Battlestar Galactica, out in the deep space of basic cable. FX seems to have made its way into the Emmy club with its previous nominations for The Shield, and now can trumpet its nomination for Denis Leary for Rescue Me, although something tells me the recent rape episode will keep him in his seat come awards night. Other oddities include the fact that House gets a drama-series nomination, but not one for the reason people watch the damn thing: Hugh Laurie, who was up for an Emmy last year. Same with The Sopranos: another nod for a show, but Gandolfini and Falco were left out. And last year’s winner for Best Actress in a drama, Patricia Arquette for Medium, wasn’t even nominated. Did people perceive a huge crashing downturn in the quality of her performance? I still think it’s the most interesting female performance in prime time, so there’s practically a groove in my head from the scratching I’ve been doing since the nominations were announced. No Mary Louise Parker for Weeds. No My Name Is Earl for comedy series or Ethan Suplee’s marvelous supporting turn. No Neil Patrick Harris for How I Met Your Mother. In fact, you could almost sense the relief from the academy that sitcom vets Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Lisa Kudrow — talented and deserving though these two are — had new shows to nominate them for (The New Adventures of Old Christine and HBO’s canceled The Comeback, respectively). But bright spots can be found. There were nominations for Stephen Colbert, Cartoon Network’s Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Showtime’s Sleeper Cell, Steve Carell for The Office and Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer. So go, Kyra, but in this new Emmy world, don’t expect a return invitation.
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