''Raymond'' and ''Sopranos'' deserve their nods, but Bruce Fretts says ''Buffy'' and ''Oz'' were unfairly overlooked

July 29, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

EW Online critiques the Emmy nominations

Here’s the good news: Emmy loves ”Raymond.” Now the bad news: It loves ”Sex and the City,” too.

Ray Romano’s superb CBS sitcom, inexplicably overlooked in its first two seasons, finally won serious recognition this year, scoring Emmy nominations for best comedy series, best actor, best actress (Patricia Heaton), best supporting actor (Peter Boyle), and best supporting actress (Doris Roberts). Sadly, costar Brad Garrett was snubbed, even though his character — Ray’s sad-sack cop brother, Robert — provided many of the past season’s comic high points. Or, as the deeply self-deprecating Robert might say, ”Everybody loves everybody but me.”

”Raymond” will compete for best comedy with ”Friends” (finally being acknowledged again), ”Frasier” (which had a creatively uneven season), ”Ally McBeal” (don’t get me started…), and, shockingly, ”Sex and the City.” Sarah Jessica Parker’s self-indulgent HBO smut-com somehow beat out the critically preferred ”Sports Night” and ”Will & Grace.” Personally, I would’ve rather seen CBS’ gut-bustingly funny rookie ”The King of Queens” honored, but nobody asked me.

That’s the way it is with the Emmys: For every smart choice that’s made, there’s another boneheaded one to match it. The voters paid their proper respects to HBO’s justifiably acclaimed Mob drama ”The Sopranos” by giving it 16 nominations but dissed the pay-cable network’s equally excellent prison shocker, ”Oz,” which received only 2 nods, for best casting and best guest star (Charles S. Dutton).

And apparently, the Emmy nominators’ TVs don’t get the WB, because the consistently fantastic ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was nearly invisible (except in two technical categories) and ”Felicity” was completely shut out, despite the fact that star Keri Russell won the Golden Globe for best dramatic actress. In my opinion, Meredith Monroe deserved inclusion for her indelible work as a mentally ill teen on ”Dawson’s Creek” as well.

But what can you expect from people who nominate uncured ham John Lithgow (”3rd Rock From the Sun” — does anybody watch this stupid show anymore?) and pain in the rear Paul Reiser (”Mad About You” — good riddance!) year after miserable year?

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