Here's who deserves Emmy voters' attention... Ken Tucker says don't ignore ''The Wire'' and ''Alias'' -- but forget ''Six Feet Under'' and ''Sex and the City''

By Ken Tucker
July 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
Alias: Reisig and Taylor

Here’s who deserves Emmy voters’ attention…

The Emmy nominations will be announced on July 17, so it’s time to get in some last-minute wishes, hopes, and pleas. What follows isn’t the usual speculation about who or what will be nominated, but rather some impassioned suggestions about which perennially picked series or performers should sit this one out and which less heralded or overlooked ones should take their place.


Give Them a Rest ”NYPD Blue,” ”ER,” ”The Sopranos,” ”Six Feet Under,” and ”The West Wing” are all much-lauded shows that have suffered from uneven seasons. Since they’ve all received their fair share of Emmys, this is the year to give others a chance.

Please Don’t Forget ”The Wire,” ”The Wire,” ”Alias,” and ”Alias.” I know that ”24” is most critics’ fave-rave, but I’m putting all my credibility chips on these two racehorses. Why? Because they need it. ”The Wire” draws fewer viewers and less press coverage than its HBO peers, and I’m tired of hearing how ”hard” it is to follow. Who said TV has to be mindless pleasure all the time? Watch, listen, think. It pays off here, with the best ensemble cast on TV and the meatiest roles for black actors. ”Alias,” on other hand, is perceived in the industry as fluffy escapism, with creator J.J. Abrams not given credit for streamlining the show to make it as sleekly sexy and entertaining as one of Jennifer Garner’s spandex dresses.


Give Them a Rest ”Everybody Loves Raymond,” ”Frasier,” and ”Sex and the City” have all been handsomely rewarded in prior years. Besides, last season they were all a bit off, either too hammy or too tired.

Please Don’t Forget ”Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” because Fox never promoted it properly or let it develop a following. ”The Simpsons,” because voters seem to think a cartoon can’t be what this is: a masterpiece. ”Curb Your Enthusiasm,” because West Coast voters in particular seem to feel Larry David is betraying them by depicting their pampered lifestyle as something worthy of ridicule. And ”Gilmore Girls,” because this superlatively written hour-long comedy tinged with drama always seems to fall between the category cracks.

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Give Them a Rest I love Dennis Franz. I think he’s one of the good guys of Hollywood, solid and amazingly humble about his good fortune, but there’s no reason why he or James Gandolfini — solid and amazingly ungrateful for his good fortune — need more trophies. And ye gods, they wouldn’t dare give it to Michael Chiklis again for his showboating ”Shield” performance, would they? Would they?

Please Don’t Forget Anthony LaPaglia, whose wary weariness gives ”Without a Trace” an emotional undercurrent ”CSI” lacks. And Dominic West from ”The Wire.” Why is this man not just a star, but also not a full-fledged TV sex symbol?


Give Them a Rest The women of ”West Wing,” whose series was troubled by drooping ratings and equally droopy plotlines. The women of ”Six Feet Under,” who don’t need more rewards for a season when everybody in the cast acted over-the-top except Peter Krause. And Amy Brenneman in ”Judging Amy,” who always strikes me as a can’t-think-of-anyone-else-and-she-seems-a-nice-person nomination.

Please Don’t Forget Jennifer Garner and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who prove that Super-Women can act, people! And Felicity Huffman, whose astonishingly egoless turn in Showtime’s ”Out of Order” as a drug-addled, depressive screenwriter lifted this self-absorbed series to moments of greatness.

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Give Them a Rest Kelsey Grammer, Ray Romano, and Eric McCormack. Sorry, guys. You deserved Emmys in earlier seasons, but not this one.

Please Don’t Forget Matt LeBlanc, who continues his ”Friends” streak of making Joey so much more than a sweet dumb guy. Larry David, whose ”Enthusiasm” continues his streak of making TV’s richest misanthrope hilariously petty. And if there was any justice in TV-land, the star of ”Da Ali G Show” (HBO), Sacha Baron Cohen, would be vying for an Emmy as well.


Give Them a Rest Patricia Heaton, whose ”Raymond” character has gotten more brittle and a tad too mean (we can blame the writers as much as Heaton for this). And Debra Messing — for as many times as she’s been nominated, she hasn’t won, and there’s a reason for that: She’s not as funny as the other three leads of ”Will & Grace.”

Please Don’t Forget Wanda Sykes single-handedly made ”Wanda at Large” watchable, and I’d give her extra Emmy points for her HBO Sports spots and her terrific appearances on ”The Tonight Show.” Also, Paget Brewster was ostensibly a supporting player in ”Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” but by the end of the show’s run, this loose-limbed brainiac was Richter’s full-fledged costar, snaring most of the laughs.

Who do you think should get an Emmy nomination?