Emmy nominations: The rotten shames and the nice surprises -- EW's TV critic likes ''24'' too, but questions the short shrift given to shows like ''Lost,'' ''Housewives,'' and ''The Sopranos''

By Gillian Flynn
Updated July 06, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Alfre Woodard: RON TOM/ABC

Emmy nominations: The rotten shames and the nice surprises

Emmy voters did get some things right today when they released their nominations (winners will be announced on Aug. 27): For example, 24‘s best season ever actually meant something to voters. The series received the most Emmy nominations (12 nods) of any dramatic series, and that stunning White House pair, Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart, each got a nod. Still, for every sigh of relief (Steve Carell’s nomination for The Office), there was a snort of indignation (no Rainn Wilson or John Krasinski for The Office?) Here, a roundup of the good, bad, and weird of the 2006 Emmy nominations:

Desperate Housewives and Lost are… lost Whether you were disappointed when the second season of Lost failed to wrap up certain mysteries, the fact remains this is one of the most compelling series on TV — it won the Emmy for Best Drama last year — and for Emmy voters to fail to even nominate it smacks of undue punishment. New cast members Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (as haunted Mr. Eko) and Michael Emerson (as really super-creepy Henry Gale) should have gotten nods too. Desperate Housewives, which ABC controversially enters into the Comedy category, also seemed to get an over-aggressive slap: It was snubbed both as a series, and in all the acting categories, aside from Alfre Woodard?s nod for her supporting role. Last year, leads Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, and Marcia Cross all got nods (Huffman won). But then again, both Best Actress categories were a bit off this year.

The best Best Actress category Debra Messing, Allison Janney, Mariska Hargitay, Jane Kaczmarek, Lisa Kudrow — yawn! All fine actresses who all got Emmy nods just like we knew they would for not particularly stretching (in the good-but-not-stretching category, we can also add Stockard Channing, who got a nod for her patented brash broad on the already-cancelled Out of Practice). Veronica Mars‘ Kristen Bell, who could have landed in either comedy or drama, should have been recognized; her witty, funny, kind-hearted performance this season kept the series worth watching. No, the acting category that really got things right was Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, which saluted Gillian Anderson?s brittle, fearful aristocrat in Bleak House, Annette Bening?s woman scorned in Mrs. Harris, Judy Davis? charismatic killer in A Little Thing Called Murder, and the stunning Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I.

Comedy got screwy How do you nominate Scrubs for best comedy and snub Zach Braff, the guy who?s in nearly every scene? Similarly, how do you nominate Arrested Development and ignore Jason Bateman, the heart of that show? (Both actors received nods in 2005, but did even better work this past season, particularly Bateman, in his stuttering courtship with Charlize Theron.) And thanks for recognizing Jaime Pressly?s bratty Joy, but My Name Is Earl deserved more?snubbing Jason Lee and nominating clearly bored Charlie Sheen for Two and a Half Men is just mystifying.

Then again, so did Drama Um, yeah, so there are these two actors named Edie Falco and James Gandolfini who dominate The Sopranos? They?re not on your list (Gandolfini deserved a nod just for the look he gave his wife as she started in on Adriana?s disappearance over breakfast). Yes, they nominated Michael Imperioli, but, boy, did they go broad with drug-craving, screenplay-writing Christopher this season. Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie failed to be nominated for his brooding work on House (a series, like Scrubs, in which a single actor works with a lovely ensemble to set the tone of the show. Finally, boo for refusing kudos to The Shield, which like 24, had one of its best seasons yet. At the very least, Forest Whitaker should have gotten a nod for his twitchy, obsessed IAD detective (his rage upon realizing he was being spied on with his mentally unstable wife should have placed him in the running). On the positive side, a nod for entirely genuine Denis Leary as Rescue Me?s tortured firefighter is a nice bit of relief.