Our take on Emmy snags and Emmy snubs -- Our cheers for ''The Office'''s Steve Carell, our tears for ''Gilmore Girls''' Lauren Graham

By Lynette Rice
Updated July 14, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Emmy Surprise Patrol
We said we wanted a revolution, not an evolution. Despite assurances by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that a new Emmy Award nomination system would finally give underdogs their due (like the criminally overlooked Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, and Everwood), its members managed to make a bigger mess. The July 6 announcement played like a disappointing episode of American Idol: How could a voting bloc get so much so wrong? Snubbed were TV’s finest dramas (Lost and The Shield) and actors (House‘s Hugh Laurie and My Name Is Earl‘s Jason Lee) in favor of a bizarre collection of veterans, who would have been more appropriately feted in 2001, and a batch of now-canceled newcomers. (Performances from Commander in Chief and Out of Practice, both yanked after their first seasons, received recognition.) Critics aside, these selections can hardly please viewers: America’s two favorite scripted series — CSI and Desperate Housewives — will be virtually missing from the Aug. 27 ceremony.

”The whole reason for this retooling was to bring in shows and stars from alternative nets like FX and The WB,” says The Envelope.com columnist and Emmy historian Tom O’Neil. Previously, the academy chose nominees via mail-in ballots?but this time an extra layer was added: After the popular vote, a select group screened finalists in each major category before selecting the five nominees. Continues O’Neil, ”It failed in its mission.” You be the judge.

The Losers
What best drama of 2005? TV’s most compelling series, Lost, was curiously absent from the best-drama category, making way for Grey’s Anatomy, The West Wing, The Sopranos, 24, and House. ”Something’s messed up if Lost didn’t get nominated,” complains Scrubs exec producer Bill Lawrence (whose own comedy was acknowledged in the best-sitcom category). ”It’s actually the TV show that made the industry optimistic again that a network show could grab the whole country.” O’Neil blames Lost‘s loss on the producers’ questionable decision to submit the season opener (which largely dealt with Jack and how he met his wife) rather than the more self-contained episode about the Tailies’ life on the island. ”Voters typically don’t appreciate the backstory,” says O’Neil.

Nor, it seems, do they appreciate the comedic talents of the women of Housewives — all four were shut out of the best-actress category despite kudos for the cast and a win for Felicity Huffman last year. (Though Alfre Woodard got a surprise nod for basically serving ice cream to her son shackled in the basement.) Again, this omission seems to be a result of episode submission. Some of the entries included slapstick scenes instead of more Emmy-friendly seriocomic ones. Also getting the cold shoulder: The Sopranos‘ James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, and Earl’s Lee. And yes, we sound like a broken record, but screw it — Girls‘ Lauren Graham was robbed again. Television Academy chairman Dick Askin only offers measured sympathy: ”When you try to narrow it down to just five, there will be a lot of people who are happy but plenty more who are disappointed. It’s a no-win situation.”