Although David Kelley’s “The Practice” won last year for best drama, it would be tough to argue that it doesn’t deserve it again, coming off a season where the gang was up to their legal briefs in decapitations, drug raids gone bad and a little romance.
“NYPD Blue” remains a solid choice, too, but the series had a hard time landing on its feet after the departure of Jimmy Smits and offered its best episodes last fall, which may be too long ago for Emmy voters.
But while some stories didn’t seem to capture the tension of the 15th Precinct, newcomer Rick Schroder was terrific as Detective Danny Sorenson and could grab a nom as best actor, along with perennial choice Dennis Franz. It might be hard to nominate both, so Schroder would be a fresh and popular choice.
And getting back to “The Practice,” leaving Dylan McDermott off the best actor list would be difficult, especially after his recent Golden Globe win.
On the distaff side, Kelli Williams might pick up where Camryn Manheim triumphed last year as best supporting actress in a drama.
ABC has found a winner in “Sports Night” and either of the leads, Peter Krause and Josh Charles, could be selected for best actor in a comedy. Plus, Felicity Huffman, as the strong-minded but ultimately likable producer, has an excellent chance for a nom as well.
Overall, the show is set to make its mark for best comedy, especially with “Seinfeld” and “The Larry Sanders Show” out of the running.
Actually, with both of those perennial kudos magnets off the air, “The Drew Carey Show” and “Spin City” have long-shot chances of being nominated. Michael J. Fox, who won in 1988 for “Family Ties,” could make a return appearance to the podium, especially if Emmy voters are feeling generous after learning of his recently disclosed health ordeals.
Jenna Elfman should make a return visit to the comedic actress category and has an excellent chance of taking home the big prize. Patricia Richardson, who has been nominated three times, will most likely get one more chance to win as “Home Improvement” signs off.
In the miniseries category, “Cleopatra” (and its star, Leonor Varela) has an excellent chance to land a nom or two while “Stephen King’s Storm of the Century” might also find itself honored come nomination morning.