A correction was made to this article June 13, 2006.
Why: When nobody was looking, “Huff” snagged four Emmy noms last year — and a win for Blythe Danner. It’s best not to make the mistake twice.
Why: By far the most stable of his crew, Connolly’s Eric is able to step out of the Hollywood mode and be voice of reason.
Why: Though the format of the series sometimes puts a stranglehold on character development, Epps has shined more than a few times when given more introspective material.
Show: “The Sopranos”
Why: Gannascoli, as gay mobster Vito, wasn’t afraid to show his effiminate side and brought a human element to the business.
Show: “The Shield”
Why: Goggins has never gotten the press of Michael Chiklis but his role as Mackey’s confidant and crooked cop is just as worthy.
Show: “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
Why: A perfect comedic foil to Julia Louis Dreyfus. He often delivers just the perfect one-liner to keep both his Christines placated.
Show: “The Unit”
Why: Is there anybody more authoritive on TV than Haysbert? Whether he’s the president on “24,” saving lives and protecting the nation’s security — or even selling auto insurance — the guy gives rock solid credentials to whichever character he’s playing.
Show: “Prison Break”
Why: Every good drama needs a villain and Knepper’s sleazy but always fascinating T-Bag fits the bill.
Show: “The Office”
Why: His romance budding romance with Jenna Fischer was a major part of the skein’s creative, and viewer, turnaround.
Show: “Rescue Me”
Why: In a show about firefighters, McGee’s a former fireman himself, so the authenticity he brings is unquestioned. And with over 100 screen credits over the past few decades, the guy deserves some peer recognition.
Show: “Law & Order: SVU”
Why: Meloni unleashed his talents in a big way when, after leaving mothership “L&O” in 2000, broke out as part of the electric “Oz.” ensemble. Since then, he’s cursed less but delivered on a weekly basis for “L&O: SVU.”
Why: Hard to believe Petersen, on the most watched scripted show on TV, could be considered an underdog, but he’s never been nominated. Even if you’re not a fan of procedurals, it’s tough to dismiss what he brings to the success of the show.
Why: The big guy showed serious acting chops in the episode about an imaginary friend leading him down the wrong path. And then his girlfriend gets shot.
Harry Dean Stanton
Show: “Big Love”
Why: Reaching 80 hasn’t slowed down Stanton, whose creepy menace as the prophet in the HBO polygamy drama has Bill Paxton’s family on edge.