The heavy-hitters

A look at veteran or critically acclaimed dramas that will likely be in the Emmy mix this year

24 (Fox)
Season: 5th
Street cred: How many times can Jack Bauer save the world? As many as it takes, it seems, as this past season was deemed one of the best. Voters are inspired, too — Kiefer Sutherland has four noms and the show three — but the question remains: Can it get over the top for a win?

CSI (CBS)
Season: 6th
Street cred: If there’s a disconnect between voters and viewers, “CSI” is the test case. Viewers can’t get enough of the most-watched scripted show on TV, but voters don’t seem impressed. The skein has been nommed three times, but continually gets shut out of the winner’s circle.

GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)
Season: 2nd
Street cred: The most buzzed-about drama on TV didn’t receive any acting or series noms last year — because of its midseason launch, perhaps — but there’s very little chance that will happen again. With tons of momentum on its side, “Grey’s” might be the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

HOUSE (Fox)
Season: 2nd
Street cred: While Hugh Laurie is its engine, don’t think this skein can’t stand on its own in terms of a series nomination. It’s a ratings champ for Fox — even away from “American Idol” — and the writers are learning that more character development is a winning strategy.

LOST (ABC)
Season: 2nd
Street cred: The defending champ until somebody knocks it off and, if last season’s island goings-on are any indication, there’s little reason to believe its fan or voter base will wane. Winning in its first season was impressive, but twice in a row would be a major accomplishment.

RESCUE ME (FX)
Season: 2nd
Street cred: Maybe it’s Denis Leary’s smarminess that alienates voters. Or that the firemen are mostly womanizing jerks. Except for a directing and a writing nom, there’s got to be some reason why this series, which balances drama and comedy as well as any other, can’t get Emmy traction.

THE SHIELD (FX)
Season: 5th
Street cred: In a weird way, having Michael Chiklis win in the show’s first season almost made voters forget just how good this tough-as-nails cop drama is. Not only does Chiklis continue to ignite the screen, but his confrontations with Forest Whitaker raised the series up a notch.

SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
Season: 5th and final
Street cred: Though it had some ups and downs, Alan Ball’s mostly brilliant look at the Fisher family ended on an extremely high note. And the last episode, in which we see how all the characters finish out their lives, may go down as one of the most memorable series finales in TV history.

THE SOPRANOS (HBO)
Season: 6th
Street cred: Love and hate are often intertwined, and that seems to sum up the feelings of this year’s just-
concluded season. Some feel David Chase has lost his touch, with wandering and incidental storylines, while others enjoy the nuance and slow burn.

THE WEST WING (NBC)
Season: 7th and final
Street cred: With four Emmys for best drama, never underestimate the show’s prestige factor. Sure, it might seem to be out of Emmy’s sights, but the seasonlong election battle between Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda was as good as almost anything out there.

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