New blood in the Emmy drama field

Plenty of viable rookies across broadcast and cable

Six different networks offer six compelling cases for rookie Emmy recognition.

“The Good Wife (CBS)
Strengths: Julianna Margulies has proven rock solid as a buttoned-up lawyer who has her job aspirations pretty much settled, but her love life is quite a dilemma. Mix between procedural elements and personal stories has meshed well.
Weaknesses: How is possible that Kalinda gets first-look access into every crime scene? She’s not an attorney and not a cop, so what’s her secret into getting to evidence before the police? Feels like a creative stretch.
Best days ahead or behind?: As long as showrunners Robert and Michelle King don’t let things get too sudsy between Alicia and Will, everything should be fine going forward.
— Stuart Levine

“Justified (FX)
Strengths: First and foremost, Timothy Olyphant owning the lead role — just a joy to watch. But Olyphant has been backed by fresh, nuanced storytelling.
Weaknesses: Several members of the supporting cast had trouble making an impression at the outset, though that has improved over time.
Best days ahead or behind?: You get the feeling the show’s just getting started.
— Jon Weisman

“Men of a Certain Age (TNT)
Strengths: This male “fortysomething” series filled a TV gap with finely acted and scripted stories about guys at mid-life crisis points.
Weaknesses: Not surprisingly, doesn’t offer much on its opposite gender, but then again, neither did “Sex and the City.”
Best days ahead or behind?: It can be difficult for a drama about everyday life to keep things interesting, but “Men” seems up to the challenge.
— Jon Weisman

“Parenthood (NBC)
Strengths: The camaraderie of the characters feels absolutely authentic, and much of the credit for this Peacock hit belongs to exec producer Jason Katims, who brings a wonderful “Friday Night Lights” quality to the Braverman dilemmas.
Weaknesses: When parents Adam and Kristina begin to start yelling over one another — whether its about Haddie’s sex life of Max’s condition — the screaming can tune out what makes this show work so well.
Best days ahead or behind?: With a cast that offers lots of range, Katims and Co. should have plenty of creative material for several seasons to come.
— Stuart Levine

“Treme (HBO)
Strengths: Capturing the soul of New Orleans, David Simon and Eric Overmyer perfectly embrace both the city’s glorious musical traditions as well as its eclectic citizenry that struggles in a post-Katrina world — a population that refuses to let the Big Easy be forgotten.
Weaknesses: With the bar being so high following “The Wire,” this series feels like it’s moving along at a bit more leisurely and languid pace. Not a bad thing, but there wasn’t an abundance of riveting moments at the outset.
Best days ahead or behind?: To Simon’s credit, each season of his series has its own arc and flow, and it’s impossible to say if one will be better than the other.
— Stuart Levine

“The Vampire Diaries” (CW)
Strengths: The multi-layered portrayal of vampires by both Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley is the best on the smallscreen since “Buffy.” The two actors convince auds of their struggle between good and evil, and their sibling rivalry over their shared love for Elena (Nina Dobrev).
Weaknesses: The first season introduced numerous Mystic Falls characters, only to kill them off once the aud was invested in their storylines, which themselves turned Mystic Falls too high-schoolish at times.
Best days ahead or behind?: The momentum built throughout the first season will definitely pay off in years to come.
— Denise Smaldino

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