Critics may love to kick it around, but don't underestimate Emmy's affection for Chuck Lorre's long-running show — which has already racked up eight wins in various categories.
Mr. Bates is a force to be reckoned with in Downton's downstairs world, and Coyle brings a sense of kindness and mysterious darkness to his portrayal of Lord Grantham's valet.
“The Good Wife”
Even without his character's sudden death, it would have been a memorable season for Charles, who brings a wry intelligence to the role of Will Gardner.
A true actor's actor, Emmerich has never been better than as conflicted FBI Agent Stan Beeman, who fell for his KGB informant.
“Game of Thrones”
He won an Emmy for the first season, and Tyrion Lannister, aka “The Imp,” has only grown in complexity. His searing speech delivered while on trial for murder was a season highlight.
Goldwyn makes for an irresistible and formidable commander-in-chief as he attempts to run the country and win the affections of Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope.
“House of Cards”
A reliable character actor finally transcended “That Guy” status with the role of Doug Stamper, the loyal right-hand man to Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey).
“The Good Wife”
The Tony winner is spectacular as the brilliant, sharp-tongued political strategist Eli Gold — a role that's earned him two Emmy nods.
Perry's Cyrus Beene suffered a tremendous loss this season, allowing Perry to showcase his incredible range as the manipulative yet emotional White House chief of staff.
For five seasons, Paul's Jesse Pinkman was the heart of “Breaking Bad,” and never was he more wrenching than in the final episodes where he was held captive by white supremacist drug dealers.
Bob Odenkirk may be starring in “Better Call Saul,” but it's a great alternate title for this political thriller, where Patinkin's Saul Berenson proves to be the real brains at the CIA.
The inevitable but tragic death of his lovable DEA Agent and adoring husband was one of the toughest scenes to watch in a season full of them. Norris also has a key role in “Under the Dome.”
After being in prison for 20 years, Mickey Donovan arrived in L.A. wreaking havoc among the Donovan clan. Voight brings charm and appeal to the otherwise murderous character.
“The Walking Dead”
Volatile but loyal, Reedus' charisma helped elevate zombie survivor Daryl Dixon from a recurring character to series regular — and fan favorite.
His deliciously named Dr. Valentin Narcisse took a wild ride, beginning the season as top dog before surviving an assassination attempt and turning FBI informant.
He plays multiple roles in quirky sketch-comedy “Portlandia,” but few characters can compare to his kooky turn as potential witness Melipnos on two episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Her Jeannie Van Der Hooven is the savviest one of the guys on “House of Lies.” Her properly coiffed Ingrid de Forest and the other Eagletonians on “Parks and Recreation” play dirty, too. They just need to have brunch first.
As long-suffering Trudy Campbell on “Mad Men,” she's had to contend with the foibles of high-maintenance husband Pete — who would probably get along well with her Type-A people-pleaser Annie Edison on “Community.”
He's a closeted university provost who can't control his impulses in “Masters of Sex,” while on “The Millers,” he's past the point of wanting to control anything (including his own family).
If her repressed housewife Margaret Scully on “Masters of Sex” had gone to therapy, the result might have been her Bonnie Plunkett on “Mom” — wanting to make up for lost time and build a relationship with her adult daughter (Anna Faris).
Exudes warmth and good humor as Mike Henry, a newscaster with Parkinson's in “The Michael J. Fox Show.” But Louis Canning on “The Good Wife” is like Henry's evil twin: so calculating and smart that he's irresistible.
The actor commits heinous crimes on “Fargo,” but solves them on “Sherlock.” His sad-sack Minnesota insurance salesman is the complete opposite of brilliant and vulnerable Dr. Watson, who proves an invaluable ally to Sherlock Holmes.
Whether stealing scenes as the silver-tongued Kentucky crime boss Boyd Crowder in “Justified” or as the vulgar, transvestite prostitute Venus Van Dam in “Sons of Anarchy,” Goggins commits grand larceny in just about any role he plays.
Plays the sober finance guy on “The Good Wife” who tries to bring order to chaos. But as the easily excitable wedding planner Pepper on “Modern Family,” he incites chaos everywhere, hitting the heights of hysteria in the season finale.
His rugged warrior Daario Naharis on “Game of Thrones” claims to have two talents: war and women. His Cal Morrison on “Orphan Black” and Liam McGuinnis on “Nashville” certainly have no problem with the latter. And they're not immune from trouble either.
Joined the “Law & Order: SVU” squad this season as the abrasive but hyper-efficient Lt. Murphy. He was equally abrasive (but far less efficient) as the scheming King Horik who met a fittingly sticky end in the season finale of “Vikings.”
As the forthright Martha Levinson, MacLaine went toe to toe with the caustic Dowager Countess on “Downton Abbey” but truly commanded the screen as wealthy socialite June Dolloway on “Glee,” belting out Janis Joplin alongside Darren Criss like a pro.
She's the conservative secretary who can't cope with William Masters' eccentric thoughts in the “Masters of Sex,” the dubious handler in “The Americans” and the foil set to spoil adult son Nathan's good time in “The Millers.”
In addition to serving as “The Goldbergs'” nostalgic narrator, the ubiquitous actor has popped up on “Modern Family” as magician Ducky Schindler, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as Fire Marshall Boone, and on “Agents of SHIELD” as seemingly omnipresent Agent Koenig.
Apparently Schwartz is good at playing tools. His character Clyde Oberholt on “House of Lies” is the more educated, cunning version of his superficial sloth Jean-Ralphio on “Parks and Recreation.”
She's high-maintenance, gold-digging scene stealer Mona Lisa on “Parks and Recreation,” while both the humor and drama of her Sarah on “House of Lies” take a backseat to the hijinks surrounding Don Cheadle's Marty Kaan and his associates.
As Lena Dunham's sweet, well-meaning grandma on “Girls,” Squibb just wants to see her granddaughter happily married before she dies. Her retired Broadway diva on “Glee” also has some late-in-life requests: to be remembered and to reconcile with her daughter.
Schreiber's perverted, handsy prison guard George “Pornstache” Mendez is a lot of things, but at least he's not a psychotic child rapist and murderer like the actor's William Lewis on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
The actor's cocksure, grandiloquent U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens in “Justified” would surely look down his nose at Olyphant's long-haired himbo skate boarder Graham — Mindy's love interest du jour — in “The Mindy Project.”