HBO families square off for drama crown

'Wing' goes for fourth win; Comedy noms recall '02

The Sopranos and Fishers are perfect for each other.

One clan sends ’em to the morgue, while the other buries ’em.

And for the first time, HBO heavyweights “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” will be in direct competition, vying for drama honors.

Last year, two seasons of “Six Feet Under” tallied more Emmy noms than any other series but “The Sopranos” was absent, having missed the eligibility period. Now, the shows face off — Tony goes against Nate, Carmela vies with Ruth.

And then there’s defending champ “The West Wing,” NBC’s political skein that seems to be having more drama behind the scenes that in front of the camera. The series is a perfect 3-for-3 on Emmy night, and the question that hangs over the kudofest is will voters want to send off Aaron Sorkin with a fourth statuette?

On the comedy side, it would’ve been nice to see a bit more change in this year’s Emmy class. The series class is an exact duplicate of 2002.

Doesn’t mean they’re not worthy: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Raymond” nailed several classic episodes, while “Sex and the City,” “Will & Grace” and “Friends” delivered consistently.

On the acting side, voters made room for a sixth nom — “Monk’s” Tony Shalhoub joins the fray this year — and his inclusion is important in that it stands as another testament to basic cable’s validity with both audiences and voters.