Emmy drama series contenders


Big Love
HBO (Anima Sola Prods. and Playtone in association with HBO Entertainment)
Pro: First-time nominee is riding a season of creative highs; a fresh face among veterans.
Con: Many were surprised it made the cut; none of the cast was nominated.

Breaking Bad
AMC (High Bridge, Gran Via Prods., Sony Pictures Television)
Pro: Bryan Cranston's win last year shows that voters are fans; it's the edgy choice.
Con: Ratings are still tiny; subject matter still dark.

FX (FX Prods. and Sony Pictures Television)
Pro: Seven noms, same as last year, when Glenn Close won best actress.
Con: Less buzz this time around, and no writing nomination like last year.

Showtime (In association with John Goldwyn Prods., the Colleton Co., Clyde Phillips Prods.)
Pro: Second nom in a row for the show and star Michael C. Hall; killer premise.
Con: Ratings down this season.

Fox (UMS in association with Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Prods. and Bad Hat Harry Prods.)
Pro: A rare creative and commercial success on broadcast TV; Emmy loves Hugh Laurie.
Con: Three series nominations and no wins.

ABC (Grass Skirt Prods. and ABC Studios)
Pro: Broadcast TV's most ambitious and challenging series; won the Emmy in 2005.
Con: What's going on again? Mixed reviews for this year's time-travel story line.

Mad Men
AMC (Lionsgate Television)
Pro: Returning champion; now has more viewers and nominations than last year.
Con: Will Emmy spread the love?
"Breaking Bad" could split the AMC vote.