The high interest that naturally accrues around this hugely competitive category is somewhat muted by the TV Academy's tendency to repeat itself.
Brian Cranston, for example, has won the Emmy for lead actor in a drama for the past three years running. Yet with Cranston and "Breaking Bad" off the table this year due to an air date that missed the eligibility window, voters did open the door to a couple of newcomers.
Timothy Olyphant, the charismatic star of FX's sophomore series "Justified," is a first-time nominee. Steve Buscemi also made the cut for "Boardwalk Empire," but that felt inevitable, given the outpouring of Emmy accolades for the freshman HBO series, which nabbed 18 noms overall. A second nom for "Friday Night Lights" star Kyle Chandler was a welcome indication that voting members really do watch television, including low-rated but critically embraced shows in their final seasons.
For the remaining …