I can think of a dozen reasons to dislike the Emmy awards. Five of them served as co-hosts of last year's telecast.
But for all the excess of the TV show itself, and some of the winners that seem totally off the wall, it is still the one night and morning after that millions of us watch, talk and argue about. We focus on quality - whatever each of us means by that - rather than ratings.
And last year, with "Mad Men" and "30 Rock" winning as best drama and comedy, it seemed like the voters finally and mysteriously got it right. So let the picking and arguing begin.
My first pick is for the telecast itself. Neil Patrick Harris will be host for the "61st Primetime Emmy Awards" show starting at 8 tonight on WJZ (Channel 13). The show will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and it promises to be a lively one if nothing else. Harris gave the Tonys telecast a jolt of joy this year, and there is every indication that tonight's Emmys show will be a good one as well.
Best Drama Series: Starting with the big award that will be given last, I am expecting AMC's "Mad Men," the stylish drama set on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, to repeat.
In my heart, I believe "House" had a better year. I had problems with the way the suicide of Dr. Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn) was handled, but I was also deeply moved by the sensitive way in which the emotional fallout of his death was treated in subsequent episodes. And I loved House's (Hugh Laurie) refusal to accept any bromides about death in trying to ease the pain of Kutner dying. The intellectual honesty of this series would be rare even on cable TV.
But "Mad Men" has the buzz and the aura of being the best series on TV - and I am guessing academy members will vote that way whether they really believe it or not. Besides, the cast provided such a good-looking onstage finale for last year's telecast.
By the way, Oprah has a "Mad Man" 1960s-themed show planned for Monday with stars Jon Hamm and January Jones. And if Oprah doesn't know, who does?
Also nominated: "Big Love," "Breaking Bad," "Damages," "Dexter" and "Lost"
Best Comedy Series: No doubt about it: "30 Rock." Last year, on the eve of a watershed presidential election, Fey owned Washington, New York and Hollywood. Her Sarah Palin impersonation was adored by millions of fans and worshiped by political and entertainment writers alike. She and "30 Rock" rocked the Emmys.
Fey might not win that big again tonight, but she should and will win for best comedy. There is nothing that compares with the satire of her backstage NBC sitcom about a fictional NBC out-of-control show.
Also nominated: "Family Guy," "Flight of the Conchords," "How I Met Your Mother," "The Office" and "Weeds"
Best Actor Drama Series: I believe with all my heart that Gabriel Byrne deserves the award for his in-practically-every-frame performance as a therapist on HBO's "In Treatment." But I don't think he will get it; the show flew too far below the ratings radar.
While many are picking Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," I am going with Hugh Laurie of the Fox medical drama "House." If I can't have Byrne, Laurie is far more deserving than Hamm, who has been getting worse as the series has progressed.
Also nominated: Simon Baker ("The Mentalist"), Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") and Michael C. Hall ("Dexter")
Best Actress Drama Series: Glenn Close, from the FX drama, "Damages," wins hands down on presence if nothing else. I don't particularly like this series, but she does fill up the screen with her persona like almost no one else in this category.
Kyra Sedgwick continues to do great work on TNT's "The Closer," but her role as Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson lacks the gravitas and heft that it usually takes to win for drama.
Also nominated: Holly Hunter ("Saving Grace"), Mariska Hargitay ("Law and Order: Special Victims Unit"), Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") and Sally Field ("Brothers and Sisters")
Best Actor Comedy Series: This is not a great category, which is why Alec Baldwin, from "30 Rock," should win in a walk. He plays a ridiculous character, an NBC executive who defines empty suit, but instead of making him seem silly, he makes the character seem almost believable. That conjurer's trick is what makes the comic clashes between him and Fey's Liz Lemon resonate with such gender and workplace tension.
Also nominated: Steve Carell ("The Office"), Jemaine Clement ("Flight of the Conchords"), Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") and Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men")