July 12, 2016 10:37 AM EDT

The Emmy nominations will be announced July 14, but it’d be silly to predict much upheaval. This awards show, the exact opposite of the novelty-loving Golden Globes, moves according to glacial time, not TV viewers’ time. And year after year, many worthy but unexciting or past-their-prime shows find their way to a nomination simply on the basis of familiarity.

That makes it hard for any newbie to break in, and yet harder for real surprises to happen. But hope springs eternal. Here are two series and six stars I would love to see honored. In many cases, I’m sticking them on my ballot precisely for the reason that they won’t be nominated, because they deserve vastly more attention. It’s not out of the question—Friday Night Lights suddenly became an Emmy darling late into its run. So if not this year, maybe next year; like any good long-running series, the Emmys give you just enough reason to hope for a turnaround.


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