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The Breakouts

No clueless freshmen, these shows made the top of the class.

May 28, 2008|Lisa Rosen | Special to The Times

A STAR lawyer tries to off her protege. A bad girl gets amnesia and a chance to be good. A baker has the power to bring the dead back to life. Ad men populate a 1960s world seething with prejudice, adultery and back-stabbing, all aided by copious drinking. On the Upper East Side in the present day, the drinking and trysting are still copious -- among the underage set. And in Albuquerque, a dying man starts cooking up crystal meth for the best of reasons.

It takes a lot for new television shows to break out of the pack. The shows described above have left their marks on this odd, truncated season, and all have been assured of a second season. Awards and nominations have accumulated for almost all of them already and venerated actors are abundant throughout, so will Emmy take note of any in this bunch of upstart freshmen? Or are they going to have to do a season of dues paying?

Here's a closer look, over the next three pages, at why these shows stand out and what they have planned for their sophomore year to keep audiences coming back.

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