A good number of series bid their audiences farewell this season -- some after long, steady runs, others before we really even got to know them. But while these shows may have disappeared from the dial, that doesn't mean their Emmy -- chances are gone too -- or does it?.
-- Randee Dawn
The Shield (FX)
Finale: Nov. 25, 2008
Badge turn-in: Corrupt cop Vic got immunity for his numerous crimes and misdemeanors, taking down others in the process. He ended up in a desk job (a different kind of prison for him) and appeared beaten -- but then a siren wailed and he saddled up to do battle again.
Emmy wins: Lead actor in a drama, Michael Chiklis (2002)
This year? Chiklis' win helped cable hit a new milestone: Before him, no cable show actor had won a lead Emmy -- but after that, the show got bupkes, except for a few other acting nominations. Though the finale wrapped up Vic's story satisfyingly, it seems unlikely that it'll blow any doors down at the Emmys.
Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi)
Finale: March 20, 2009
Gentle landing: After four seasons, the ragtag colonialists from Caprica (and the Cylons who love them) arrived at their mythical planet Earth -- a few hundred thousand years before modern times. Does that make this a sci-fi show, or an alternate history program?
Emmy win: Visual effects (2007, 2008)
This year? On almost any show in which a beloved leader dies and her tough, beloved husband -- both lead characters -- must mourn her, nominations would be in the bag. But voters never have had much taste for sci-fi plots, and the idea that they'd make an exception for a cable show seems unthinkable. But there's always the consolation prize -- lots of technical Emmys!
The L Word
Finale: March 8, 2009
Kiss-off: The entire final, foreshortened season began with major character Jenny's (Mia Kirshner) death, then spent the rest of the episodes flashing back to provide motives for multiple murderers -- but the final episode still left things unresolved. The day following the last episode, Showtime began airing short webisodes called "The Interrogation Tapes," which followed the investigation and the story was expected to continue on the series' spin-off "The Farm," but the network declined to pick up the pilot.
Emmy history: In six seasons, Emmy voters provided only one nomination -- for guest star Ossie Davis. There were no wins.
This year? Not a chance in "L."
Boston Legal (ABC)
Finale: Dec. 8, 2008
Case closed: New owners took over the firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt; Denny (William Shatner) responded by pelting them with a paintball gun. Most everyone was fired -- then rehired (though Denny got his name taken off the masthead).
Emmy wins: Lead actor in a drama, James Spader (2005, 2007); guest actor in a drama, Christian Clemenson (2006); supporting actor in a drama, William Shatner (2005); and an award for sound mixing. Note: Spader won lead actor in 2004 for playing the same character on ABC's "The Practice," and Shatner won a guest actor Emmy that same year for playing what would later become his "Boston Legal" character.
This year? Since this is the last year Emmy voters will be able to anoint Spader in this role, he's all but guaranteed a berth in the acting category; Shatner, with the flashier role, also has a good (paintball) shot. The show has two recent nominations for best drama, so don't count it out yet.
Finale: April 2, 2009
Flatlined: It may have been a two-hour finale, but in general there were no big final moments -- other than a few old cast members getting together for drinks -- and Dr. Carter opened his new medical facility. Obligatory "the circle will be unbroken moment" when Dr. Green's daughter begins lurking about as she considers a medical career of her own. The series ends with the doctors fielding the results of another disaster, and a long, slow pullback from the ER entrance, into the rain-washed streets.
Emmy wins: Guest actor in a drama, Ray Liotta (2005); guest actress in a drama, Sally Field (2001); outstanding drama series (1996); supporting actress in a drama, Julianna Margulies (1995); a directing award (1995), a writing award (1995) and numerous technical awards.
This year: The finale itself provided no obvious standout moments, instead sticking with the established formula and proving once again that it still has a few more heartstrings to pull. Shockingly, the show never landed a lead actor Emmy win -- and it seems unlikely that it will this year either. That said, there's a darned good chance those editors and sound mixers have it all sewn up.
Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Finale: Dec. 17, 2008
The final flower? Aware that time was short, creator Bryan Fuller shaped the ninth episode of the second season as a cliffhanger, to tie in with the WGA strike. In it, regenerator Ned (whose first touch raises the dead, and second touch sends them back again) swore off touching the dead any more -- and was saved by a mysterious man in a fedora . . . who might just be his father. But maybe Ned (Lee Pace) has been touching his own show lately -- the final three episodes had an airing at Hollywood's Paley Center and are expected on a DVD collection soon. Hold those pies.
Emmy wins: Directing for a comedy, Barry Sonnenfeld (2008); music and picture editing (2008).
This year? That stuff about Emmy voters not liking sci-fi? Well, dress it up as quirky fantasy and apparently a show has a shot. Sonnenfeld is a talented, longtime Hollywood insider but this show was here and gone too fast to likely rack up any more Emmy wins than it already has.