For your consideration: Three great actors Emmy should honor this year
Admittedly, it's a pipe dream that anything written here will influence anybody with a vote in the Emmy awards.
But the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences released ballots for the awards Monday, meaning the group's membership is about to decide on the best and brightest for this year's awards show, hosted by my favorite TV talent, Glee star Jane Lynch.
Click here to see a list of everyone on the ballots.
In case any academy members are lounging poolside at a local resort or hanging out at the Dalí, I offer a few dark-horse suggestions for folks who should not be overlooked this year.
They're already on the ballots -- here's hoping the TV academy members take time to vote them in.
Margo Martindale (Justified) at right: Always the bridesmaid at somebody else's wedding, ace character actor Martindale has made the most of a long string of secretaries, moms and best friends. But her center-stage turn as the villainous backwoods crime boss Mags Bennett turned FX's Justified into a thrilling ride, well deserving of TV's biggest honor.
Wendell Pierce (Treme): For many years, Pierce was a best thing in a lot of awful TV shows, from The Gregory Hines Show to The Steven Weber Show. And he shone as a hard-drinking, no-nonsense detective on David Simon's amazing cop drama for HBO, The Wire. Now, he's killing it as beleaguered trombonist Antoine Baptiste in Simon's tribute to a recovering New Orleans, HBO's Treme.
Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation): Amy Poehler and Rob Lowe may get all the ink, but Offerman's gruff conservative boss Ron Swanson is the show's secret weapon — a reliable go-to for wacky asides and unexpected plot twists. Best of all, he's got the manliest moustache this side of Tom Selleck.