Tatiana Maslany

Tatiana Maslany, star of BBC America's "Orphan Black," is high on the Buzzmeter panelists' Emmy wish lists. (BBC America)

Emmy nominations arrive next week and, with them, the very real possibility that voters might dodge the same-old same-old and include some of the season's fantastic freshman class. Who might make the cut? And who should? We gathered The Envelope's Buzzmeter panelists — USA Today's Robert Bianco, TV Guide's Matt Roush, The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff, the Los Angeles Times' Mary McNamara and Glenn Whipp and, when the focus is on predictions, Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil — to glean a little widsom.

With the drama series category filled to the brim with returning favorites, which first-year show most deserves a place at the table: “House of Cards,” “The Americans” or “Rectify”?

Roush: All three are worthy, but "The Americans" came closest to having a truly complete, rounded first season. "Rectify," for all of its qualities, felt a bit incomplete, and "House of Cards" ended on a whimper, unlike the British original.

BUZZMETER: Emmy 2013 pundit's picks

Bianco: It's close, but I'd choose "The Americans" over "Rectify," if only because, at six episodes, "Rectify" seems closer to a miniseries than a series.

VanDerWerff: Of those, I'd pick "The Americans" and "Rectify" (and easily nominate either over the stodgy, staid "Downton Abbey"), but I'd also love to see either "Hannibal" or "Orphan Black" make a run on nominations. Any of those four is preferable to "House of Cards," which was largely mediocre.

McNamara: "Rectify" should; "House of Cards" will. With its hypnotic cadence and exquisite attention to detail, “Rectify” wasn’t just a new show, it was a whole new kind of show, broadening the parameters of the genre in ways that will affect it in years to come. Despite its newfangled delivery system, “House of Cards” was a cable show, but it was a good cable show and put Netflix in the running.

Whipp: The hypnotic storytelling in "Rectify" makes it my favorite of the three, but "The Americans" deserves a place here too. Its spy games were every bit as absorbing as the action in "Homeland" this season.

On a scale of Emmy worthiness, with a 1 being “2 Broke Girls” and a 10 being “The Sopranos,” where does the reboot of “Arrested Development” rank?

McNamara: 5. Over-hyped and underwhelming. The second might not have been so noticeable if the former had not been true.


Whipp: I'm going to err on the high side, say, an 8 because I suspect that with repeat viewings, I'll appreciate the intricacy of the season's construction even more than I did the first go-around. And, just for its sharp social satire, the show deserves to be in the conversation.

VanDerWerff: I'd place the reboot at about a 7. Very good, and if it's nominated, I won't be upset, but it wouldn't make my personal ballot.

Roush: I gave the disappointing Netflix season a 6 score in the magazine and, with time, am thinking it's more of a 5.

Bianco: Netflix seems to go out of its way to insist it's not "TV" and not bound by TV rules. Were I the TV academy, I would have taken the company at its word. But as the shows are eligible, give "Arrested" a 5.

“Homeland” won Emmys last year for series and lead actors Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Of those three categories, how many will it win this year?

Roush: Chances are good we'll see a three-peat, but I'll go out on a limb and say two (show and Lewis), because of the next question.

O'Neil: One Emmy. I’m leaning toward "Homeland" to win best drama again, but it’s no slam dunk. Lewis and Danes don’t have such powerhouse episodes to submit to Emmy judges as they did last year, but they do have strong ones.

VIDEO: Emmys 2013 roundtable | Drama

Whipp: I can't see "Homeland" repeating for a season that prompted a fair amount of derision over perceived leaps of logic. Danes could well win again, though. Kevin Spacey or Bryan Cranston probably have the edge for lead actor.