Emmys 2011: Sizing Up the Best Comedy Race — And Sharing Our Dream Nominees

Summertime isn’t all about pool parties and picnics — at least not here at TVLine. No, for us this week marks the official start of Emmy season, seeing as the nomination process is about to begin, culminating in the July 14 reveal of who did/didn’t got a nod. In the coming days, we’ll be taking a close look at all the contenders in the major races and highlighting our dream candidates — the six shows and performers in each category that we think voters should recognize when they fill out their ballots.

First up: Outstanding Comedy Series. This year, to put it mildly, the competition is no laughing matter. For starters, the showdown between Glee and Modern Family is more intense then ever, as the ABC comedy tries to match the Fox musical’s back-to-back Golden Globes victories with its own consecutive Emmy win. Also, if one or more of a trio of buzzed-about up-and-comers — Community, Parks and Recreation and/or Cougar Town — sneak into the running, that would shake things up as much as seeing an Emmy stalwart — say, 30 Rock or The Office — get bumped by one of Showtime’s female-skewing dramedies. And don’t rule out the possibility of CBS’ Globes-nominated The Big Bang Theory finally scoring itself an Emmy nod.

Ready to dive in? Review this slideshow of contenders — including our half-dozen Dream Nominees — then vote for your own favorite six below. And check back tomorrow for our review of the Lead Actress in a Comedy race!