8 Shows to Binge-Watch Before the Emmys

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And by that, of course, I mean that it’s the fall, which not only signifies sweater weather and PSLs — but also the return of my favorite TV shows and, best of all, THE EMMYS.

I looooove award shows. I remember my eight-year-old self watching Halle Berry win her Academy Award for Best Actress in that ~shocking~ dress, I remember the gasp-heard-round-the-world when Miley came onstage to perform at the VMAs that one year, and I listen to acceptance speeches the way other people listen to their best friend’s maid of honor toast (with reverence, pride, and a tear in my eye — here’s my all-time fave).

As wonderful as award shows are, however, they’re no fun to watch when you’re not invested in any of the nominees. So before you tune in to fall’s signature award show on September 17, you’ll want to get caught up on this year’s most talked-about nominees. Here are the shows to binge before this year’s Emmys (Bonus: none of my picks have more than a few seasons, so you’ll definitely have time to catch up before September 17!).


1. Stranger Things (18 nominations)

Anyone who knows me knows that I just HAD to include this in the list. Stranger Things was not only my favorite show of 2016, but it’s also probably my favorite show EVER. It’s on the top of this list not only because it’s the perfect length for quick bingeing (it’s only one season of eight episodes so far), but it’s also set to return to the small screen for season two next month. I’m predicting that it’ll dominate all around at this year’s Emmys, but I’m rooting especially hard both for 13-year-old Millie Bobby Brown (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama and certified badass) and for Riverdale-fave Shannon Purser (Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series — #RevengeForBarb!!).

Where to Watch: Netflix


2. The Handmaid’s Tale (13 nominations)

THT is probably THE most talked-about show of the year. What began as a moving post-apocalyptic novel is now an eerily timely series focusing on the story of Offred, a handmaid forced into sexual slavery. You’ll recognize a lot of the actors nominated (Elisabeth Moss is definitely a strong contender for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama), and this show signifies a brand-new era for Hulu — these 13 nominations are by far the most a Hulu show has ever received, which effectively puts the formerly streaming-only network in among the ranks of Amazon and Netflix.

Where to Watch: Hulu


3. This Is Us (10 nominations)

For those of you who have yet to discover that the Pearsons are the new Bravermans, the first season of This Is Us will function as a cathartic cry-fest you never knew you needed. The players in this character-driven drama are so perfectly flawed and lovable that you’ll find yourself CLAMORING for season two. But fear not! The new season premieres on NBC on September 26. (PS — Milo, are you single? Call me and I’ll console you over the fact that you weren’t nominated.)

Where to Watch: NBC Online or Hulu


4. Fargo (16 nominations)

If the name of this show sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The series is loosely based off the 1996 film of the same name, but each season of the series features a different cast and storyline. Similar to the likes of True Detective, each season functions as a limited series, meaning it’s categorized differently than other Emmy-nominated dramas. This one is a big favorite because its lead actor, Ewan McGregor (Lumière, to Beauty and the Beast fans), plays not just one character, but the TWO MAIN CHARACTERS. HE PLAYS BOTH OF THEM. Let that sink in.

Where to Watch: Hulu


5. Big Little Lies (16 nominations)

If you’ve never read any of Liane Moriarty’s books, I am begging you to shut down your computer, iPhone, tablet, or whatever device you’re reading this on and go pick one up. While there are tons of great options out there (The Hypnotist’s Love Story, The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot, Truly Madly Guilty…), the absolute best is Big Little Lies. Apparently, the people of Hollywood understand that too, because it’s the only of the master storyteller’s books that has been taken to the screen so far. It’s okay though, because this series is good enough to hold me over until the next adaptation. The acting is incredible, the soundtrack will have you dancing, and the shocking twist at the end will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. Bold statement: If you only make time to binge one series before the Emmys, that one series should be this one.

Where to Watch: HBOnow or Hulu (with the HBO add-on)


6. Master of None (8 nominations)

I absolutely LOVE this statement by Michelle Bruton at Culturess: “The best comedies on television today are funny, certainly. But more frequently, they are bemusing, entertaining, thought-provoking, incendiary, touching, tender. Master of None season 2 is all those things and more.” Master of None proves that the best comedies are not one-trick ponies; rather, they are great stories told through a good-humored lens. Aziz Ansari just keeps getting better, and the ~Emmy people~ clearly think so too — MoN doubled its number of nominations since last year’s ceremony.

Where to Watch: Netflix


7. Grace and Frankie (4 nominations)

Never have I ever felt as conflicted as I felt the moment I first heard that both Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were nominated for their roles as Grace and Frankie (respectively). Additionally, never have I ever been as impressed with 70-somethings as I was the first time I watched this magical show. If it were up to me, G&F would win Emmys for acting (for all four of the main actors, as well as for the four actors who play their adult children), for set design, for writing, for direction, for costuming, aaaand for everything else they can possibly give awards for. I know that you’re skeptical about this show. But I also know that you’ll love it when you give it a try.

Where to Watch: Netflix


8. Westworld (22 nominations)

Truly unlike anything else on TV, Westworld is a sci-fi thriller/drama set in a post-apocalyptic theme park. It’s dark and twisted — which makes it the absolute best for discussion purposes. With 22 nominations, it’s tied (with SNL) for most noms of the year — if that isn’t reason enough to for you to jump on the bandwagon, then I simply can’t help you.

Where to Watch: HBOnow or Hulu (with the HBO add-on)


Which shows are you hoping to see win big at this year’s Emmys? Which shows do you think should have been nominated but weren’t?