Emmy-Nominated Series to Binge Before the Big Show

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 10 months ago

Dive into our favorite series nominated in various categories at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, then tune in and follow along with our coverage.

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1
Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019)

"The Mandalorian" | Stream Now on Disney+

Why It's Worth the Binge: My fingers are crossed for a "Mandalorian" win for Outstanding Drama Series and a Baby Yoda acceptance speech, but with equally worthy competition with shows like "Killing Eve," "Succession," and "The Crown" it really is anyone’s guess. (Can I root for all the shows?) But either way, if you’re a fan of Star Wars, samurai films, Westerns and/or preternaturally adorable creatures this one should really be on your radar. Season 2 kicks off on Oct. 15 which is another reason to make the investment now and get watching. "This is the way." — Vanessa

2
Regina King in Watchmen (2019)

"Watchmen" | Stream Now on HBO

Why It’s Worth the Binge: It would be a shame to miss out on one of 2019's best seasons of television because you aren't into comics. Don't sleep on "Watchmen." Showrunner Damon Lindelof transcends the genre with a complex and nuanced sci-fi mystery, and Regina King delivers a powerhouse performance that would be deserving of her fifth Emmy award. —James

3
Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Annie Murphy, and Dan Levy in Schitt's Creek (2015)

"Schitt's Creek" | Stream Seasons 1-5 Now on Netflix and IMDb TV

Why It's Worth the Binge: The Rosebud Motel is still open for business in my world, even though "Schitt's Creek" wrapped its final season earlier this year. Please please please don't let the only thing you know about the show be the "Simply the Best" scene (which is wonderful) or your friend's "Ew, David!" impression (which I'm sure is also wonderful). The Outstanding Comedy series is stacked this year, yet favor seems to be with the Rose Family. — Arno

4
Yvonne Orji and Issa Rae in Insecure: Lowkey Trying (2020)

"Insecure" | Stream Now on HBO

Why It’s Worth the Binge: The first time I sat down to watch "Insecure" I didn’t emerge until hours later, and I've unintentionally binged each subsequent season in one sitting. Once you dive into Issa Rae's comedy series, it’s nearly impossible to pull away. With wit and relatability, she showcases the normality of life as a Black woman in LA, packing in humorous moments without over-dramatizing the plot. Watch a few episodes and you’ll feel fully invested in the characters as they navigate very real relationship road bumps, career challenges, and everyday anxieties. The series has received several Emmy nominations in recent years, but it’s time Rae and her team finally get the recognition they deserve (and a turned-up wine-down to celebrate). — Hannah

5
Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington in Little Fires Everywhere: Seeds and All (2020)

"Little Fires Everywhere" | Stream Now on Hulu

Why It's Worth the Binge: If Celeste Ng's novel didn't make your book club selections, or you like your melodrama with a healthy dose of race and gender politics (through the cringey-quaint '90s lens, no less), Hulu's "Little Fires Everywhere" fits the bill. Make no mistake, what really brings down the house is Kerry Washington's performance. Honorable mention: Lynn Shelton's posthumous nod for directing the series finale. —James

6
Love Is Blind (2020)

"Love Is Blind" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It's Worth the Binge: "Love Is Blind" has some steep competition in the Outstanding Structured Reality Program category, going up against feel-good favorite "Queer Eye" and the nostalgia-heavy "A Very Brady Renovation." But what it does have in its favor, and why you should set aside a weekend to binge this series is the "can’t look away" factor of watching people decide to get engaged after a few conversations and never meeting each other in person. As you can expect the results range from happily-ever-afters to relationship-ending blow-ups and the fun is predicting who will make it to the altar. — Vanessa

7
Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in Ozark (2017)

"Ozark" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It’s Worth the Binge: Too many crime dramas start off strong, then gradually get lost on the dark, twisted paths of their own making. Though I’ll admit I feared for "Ozark"’s survival after a relatively weak Season 2, Season 3 reeled me right back in as Marty and Wendy Byrde dove headfirst into the riverboat casino business. Jason Bateman and Laura Linney serve up killer performances, which nabbed them both nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor/Actress in a Drama Series, but the added talent of the cast make this series a strong contender for the overall win. Julia Garner is perfection as sharp-tongued Ruth Langmore and Tom Pelphrey floored me with his deeply emotional turn as Wendy's troubled brother, Ben. — Hannah

8
D.J. 'Shangela' Pierce, Caldwell Tidicue, and David Huggard in We're Here (2020)

"We're Here" | Stream Now on HBO and HBO Max

Why It's Worth the Binge: Three "RuPaul's Drag Race" icons shake up the "Queer Eye" formula on their mission to transform small-town America, one drag makeover at a time. "We're Here" plays out like a real-life version of To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, and it has served as my outlet for all of 2020's emotional challenges. Looking at the Outstanding Structured Reality Program category, it feels like the most relevant nominee — totally queer and fearlessly Black. — Arno

9
Olivia Colman in The Crown (2016)

"The Crown" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It's Worth the Binge: "The Crown" is one of those shows where after every episode I stop awhile to reflect, then usually yell “That was so good!” and promptly watch another. Season 3 was no different. Will "The Crown" finally take home the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series this year? Maybe? Will it take one home before its six-season run ends? Most definitely. If you are looking for an intense, meticulously crafted, historical family-drama, you need to binge this series. If you don’t have the time to watch 30 episodes before the Emmys, Season 4 premieres Nov. 15 which might be a more reasonable goal to work towards. — Vanessa

10
Aaron Paul in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It's Worth the Binge: At first glance, the "Breaking Bad Movie" might seem like an unnecessary return to the Walter White-Jesse Pinkman saga. But El Camino is an irresistible reminder of why we loved "Breaking Bad" — a two-hour epilogue that never feels gimmicky or exploitative. —James

11
Cate Blanchett in Mrs. America (2020)

"Mrs. America" | Stream Now on Hulu

Why It's Worth the Binge: Cate Blanchett hadn't starred in a TV show for more than 20 years until entering the streaming era with "Mrs. America," where she portrays Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative activist who helped derail the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. The 9-episode limited series isn't merely a historical artifact, it's an origin story for a movement that stands firmly on one side of the current societal divide in America. Blanchett and her uniformly excellent co-stars are up for a total of 10 Emmys, including Uzo Aduba as Congresswoman and Presidential hopeful Shirley Chisholm. If the subject matter seems too tough to bear, keep your focus on Sarah Paulson's performance as Alice Macray, a fictional character who brightens the corners of the story. — Arno

12
Kaitlyn Dever in Unbelievable (2019)

"Unbelievable" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It’s Worth the Binge: This year’s Limited Series category is an arena of fierce competition, and though "Unbelievable" may not be able to beat out favorites like "Watchmen," it still qualifies as essential viewing. Kaitlyn Dever is a force in this 8-episode mini-series that delves into the infuriating missteps taken in the investigation of a true crime case from Washington. Her portrayal of Marie Adler sheds light on how victims reporting their rape experience are often mistreated and belittled, and the story serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting and believing survivors. On top of it all, Toni Collette and Merritt Wever also star as the detectives who worked Adler’s case. — Hannah

13
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve (2018)

"Killing Eve" | Stream Now on Hulu

Why It’s Worth the Binge: Near the top of my list of the many shows I am rooting for at the Emmys this year is darkly comedic spy thriller "Killing Eve," an insane cat-and-mouse thrill ride that turns into a mutual obsession between MI5 operative Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and the oddly endearing-yet-terrifying assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer). This series will keep you guessing, and laughing, and then covering your face when things take a suddenly dark and sometimes gory turn. — Vanessa

14
Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio in Top Chef (2006)

"Top Chef" | Stream Seasons 1-16 Now on Hulu

Why It's Worth the Binge: "Top Chef" rolled out an all-stars season this year and welcomed back Gail Simmons to her permanent seat at Judges' Table, two reasons why I'd love to see the long-running series nab the Emmy for Outstanding Structured Reality Program — exactly 10 years after its last win. "RuPaul's Drag Race" tends to own the category, but the Sherry Pie debacle still tastes sour in my mouth. Oh, and Padma Lakshmi's Hulu series "Taste the Nation" is better than both aforementioned shows combined. — Arno

15
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)

"Dead to Me" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It’s Worth the Binge: Between Jen’s deadpan sarcasm and Judy’s frantic yet endearing need to please, I would gladly watch this dysfunctional BFF duo for several more seasons, but I respect Netflix’s decision to call it after Season 3. Comedic queens Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are both up for awards, and I’ve love to see either of these funny women take it home. This series is almost too easy to devour in a day, and if you’re looking for something that’s watchable with wine in hand, look no further – think of it as sipping in solidarity with the law-shirking ladies of Laguna Beach. — Hannah

16
Kieran Culkin and Jeremy Strong in Succession (2018)

"Succession" | Stream Now on HBO

Why It's Worth the Binge: Hop on the "Succession" bandwagon before it takes home some trophies. Each episode is like smashing open a piñata filled with toxic relationships, corporate drama, and Emmy-nominated performances. But, you know ... hilarious. —James

17
McMillions (2020)

"McMillions" | Stream Now on HBO and HBO Max

Why It's Worth the Binge: It might be impossible to gain a foothold in a category that includes "Tiger King" and "The Last Dance," but this profile of the mastermind who gamed a McDonald's sweepstakes for a reported $24 million fortune — while drawing a McSalary — makes "McMillions" as unmissable as its fellow nominees. — Arno

18
Shira Haas in Unorthodox: Part 3 (2020)

"Unorthodox" | Stream Now on Netflix

Why It’s Worth the Binge: Shira Haas received a much-deserved nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her role in “Unorthodox,” bringing some unexpected heat to the competition at this year’s Emmys. The young, Israeli actress’ portrayal of Esty in the Netflix mini-series is a stunning performance illustrating a unique journey of self-discovery. Based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir of the same name, the series details the author’s resistance to her upbringing in a Hasidic Satmar sect of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, and Haas makes us feel the tension and fear that Esty experiences while choosing between her religious community and a new, secular life. — Hannah