This article originally ran before the Emmys and is being republished now that the awards have been doled out.
If there’s anyone more invested in chaos magic than Agatha Harkness, it has to be the Television Academy. The Outstanding Comedy Series lineup alone makes our head spin. (Emily in Paris, huh? No Mythic Quest? And yet Cobra Kai managed to sneak in there …) Or how can we forget the fact that Hamilton, the musical that came out six years ago, is up for even more awards … in the Limited Series category? The point is: 2020 to 2021 gave us a whole lot of television, too much for even the most committed TV viewer to get through. So to help you catch up on some of the shows you may have missed, we put together a guide to all the nominees that are available on the major streaming services you’re likely already paying for.
On HBO Max
A Black Lady Sketch Show
Going head-to-head with Saturday Night Live in Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, Robin Thede’s knockout series A Black Lady Sketch Show is worth the watch.
The Flight Attendant
Kaley Cuoco’s big post–Big Bang Theory show was a corny, fun balm of a series when we were almost all stuck in our homes: the jet-setting, the murder-mystery premise, the coats! The Flight Attendant is controlled chaos and a perfect for a binge.
I May Destroy You
The Emmys would be wrong to not give Michaela Coel, the writer-director-actor of I May Destroy You, any praise this year. And if you don’t know why, then see I May Destroy You for yourself.
Give Uzo Aduba many, many awards.
Misha Green’s sci-fi series may not be moving forward at HBO for a second season, but it’s got swing-for-the-fences energy and excellent acting from Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, and the recently passed Michael K. Williams.
Mare of Easttown
With an accent that took the world by storm, Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown was capital-G good. Plus, you’ve got Evan Peters in probably his best role yet as Colin Zabel. Sorry, Ralph Bohner. There’s talk of a second season, but Mare as a limited series is really such a gem on its own.
Does any other show on this list have Matthew Rhys getting humped off a bed? We don’t think so!
Ohhhh, The Undoing really had us under its spell. How could it not? It was penned by Big Little Lies scribe David E. Kelley, directed by The Night Manager’s Susanne Bier, and boasted a stellar cast with Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland.
Bo Burnham: Inside
Honestly, if you’re like me, you probably already know most of Bo Burnham’s special from TikTok. But if you’re looking to watch Inside in its entirety, especially after its Creative Art Emmy wins, Netflix is the place to go.
The Emmys burned for Shonda Rhimes and company’s Netflix series, and more notably Regé-Jean Page, who earned an Outstanding Drama Actor nom. It’s too bad he won’t be coming back for season two, but at least season one is available to view as much as you want.
This plucky Karate Kid series has had a long journey from a little YouTube Red word-of-mouth show to being picked up by Netflix — and boom, now Emmy recognition!
Princess Diana season is upon us, people!! So why not revisit (or watch for the first time) the third season of The Crown, which helped kick up the Diana fever thanks to Emma Corrin’s portrayal of the people’s princess and Josh O’Connor’s turn as Prince Charles, both of which are nominated performances.
Emily in Paris
You’d think the Emmys would want to stay out of the Golden Globes drama Emily in Paris was semi-inadvertently a part of, but no, like Marie Kondo, the Emmys love mess, giving it a nod in the Outstanding Comedy Series category.
Ryan Murphy’s limited series on the American fashion icon didn’t make too big of a splash, but hey, there’s nothing more enticing to an entertainment awards body than a valued actor (in this case, Ewan McGregor) taking on a real-life personality.
The Kominsky Method
Every year I am reminded of The Kominsky Method because of the Emmys, and every year I don’t watch it, but if you’re in the mood to, you now know where to find it.
Exploring the ballroom culture of the ’80s and ’90s, Pose has always been as heart-wrenching as it is completely wonderful if not mostly for its cast, which made history by casting several trans actors as leads. Billy Porter won an Emmy for his role as Pray Tell before, and this year, MJ Rodriguez finally got her first nomination. (One catch is that Pose’s third and final nominated season is not available on Netflix yet, but you can access it on FXNOW with a cable log-in.)
The Queen’s Gambit
If you haven’t watched The Queen’s Gambit already, what were you doing in October 2020? Still baking bread?
Despite its mixed reviews, Ratched, another Ryan Murphy series, managed to nab a nomination for Sophie Okonedo’s chilling guest role as Charlotte Wells.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Congrats to Don Cheadle for getting a nomination for a literal two-minute cameo. It goes to show how weird the Emmy nominations can get, but also, we won’t complain over Don Cheadle getting an awards nom.
You’ve heard of it.
Pedro Pascal showed his face not once, not twice, but many a time this season just to be paid dust by the Emmy voters. But while Pascal has no nominations, the Emmys are still obsessed with the Star Wars series: The Mandalorian is tied with The Crown for the most awarded show of the night.
Miss WandaVision came into the competition and nabbed 23 nominations.
On Apple TV+
Apple’s word-of-mouth hit still manages to tug on our heartstrings, even with all the [sighs] season two discourse. And it seemed to tug on the Emmys’ heartstrings, too: The comedy-acting nominee slots are full of Ted Lasso players. Maybe Brett Goldstein will become the first CGI actor to win Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. [For legal reasons, the last line is A JOKE … or is it?]
Incredibly, regular TV shows are few and far between on this list, but black-ish persevered with three nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series.
Genius: Aretha may have been a rocky series, but you just know Cynthia Erivo is going to be phenomenal every time.
The Handmaid’s Tale
While the series grew especially hard to watch in previous seasons, season four of The Handmaid’s Tale, as our TV critic Jen Chaney says, “gets its mojo back.”
Congrats to moms everywhere! Just kidding, just a congrats to Emmy-nominated Allison Janney.
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle’s coming-of-age series is a treat, and Erskine and Konkle as teens look way more convincing than Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen.
Saturday Night Live
SNL is once again nominated for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series (there are literally only two nominees, the other being A Black Lady Sketch Show). It also boasts a slew of its actors nominated for comedy-acting categories, including Bowen Yang, Kenan Thompson, and Aidy Bryant.
This Is Us
NBC’s big drama is once again up for some awards. Watch it if you like inflicting emotional damage upon yourself.
On Amazon Prime Video
Sure, Marvel Studios has its big-budget superhero television shows, but if violent, shit-talking, asshole superheroes are more your speed, Amazon has you covered.
The Underground Railroad
Barry Jenkins’s miniseries is a triumph, and while it landed a nomination for Outstanding Limited Series, it’s a shame that the Emmys didn’t nominate any of its acting performances.
Not only is Kenan Thompson nominated for Saturday Night Live, he’s also nominated for his NBC show Kenan, a fictional series where Thompson plays a single dad with a popular talk show.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
If you’re looking for a wholesome show, or just Bernadette Peters singing Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl,” then this NBC show would be right up your alley.
I feel like if you haven’t kept up with Shameless in the past, you won’t feel the need to watch all 11 seasons now, but you know, who am I to tell you what to do?
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