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Everything You Need to Read and Watch Before the Emmys

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The 68th Primetime Emmys air on Sunday night, which is as good an excuse as any to talk about television. Here are predictions from The Ringer’s own Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald:

And here is The Ringer’s guide to the Emmy-nominated shows that matter most.



They’re not bad people, they just did a bad thing, and then they got canceled — but not before Kyle "Coach" Chandler and Ben "Hell Yes" Mendelsohn picked up nominations (for Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actor, respectively). Until Bloodline kicks the bucket after Season 3, we’ll cherish our favorite Florida Man fan fiction.

‘Mr. Robot’

Mr. Robot is up for Outstanding Drama for its groundbreaking first season, which aired way back before The Ringer existed to have an opinion about it (and also before the second season took a … turn). But our Lindsay Zoladz used the end of that first season to ask what the second might mean in the age of Trump.

For a breakdown of the first season’s constituent parts and influences, check out creator Sam Esmail’s All Things Considered interview and this formal breakdown by The Ringer’s own Rob Harvilla. Meanwhile, The Verge’s weekly Hack Report is a loving reminder that all of the computer whizbangery on this show is actually based in reality — and actually practiced by Outstanding Actor nominee Rami Malek.

And if you haven’t seen a second of Robot? Start with the episode nominated for an Outstanding Writing Emmy: the pilot.

‘Game of Thrones’

Did you hear that we like Game of Thrones? For painstaking expert analysis, catch up on After the Thrones, where our own Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald broke down each episode of the Outstanding Drama–nominated season, including "Battle of the Bastards," the episode up for Outstanding Writing.

Here’s where we stand at the end of Season 6, courtesy of The Ringer’s Alison Herman — and here is everything else that The Ringer has written about Game of Thrones thus far.

‘The Americans’

Start with this episode of The Ringer’s Andy Greenwald Podcast, in which he breaks down the Outstanding Drama nominee with writers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. (Their "Persona Non Grata" is up for Outstanding Writing, too.) And for some slightly more useful Americans content, check out our guide to the show’s ultra-practical life lessons, as taught by Outstanding Actor and Actress nominees Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell.

Ray Donovan’

We’re not entirely sure why the Emmys keep showing Ray D so much love — particularly the nominated performances of Liev Schreiber (Outstanding Actor) and Jon Voight (Outstanding Supporting Actor). (OK, we’ve got a couple ideas.) One thing we did figure out? Why it’s all of our parents’ favorite show.

House of Cards’

We are now through the looking glass. Here is the Outstanding Actor–nominated fake president on an Outstanding Drama–nominated show talking about the real, Emmy-ineligible election:

Additionally, Robin Wright is up for Outstanding Actress, having already won Outstanding Haircut.

‘How to Get Away With Murder’

Shondaland — Murder creator Shonda Rhimes’s all-systems-go production company — is a true Hollywood marvel, and GOAT award recipient Viola Davis is up for Outstanding Actress again. Here is how the empire gets run.


Empire’s second season may have tailed off some, but it’s still a wildly interesting workplace with a wildly interesting creator — and one of the most lit performances on TV, courtesy of Outstanding Actress nominee Taraji P. Henson.



Creator Armando Iannucci left the show after Season 4, but the show is as good as ever. Here’s how they’ve kept hilariously afloat:

The Television Academy agrees: "Morning After" and the crying-laughing-at-a-hospital "Mother" picked up writing nominations; Matt Walsh, Tony Hale, and Anna Chlumsky are up for supporting actor wins; Julia Louis-Dreyfus looks to grab her fifth straight Outstanding Actress award; and the show itself is a good bet for Outstanding Comedy.


This New Yorker profile hits on everything that makes Jill Soloway’s production style so noteworthy — and this helpful piece from The Atlantic reminds us that streaming-heavy Peak TV means we get new shows (like this Outstanding Comedy–nominated one) from new voices like hers. Nominated performances like those from Jeffrey Tambor, Gaby Hoffman, and Judith Light certainly don’t hurt.

‘Silicon Valley’

Silicon Valley is the rare show so funny that its outtakes make a compelling case for Emmy nomination:

Elsewhere, The New Yorker and Wired both dive into the Outstanding Comedy–nominated show’s surprisingly detailed production process, which resulted in Outstanding Writing nods for "Founder Friendly" and "The Uptick."

‘Master of None’

Aziz Ansari’s Outstanding Comedy–nominated Netflix series also gets a well-deserved Outstanding Writing nod for "Parents," which features Ansari’s actual parents, and a pitch-perfect take on stories, cultures, and identities that have been frozen out of popular representation for too long. Check it out here:

More on that here from the Outstanding Actor–nominated Ansari, if you’d like a quick cry:


We can’t really talk about Black-ish without talking about "Hope," the show’s knowing, empathetic episode focused on police brutality. So watch that first:

And then hit The New Yorker to find out what creator Kenya Barris has learned on his long road to Black-ish — itself up for Outstanding Comedy, with its two stars, Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, nominated in the acting categories.

Limited Series


Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are both nominated. We’re taking credit.

And then The Fader goes deep with comeback king and Outstanding Supporting Actor nominee Bokeem Woodbine.

‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’


OK, now that we’ve got that out of our system, it time to catch up on Vulture’s interviews with the real Marcia Clark.

This truly was the Year of O.J., and the nominations bear it out. The FX miniseries was called out for Outstanding Limited Series and a whole rash of acting noms: Sarah Paulson for Outstanding Actress, Courtney B. Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr. for Outstanding Actor, and the "I would like to have a beer with them" trio of Sterling K. Brown, John Travolta, and David Schwimmer for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

Once more, with feeling: "JUUUUUUUUICE!"