With the amount of TV currently available, it’s hardly shocking that when looking at the Emmys race, there was so much that blew our minds when it was released. Yet while they deserve to be a part of the conversation, they might have slipped your minds due to the overwhelming sea of shows out there.
The shows eligible for this September’s Emmys premiered between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, but IndieWire understands that you might not recall every great show you watched over the last 12 months. IndieWire wants to help. So below, we’ve curated 10 series and specials that aren’t dominating the awards conversation right now but deserve to be remembered as Emmy voters fill out their ballots.
Below are some dark horse miniseries to game-changing cultural moments that you may have forgotten — as well as a reminder about some past winners who won’t be on the ballot this year for various reasons. It’s felt like a long year, in a lot of ways. But these shows did make it better.
Eligible for the 2018 Emmys
“Alias Grace” (Netflix)
Season Dates: November 3, 2017 (all episodes)
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Director (Mary Harron), Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series (Sarah Gadon)
The other major Margaret Atwood adaptation from last year was a true limited series that did a beautiful job of adapting this tale of a real-life 1800s double murder and the woman serving time for the crime. Writer Sarah Polley, director Mary Harron, and star Sarah Gadon came together to create one of the most Canadian series ever made, one that spoke to all-too-pressing issues of today. Many shows this year captured the concept of female rage as it affects us all — but none did it better than “Alias Grace.”
“American Vandal” (Netflix)
Season Dates: September 15, 2017 (all episodes)
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Writing
This brilliant mockumentary of true crime series which were popularized on Netflix with “Making a Murderer” is executed with such meticulous and loving detail that it’s a shame it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Centered around a senseless act of vandalism in which 27 cars in the teachers’ parking lot of a high school had 27 penises drawn on them with spray paint, “American Vandal” elevates the banal to hysterical heights. From the portentous opening sequence and footage of wind chimes in the breeze to the awkward first-person testimonies and fading on-screen graphics, the series presents true crime tropes that have been so ingrained in our psyches that only when they’re related to the mystery of “Who Drew the Dicks?” do we notice them. The series earned its spot on IndieWire’s Top 10 Shows of 2017, boasts a Peabody Award, and the admiration of Marcia Clark herself.
“The Deuce” (HBO)
Season Dates: September 10 – October 29, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Director (Michelle MacLaren), Outstanding Actor (James Franco), Outstanding Actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal)
At this point, “The Wire” fans are used to a David Simon series getting snubbed at the Emmys, but the exquisitely made and acted drama about Times Square in the 1970s, in all its grimy glory, deserves more consideration. Notably, James Franco’s dual performance as twin brothers might seem gimmicky at first but quickly becomes so seamless that you legitimately forget it’s even happening. Meanwhile, Maggie Gyllenhaal was heartbreaking and fascinating as a streetwalker who aspires to bigger things.
Season Dates: June 23, 2017 (all episodes)
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series
Summer shows can often be forgotten because of recency bias, but this fictionalized series inspired by the real-life Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling circuit from the ‘80s had the audience in a headlock from the very beginning. Anchored by the family of women on screen, the series was also brought to life by truly talented producers and writers behind the camera. While the overall cast impress with their acting and wrestling prowess, Alison Brie, Marc Maron, and Betty Gilpin brought a dimension of pain to their characters as well.
“Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC)
Season Dates: August 19-October 14, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
While the splashiness of “The Walking Dead” earns most of the attention at AMC, “Halt and Catch Fire” delivered a stellar final season that was woefully under-watched. From the insanely talented cast to the brisk but exacting pacing and writing, the series was ostensibly about the tech world but really offered insight into the drives and addictions of people who have big dreams. While viewers may have ignored the show during its run, there’s still time to honor its exquisite execution and heartbreaking performances — from Mackenzie Davis and Kelly Bishe in particular — with a nod.
“Orphan Black” (BBC America)
Season Dates: June 10-August 12, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Hey, remember when everyone was so offended that Tatiana Maslany was robbed of an Emmy earlier in in the series’ run? Well, just because she finally nabbed one doesn’t mean she deserves recognition any less for her final season playing multiple, incredibly divergent and offbeat clones. Although there’s no proof, IndieWire believes that it’s her roles as the various “sestras” that ushered in the era of so many multiple, doubles, and twin roles that are now populating our TVs. A nomination for Maslany would be a fitting sendoff and perhaps even inspire one more Clone Dance Party for the road.
Season Dates: July 21, 2017 (all episodes)
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Directing of a Drama Series, Outstanding Actor in a Drama, Outstanding Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actress
Although the whole “regular dude gets in over his head when he launders money for bad guys” story has been done, this series still feels fresh and dangerous thanks to the meticulous pacing and attention to building up the atmospheric elements of that unique locale. Jason Bateman — who executive produces, stars in, and directs many of the episodes — deserves praise for setting the show’s tone and style in the early episodes, and Julia Garner as his begrudging and street-savvy business associate is a scene stealer. Their dynamic fuels one of the most interesting relationships on TV this year.
“Search Party” (TBS)
Season Dates: November 19-December 17, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor
This show just makes us so happy, and TBS deserves praise for sticking by it in its second season, in which a selfish group of friends do a poor job of covering up a murder. Alia Shawkat is mesmerizing as the de facto leader of the group, but it’s John Early who makes every line a meal worthy of Instagramming.
“The Sinner” (USA Network)
Peter Kramer/USA Network
Season Dates: August 2-September 20, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor
Executive produced by and starring Jessica Biel, “The Sinner” was a surprise late-summer sensation that captured viewers’ imaginations with its reverse mystery: Cora (Biel) stabbed a man to death and admitted it, but why did she do it? The series’ examination of deep trauma combined with dark humor and a nicely bearded Bill Pullman was a brisk and addictive eight episodes. Its formula proves so promising that in its second upcoming season, Carrie Coon has deigned to join the cast for a brand-new mystery.
“Twin Peaks” (Showtime)
Season Dates: May 21-September 3, 2017
Key Categories for Consideration: Outstanding Limited Series, Lead Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Directing, Writing
While no one can argue the filmmaking achievement that is “The Return” — “Part 8” alone should win every possible award — one should not overlook the performances, including Kyle MacLachlan playing three wildly different characters and Laura Dern owning every single scene with her brittle hostility. But it’s David Lynch himself who should not be overlooked in his supporting role of Gordon Cole, who carried many of the scenes to comedic perfection and often delivering monologues that would’ve challenged veteran actors.
Note: This isn’t nearly everything! Don’t sleep on “BoJack Horseman,” “One Day at a Time,” “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” or “SMILF.”
The below shows have been contenders in the past, but will not be competing this year for various reasons, as we explain below.
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictur
Why It’s Not Competing: While Season 3 competed in the 2017 Emmys, Season 4 of the subtle “Breaking Bad” prequel won’t be premiering until August 6, 2018, well out of the eligibility period.
Why That’s OK: We’ll miss seeing Bob Odenkirk and friends at the ceremony, but it might be for the best if it means we get a Season 4 on par with what’s come before. And hey, there’s always 2019.
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
David Giesbrecht / Netflix
Why It’s Not Competing: The sixth and final season is in the works (sans Kevin Spacey), but unlike last year (when it got in just under the wire), it didn’t make the May 31 cut-off date. In fact, star Robin Wright only just confirmed the completion of filming.
Why That’s OK: The decision to fire Spacey and let Wright take the lead was one of last fall’s early signs that the #MeToo movement was having a real impact on the industry. How that will affect the actual show, though, is a tricky question, and the show might be better served if Season 6 gets a chance to breathe on its own merits, rather than battle for critical acceptance as well as trophies.
“Master of None” (Netflix)
Why It’s Not Competing: Given its previous Emmys wins for Season 2, it’s hard to imagine a world where Netflix doesn’t eventually greenlight a third season, but there’s been no action yet.
Why That’s OK: Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang took 18 months in between Seasons 1 and 2, and both were stunning achievements. So if they want to take their time again, we can be patient.
Why It’s Not Competing: Premiering June 3, 2018, the new FX drama about 1980s ballroom culture in New York City started much too late.
Why That’s OK: Ryan Murphy and his team still have plenty of contenders in the race, specifically “American Horror Story: Cult” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” While it would have been a treat to see MJ Rodriguez or James van der Beek get consideration this year, Season 1 will be eligible for the 2019 awards.
Jeffrey Tambor for “Transparent” Season 4 (Amazon)
Why He’s Not Competing: Amazon removed him from Emmys consideration.
Why That’s OK: After two transgender women who worked on “Transparent” came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct, the idea of watching Jeffrey Tambor campaign for the show would be hard to stomach (even before he was fired). Tambor is still in the Emmys conversation, though, for his work in “Arrested Development” Season 5 — Netflix did submit him on the ballot.