12 Emmy-Nominated Shows, Ranked In The Order You Should Watch Them

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The 2013 Emmy nominations were announced last week. If you’re anything like me, this is a simultaneously exciting and stressful time. Exciting because you get to see your favorite shows get recognized, and stressful because you’re reminded of all the shows you have yet to catch up on. When the Emmy people are telling you, “Here are the six best dramas, and heads up, the one you don’t watch will probably win,” you’re bound to have some sort of existential TV watcher crisis. Where to start? Which shows to watch first? What will my friends hate me the most for not watching? Have no fear, Crushable is here! Since summer is the season of the binge-watch, there’s no better time to catch up on the shows Emmy has deemed most important. We’ve taken the 12 Outstanding Comedy and Drama Series nominees and ranked them in the order you should watch them. It’s not just based on quality. These shows are obviously all great (except Big Bang Theory), or else they wouldn’t be nominated for awards. The ranking is also based on the length of the series and how important it is for you to know about it as a member of society. Check out the list and get ready watch!

1. Veep

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Binge-watching can be a taxing endeavor, so you want to start your journey with a short series. Veep has only had two seasons, with 18 episodes in total. Plus, it’s absolutely hilarious and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a comedy goddess.

2. Breaking Bad

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Odds are you have at least one friend or family member or co-worker who constantly reminds you how important it is that you watch Breaking Bad. Or maybe you are that person. I’m one of those people who hasn’t gotten around to watching, and I guess now is the time to catch up, because the final season premieres on AMC August 11. So get busy watching or get busy having your friends yell at you.

3. 30 Rock

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30 Rock is high on the list because it’s the best. Plain and simple. If you’re a fan of smart comedy and you haven’t caught up on 30 Rock, for shame! You’ll need something fun to enjoy after that intense Breaking Bad experience, and there’s nobody better suited to entertain you than Liz Lemon and Company.

4. House of Cards

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So you’ve caught up on multiple seasons of Breaking Bad and 30 Rock, and you need something short but still highly buzzed-about. Do you have Netflix? Congratulations, you’re about to watch House of Cards. The show got plenty of Emmys attention, and TV obsessives have been talking about it for months. However, it’s still new enough that you’ll look really cool for watching it.

5. Homeland

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Much like Breaking Bad, this show is such a huge part of the pop culture conversation these days that it’s practically mandatory to watch it. You’ll finally be able to partake in those water-cooler conversations about Claire Danes’ cry-face!

6. Game of Thrones

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You could argue this is more of a niche show for geeks, but I know a lot of generally non-geeky people who enjoy it. That said, there isn’t as much must-see-ness associated with it as other nominees, and it’s not about to end or anything, so you still have time. However, if you want to avoid Twitter spoilers, I suggest you catch up before the new episodes show up. Because a lot of big (death-related) things happen to these characters, and fans like to talk about it.

7. Louie

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You’ve been watching so many dramas at this point, it’s time to take a break with some comedy. Louis C.K. is widely regarded as pretty much the greatest comedian ever, so you’re going to want to experience the brilliance that is Louie at some point. Don’t expect endless belly-laughs, though. While the show is obviously funny, it’s about the quintessential sad-sack, and some episodes might even make you tear up.

8. Mad Men

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I know what you’re thinking. How could Crushable’s Mad Men recapper put the show so low on this list? Hear me out. Mad Men is clearly one of the best shows on TV (if not the best). But I feel like there’s not really any rush to catch up on it right away. It’s a slow-and-steady show, so your experience of it should be slow and steady. Maybe spread it out over a few months and put some other shows in between. Next season will be the show’s last, but it’s not starting up again right away, so you still have time. Don’t rush on this one.

9. Downton Abbey

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Much like Mad Men, there’s not really any reason to rush with this one. It’s a fluffy show that’s fun to watch with friends, but there are so many spoofs and references in pop culture that I don’t think you’ll necessarily feel left out if you haven’t watched.

10. Girls

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I’m gonna be honest that I’m biased here, because I starting watching Girls when it first aired and didn’t enjoy it so I stopped. But to this day I still hear people complain about it even though they watch it every week. It’s one of those shows everyone loves while simultaneously hating it. So while you might want to watch to be a part of the conversation, there’s a good chance it’ll be a torturous experience, and I don’t want to lead anyone down the wrong path. Feel free to share your thoughts. This was the most difficult show to rank here.

11. Modern Family

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Is Modern Family a great show? Yes. Is it absolutely necessary to your life that you watch? No. It’s a great comedy, and you can catch up when you feel like it. No pressure.

12. The Big Bang Theory

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Just… no. If you have it on in the background while you’re patching up your socks or something, go ahead. But I remain convinced that its constant nominations are a fluke. I’m prepared for your angry comments.

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You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
Share This Post:
    • Olivia Wilson

      I’m so ashamed that I haven’t started watching Game of Thrones yet. It’s just so daunting, there are just so many episodes. I don’t even know how to go about starting at this point.

      • Jill O’Rourke

        I watched season 1 and 2 on a weekend when it was free on demand, and I felt like such a champion when I finished. But now I’m behind again.

      • Olivia Wilson

        It’s a never-ending cycle of catching up.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        It’s so overwhelming!

      • Katy Hearne

        Overwhelming is the books. Oh, no. Did I just become that guy? damnit (but seriously. I dreamed almost every night about head chopping & dragons)

      • Jenni

        I’m the same way, I’m overwhelmed by the seasons and by the fact I know so many spoilers already.

      • Olivia Wilson

        I know! What’s the point if we’ve already experienced the secondhand devastation of the Red Wedding?

      • Katy Hearne

        because dragons. That’s why.

      • Olivia Wilson

        That sounds like a good enough reason to me!

    • Dina Bo Bina

      I’ve watched every episode of every show on this list, except Big Bang Theory but that goes without saying, now does that make me really awesome or kinda sad? Either way I think your list is pretty right on.

      • Jill O’Rourke

        It definitely makes you awesome. And thank you!

    • MCR

      I haven’t seen anything on this list except Downton Abbey, and I’m fine with that.

      • Jill O’Rourke

        I admire your willpower. My entire life is a list of TV shows I have yet to catch up on.

      • DuBois

        I’m with you, Jill. MCR’s priorities are as twisted as a pretzel (he or she probably doesn’t have a Roku and Netflix Streaming).

    • Katy Hearne

      I didn’t know Veep had a second season! (that’s what I get for not paying for television & just illegally downloading everything) (thank you pirate bay) (please don’t have me arrested)

    • Emily

      Gosh, could not agree more! Need to watch Louis and Veep, though. Only two I haven’t gotten to…

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