6 Short-Form Emmy-Nominated Shows Worth Watching

Paul Hislip
Becky Vu/NBC, Ron Jaffe/AMC, Comedy Central

(L-R): Dwayne Johnson in an SNL skit; Kelsey Scott in Fear the Walking Dead: Passage; and Trevor Noah in The Daily Show

One category of the Emmys that often gets overlooked is the awards for short-form shows; that is, short, off-TV series. So, here’s a short article detailing a few of these nominated shows that are worth a look!

Brown Girls

Nominated for: Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

Brown Girls is fantastic. It’s a dramedy about two 20-somethings trying to navigate their turbulent lives, and, notably, the only nomination in the Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series that isn’t a spinoff of something else. If you want something more down-to-earth, this is your best bet. The full series can be watched here.

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The Earliest Show

Nominated for: Best Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Ben Schwartz), Best Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Lauren Lapkus)

The straight-to-YouTube series The Earliest Show stars Ben Schwartz (best known for his role as Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Recreation) and Lauren Lapkus as Joshua Bath and Samantha Newman, hosts of the eponymous hot mess of an early-morning talk show. Their performances bring to mind an exaggerated version of real morning talk-show hosts, and they’re sure to keep you full of energy no matter when you’re watching. Schwartz’s character also has a surprisingly compelling arc that I certainly didn’t expect to get hooked on.

Fear the Walking Dead: Passage

Nominated for: Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, Best Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (Kelsey Scott)

Passage is a side story to AMC's ever-popular Fear the Walking Dead. Similar to last year’s Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462, it’s a 16-part special following just a few characters. Don’t let the episode count put you off; the entire special clocks in at just 13 minutes. This time, the star is Kelsey Scott (best known as Rose from How to Get Away with Murder), playing the badass Sierra as she works with the injured Gabi (Mishel Prada) to find a safe way across the border to Mexico. Scott received the nomination for best actress, and I loved seeing her character develop over such a short span of time. However, Prada’s performance and development is equally Emmy-worthy, so make sure to keep an eye on her too. Passage can be watched here on AMC's website.

Creating Saturday Night Live

Nominated for: Best Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

Ever wondered what goes into NBC’s famous sketch comedy Saturday Night Live? Well, wonder no more! This YouTube series details what goes into the creative process for this timeless show; some videos are about the making of a specific scene, while others are interviews with certain departments that make the show. As an SNL fan myself, I highly recommend watching it; I’ve always been interested in behind-the-scenes stuff, especially for a show as iconic as SNL. You can find the full playlist here.

United States of Arts

Nominated for: Best Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

The major cities like New York and Los Angeles are well known for their art and culture, but what about the other areas of the country that don’t get as much attention? United States of Arts is a fascinating series of documentaries chronicling arts and culture in each of the 50 states and the other American territories, too. It serves as a window into cultures that you may not otherwise know about, and I encourage watching a few if you’re into art in any way. Who knew Wyoming had a community devoted to vertical dancing? I sure didn’t. For an idea of what each video is like, start with a short one like Hawaii (above); the full playlist can be found here. What’s your state known for?

The Daily Show - Between The Scenes

Nominated for: Best Short Form Variety Series

I love The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and it’s made even funnier with these unscripted and unaired bits that Noah rattles off during commercial breaks. His comedy is hilarious, and talks about a variety of topics, from the Rio Olympics to Trinidadian accents to the firing of James Comey. I wish they were longer, but I guess that would mean longer commercial breaks. It makes me wish that he had a separate show just for standup, because I absolutely would watch it for longer periods of time.

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