This year's Emmy nominations have finally been unveiled, and with the 72nd annual ceremony quickly approaching, there's never been a better time to catch up on some of the performances that are being recognized, as there's more than a few great ones.
Whether comedy is your go-to or dramas are your bread and butter, TV was filled with fantastic episodes from every genre. Below, we're taking a look at nine episodes that could earn their show's respective stars gold. With programs like Watchmen, Succession, The Crown and Schitt's Creek featuring nominees in the acting categories, the selection is strong on all fronts.
From 'Watchmen' to 'Schitt's Creek,' you have plenty of time to binge before the ceremony.
Normal People, “Episode 10”
(Season 1, Episode 10)
Paul Mescal broke through with his performance as Connell, a struggling student who previously enjoyed popularity in his youth only to suffer from crippling anxiety and depression in his university years. Mescal’s standout scene in the series takes place in Episode 10 as Connell visits a therapist on campus. In the sequence, he is so raw and emotional, it’s nearly impossible to not feel affected as a viewer. Mixing this episode and moment with the rest of his season performance, Mescal is easily a contender for the Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series category.
Watchmen, “This Extraordinary Being”
(Season 1, Episode 6)
The sixth installment from Watchmen‘s run introduced viewers to Will’s (fellow nominee Louis Gossett Jr.) origin story in which The Leftovers alum Jovan Adepo stepped into the character for Angela’s (Regina King) black-and-white nostalgia trip. The actor’s range of anger, emotional pain and trauma are reflected so powerfully onscreen that it’s both difficult to watch and look away from his moving performance.
Succession, “This Is Not for Tears”
(Season 2, Episode 10)
That Fredo kiss, that double-crossing — Succession‘s Season 2 finale belonged to Jeremy Strong and his riveting portrayal as Kendall Roy. Strong stands out in this show’s stellar cast, and his ability to flip a switch between resigned fall-guy to the one pulling a rug from under the rest of his family’s feet could be enough to earn him gold. He does have some competition, though, as his cast mates saturate the category of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Watchmen, “She Was Killed by Space Junk”
(Season 1, Episode 3)
The first time we see Jean Smart’s FBI Agent Laurie Blake, she’s making a call to Doctor Manhattan, and seconds later we see her busting a vigilante in a sting operation. Apart from fulfilling fans of the show’s comic book source material, Smart brings a character people have known since the ’80s to life. Blake’s cynical portrayal is mesmerizing throughout the hour, making Smart a clear contender in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series category.
Watchmen, “A God Walks Into Abar”
(Season 1, Episode 8)
Regina King leads HBO’s sequel to the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons graphic novel as Angela Abar, and while the Oscar-winning actress can essentially do no wrong whenever she’s onscreen, her finest hour was the show’s eighth. After fans waited and waited to learn more about her mysterious past, all was revealed in “A God Walks Into Abar” which also reveals how she met her husband Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who also happens to be [Spoiler] Dr. Manhattan. Angela’s indifference to predetermined events and her undeniable need to protect the ones she loves brings viewers on a journey only King could have led, which makes her a near shoo-in for Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series.
The Good Place, “Whenever You’re Ready”
(Season 4, Episode 13)
The Good Place‘s emotional series finale was sadly satisfying as each member of the Soul Squad — Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Jason (Manny Jacinto), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and demon Michael (Ted Danson) — decided the next phase of their individual journeys. Throughout each separate story, Carden’s Janet — who remains “not a girl” — ushers them through to their next chapter, whether that’s passing on or sticking around in the afterlife. Despite her non-human origins, Carden’s personality shines as she’s affected by every decision her friends make, which puts her in the running for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy.
Schitt’s Creek, “The Pitch”
(Season 6, Episode 12)
In this near season’s end installment, Eugene Levy dominates as Johnny takes his motel pitch on the road with Stevie (Emily Hampshire) and Roland (Chris Elliott). Along with getting to see the business side of the former Rose Video owner, Levy’s performance is perfectly poignant as he continues to mentor Stevie and hold his head high amid rejection. Ultimately, things turn out better than planned when their pitch is picked up by another source, and the resulting joy from Johnny is enough to melt anyone.
I Know This Much Is True, “Six”
(Season 1, Episode 6)
Mark Ruffalo delivers a master class performance as twins Dominick and Thomas, but his true shining moment comes in the limited series’ finale as he explodes during a funeral gathering as Dominick. Calling out his abusive stepfather and lamenting the things in life he wishes he could have fixed, it’s a no-holds barred sequence suited to Ruffalo’s talents.
The Crown, “Aberfan”
(Season 3, Episode 3)
Olivia Colman is a queen when it comes to performing, but her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown‘s third season was nothing short of phenomenal. The installment that could easily hand her an Emmy statuette would be “Aberfan,” which dramatizes a horrible disaster set in the Welsh town which leaves countless children dead. The Queen’s decision to abstain from visiting the site until a week after the event is both horrifying and upsetting, but Coleman’s delivery of the Queen’s emotionless state is the most chilling aspect. While she has many great moments, Colman disappears most into her role with this episode that’s eerily memorable.