13 Obscure Shows to Binge Before Emmy Nominations

Melissa Moseley/Netflix
Netflix's 'Grace and Frankie'

For those caught up on the categories' frontrunners, THR highlights the critically-acclaimed newcomers and the widely-underrated returners that may nab a nod in mid-July.

Grace and Frankie

The new Netflix series stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as diametrically opposed women who find out that their husbands and longtime law firm partners, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, are leaving them — for each other, after maintaining a secret romance for 20 years. The series from Friends co-creator Marta Kaufman simultaneously tackles topics of same-sex marriage, being newly single and aging in today's society. (Netflix)

The Last Man on Earth

The Fox comedy — which hails from the LEGO Movie duo Christopher Miller and Phil Lord — has Will Forte playing the title character: an average guy who somehow survives, in the year 2020, a virus that wipes out the world (presumably). Yes, the cast does expand to more than just one person, but the absurd-yet-realistic, postapocalyptic half-hour is packed with twists to keep it unpredictable. (Hulu, iTunes)

You're the Worst

The Stephen Falk-created comedy centers on two horrible people — Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) — and their misadventures in life, love and romance. The series, which co-stars Kether Donohue and Desmin Borges, also explores subjects including PTSD and the armed forces, with Gretchen and Jimmy described as "one of TV's most watchable courtships." Originally on FX, the series will move to FXX for its sophomore season. (iTunes)

The Knick

The gritty Cinemax series walks on the dark side of medicine in early 20th century New York, starring Clive Owen as pioneering surgeon John Thackery and Andre Holland as colleague Algernon Edwards. Steven Soderbergh directed all 10 first-season episodes, of which viewers must have a real willingness to see blood and muck, not to mention the ability to stomach the sexism and racism on display. (MAX GO)

Jane the Virgin

Based on a Venezuelan telenovela, the series executive produced by Ugly Betty's Ben Silverman follows a diligent 23-year-old who gets accidentally inseminated by a doctor who is completely distracted by a soap-opera turn in her own life. Its blend of absurd, funny and believable nabbed The CW's first-ever Peabody and Golden Globe wins — the latter awarded to Gina Rodriguez for her breakout performance. (Hulu*, iTunes)

Episodes

The oft-nominated Matt LeBlanc continues to play a fictionalized version of himself in the Showtime series from the other Friends co-creator, David Crane. The fourth season of the showbiz-skewering comedy about a pair of British writers working in American television includes financial scams and romance woes, all with a wink at the industry. (Showtime Anytime)

Shameless

John Wells adaptation of the U.K. dark comedy continues its critically-acclaimed streak into its fifth season, complete with an "art mirrors life" moment for Emmy Rossum as the unstable Fiona Gallagher. The latest batch of episodes also includes a major arc with Dermot Mulroney and a glimmer of hope for perennial drunk Frank, played by William H. Macy. (Showtime Anytime)

Mozart in the Jungle

Based on Blair Tindall's acclaimed memoir, the Amazon Prime dramedy from Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Alex Timbers and Paul Weitz peeks into the world of classical musicians and their often hardscrabble life. The quirky series stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, Saffron Burrows, Lola Kirke and Bernadette Peters. (Amazon Prime)

Portlandia

The IFC comedy starring Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen is vying for the first-ever Emmy for sketch-format comedic programs with its fifth season. The Oregon-set cult hit, co-created with Jonathan Krisel, continues its hot streak of star-studded episodes with Justin Long, Jeff Goldblum, Jane Lynch, Natasha Lyonne, Olivia Wilde, Seth Meyers, Greta Gerwig, Steve Buscemi and Paul Simon. (iTunes)

Vikings

The History period drama, created by Michael Hirst and based on the Norse legend Ragnar Lothbrok, aired its third season earlier this year. Star Travis Fimmel settles into his new role as king, as the Dark Ages warrior series further explores religion, love and leadership — among major raidings, that is. (iTunes)

Togetherness

The HBO offering from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass with Steve Zissis mines marital problems and midlife crises for the humor and sadness of everyday life, as two friends of a married couple temporarily move into their Los Angeles home. The nuanced, grown-up dramedy — exploring the readjustments of expectations people must make as life doesn't play out as intended — stars Zissis, Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet. (HBO GO)

Married

The FX series from Andrew Gurland casts Judy Greer and Nat Faxon as a strained, sexually-stalled married couple with three kids. Also starring John Hodgman and Jenny Slate, the show offers a realistic onscreen portrayal of a married pair and explores what intimacy means beyond the bedroom, as the two best friends aim to salvage their vows. (Hulu, iTunes)

Outlander

The dark Starz breakout from Ronald D. Moore brings the time-travel adventures and sprawling romance of Diana Gabaldon's books to the small screen. It focuses on World War II nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), who is on a postwar Scottish vacation with husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), a British intelligence officer turned scholar, as the two try to start their married life afresh after the horrors of war. (iTunes*)

*limited episodes available

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