5 things to binge-watch before the Emmys

TV's biggest night is almost upon us.

The 2017 Emmy Awards will air live Sunday, Sept. 17 (8 ET/5 PT) on CBS, with Stephen Colbert serving as this year's host. But you should probably do some homework before the ceremony, if you want to score on your personal ballot or your office pool. Here are five series worth catching up on that are likely to make a splash at the awards.

If you're shocked “Game of Thrones” isn't eligible this year: “Westworld”

“Game of Thrones’” later-than-usual premiere date means it sits out of the Emmy race this year, which is good news for a new genre series from HBO. “Westworld” has earned a whopping 22 nominations for its first season, tying with “Saturday Night Live.” The sci-fi Western shows no signs of slowing, so now's a good time to catch up before it gets any bigger.

Stream it on HBO Go/Now.

If you used to root for “Downton Abbey: The Crown”

This year's Emmy race for best drama is pretty open thanks to Thrones sitting out, but if we had to put money on a winner, it would be “The Crown,” which already cleaned up with Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes awards earlier this year. The series, about the early days in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, is a gorgeous period piece with fantastic performances. It has 13 nominations, including for stars Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) and John Lithgow (Winston Churchill).

Stream it on Netflix.

If you're not afraid to cry: “This is Us”

“This is Us” is the only broadcast show to break into the best-drama race this year (and in quite a few years), and it's easy to see why. The family drama pulls on your heartstrings, sure, but behind the emotional roller coaster is a well-acted series that makes its family dynamics universal. Four regular actors (Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Ron Cephas Jones and Sterling K. Brown) received acting nods and three guest actors (Brian Tyree Henry, Gerald McRaney and Denis O'Hare) made the cut, too.

Stream it on Hulu.

If you want to be invested in the limited-series category: “Big Little Lies”

As exciting as the big two categories (best drama and best comedy) are at this year's awards, there is a lot of competition in the limited-series race. Our personal favorite is this HBO mystery drama adapted from the book by Liane Moriarty. It's nominated for a slew of Emmys besides limited series, including acting for stars Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Alexander Skarsgård.

Stream it on HBO Go/Now.

If you love too-real comedy: “Master of None”

The first season of “Master of None” garnered an Emmy for creator/star Aziz Ansari and his co-creator Alan Yang for the series' superb writing. The second season upped everything about the show, from its direction to its acting and social commentary. It included an episode saluting Italian cinema, one that skewered Tinder dating culture and a long arc depicting a love story rife with its own form of tragedy. This year it's nominated for best comedy, lead actor (Ansari), writing, casting, editing and guest star (Angela Bassett).

Stream it on Netflix.

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