Emmy Underdogs

On Thursday, July 13, all the usual suspects will get the calls, tweets and texts congratulating them on their first or umpteenth Emmy nomination. You'll see Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Veep up there once again (for good reason), but as the TV landscape continuously expands, more and more solid performances and entertaining shows go unnoticed. If we had our way, well, that would change.

Justice for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life! Don't overlook everything on The CW! Never forget Jennifer Hudson's show-stopping performance in Hairspray Live! We can go on. And we did.

Below, take a look at our dream Emmy nominees for the 2017 ceremony.

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale


There was no performance more surprising than the one Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life star Alexis Bledel turned in for The Handmaid's Tale. The same year viewers saw her return to the fast-talking character that made her famous, Bledel flipped the script and did so much with little dialogue as Ofglen, a woman used for her ability to have children, on Hulu's superb drama series. This was (and is, she'll be back in season two) a career-defining performance.

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us


Oh, the tears we cried thanks to This Is Us. Milo Ventimiglia quickly became TV's No. 1 dad as Jack Pearson, uplifting (and crushing at times) spirits every week.

Black Mirror


Black Mirror's "San Junipero" episode hit viewers right in the gut with excellent performances and a storyline that really touched hearts. It deserves to be recognized.

Hairspray Live, Jennifer Hudson


Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for a show-stopping performance, so an Emmy for her show-stopping performance in Hairspray Live! makes total sense.

13 Reasons Why


Newcomer Katherine Langford handled her role of Hannah Baker, a high school girl who kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes—the 13 reasons why she killed herself, with ease. The emotionally heavy role in 13 Reasons Why was definitely a star-making one for this young actress.

Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams, Lena Dunham, Girls


Lena Dunham's HBO series went out on top, complete with solid performances, expert writing and all the feels.

Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life


Please take a moment and remember the brilliant performance Lauren Graham turned in as Lorelai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Thank you. Graham's category is going to be the toughest one to break into, with nominations pretty much already assured for Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon.



Veep and Julia Louis-Drefyus are shoe-ins for nominations, as are supporting players Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, but viewers would be hard-pressed to forget all the despicable things Timothy Simons' Jonah Ryan has gleefully done. This was his season and he owned it.

American Gods


American Gods was full of so many good people turning in some eye-popping performances, but Gillian Anderson's time as Media is the stuff of legends.

Christine Baranski, The Good Fight


The TV landscaped is more crowded than ever, but CBS All Access' spinoff of The Good Wife should not be overlooked. Christine Baranski took the reins for the spinoff and should ride the show all the way to a Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination.

Girls Finale, Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Becky Ann Baker


Becky Ann Baker's TV husband won the Emmy last year, now it's her turn to take it home for her funny, poignant and memorable performance as Hannah's mom in the final season of Girls.

Michael McKean, Better Call Saul


Can you believe Michael McKean has never received an Emmy nomination for his work in AMC's Breaking Bad prequel? Now that the shock has worn off, let's remember the devastating performance McKean turned in as Chuck McGill.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rachel Bloom


What's it going to take for the Emmys to recognize the brilliance that is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and its star and co-creator, Rachel Bloom? What. Will. It. Take.

Catastrophe, Carrie Fisher

Amazon Studios

Catastrophe was the last role Carrie Fisher completed before her death. The Star Wars actress always left a lasting impression whenever she popped up, her final appearance a perfect example of that.

Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, The Good Place


NBC's afterlife comedy was witty and full of performances and twists nobody saw coming. Stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson have great chemistry and Mike Schur's comedy is a fine successor to Parks and Recreation.

Orange Is the New Black


Orange Is the New Black season four (yes, last summer's season is what's eligible) was a return to form for the Netflix dramaedy. It was heartwarming, serious and expertly acted—Danielle Brooks stepped up to the forefront.

Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life


Netflix's Gilmore Girls miniseries hit all the right spots for fans, but it was Kelly Bishop's turn as mourning widow Emily Gilmore that really hit home with viewers. Gilmore Girls never got much Emmy love (one nomination for makeup) during its original run, so it's time to change that.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee


Last year, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee got a writing nomination, but not one for overall series. That should change!

MORE PHOTOS: All hail the women kicking butt on TV this summer

Who are you rooting for? Tell us in the comments below.

Stephen Colbert will preside over the 69th annual award show. The Emmys air live Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. on CBS. Be sure to come back to E! News to see the nominations live on Thursday, July 13 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

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