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It Was a Very Good Emmy Nomination Day for Nerds

I am not an Emmy Voter, but if I were, this year's nominees would represent who I'd vote for.

Baby Yoda with a wide-mouth smile in Disney+'s The Mandalorian Star Wars series.

As the kids say, Award Season is my Super Bowl. (I don’t know if kids actually say this, but whatever.) My point is that I love award shows because I love seeing things that I love get some recognition. The problem? Most of the things I love are not the things that are usually award contenders—well, that was until today.

This year’s Emmy nominations are truly something else—not because they’re bad, but because they’re incredibly nerdy. A Star Wars property, Watchmen, and more all scored nominations, and I give my thanks to the nerd gods. So, let’s take a bit of a dive into these nerdy faves and why you should watch them if you haven’t yet.

The Mandalorian

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If you search “The Mandalorian” on our site, you’ll see me screaming about the Disney+ show over and over again. It has become my favorite Star Wars property and a show that means the world to me. Trust me, I buy every single bit of baby Yoda merch that exists in the world, and it feels like a weird sort of justification to know that it is now nominated for an Emmy.

For so long, shows like The Mandalorian—or any Star Wars property, really—were relegated to the technical aspects of award shows, as if that’s all they were good for. So, to see The Mandalorian getting lots of nominations, including major categories? It feels like my entire life as a Star Wars fan has led to this moment. (Yes, I know, more important things have happened in my life, but a Star Wars could win an Emmy!)

Baby Yoda is an Emmy nominee, and that is all.

What We Do in the Shadows

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One of my go-to happy movies is What We Do in the Shadows (2014). A mockumentary about vampires living in Wellington in New Zealand, it was very much pure nonsense and happiness. Fast-forward to 2019, and suddenly it is a television show set on Staten Island, and just as absurd and wonderful. But I never thought it’d be nominated for an Emmy.

That’s not because it isn’t worthy (it very much is in my eyes) but again, it’s not the kind of show that typically lands such nominations. That’s usually shows like Veep or Modern Family or even The Big Bang Theory, which … sure. Veep is the only one of those that I religiously watched, though I have seen the other two, but it always seemed to be the more mainstream fare that got the recognition.

So, to see an oddball genre-based comedy nominated? It feels like someone went into my brain and decided to pick a brilliant show and one that everyone should be watching. It’s smart, clever, and one of those shows that you just keep laughing at and want to revisit time and time again.

Taika Waititi

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GIVE TAIKA WAITITI AN EGOT. Taika Waititi was nominated for his voiceover work in The Mandalorian. Yeah, that’s right. IG-11 is EMMY NOMINATED. So, why is this a win for nerds? *Cracks knuckles.* Well, well, well, first of all, it’s for The Mandalorian but second, Taika Waititi is a huge nerd. From talking about how Flash Gordon influenced his Thor: Ragnarok to his love of nerdy things bleeding into his writing and he, himself, being one of the creators of What We Do In The Shadows, Waititi often has our best nerd interests at heart. So, one of our kind is nominated. We must celebrate.

His IG-11 is, strangely enough, one of the most interesting characters on the show because he goes from a droid dedicated to hunting and securing bounty to being redesigned as a nursing droid who will do anything for baby Yoda, including sacrificing himself to protect the Child. He’s also the droid that makes Mando not as hateful towards them, which is no easy feat.

I’m just … really excited that The Mandalorian got this many nominations? It scored 15 noms—not just, like, a “here’s a nomination as a treat” nod but literally 15 WHOLE NOMINATIONS.


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The HBO version of Watchmen brought new life to the Alan Moore graphic novel. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the show is a commentary on race in America, the connection to law enforcement, and the ever-evolving change that Dr. Manhattan witnesses. With nominations for Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and more, Watchmen is, very much, a win for the nerds that makes us happy for many reasons.

More than just being a “win” for the nerds, Watchmen also ushered in a new way to bring social commentary into our programming and make the audience stop and think. This honestly is something that HBO has mastered for years, but the show brought to life the Black Wall Street Massacre and showed its audience the darker parts of history that are often pushed aside or left out of our education. It made us think, made us look at our world in a new light, and that is something so incredibly powerful and shows like Watchmen deserve every kind of recognition they can get.

The Good Place

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Mike Schur is no stranger to the Emmys. The difference is that his shows are often nominated but are rarely the big winners (THOUGH THEY SHOULD BE). I’ve been a fan of Mike Schur since the days of The Office, and the fact that Amy Poehler never won for her work as Leslie Knope still weighs heavily upon me.

And now, I get to see the cast of The Good Place get nominated for their final season. A show that often brought audiences to tears, it is a brilliant character study and a comedy nerd’s dreamland—mainly because it is a very specific kind of nerdery. Filled with references to philosophers, The Good Place is a show that made so many of us look into the theories that Chidi taught Eleanor and filled fans with a renewed sense of nerdiness. The final season is not only nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but actors like Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, and D’Arcy Carden are nominated for their work on the show.

There are plenty of other nerdy faves who are getting recognition, too, in different ways. We have Zendaya getting a nomination (our very own MJ could be an Emmy winner!) or another famed Star Wars droid, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a.k.a. Solo’s L3-37, nabbing a nomination (the Star Wars fans continue to thrive). Even Andrew Scott (Moriarty, if you really want to get technical) got nominated for Black Mirror this year, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of Succession‘s nominations because that show is, in my eyes, a very niche nerdy program.

But, in all, it’s kind of neat that genre shows are getting their time to shine, especially in the world of Star Wars. Baby Yoda had better wear a fancy outfit to the ceremony (if there even is one).

Is this the year that the Emmys are going to give me the joy of watching a lot of my favorite people win awards? Who knows? But at least I get to say, at the very least, “Emmy nominee Jeremy Strong” or “Emmy nominee Zendaya” from now on.

(image: HBO)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.