Legion, Insecure‘s Issa Rae and Better Call Saul‘s Michael McKean were among the shows and actors first-time Emmy contenders that were snubbed by voters when the nominations were announced this morning. But the freshman class of nominees does make room for a few surprising — some might say, shocking — shows. Here are five unexpected series that can now add “Emmy-nominated” to their resume.
Baywatch may have been a rare summer bomb for Dwayne Johnson, but he’s gotta be all smiles knowing that he’s in contention for an Emmy rather than a Razzie. The actor’s HBO sports world comedy, Ballers, nabbed its first-ever nomination, in the category of Outstanding Cinematography For a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour). That places the show on the same footing as its more lauded channelmates Silicon Valley and Veep, both of which are also up for this statue along with Divorce, Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. The only person with a bigger smile than The Rock right now is Ballers superfan, Senator Elizabeth Warren.
You’d think we would have learned by now to never count out Angus MacGyver. The master of last-minute saves pulls off another unexpected trick nabbing an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie. Still, it must be said that MacGyver reboot — which stars Lucas Till in the role made iconic by Richard Dean Anderson — looks a little puny when placed alongside its competitors in this category, which include The Blacklist, Blindspot, Gotham and the biggest, baddest hero of all, our man Luke Cage.
Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party (VH1)
Break out the gin and (green) juice everybody: Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are officially Primetime Emmy nominees. VH1’s odd couple to end all odd couples are up for Outstanding Host For a Reality or Reality-Competition program, squaring off against such squares as Masterchef Junior‘s Gordon Ramsay, Match Game‘s Alec Baldwin, Project Runway‘s Heidi Klum, RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s own RuPaul and W. Kamau Bell from United Shades of America. If they pull off an upset victory, Martha and Snoop have already promised to bake their special brownies for the entire Emmy audience.
The Ranch (Netflix)
Have you visited Netflix’s Ranch lately? Enough Emmy voters apparently did. Two seasons into its run, the streaming service’s under-the-radar sitcom, which reunites That ’70s Show stars Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson, lassoed its first-ever nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series. That’s one more Emmy nomination than Netflix’s superior half-hour comedies Dear White People or Love. Dear Emmy Voters: next year, trying binge-watching those shows instead.
Superior Donuts (CBS)
The Ranch isn’t the only seemingly random show to find a path to a potential Emmy through the Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series category. CBS’s tepidly-received comedy Superior Donuts also received its sole nomination here, as did the Disney Channel series, K.C. Undercover. The final nominee, 2 Broke Girls, has been up for this Emmy three times before and may finally take the statue home as a going away present now that it’s been cancelled. We can genuinely say that whoever wins…we probably haven’t seen it.
The 69th Annual Emmy Awards will air Sunday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. on CBS.