How to watch the 2021 Emmy nominees

Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in 'WandaVision.'
(Image credit: Disney+)

We now know what TV shows are competing for the top prizes at the 2021 Emmy Awards, as the full list of Emmy nominations were announced on July 13. As a result, anybody interested can create their own personal must-see list for any of the shows nominated that they've missed.

Shows like The Crown, WandaVision, Ted Lasso and The Mandalorian dominated the nominations, but critically acclaimed titles like The Underground Railroad, Hacks, I May Destroy You and The Handmaid’s Tale also came away with a healthy number of nominations.

Nominees came from practically all the major streaming services, as well as cable and traditional broadcast networks. Here’s a breakdown of how (and where) to watch many of the 2021 Emmy nominees.

HBO/HBO Max Emmy nominees

HBO has always been an Emmy behemoth, and it flexed its muscles once again this year as it and its streaming service HBO Max combined for 130 total Emmy nominations, the most of any network or platform.

It’s big winner was Lovecraft Country, which was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series among the 20 nominations in total for its first — and only — season. 

The comedy category is where HBO Max made its mark. HBO Max originals Hacks and The Flight Attendant both were nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, as were their stars Jean Smart and Kaley Cuoco. 

The limited/anthology series category has also been an area of long HBO dominance, and it continued in 2021, with HBO’s I May Destroy You and Mare of Easttown going head to head. Mare of Easttown was one of the most nominated programs this year (16 in total).

Other HBO shows receiving Emmy nominations included Last Week Tonight, In Treatment, Oslo, A Black Lady Sketch Show and Welcome to Chechnya.

All of these shows, limited series and TV movies are available to watch via the HBO Max streaming service.

Netflix Emmy nominees

Netflix continues its push for streaming dominance with 129 total nominations this year.

The streamer’s biggest haul came for The Crown's fourth season introduced both Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana into the fold. The Crown earned 24 nominations, which includes Outstanding Drama Series and nominations for practically every principal actor from season four.

The Queen’s Gambit, the mini series that had the whole world contemplating learning chess during lockdown, also scored big with 18 of its own nominations, including for Outstanding Limited Series and for lead Anya Taylor-Joy.

Bridgerton and its heartthrob René-Jean Page also netted Emmy noms, as did another new Netflix series, Emily in Paris. Some old favorites also showed well, including The Kominsky Method and its star Michael Douglas, and the popular Cobra Kai, which earned its first nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series for its third season.

Other Netflix titles that were nominated include Halston, Ratched, Queer Eye, Nailed It!, Selling Sunset, Indian Matchmaking, Dick Johnson is Dead, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman and Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.

All of these shows are available for free exclusively to Netflix subscribers.

Disney Plus Emmy nominees

Disney Plus broke through with the Emmy's last year, but this year it cemented its place in the awards circle with two of its most popular series.

The Mandalorian, the Star Wars series that gave us Grogu (nee Baby Yoda), and WandaVision, the first Marvel-based original series on Disney Plus, were two of the three most nominated shows at the Emmys this year (24 for The Mandalorian, 23 for WandaVision).

The other Marvel original series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, also got in on things with a Guest Actor nomination for Don Cheadle. Loki, in case you’re wondering, was not eligible for this Emmys because it’s June premiere date missed the cutoff.

Disney Plus also was able to continue Hamilton’s awards streak with nominations for the filmed version of the original cast that debuted on the streaming service for Fourth of July in 2020.

The Disney Plus reality series Becoming also earned a nomination.

Disney Plus is available for $7.99 per month, or can be bundled with ESPN Plus and Hulu for $13.99.

Amazon Prime Video Emmy nominees 

It was a bit of a quieter year for Amazon Prime Video, but it still netted Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Limited Series nominations for The Boys second season and The Underground Railroad, respectively. The service did happen to net a pair of nominations in the Outstanding TV Movie category for Sylvie’s Love and Uncle Frank.

Amazon Prime Video shows and movies are available for those who subscribe to Amazon Prime.

Hulu Emmy nominees

The Handmaid’s Tale has been an Emmy favorite for Hulu since it premiered, and it continued to be this year with its 21 total nominations including for Outstanding Drama Series, Elisabeth Moss as Lead Actress and stuffing the supporting categories. But that’s not all that Hulu scored — Aidy Bryant was nominated for her series Shrill, while Pen15 scored an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination.

Hulu is also the streaming home for the National Geographic series Genius: Aretha, which is a bio series of Aretha Franklin that Cynthia Erivo was nominated for; the FX series Pose, nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and made history with the first ever trans actors nominated for a lead acting category, with Mj Rodriguez earning it for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series; and black-ish, the lone broadcast series nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. 

Shameless, with its Emmy nominee William H. Macy, can also be watched on Hulu (or on the Showtime premium channel YouTube TV and Fubo TV).

Hulu is available to subscribe to as a standalone service, but it can also be bundled with Disney Plus and ESPN Plus.

Apple TV Plus Emmy nominees

Ted Lasso scored 20 total Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and acting nominations out the wazoo. Watch the entire first season of the nominated show on Apple TV Plus, just in time for the second season, coming to the streamer on July 23.

Apple TV Plus is available to sign up for at a monthly price of $4.99.

NBC Emmy nominees

NBC was the only traditional broadcast network to make it into the top four of nominated networks/platforms. It’s nominated fare included the always reliable This Is Us, Saturday Night Live and The Voice, as well as the new comedy series Kenan and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

While all of these shows air on your local NBC station, or an vMVPD platform like YouTube TV or Sling TV, they can also be streamed on Peacock. Peacock has a free subscription, a $4.99 package and a premium $9.99 package.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.