‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘black-ish’ lead our 2018 Emmys buzzmeter

It’s the year(s) of Peak TV when there’s so much quality programming on the air that it seems there’s just never enough time to watch everything. All of which makes the Emmys a confusing time for many. How can you know what series might rise above the others come awards time if you haven’t seen them all? That’s exactly why we have a panel of professionals to guide you through it. Here, our Buzzmeter experts tell us what they think will win in 14 key Emmy categories at the big ceremony on Sept. 17. Have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

Our panelists:

Lorraine Ali/Los Angeles Times; Tom O’Neil/Gold Derby; Matt Roush/TV Guide; Glenn Whipp/The Envelope

Their picks in the key categories:

Drama series nominees: 'The Americans' |'The Crown' | 'Game of Thrones' | 'Handmaid's Tale' | 'Stranger Things' | 'This Is Us' | 'Westworld'

"The Handmaid's Tale" took the drama series Emmy last year. George Kraychyk / Hulu

“'Handmaid's Tale.' It won this category last year, and Season 2 of 'Stranger Things' was better than 1, and OMG 'The Crown'! But 'Handmaid's' second season was chillingly topical, the writing is stellar and the music picked for the ending credits was consistently spot on. Talking Heads' 'Burning Down the House' hasn't sounded that relevant in years.”

Lorraine Ali

Critics’ Picks

“The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

“Game of Thrones”: Matt

Comedy series nominees: 'Atlanta' | 'Barry' | 'black-ish' | 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' | 'GLOW' | 'Silicon Valley'

Lakeith Stanfield, left, and Donald Glover in "Atlanta." Guy D'Alema / FX

“I want 'Atlanta' to win simply because there really is nothing else like it on television. It's sharp, understated, contemporary and authentic in a tongue-in-cheek sorta way. But I have a feeling that 'Mrs. Maisel' will end up surprising absolutely no one and taking the prize.”

Lorraine Ali

Critics’ Picks

“Atlanta”: Glenn, Lorraine, Tom

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Matt

Drama actress nominees: Claire Foy, 'The Crown' | Tatiana Maslany, 'Orphan Black' |Elisabeth Moss, 'The Handmaid’s Tale' | Sandra Oh, 'Killing Eve' | Keri Russell, 'The Americans' | Evan Rachel Wood, 'Westworld'

Other Women
Elisabeth Moss in a scene from Season 2 of "The Handmaid's Tale." George Kraychyk / Hulu

“A repeat win is inevitable for Elisabeth Moss, whose desperation and coiled rage during Offred/June's season of pregnancy was a marvel of sustained intensity. (But I'm hoping for a tie with Claire Foy, her young Queen Elizabeth was graced with nuanced steel.)”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Drama actor nominees: Jason Bateman, 'Ozark' | Sterling K. Brown, 'This Is Us' | Ed Harris, 'Westworld' | Matthew Rhys, 'The Americans' | Milo Ventimiglia, 'This Is Us' | Jeffrey Wright, 'Westworld'

Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in "The Americans." Patrick Harbron / FX

“When a critically hailed drama goes off the air, voters often love to give a farewell hug to its lead star, as Jon Hamm ('Mad Men') and Kyle Chandler ('Friday Night Lights') discovered. Next up: Matthew Rhys.”

Tom O'Neil

Critics' Picks

Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Comedy actress nominees: | Pamela Adlon, 'Better Things' | Rachel Brosnahan, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' | Allison Janney, 'Mom' | Issa Rae, 'Insecure' | Tracee Ellis Ross, 'black-ish' | Lily Tomlin, 'Grace and Frankie'

mrs maisel
Rachel Brosnahan in a scene from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Nicole Rivelli / Amazon Prime Video

“Rachel Brosnahan will win for the quality of her work and prominence on a show that deftly explores female empowerment.”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Issa Rae, “Insecure”: Lorraine

Comedy actor nominees: Anthony Anderson, 'black-ish' | Ted Danson, 'The Good Place' | Larry David, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' | Donald Glover, 'Atlanta' | Bill Hader, 'Barry' | William H. Macy, 'Shameless'

Donald Glover as Earnest Marks in "Atlanta.' Quantrell D. Colbert / FX

“Voters love multi-hyphenates like past champs Ricky Gervais and Ray Romano and Donald Glover, who prevailed last year and will probably do so again if he can fend off an upset by multi-hyphenate Bill Hader.”

Tom O'Neil

Critics' Picks

Donald Glover, “Atlanta”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Comedy supporting actress nominees: Zazie Beetz, 'Atlanta' | Alex Borstein, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' | Aidy Bryant, 'Saturday Night Live' | Betty Gilpin, 'GLOW' | Leslie Jones, 'Saturday Night Live' | Kate McKinnon, 'Saturday Night Live' | Laurie Metcalf, 'Roseanne' | Megan Mullally, 'Will & Grace'

Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson in the TV series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Nicole Rivelli / Amazon Prime Video

“'Saturday Night Live's' Kate McKinnon could easily score a three-peat with her incredible chameleon gifts, but Alex Borstein's wisecracking yet deeply loyal manager feels like the rebirth of Thelma Ritter. She deserves to be part of a 'Mrs. Maisel' sweep.”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”: Glenn

Laurie Metcalf, “Roseanne”: Lorraine, Tom

Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Matt

Comedy supporting actor nominees: Louie Anderson, 'Baskets' | Alec Baldwin, 'Saturday Night Live' | Tituss Burgess, 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' | Brian Tyree Henry, 'Atlanta' | Tony Shalhoub, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' | Kenan Thompson, 'Saturday Night Live' | Henry Winkler, 'Barry'

Henry Winkler in a scene from "Barry." HBO via AP

“This is a tossup between Henry Winkler and Brian Tyree Henry of 'Atlanta,' but Winkler's portrayal of a sadistic Hollywood acting coach with a chip on his shoulder is the best thing about 'Barry.'”

Lorraine Ali

Critics' Picks

Henry Winkler, “Barry”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Drama supporting actress nominees: Alexis Bledel, 'The Handmaid’s Tale' | Millie Bobby Brown, 'Stranger Things' | Ann Dowd, 'The Handmaid’s Tale' | Lena Headey, 'Game of Thrones' | Vanessa Kirby, 'The Crown' | Thandie Newton, 'Westworld' | Yvonne Strahovski, 'The Handmaid’s Tale'

The Word
Yvonne Strahovski in a scene from the Season 2 finale of "The Handmaid's Tale." George Kraychyk / Hulu

“It's possible that the three nominees from 'The Handmaid's Tale' will cancel each other out, but Yvonne Strahovski stepped up this season in a strong emotional arc, second only to Offred's, as the once-proud mistress of the house who's as oppressed and abused in her own way as any handmaid.”

Matt Roush

Critics' Picks

Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”: Glenn, Matt

Thandie Newton, “Westworld”: Lorraine, Tom

Drama supporting actor nominees: Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, 'Game of Thrones' | Peter Dinklage, 'Game of Thrones' | Joseph Fiennes, 'The Handmaid's Tale' | David Harbour, 'Stranger Things' | Mandy Patinkin, 'Homeland' | Matt Smith, 'The Crown'

David Harbour in a scene from "Stranger Things." Jackson Lee Davis / Netflix

“David Harbour will be a chance to reward the popular 'Stranger Things.' And who doesn't love Sheriff Hopper?”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

David Harbour, “Stranger Things”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

TV movie nominees: 'Fahrenheit 451' | 'Flint' | 'Paterno' | 'The Tale' | 'Black Mirror: USS Callister'

'Black Mirror'
Cristin Milloti in a scene from "Black Mirror." Jonathan Prime / Netflix

“Look for a repeat here for 'Black Mirror' with its 'USS Callister' episode, a stinging critique of toxic masculinity.”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

“Black Mirror: USS Callister”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

“The Tale”: Lorraine

Limited series nominees: 'The Alienist' | 'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' | 'Genius: Picasso' | 'Godless' | 'Patrick Melrose'

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story'
Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story." Jeff Daly / FX

“'Versace' has it all: sexy serial killer, fashion superstars, cross-country chase and, oh, yeah, 18 Emmy nominations in all of the key categories, including writing, directing, acting, editing, even sound mixing.”

Tom O'Neil

Critics' Picks

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”: Glenn, Matt, Lorraine, Tom

Limited series actress nominees: Jessica Biel, 'The Sinner' | Laura Dern, 'The Tale' | Michelle Dockery, 'Godless' | Edie Falco, 'Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders' | Regina King, 'Seven Seconds' | Sarah Paulson, 'American Horror Story: Cult'

the sinner
Jessica Biel as Cora in USA Network's "The Sinner." Brownie Harris / USA Network

“This will probably go to Laura Dern because she's still on the academy's radar from 'Big Little Lies,' but Jessica Biel's powerful portrayal of haunted murderess Cora in 'The Sinner' was one of the bigger surprises in a year full of them.”

Lorraine Ali

Critics' Picks

Laura Dern, “The Tale”: Glenn, Matt, Tom

Jessica Biel, “The Sinner”: Lorraine

Limited series actor nominees: Antonio Banderas, 'Genius: Picasso' | Darren Criss, 'Versace' | Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Patrick Melrose' | Jeff Daniels, 'The Looming Tower' | John Legend, 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert' | Jesse Plemons, 'Black Mirror: USS Callister'

Darren Criss
Darren Criss as Andrew Cunanan in "The Assassination of Gianni Versace." Jeff Daly / FX

“Darren Criss will likely win. Although Benedict Cumberbatch could well win too. Neither of their shows were exactly easy to watch, were they?.”

Glenn Whipp

Critics' Picks

Darren Criss, “Versace”: Glenn, Matt

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”: Lorraine

Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”: Tom