Emmys Countdown: Five Must-See TV Episodes

Check in with "Parks and Recreation," "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men" before Sunday night's telecast.


The Emmys are just around the corner, and with it comes the fear that when the winners are announced, you'll feel left out of the party because you don't watch [insert show here] and/or worship at [insert actor's name here] altar.

Well, we're here to fix that. We've compiled a list of five TV episodes you absolutely have to watch before going into next Sunday's ceremony. (Trust us when we say it was no easy task.)

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"Game of Thrones": Blackwater One of the best and most ambitious hours of television this year, "Blackwater" packed as much of an emotional punch for many of its characters as it did a visual one. Peter Dinklage's stirring battle speech could also land the actor his second consecutive win in the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama race.

 "Community": Remedial Chaos Theory Who says comedy can't be inventive, innovative and blow your mind? This season three gem of NBC's cult favorite series gave us seven different timelines and beautifully explored the group's numerous connections and friendships with ease. Plus, it was really, really funny, factored heavily into the show's mythology later in the season and introduced the world to evil felt goatees.

Get the complete list of Emmy nominees

"Homeland": Pilot Don't get what all the fuss is about when it comes to the breakout series from Showtime? Just watch its series premiere, which features stellar performances from Claire Danes and Damian Lewis and is so jam-packed with tension, we'll be surprised if you make it all the way through with your nails unbitten.

"Parks and Recreation": Win, Lose or Draw All of "Parks and Rec's" amazing fourth season came down to the finale, which centered on the results of the race for City Council. Paul Rudd was involved, so just based on that fact alone it should be on your must-watch list. But did we tell you that Amy Poehler is better than she's ever been, juggling drama and comedy in this episode? Poehler is better than most on her worst day, so prepare for Leslie Knope at her finest when she gives her (spoiler) acceptance speech in the final moments of the episode.

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"Mad Men": The Other Woman One woman, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), breaks free, while another, Joan (Christina Hendricks), finds herself trapped. In this knockout episode from the knockout AMC hit, the show's two leading ladies prove why they both landed nominations (Moss for Lead Actress in a Drama, Hendricks for Supporting Actress) for their fearless performances. Chocolate shakes for the ladies, please!

The 64th Primtime Emmy Awards airs Sunday Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

Check out our gallery of 2012's notable Emmy nominees

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