Narrative television programs with scientific or technological themes are garnering increased acclaim from the industry. The 2016 Emmy Nominations featured six programs with such themes, while the 2017 Emmy nominations feature nine; of the 2017 nominees, a larger number of scientific or technologically themed programs are nominated in the major categories than in 2016. Three of the seven Best Drama Series nominees have scientific or technological themes: STRANGER THINGS (alternate dimensions), WESTWORLD (androids), and THE HANDMAID’S TALE (fertility).

WESTWORLD, the HBO series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, is set in a future in which computer programmers run a theme park populated by androids. The series is nominated in the major categories of Best Drama; star Evan Rachel Wood for Best Drama Actress; Anthony Hopkins for Best Drama Actor; Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton for Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama, respectively; Jonathan Nolan for Best Directing for a Drama; Nolan and Lisa Joy for Best Writing for a Drama; and in fourteen other categories. For more, read Science & Film’s article about the design of WESTWORLD’s robots.


Netflix’s series STRANGER THINGS, in which characters have frightening interactions with a creature who lurks in an alternate dimension, is nominated for Best Drama. David Harbour and Millie Bobbie-Brown are nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively; the Duffer Brothers are nominated for Best Directing and Best Writing for a Drama Series; and the show is nominated in thirteen additional more minor categories. For more, read Science & Film’s article about the element of water in STRANGER THINGS.

Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE, set in the near-future when most men and women are infertile and women are controlled by the state, is the first Hulu series to be nominated for an Emmy in major categories. It is nominated for Best Drama; Elisabeth Moss for Best Drama Actress; Ann Dowd and Samira Wiley are each nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama; Kate Dennis and Reed Morano are each nominated for Best Directing for a Drama; Bruce Miller is nominated for Best Writing for a Drama; and the series is nominated in six additional categories. For more on THE HANDMAID’S TALE, read an article about current infertility treatments.

SILICON VALLEY, the HBO series now in its fourth season, which parodies the start-up industry, is nominated for Best Comedy. Directors Jamie Babbit and Mike Judge are both nominated for Best Directing for a Comedy; Alec Berg is nominated for Best Writing for a Comedy; and the series is nominated in five additional categories.


From Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the National Geographic series GENIUS on the life of Albert Einstein is nominated for Best Limited Series. For more, read an article by historian Alberto Martinez about Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić, whom he met while they were both studying physics. Geoffrey Rush, who stars as the elder Einstein, is nominated for Best Limited Series Actor; Ron Howard for Best Limited Series Director; and the series is nominated in six additional categories.

An HBO adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s non-fiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is nominated for Best Television Movie. The story centers on the family of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cancer cells were harvested without her knowledge but which became the basis for a number of medical treatments. For more, read an interview with producer Lydia Pilcher about the film.

Charlie Brooker–creator of BLACK MIRROR which originated on Britain’s Channel 4 and is now on Netflix–is nominated for Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Drama. Each episode of BLACK MIRROR features a distinctive cast and is set in a near future where a new technology has affected normal social interactions. The series is nominated in two additional categories.

MR. ROBOT, about a hacker, and MASTERS OF SEX, based on two researchers who studied human physiological responses to sex in the 1950s, also received Emmy nominations.

The 69th Annual Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will be broadcast on September 17 beginning at 8pm EST.