The Mediaversity Guide to the Emmys

Diversity Leaderboards for the 2017 Emmy Awards

Written by Li Lai

The 69th Emmy Awards are here! What does it take to be a winner? It isn’t enough just to be technically strong. Television is a powerful tool that influences culture and informs the way people treat each other. An award-winning show should be aware of that power and the social responsibility that comes with it.

To help sort this year’s nominees, our guide measures not just the quality of a program but its inclusivity as well. If a show employs lazy stereotypes or ignores marginalized groups altogether, we’ll argue in favor of awarding more progressive programs that acknowledge the diversity of its audiences at home.

We’ll be livetweeting the event so join us on Sunday. Until then, see our official picks below and explore our category scores of Quality, Gender, Race, and LGBTQ representation to see how we got there.


Official Mediaversity Picks for Outstanding Comedy

Official Mediaversity Pick for Outstanding Drama

The above picks were quantitatively determined by averaging the following category scores. Please note all scores have a maximum of 5 points, and all quotations are excerpts from our full reviews of each show (links at end).

Outstanding Comedy

BEST FOR QUALITY: Atlanta and Master of None

“Atlanta is leading the vanguard of modern storytelling, redefining what it means to be a television show.”

Atlanta: 5.00
Master of None: 5.00
Black-ish: 4.50
Veep: 4.50
Silicon Valley: 4.25
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: 3.25
Modern Family: 2.00


Outstanding Drama

BEST FOR QUALITY: Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale

“Stranger Things crosses generations and cultures, appealing to anyone up for a good, old-fashioned adventure.”

Stranger Things: 5.00
The Handmaid’s Tale: 5.00
House of Cards: 4.00
Better Call Saul: 3.75
The Crown: 3.50
This Is Us: 3.50
Westworld: 3.50

Outstanding Comedy

BEST FOR GENDER EQUALITY: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“The running themes of resilience and survival in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt push the show into the vicinity of feminism.”

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: 5.00
Black-ish: 4.25
Master of None: 4.00
Veep: 4.00
Atlanta: 3.50
Modern Family: 1.75
Silicon Valley: 1.00


Outstanding Drama

BEST FOR GENDER EQUALITY: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a world where women have no overt voice but who find defiance in their own, personal ways.”

The Handmaid’s Tale: 5.00
Stranger Things: 4.75
The Crown: 4.00
This Is Us: 3.75
House of Cards: 3.50
Better Call Saul: 2.00
Westworld: 2.00

Outstanding Comedy

BEST FOR RACIAL DIVERSITY: Atlanta, Black-ish, and Master of None

“In Black-ish, authenticity comes across in spades, opening up frank portrayals of black Americans that cross generations, personality types, and income levels.”

Atlanta: 5.00
Black-ish: 5.00
Master of None: 5.00
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: 4.00
Veep: 3.50
Modern Family: 2.50
Silicon Valley: 2.00


Outstanding Drama

BEST FOR RACIAL DIVERSITY: This Is Us

This Is Us skips the numbers game and instead delves deep into the lives of two black characters.”

This Is Us: 4.00
House of Cards: 2.50
The Handmaid’s Tale: 2.50
The Crown: 2.00
Better Call Saul: 1.50
Stranger Things: 1.50
Westworld: 1.00

Outstanding Comedy

BEST FOR LGBTQ INCLUSION: Modern Family and Veep

“Veep touches on bisexuality, the process of coming out, same-sex marriage, and the complications of having children without ever missing a foul-mouthed beat.”

Modern Family: 4.25
Veep: 4.25
Black-ish: 4.00
Master of None: 4.00
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: 4.00
Atlanta: 3.50
Silicon Valley: 1.00


Outstanding Drama

BEST FOR LGBTQ INCLUSION: House of Cards and This Is Us

“There is something radical about seeing a bisexual president of the United States, as we do in House of Cards.”

House of Cards: 4.00
This Is Us: 4.00
Stranger Things: 3.00
The Handmaid’s Tale: 3.00
The Crown: 3.00
Better Call Saul: 1.00
Westworld: 1.00

In addition to the above scores, we give bonuses. The 2017 Emmy nominees who garnered bonus points include:

Black-ish: +0.50 for inclusion of seniors
This Is Us: +0.50 for inclusion of different body types
Stranger Things: +0.50 for inclusion of disability (a main character with cleidocranial dysplasia)
Master of None: +0.25 for inclusion of disability (a minor character who is hearing impaired)

The full breakdown for Outstanding Comedy nominees:

And the full breakdown for Outstanding Drama nominees:



Mediaversity Reviews is a project that grades TV & Film on Gender, Race, and LGBTQ diversity. Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, or email us at li@mediaversityreviews.com to join the conversation.