With so much original programming available in this era of Peak TV, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with options. And that point is only driven home when awards shows roll around and you find yourself watching prizes being handed out to shows and actors you may have never heard of, let alone seen.

Fortunately, ahead of Sunday's 68th Primetime Emmy Awards, TVGuide.com is here to distill all that programming down to just the essentials.

What follows is a list of 12 episodes, about 10 hours of programming (including ads/bathroom breaks), that you need to watch in order to qualify as an Emmys expert before the big event, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET Sunday. Easy enough, right?

Check out our complete Emmy Awards coverage here

We've compiled this list in order of importance, based on the shows that have received the most nominations and/or the most likely to win in their categories. So, get watching!

Show: Game of Thrones

Total nominations: 23, including Drama Series; Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington); and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Maisie Williams, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke)

Episode to watch and why: "Battle of the Bastards"

Look for Game of Thrones to break the Emmys record for most wins by a program in a single year. As the overall leader in Emmy nominations, Thrones is poised to take home several prizes on Sunday night. If you're one of the few people who don't watch HBO's hit drama and want to see what all the fuss is about, check out "Battle of the Bastards," the penultimate Episode of Season 6, which features an epic 20-minute battle sequence and racked up Emmy nods for Drama Directing, Editing, Visual Effects, Writing, Makeup and Sound Mixing. (Of those, it already took home Makeup, Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend.) Plus, it's the episode that Supporting Actor nominee Kit Harington submitted to the Academy for its consideration.

How to watch: HBO On Demand, HBO Go, iTunes, Amazon

Show: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Total nominations: 22, including Limited Series; Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Paulson); Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Courtney B. Vance, Cuba Gooding Jr.); and Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Sterling K. Brown, David Schwimmer, John Travolta)

Episode to watch and why: "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia"

Sarah Paulson is pretty much a shoo-in to take the prize in the Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category, and after watching her tour de force in "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia," you'll see why. The episode was also nominated in the Writing and Costume categories.

How to watch: Amazon, iTunes


Show: Mr. Robot

Total nominations: 6, including Drama Series and Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Rami Malek)

Episode to watch and why: "Pilot"

Mr. Robot is the first Emmy-nominated series to hail from USA, and you don't need to look any further than the very first episode to see why it got the Academy's attention. The pilot is also the episode Rami Malek submitted to earn himself a Best Drama Actor nomination for his portrayal of twitchy computer hacker Elliot Alderson.

How to watch: Amazon, iTunes


Show: The Americans

Total nominations: 5, including Drama Series; Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Matthew Rhys); and Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Keri Russell)

Episode to watch and why: "The Magic of David Copperfield V"

Co-stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell both selected "The Magic of David Copperfield V" to submit to the Academy, and while it's a long shot that either one of them will bring home gold Sunday night, it's a good representation of their chemistry as married Russian spies on the FX drama. Plus, it's the episode that, despite featuring just 90 seconds of screentime from Margo Martindale, won her the award for Best Drama Guest Actress at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend.

How to watch: Amazon, iTunes

Show: House of Cards

Total nominations: 13, including Drama Series; Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Kevin Spacey); Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Robin Wright); and Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Michael Kelly)

Episode to watch and why: "Chapter 49"

Though it's not nominated for any technical awards, the 10th episode of House of Cards Season 4 was directed by Robin Wright and is the episode the four-time lead actress nominee submitted for the Academy's consideration. (Spacey submitted "Chapter 52.")

How to watch: Netflix


Show: black-ish

Total nominations: 3, including Comedy Series; Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Anthony Anderson); and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Tracee Ellis Ross)

Episode to watch and why: "Hope"

Black-ish is a long-shot contender at this year's Emmy Awards, but it's possible that Anthony Anderson could walk away with a prize in the Lead Comedy Actor category. "Hope," which touched on the Black Lives Matter movement, is the episode he submitted for the Academy's consideration.

How to watch: Hulu

Show: Veep

Total nominations: 17, including Comedy Series; Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Julia Louis-Dreyfus); Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Tony Hale, Matt Walsh); and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Anna Chlumsky)

Episode to watch and why: "Mother"

The Emmys love Veep, as well as its star, Julia Louis Dreyfus. The series won Outstanding Comedy Series last year (and has been nominated for the past four), and Louis Dreyfus has been named Outstanding Lead Comedy Actress for the past four years in a row. "Mother" is JLD's submission this year, and also earned nods for Directing, Editing and Writing.

How to watch: HBO On Demand, HBO Go, iTunes, Amazon


Show: The Night Manager

Total nominations: 12, including Limited Series; Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Tom Hiddleston); Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Hugh Laurie); and Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Olivia Colman)

Episode to watch and why: "Episode 5"

Will Hugh Laurie finally go home with an Emmy Award this year? We'll have to wait until Sunday to find out, but "Episode 5" was the installment he submitted to the Academy for consideration.

How to watch: iTunes, Amazon

Show: Transparent

Total nominations: 10, including Comedy Series; Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Jeffrey Tambor); and Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann)

Episode to watch and why: "Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump"

Jeffrey Tambor will look to defend his Comedy Lead Actor title at this year's Emmy Awards, and though he submitted the penultimate Season 2 episode, "Man on the Land," for consideration, he also shines in "Flicky-Flicky Thump-Thump." The episode highlights the complicated relationship between Maura (Tambor) and her ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light), and was the episode Light submitted to the Academy.

How to watch: Amazon Prime


Show: Fargo

Total nominations: 18, including Limited Series; Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Kirsten Dunst); Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Jesse Plemons, Bokeem Woodbine); and Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Jean Smart)

Episode to watch and why: "Loplop"

Last year proved that Fargo quickly got the Academy's attention, so we'll have to see if voters were as enthralled by Season 2. In addition to scoring nods for Writing and Music Composition, "Loplop" was also the episode Supporting Actor nominee Jesse Plemons submitted for consideration.

How to watch: Amazon, iTunes


Show: Better Call Saul

Total nominations: 7, including Drama Series; Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Bob Odenkirk); and Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Jonathan Banks)

Episode to watch and why: "Klick"

It's a shame that Better Call Saul is unlikely to win any major awards for its standout second season, but if you haven't gotten on board with AMC's Breaking Bad prequel yet, it's not too late to start. "Klick" was the episode Odenkirk submitted to the Academy for consideration.

How to watch: iTunes, Amazon, Xbox


Show: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Total nominations: 4, including Comedy Series; Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Ellie Kemper); and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Tituss Burgess)

Episode to watch and why: "Kimmy Gives Up!"

Tituss Burgess stands a decent chance of winning Comedy Supporting Actor on Sunday, so why not check out the episode that he submitted to the Academy as a way of introducing yourself to Kimmy Schmidt? (Kemper submitted "Kimmy Goes to a Hotel.") It features all the things the show does best, including Burgess belting out fake showtunes.

How to watch: Netflix

The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony airs Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.