The 2017 Emmy Nominations will be announced at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. With longtime favorites like "Game of Thrones" and "Downton Abbey" out of the race this year, which shows will take their place? With so many new and critically-acclaimed shows like "Westworld," "This Is Us," "The Handmaid’s Tale," "Stranger Things" and "The Crown" crowding the field who will make the cut?

Kevin Spacey stars in "House of Cards." (Netflix)

Oprah Winfrey watched the first episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” And part of the second. But she stopped there, unable to continue watching the grim events depicted in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s cautionary novel depicting a future in which women are subjugated, controlled and, in some cases, ceremonially raped.

"It’s just so dark,” Winfrey says. “It’s almost too much to witness. It shakes you to the core. I’ll get there. … It’s an amazing show. But it’s going to take some time.”

We know that Emmy voters have too much to watch. But one of the key things Thursday’s nominations announcement will reveal is which programs Television Academy members chose to check out and which they willfully ignored. If you can’t watch everything — and you can’t, believe me, I’ve tried — then what falls to the wayside? Awful, plodding shows, sure. (If you made it past Episode 3 of Netflix’s “Gypsy,” to cite a recent example, you deserve a cookie.) But also challenging fare like “The Handmaid’s Tale” — programs that make you uncomfortable, programs that make you think.

Susan Sarandon, left, plays Bette Davis and Jessica Lange portrays Joan Crawford in FX’s limited series, "Feud: Bette and Joan."

"Game of Thrones” is taking an Emmy break. Nothing personal, television academy. HBO’s three-time drama winner just needed some time alone, to think, to brood, to devise new ways to brutally dismember and disembowel characters. You know, the usual stuff when relationships have gone on for a few years.

Because the new season of “Thrones” comes after this year’s Emmy eligibility deadline, we’re going to have a new drama series winner. And since the series had a way of vacuuming up acting nominations in the supporting categories, it also means we’re going to have a bunch of fresh nominees replacing the likes of Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Masie Williams.

That turnover adds an extra level of intrigue to this year’s Emmy nominations, which is a good thing because I’ve run out of ways to describe how amazing Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in “Veep.” (Yes, she’s going to be nominated again.)

Here’s how the races should shake out when the names are announced Thursday morning.

Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

While you were watching “Better Call Saul,” you weren’t watching “The Handmaid’s Tale.” When you found the time for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” you missed “Master of None.” And as you caught up on Season 5 of “The Americans,” you were deprived of that great John Oliver episode everyone was talking about.

For American TV audiences, falling hopelessly behind has become as common as sharing HBO GO and Netflix passwords. The overwhelming sense of too many choices defines our TV culture, like “The Ed Sullivan Show” did in the ’50s or the rise of cable did in the ’80s.

For members of the Television Academy, the problem of overabundance is no joke. To come up with the nominations list that will be announced Thursday morning, voters were initially faced with a record-breaking 848 programs. Those voting in the performance categories had to choose from 2,382 performers, double the number in 2008, when the Golden Age that sparked Peak TV began.