But after the contenders were named and co-announcer Joshua Jackson (Fox's 'Fringe') walked away empty-handed, we were finally able to take in what had just happened.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (i.e. the Emmy nominating committee) likes the familiar, so we weren't expecting too many shockers -- but we were wrong.
Critically acclaimed shows like 'Terriers' walked away completely empty handed, while 'The Cape' (the frikkin' CAPE) got one. There were some pleasant surprises, though. 'Men of a Certain' age star Andre Brauhger was recognized (though unfortunately not his costar, Ray Romano), and so was 'Friday Night Lights.' Finally.
'Boardwalk Empire,' seemingly created for the sole purpose of laying the smackdown at awards shows, cleaned up with 18 noms, yet only two were for acting. The same happened with the superb 'Game of Thrones' -- 13 nods, yet Sean Bean and Emilia Clarke were snubbed.
Some snubs we were totally on board for, though. Showtime's not-really-comedies 'Nurse Jackie' and 'The Big C' were shut out of the Best Comedy Series category (which is good since, again, they're NOT ACTUALLY COMEDIES), and Kyra Sedgwick, lovely as she is, had her first nomination-less year since 2005.
You can read more about the snubs we're happy about in a separate article, but read on for the rest of the 2011 Emmy snubs and surprises below.
'The Walking Dead'(AMC)
One of last year's most intriguing and addictive new shows got a big ol' goose egg in the nomination department. 'The Killing' got two. This basically proves that there is no justice in the world.
'True Blood' (HBO)
It shouldn't be a surprise that the academy didn't recognize what was largely viewed as an off season, but since they like to stick to what they know, it is. Take comfort in knowing that 'True Blood' would sweep the Best Supporting Abs category in our imaginary Emmy awards.
We're sorry, but when we think of competent supporting actors who are effortlessly funny, raising their respective comedies to new heights, we think of Danny Pudi. Abed is the heart and soul of 'Community,' and to not even acknowledge him (or anyone from the Greendale gang for that matter) at all makes us want to go all 'Modern Warfare' on the Emmy committee.
Katey Sagal, 'Sons of Anarchy'(FX)
Be thankful that Sagal is nowhere near as vengeful and frightening as she is as the biker gang matriarch Gemma Morrow on 'Sons of Anarchy' (we think), otherwise the academy would be in a whole lot of trouble. Her husband Kurt Sutter, on the other hand ... well, keep an eye on his blog for an honest reaction.
Michael Shannon & Michael Pitt, 'Boardwalk Empire'(HBO)
The HBO drama grabbed a whopping 18 nominations, but just two were for acting. The superb performances from Shannon and Pitt were both critically acclaimed, but sadly didn't make the cut in such a crowded year.
'How I Met Your Mother'/Neil Patrick Harris/Jason Segel(CBS)
This year marked a creative renaissance of sorts for 'HIMYM,' which many thought lost its way for a while there. And yet no love? And no love for perennial nominee NPH, who had a really great season? And nothing for Segel, whose heartbreaking performance when Marshall found out his father died brought me to tears, too? Damn.
'Cougar Town'/Busy Phillips/Courteney Cox(ABC)
We could've let the 'Cougar Town' snub go if either Phillips or Cox's superb performances were recognized, but it's a travesty that the unfortunately named ABC comedy got a grand total of nada in the major categories this year.
'Shameless'/William H Macy/Emmy Rossum (Showtime)
Showtime was shut out of the Best Drama Series category this year thanks to HBO's programming renaissance, but it's a shame the academy didn't recognize the network's best new show. Rossum's performance as the harried daughter holding her dysfunctional family together was particularly noteworthy, and William H. Macy is, well, William H. Macy.
'Extreme Makeover Home Edition,' 'Survivor,' Heidi Klum, Padma Lakshmi
The reality categories were full of shakeups this year: Longtime nominees like 'Extreme Makeover Home Edition,' 'Survivor,' Heidi and Padma got the boot in favor of some new blood. Frankly, we're pretty excited at the idea if it means the superb Cat Deely and 'So You Think You Can Dance' finally get their day (see more on that below).
'Parenthood'/Lauren Graham/Peter Krause/Dax Shepard(NBC)
Well, since it took so long for Jason Katims' perfect exercise in television otherwise known as 'Friday Night Lights' to be recognized, we're just going to hold out for next year.
'Parks and Recreation,' Best Comedy Series (NBC)
'Parks and Rec' definitely gets fan love, but we were starting to think the quirky NBC comedy would never get any awards recognition beyond Amy Poehler's Emmy nod last year. Color us pleasantly surprised at the noms for Poehler and the show.
Walton Goggins, 'Justified' (FX)
Can we get a hell yes? Goggins was our favorite actor on 'The Shield,' but never got the awards show love he deserved. Now, he's killing it on 'Justified,' which we guess finally justified his need for a nomination (and win!) from Emmy voters.
Mirielle Enos & Michelle Forbes, 'The Killing'(AMC)
With 'The Killing' being such a controversial and divisive series, we wouldn't have been shocked if it had been shut out entirely ... but that's not to say we aren't thrilled for these two ladies, who deserve the recognition without a doubt.
Louis CK, 'Louie'(FX)
Nice one, Emmy voters! Honestly, we didn't think you had it in you. Hands down the biggest surprise of the day, Louis CK being nominated for Best Actor for FX's 'Louie' totally made our day. He's raunchy, he's hysterical and he doesn't give a damn. Now all we can think about is his acceptance speech ...
Johnny Galecki, 'The Big Bang Theory'(CBS)
Jim Parsons has become 'Big Bang Theory''s resident golden boy, but his geeky TV counterpart finally gets some respect. Live long, prosper and get some Emmys, 'BBT.'
Mare Winningham, 'Mildred Pierce'(HBO)
With Rob Lowe being generally hilarious (though sadly unrecognized by the academy) on 'Parks and Rec' and Winningham turning heads in 'Mildred Pierce,' could the rest of the Brat Pack be primed for a comeback?
Martha Plimpton, 'Raising Hope'(Fox)
We adore Plimpton, and 'Raising Hope' was one of the season's only breakout new sitcoms, but we did not see Emmy nomination in the cards for her today. That being said, we could not be happier -- and we can't help imagining where the Chance family would display a proper trophy in that house.
Dot-Marie Jones, 'Glee'(Fox)
As one of our favorite new additions to McKinely High, we're thrilled that Jones got some recognition for playing Coach Beiste on 'Glee.' She's got some tough competition here -- including two fellow 'Glee' gals Gwyneth Paltrow and Kristin Chenoweth -- but she's the kind of lady who'll really mean it when she says it's an honor just to be nominated.
'So You Think You Can Dance'(Fox)
'So You Think You Can Dance' always gets nominated in choreography, costuming and make-up categories, but this is the first time 'SYTYCD' has ever been nominated in the biggies: Best Reality Competition Program for the show and Outstanding Reality Host for the beyond fabulous host Cat Deeley.
Melissa McCarthy, 'Mike & Molly'(CBS)
One of the highlights of the very quick Emmy nomination announcement hullabaloo was getting to see 'Mike & Molly' star McCarthy react to news of her own announcement on stage. Let's be real -- this is for 'Bridesmaids' and pretty much all of her other work, but we're happy about it (even if we don't watch the show) anyway.
Which snubs and surprises were you most shocked by? Sound off in the comments.
For a full list of 2011 Emmy nominees click here.