The Emmys purportedly aim to celebrate the very best that television has to offer. Yet, each year the ceremony manages to overlook some of the best performers and series to ever grace the small screen. The 2016 edition, of course, is not without its own high-profile snubs. Increasing competition from cable networks like FX, USA, and AMC — as well as streaming services like Netflix — mean that it’s harder than ever to slip out an Emmy shortlist.
Certainly, many of the nominated shows represent not only the most widely critically praised programs of the year but some of the biggest mainstream hits as well, yet we wish that some of these forgotten shows had gotten some Emmy love. For the record, we’re specifically referring to these shows’ absence from the major categories, as many of the below were acknowledged solely in technical categories.
1. American Horror Story
Though it received mixed reviews from critics, this horror anthology series — created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy — managed to conjure up eerie storytelling and compelling performances from a gifted ensemble cast led by Golden Globe winner Lady Gaga. American Horror Story: Hotel may mark the fifth season for the FX show, but it managed to tie the various storylines together in a satisfying way and still unnerves viewers on a weekly basis. Consider the show’s lack of major nominations as another example of the Emmys largely disregarding genre series in favor of more grounded dramas (with Game of Thrones the rare exception, of course).
Former Homeland star Damian Lewis and actor Paul Giamatti shine on this Showtime drama about a hedge fund manager loosely squaring off against a high-powered attorney. The series has received mostly positive marks from critics and features an outstanding cast that also includes Malin Åkerman and Maggie Siff as the wives of Lewis and Giamatti, respectively. Despite the show’s strong performances across the board and intriguing story, it failed to secure any major nods among this year’s crop of Emmy nominations.
3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Perhaps it’s The CW’s lingering reputation as a network targeted to teens (and fans of DC Comics characters). Whatever the reason, this acclaimed musical romantic comedy series didn’t grab the attention of Emmy voters for its freshman season. Starring Rachel Bloom as a young woman who moves from New York to California in search of love, the show deftly ties together offbeat musical numbers with energetic comedy. Its distinctive style and fun spirit should have warranted at least some recognition on Emmy night.
4. The Good Wife
For seven seasons, this CBS drama has been a popular choice among viewers, regularly scooping up Emmys as a result. It’s surprising that Emmy voters decided to shut it out of the major categories for its final season. Julianna Margulies has been consistently stellar on the show, as have many key supporting characters like standout Alan Cumming. Considering the show was often heralded as one of the best dramas on television, it’s strange to see it be totally ignored on its last chance at bat, so to speak.
5. Jessica Jones
Okay, so maybe Daredevil is a bit too “comic booky” for Emmy voters (a fact that Season 2 doubled down on), despite its obvious quality. However, explain the absence of this neo-noir series based on the Marvel comics superhero turned private investigator, Jessica Jones. Expertly played by Krysten Ritter, Jessica is a compelling, multifaceted protagonist and the perfect vehicle through which the show explores themes of PTSD, abuse, obsession, and guilt. The fact that — at the very least — David Tennant wasn’t nominated for his chilling portrayal as the villainous Kilgrave is criminal.
6. Orange Is the New Black
This beloved Netflix original series saw its Emmy chances drop significantly when a change in rules switched its category from comedy to drama between its first two seasons. Nevertheless, Season 4 has kept the drama about Taylor Schilling’s Piper Chapman and her fellow inmates running strong. With so much of Netflix’s impressive output on the Emmy shortlist, it doesn’t feel right that Orange Is the New Black should be the one being shortchanged.
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