Last night was the annual Emmy Awards, celebrating excellence in television. The awards show saw such hit programs like The Handmaid’s Tale and Saturday Night Live taking home big prizes for the night. However, like any awards show, there are times when who they fail to recognize can be baffling. Some of the most beloved and well-regard shows and actors to ever appear on television have never received an Emmy Award. And while the awards don’t mean everything, let’s take a little time to acknowledge some of those who were snubbed over the years.
That’s right, the television show with arguably the greatest impact on popular culture never received a single Emmy Award. The original series debuted in 1966 and followed the adventured of the crew of the Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). The show was very much ahead of its time, not only because of its intergalactic setting, but also with its diverse cast and willingness to explore deep questions about society at large. It went on to inspire a number of movies and spinoff series, but strangely in its three-season run, it garnered 13 nominations and won none of them.
It would appear that the Emmy awards have some sort of prejudice against long-running sci-fi series with massive cult followings. Perhaps the fact that this is a British production led to its lack on awards recognition in its early days. But with plenty of love going to overseas shows these days, it’s hard to believe after nearly 55 years on the air, the show still has no Emmys to show for it.
The Tonight Show is one of the most influential television programs of all time, and it remains a staple of television to this day, with current host Jimmy Fallon. But one man that is owed a huge debt by Fallon and Jay Leno and even Johnny Carson, is the man who started The Tonight Show, Steve Allen. Allen invented the late-night talk show format that is still going strong to this day and that’s not even where his television career ends. Throughout his career, he was personally nominated 6 times for an Emmy but his legendary status wasn’t enough to secure the statue.
Bill Cosby has become a dark figure over the last several years and the result of his abhorrent behaviour has meant his considerable legacy has been tarnished. Part of the great sadness of this is that his ground-breaking show The Cosby Show, which has meant so much to so many people, is difficult to enjoy because of his presence. However, Cosby wasn’t the only inspiring figure on the show about an upper-class, successful African-American, was the wife and mother of the family, Clair Huxtable as played by Phylicia Rashad. She was a loving, intelligent and strong woman who is very much responsible for this family so many people looked up to. Despite the importance of the role and being nominated a couple of times, she missed out on the Emmy.
It’s incredibly rare for an actor to create one iconic role on television. It’s almost impossible for an actor to create two iconic roles. And yet, that’s exactly what legendary actor Andy Griffith did with The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. The Andy Griffith show followed a widowed sheriff of a small, charming town as he tried to raise his son, while Matlock followed a renowned criminal defense attorney. Absurdly, Griffith received no nominations for either of the hit shows.
Another legendary television actor was Jackie Gleason. While he had a tremendous following as a stand-up comedian and received an Academy Award nomination for his memorable role in The Hustler, but he is likely best known for his role as Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners. The 1950s sitcom followed a short-fused bus driver who tests his wife’s patience with his endless get-rich-quick schemes. It’s an unforgettable role in television history, and yet the Emmy committee forgot to give him the award.
The Office started as a short-lived British sitcom. When it was announced that there would be an American remake of the beloved show, many assumed it would be a pale imitation. Defying the odds, the American version became a hit in its own right, thanks largely to the hilarious leading performance by Steve Carrell. Playing the buffoonish and lonely boss of a small paper company, Michael Scott, Carrell made us laugh at this pathetic man while slowly learning to love him. It made a star out of Carrell, but despite being nominated 6 times for the role, he ended his stint on the show without a single win.
Jerry Seinfeld was the face and name of the astronomically popular 90s series, Seinfeld, but it was the supporting characters who helped launch the show into television history. The show was famous for bucking the trend of sitcoms in which characters expressed love for one another and learned lessons by the time the credits rolled. Instead it was a show about nothing with four unlikable people as the leads. Perhaps the easiest to dislike was George Costanza, the perpetually losing, short-tempered friend of Jerry. Jason Alexander made George one of the funniest character ever on television, making us love to laugh at him. While the other three stars of the show each won at least one Emmy in the show’s nine-year run, Alexander is the only one to go unrewarded even with a whopping 7 nominations.
Many say we have entered into the golden age of television, in which some of the best shows are being produced right now. One of the shows that no doubt helped to push us into this era was The Wire. Set in the seedy streets of Baltimore, this show was an honest, sometimes uncomfortable look at the war on drugs in the streets of America. It was a compelling and brilliant show with characters operating in grey areas and few happy endings – unlike any cop show you’ve ever seen. While it wasn’t a major hit when it aired, it was a critical smash with many calling it the best show of all time. Some of its actors, like Idris Elba and Michael B. Jordan have gone on to big Hollywood careers, and the show continues to be lauded all these years later. However, after it’s 5-year run, the show only managed to receive two nominations at the Emmys, winning zero.
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