Are the Emmys biased against ‘Game of Thrones’?

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‘Let’s be honest,’ a media colleague huffed recently, ' ‘Game of Thrones’ doesn’t have a prayer of winning best drama series at the Emmys. They nominated it, but voters were just throwing it a bone because it’s a cool show and they want to look hip by having it in the mix. Genre shows never win.’

There’s a bit of truth to that tirade, but it’s erroneous too. One program full of fantasy recently won best drama series — ‘Lost’ (2005) — but it was set in contemporary days. It wasn’t a so-called genre show like ‘Game of Thrones,’ which is set in fictitious lands during medieval times. Still, ‘Lost’ was a genre show of a different sort. Given the complex mythology of ‘Game of Thrones,’ it’s amazing that it scored 13 Emmy bids, including for drama series. When ‘True Blood’ managed to sneak into the top race last year, it received no nominations in other top races.

As a general rule, genre and/or fantasy fare don’t get much respect at the Emmys, but that’s also true at the Oscars, where ‘The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’ finally won best picture after the previous two films in the trilogy went down to defeat and it was quite obvious that, if Part 3 met the same fate, millions of Hobbit fanboys would fling Oscar into the fiery depths of Mt. Doom.

Let’s give Emmy her due. Here’s a look back at some genre and fantasy shows that have been nominated for outstanding drama series in the past:


‘True Blood’ (2010)
‘Heroes’ (2007)
‘The X-Files’ (1995-98)
‘Lost’ (2005 winner; nominated 2008-10)
‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ (1994)
‘Quantum Leap’ (1990-92)
‘Twin Peaks’ (1990)
‘Beauty and the Beast’ (1988, 1989)
‘Star Trek’ (1967, 1968)
‘Twilight Zone’ (1961)
‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ (1958, 1959)


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— Tom O’Neil