Genre television has long been the unwanted bastard stepchild of the Primetime Emmy Awards. Not action, mystery or thriller, mind you. (There were a few years in the Eighties when the Outstanding Drama Series category was almost nothing but cop shows.) No, we’re talking about science fiction and fantasy, which conventional wisdom would have you believe are less-than-respectable genres in which aliens, vampires, robots and/or dragons supplant more “serious” issues that get explored in mainstream dramas.
But of course, any geek worth their weight in still-boxed action figures knows that that simply isn’t true anymore, and probably never was. From The Twilight Zone to Battlestar Galactica, TV creators have been using fantasy and speculative worlds as an arena to tackle big, meaty, human stories. Since HBO’s Game of Thrones came on the scene that changed — big time. In 2016, Game of Thrones became the most-awarded series in Emmy Awards history, with a total of 38 wins. To date, Game of Thrones has won 308 awards out of 628 nominations.
Tonight, it is nominated for 32 for its final season (the most for any one season of a TV show ever). It already won 10 Emmys during the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend. And if Game of Thrones wins three Emmys on September 22nd, it will break the record for most trophies won by a single season. But who currently holds that record? Game of Thrones, which won 12 awards in 2015.
Here’s a look at where sci-fi and fantasy shows have stood in Emmy voters’ eyes in ceremonies past, from the loved to the snubbed.