In the last two Emmy magazines of this season, TheWrap showcased a pair of “Emmy Hot Lists” — one for comedy, variety and reality shows and one for dramas and limited series. But as voting enters its final three days, can we take a moment to salute some of the shows that didn’t make it onto the hot lists, or onto the roster of nominees?
The year in television wouldn’t have been the same without these shows, although you wouldn’t know that if all you had to go by was the choices of Television Academy voters. So maybe those voters deserve their own Cold List for some of the decisions they made.
For its first five seasons, the NBC series “This Is Us” made us cry and brought the broadcast networks back to the top drama categories, landing four Outstanding Drama Series nominations and 24 acting noms, including five for Sterling K. Brown, three for Milo Ventimiglia and one for Mandy Moore. Its sixth and final season, which — spoiler alert — included the very tear-jerking death of Moore’s character, was extremely well received by its audience and by critics, but it was strangely and almost completely ignored by voters, who steadfastly refused to get sentimental about the end of a landmark network drama. (They did the same on the comedy side with “black-ish.”)
And no, it was not much consolation that the one nomination it did get, for the original song “Day of the Wedding,” was shared by composer Siddhartha Khosia and songwriter Taylor Goldsmith, who happens to be Moore’s husband.
“Saturday Night Live” actors
The show that has long dominated the supporting- and guest-acting categories hit a roadblock this year, dropping from 11 acting nominations last year to just three this year. Kate McKinnon and Bowen Yang received noms, but voters bypassed 19 cast members (including past nominees Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant) and and eight of the nine hosts on the ballot: Jerrod Carmichael got in, but Kieran Culkin, Jason Sudeikis, Billie Eilish and Kim Kardashian, among others, did not.
The narrative was irresistible: After three seasons of big viewership, Taylor Sheridan’s Western family drama starring Kevin Costner was finally going to register with Emmy voters! And Kelly Reilly was going to be recognized for her brilliant performance! The trouble was, Television Academy members tend to decide early in a show’s run whether it’s an Emmy show — and if they decide it’s not, persuading them otherwise takes a lot more than an irresistible narrative. So “Yellowstone” got shut out completely.
“Yellowstone” may have been the biggie, but it wasn’t the only worthy drama to be overlooked completely. In the same boat: “The Chair,” “The Good Fight,” “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” “Evil,” “Outer Range” and “Bel-Air” (whose chances were admittedly not helped when Will Smith, the star of the comedy series on which the show was based, got slap-happy at the Oscars).
The third season of Donald Glover’s comedy series was great, but it came four long years after Season 2. And the show that received six nominations for its first season (including Outstanding Comedy Series) and 16 for its second season (ditto) had to settle for a downright insulting three for Season 3: one for Glover, one for directing and one for cinematography.
Not Ready for Primetime?
Other series weren’t completely ignored by voters, but all of their nominations came in the below-the-line categories handed out at the Creative Arts Emmys rather than the Primetime Emmy telecast. On the drama side, they included last year’s Outstanding Drama Series nominee “Bridgerton,” cult favorite “Midnight Mass,” limited series “Gaslit,” “1883” and “The First Lady” and drama series “Pachinko” and “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” In comedy, the roster included former Outstanding Comedy Series nominees “black-ish,” “Cobra Kai,” “Emily in Paris” and “Russian Doll,” as well as “Schmigadoon,” “Hawkeye” and “The Righteous Gemstones.”
Last year, Marvel Studios had a breakthrough at the Emmys, with “WandaVision” nominated for Outstanding Limited Series and also scoring three acting, one directing and three writing nods among its 23 noms. But with that show out of the running this year, the Marvel slate of “Loki,” “Moon Knight” and “Hawkeye” combined for only 16 nominations, all of which came in below-the-line areas. Only the studio’s first animated series, “What If…,” managed two performing nominations, for voiceover actors Jeffrey Wright and the late Chadwick Boseman.
Original Short-Form Content
The Emmys have been playing around with the short-form categories in recent years, but it hasn’t helped halt a distressing skid from original stories to a string of spinoffs of existing shows. Apart from “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” and “The Randy Rainbow Show,” the nominees in the two short-form categories are made up entirely of content derived from James Corden, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah’s late-night shows, plus “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Top Chef” and “SNL.”