Emmy Trend Alert: Game of Thrones, Orphan Black and Revenge of the Genre Shows!

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Before we start complaining about Emmy snubs (you know it’s coming), let’s pause to praise the Academy for recognizing genre shows all across the board this year. The Emmy Awards have a long reputation of failing to recognize anything that smells suspiciously like science fiction and fantasy. This kind of bias doesn’t make sense, especially since genre shows have been with television since its inception.

But Emmy voters have traditionally broken out in hives at the mere prospect of voting for a “silly” show about aliens, dragons, vampires, etc. Of course, as fans of these shows know, the best genre shows are really about the struggles of the characters as they fight these mythical demons. And the reluctance to nominate sic-fi/fansasy series means that some very epic shows, in particular Battlestar Gallactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have not been given the respect they deserve.

In 2015, however, genre programming broke through the Emmy embargo. Game of Thrones scored the most nominations of any shows, with 24. You don’t get more genre than GoT, with its dragons and ice zombies! American Horror Story had 19 nominations and it is a sick combination of horror, science fiction, soap opera and crazy. Tatiana Maslany finally received a nomination for her amazing portrayal of an entire show full of clones on Orphan Black! Even though Orphan Black has fallen off the Quality Wagon in season 3, Maslany has been too great to ignore.

And don’t forget about shows based in the world of comics. The Flash, Daredevil, Gotham and even NBC’s cancelled Constantine all received nominations, as did the Zombie show that won’t die, The Walking Dead.

You could argue that the Emmmys decided to recognize Prestige Genre that appears on pay-cable but draw the line at network show, but I don’t think that’s true. Just look at the list of above. What made this change? Maybe it is the sheer volume of genre programming. Or maybe it’s better campaigning by the networks that make the shows. Whatever the reason, it’s great to see the Emmy recognizing the achievements of some truly excellent series.

Alex is a lawyer and opinionated.

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