Sensational TV Shows That Never Took Home An Emmy

For decades, popular TV shows have been getting snubbed in the entertainment industry. A show with the highest rating won’t even notch a nominee at the Emmys. How is this possible? The rules behind it all are subjective, but for the most part, the academy attempts to get things right. There are some TV shows that the Emmys completely overlooked. Star Trek was nominated a dozen times without taking home any hardware and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia was only nominated for an obscure category. Here are the greatest shows to never win an Emmy.

Not Even a Nomination For The Brady Bunch

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It’s odd to see The Brady Bunch on this list. It’s one of the more popular shows that had a sensational syndication run, so why no Emmy? You’d think that The Brady Bunch would have a ton of awards, but that’s not the case at all.

The series never received an Emmy nomination. In fact, they’ve only gathered nostalgic awards handed out decades later. Even after outlasting some of its contemporaries, the show couldn’t secure a single Emmy.

Prison Break Earns A Nomination, But No Reward

stiill
FOX Image Collection via Getty Images
FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Prison Break earned a nomination for Main Title Theme Music in 2006 but didn’t take home the Emmy. Surprisingly, their lone nomination had nothing to do with the plot or actors at all and only the song that started it.

Earlier on in the show, Prison Break deserved to at least snag a few more nominations. The storytelling and acting from B-listers was phenomenal. No one knew the show would lose its luster after only a few seasons. Had the Emmys known, maybe they would have given the show some recognition.

No Love For The Yellow Guy

spongebob-squarepants
Nickelodeon/MovieStillsDB
Nickelodeon/MovieStillsDB

As long-lasting, comical, and culturally impactful as SpongeBob SquarePants has been over the past decades, one would hope the show might’ve won one Emmy. Since releasing in 1999, SpongeBob Squarepants has run 12 seasons, earned nine Emmy nominees, and hasn’t won any.

It couldn’t even grab one for Outstanding Children’s Program, which feels a bit unacceptable. During the first ten years, the show put a considerable emphasis on animation and unique sequences which would lead to a surplus of memes flooding the internet.

No Emmys In Philadelphia

cast
Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Although they received three Primetime Emmy Award nominees between 2013 and 2015, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia won none of them. Since its release in 2005, the show has captured the attention of a vast audience and even grabbed a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The three nominations this show earned were the same every single year, and it had nothing to do with the show itself. Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program was the nomination in case you were wondering.

What! No Star Trek?

original series
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

With Star Trek: The Original Series not having won any Emmys, it adds to the myth that sci-fi and superhero adaptations hardly ever win. Star Trek is as close as it comes to being a certified, 100% classic, but they’ve only been nominated for the top-notch award.

With a dozen nominations under their belt, including Outstanding Drama Series, they likely could’ve taken one home! Thankfully, Star Trek isn’t the kind of show that needs accolades to secure its legacy.

The Wire Misses The Mark

edris
HBO
HBO

One of the most famous shows of its era, The Wire failed ever to snag an Emmy. That could be primarily due to the grittiness of the show. It was a lot for people to take in and received just average ratings. However, it’s still regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time across all genres.

The show ran from 2002 to 2008 and the show never failed to bring the drama. After five seasons and 60 episodes, The Wire received a grand total of two Emmy nominees. The nominations weren’t for Outstanding Drama, but the Outstanding Writing category.

Sorry, Doctor Who

doctor who
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

British TV shows usually don’t get much love at the Emmys, considering it’s an American award and they have the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA). But considering that Downton Abbey has been nominated over the years, Doctor Who deserves a spot as well.

It’s puzzling to think that Doctor Who has been snubbed entirely; the show has zero Emmy nominations. It’s not for lack of popularity, however. Even shows like The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy reference Doctor Who quite often. Perhaps the Emmys just don’t see what everyone else sees in it.

Veronica Mars Has No Nominations

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Silver Pictures Television/Rob Thomas Productions, Warner Bros. Television
Silver Pictures Television/Rob Thomas Productions, Warner Bros. Television

Those in voting power for the Emmys sometimes miss opportunities. The same people who never gave Doctor Who a single nomination have done the same for Veronica Mars, a show that’s been nominated for two Satellite Awards, four Saturn Awards, five Teen Choice Awards, and on the list of AFI’s 2005 TV Programs of the Year.

The compelling TV show that took jabs at class and wealth issues with uncanny accuracy. Proving its strong fan base, after the show was canceled, screenwriter Rob Thomas took to Kickstarter to fund a Veronica Mars film. He achieved his goal of $2 million in less than eleven hours.

The Fresh Prince Earned No Winnings

fresh prince
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

For six years and 148 episodes, Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, and the late James Avery gave the world a good-natured NBC sitcom. The comedy resonated well with many audiences, but would only garner one nominee for Outstanding Lighting Direction in a comedy series.

That’s all The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air gets? Luckily for Smith, he went on to succeed in Blockbuster films as well as music. Although, if he won in all those other fields, he could have at least took home one Emmy for the Fresh Prince.

The Table Isn’t Ready For Party of Five

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Steve Granitz/WireImage
Steve Granitz/WireImage

In 1996, Party of Five won the Golden Globe for Outstanding TV Drama, and it looked like it would be up for an Emmy soon after. A show about orphans raising each other after the death of their parents seems like it would be enough to touch thousands of hearts, but the Emmys didn’t budge.

They only nominated them for Outstanding Sound Editing, and the show still didn’t win. With sensitive writing and beautiful acting from the likes of Neve Campbell and Scott Wolf, they deserved much more.

Martin is Out Of The Running

tisha and martin
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Starring Martin Lawrence, the TV sitcom Martin falls into the same boat as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The only difference is, Martin received zero nominations to Will Smith’s one. The show ran from 1992 to 1997 and had 132 episodes that featured countless special guests.

You have to compare this type of show to that of Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld and his crew earned countless Emmys being funny and talking about nothing. Whereas Martin was being comical but also tackled real-life issues in many of their episodes.

Dawson’s Creek Not Even Considered

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Columbia TriStar Television
Columbia TriStar Television

With six seasons under its belt and a large fan base among teenagers, the Emmys must’ve overlooked Dawson’s Creek. There’s a difference between underrated and overrated, and this show walked a fragile line.

From 1998 to 2003, James Van Der Beek, Michelle Williams, and Katie Holmes gave folks a dramatic version of the show Friends. It became one of The WB’s top shows and was ranked No. 90 on Entertainment Weekly’s New TV Classics in 2007.

Jane The Virgin Falls In A Tricky Place

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Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television

There are a few shows on this list that fall into a tricky categorical field. Jane the Virgin is a comedy that’s also melodramatic with a soap-operatic structure. Those qualities have been labeled as less worthy of an Emmy compared to traditional male storytelling forms.

Still, with having so much success from the start, Jane the Virgin has only earned two nominations that have nothing to do with the show. The show was awarded a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Comedy, and Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in Television Series Musical or Comedy.

Animated Series BoJack Horseman Deserves Some Love

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Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Netflix
Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Netflix

BoJack Horseman‘s first episode came out on Aug. 22, 2014. Since then, it’s remarkable that it hasn’t won Outstanding Comedy. The pop-culture-reference-heavy hoot isn’t just about jokes, as it has some heartbreaking scenarios going on as well.

The series does an excellent job at consistently making thought-provoking, bold predictions. The main issue with BoJack Horseman is that Netflix has to submit it for consideration, and they chose Animated Series. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 2019 that the show finally received a nomination.

Only One Nominee For Parenthood

parenthood still
True Jack Productions
True Jack Productions

There aren’t many TV shows based on a movie that makes you forget the film ever existed. Outside of Friday Night Lights, it’s safe to say Parenthood is the only one to accomplish this feat.

There were no gimmicks involved as the series was about simple family drama. It only received one nomination for Guest Actor (Jason Ritter). That’s it? The Emmys didn’t think any of the six seasons were worthy enough to win or even gain another nomination?

Halt! No Emmy For You

group photo
Mark Davis/Getty Images
Mark Davis/Getty Images

It’s easy to comprehend why Halt and Catch Fire never earned any Emmy glory, but the opposite is true as well. The series was about the birth of the computer age and slowly transitioning into a female friendship spectacle before becoming about the process of trying to make something.

Halt and Catch Fire was never a show people buzzed about, it didn’t touch on politics too much and it didn’t have any series-defining performances. All it had was beautiful acting and excellent writing. That’s good enough for one Emmy nominee, Main Title Design, right?

The Leftovers Were Snubbed Because of Another TV Series

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Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television

“The lack of outstanding drama nominations for seasons two and three of The Leftovers are two of the most unforgivable Emmy mistakes of this decade,” Vulture reports. It’s odd that the show only received one nomination for Ann Dowd’s guest performance in 2017.

Starring Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Christopher Eccleston, and others, the show was written impeccably, had ambitious direction, and was very moving. House of Cards was nominated for Best Drama instead during those prime seasons.

My So-Called Life Received Other Recognition

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a.k.a. Productions
a.k.a. Productions

Here we have another teen-based drama similar to Dawson’s Creek. Sadly, this show only lasted one season, but it did go out with Emmy nominations. The show was nominated not once but five times, which leads us to believe they left a lot of potential on the table.

None of those nominations won, but earning nominations for best writing and directing for a drama series is a big deal. Vulture calls My So-Called Life one of the “top two best high-school series of the past 30 years.”

No Good Times Here

good times still
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

There are so many shows around today, including Black-ish, that might not have existed if not for Good Times. Black-ish has at least received a few nominations, whereas Good Times didn’t.

While the series sometimes focused on the love for the word “Dy-no-mite,” it was still a beloved show that portrayed an African-American family in the working class during the 70s. That’s good enough for at least one measly nomination, isn’t it?

Power Executives Make Peace with the Emmys

tommy and ghost
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ

Even heading into its fifth season, Power was Starz most-watched and highest-rated show. When you look at the competitors like HBO’s top series, Game of Thrones, they’ve won countless Emmys since it came out. Power has yet even to receive a nomination.

The show’s creators and executives were distraught and angry and first, but have since made peace with it. “For the first couple of years, it was disappointing, because I felt we were doing something new and fresh, and I was hoping that the Emmy voters would take notice, and they didn’t,” said creator and showrunner Courtney A. Kemp.