On Sunday night, “Downton Abbey” became the latest critically-acclaimed series to never win an Outstanding Series Emmy. Though it received high praise from critics, a loyal fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic, and an Emmy victory for Maggie Smith, its hopes for the top prize over its six-season run fell to juggernauts like “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones.” Here are some other series that never won…and in some cases weren’t even nominated…for Outstanding Series
Though it defined a decade and a generation’s sense of humor, “The Simpsons” has never been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. It has won ten Emmys for Outstanding Animated Program, most recently in 2008 for an episode parodying “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
While “Parks and Recreation” was as much of a hit for NBC as “30 Rock” and “The Office,” it didn’t enjoy the Emmy success those shows did. “Parks and Rec” got two Outstanding Series nominations but lost to “Modern Family” and “Veep.”
Before HBO became known as the king of Sunday night dramas, there was “Oz,” a racially diverse and deeply disturbing drama inside a maximum-security prison. Though it paved the way for “The Sopranos,” it only received two Emmy nominations in its entire six-year run for casting and guest actor.
“The Shield” earned Michael Chiklis a lead actor Emmy in 2002, but it never got nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, even after its critically-acclaimed final season.
Louis C.K. is one of the most popular comedians today, but the show that helped push him into the mainstream, “Louie,” has never been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, though it did get C.K. a writing Emmy in 2012.
“Deadwood” was a gripping Western that helped continue the momentum for HBO that began with “Oz.” But while it ruled the barnyard in the creative categories, it lost its only Outstanding Drama Series nomination to “Lost.”
While “Game of Thrones” has opened up the Emmy voters to awarding genre shows, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” did not have such a luxury. Though it made Joss Whedon a household name and had an enormous influence on the Golden Age of Television that followed, it only got one nomination outside of the creative categories even as the media outrage grew in fervor with every passing year.
The cast of “Roseanne” got plenty of Emmy nods with four wins and 17 nominations. But when it came to Outstanding Comedy Series, it got completely shut out while “Frasier” went on its famed five-year winning streak.
“Friday Night Lights” was a deeply touching and emotionally honest look at a part of the world some casually dismiss as “flyover country.” After five years of quietly doing its magic without much Emmy recognition, it finally got a writing award and lead actor award for its final season in 2011. Unfortunately, its one bid at an Outstanding Series win lost out that year to “Mad Men,” which won in that category for the fourth straight year.
“The Wire.” That’s right. Though it is a strong candidate for the greatest TV show of all time, David Simon‘s classic never received an Outstanding Drama Series nomination. In fact, it didn’t get any acting nominations either. It got two writing nominations, including one for its series finale, but lost both. It’s the equivalent of Stanley Kubrick never winning a directing Oscar.
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