Fri. Sep 18th, 2020

2019 Emmys: Will final seasons find Emmy love or be sent out to pasture?

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — “I Need To Find My Frenemy” Pictured (L-R): Gabrielle Ruiz, Rachel Bloom, Rachel Grate, Donna Lynne Champlin and Vella Lovell in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW)

The Academy Awards have a long, storied history of trying to turn back the clock, to either right wrongs from their past (Al Pacino wins for Scent of a Woman!) or give unofficial lifetime Achievement Awards (see: Palance, Jack). You may remember both these things converging to soul-crushing results at this year’s Academy Awards when Glenn Close – Seven-time nominee, zero-time winner – lost Best Actress well dressed as a damn Oscar (I promise you, dear reader, one day I will be OK, but today is not that day). The Emmy Award version of this non-specific bump in awards attention is television shows in their final seasons.

In the very recent past, shows that were so criminally overlooked they ended up in the Mueller Report have finally been given some much overdo Emmy affection: Kyle Chandler and Matthew Rhys winning Best Actor trophies in the respective final seasons of Friday Night Lights and The Americans immediately spring to mind. Similarly, Television Academy favorites like Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier (and their casts) have a tendency to break back into the race in their final seasons.

Below is a (partial) list of shows coming to their natural end this Emmy season, and their chances of emerging on the Emmy Ballot. Please note this does not include shows prematurely canceled, even though that does often lead to Emmy attention (justice for Pushing Daisies!), which means no coverage of Trial & Error (two Kristen Chenoweth references in one sentence? My dream!).

The Big Threats

The Big Bang Theory

After 12 seasons, the #1 Comedy Series on Broadcast TV, will be calling it quits, and Emmy might welcome it back to the party. No one – I don’t even think Jim Parsons – wants to see this show back on the ballot, Parsons is a 4x winner in the Lead Actor – Comedy category, so there’s a good chance we see America’s Favorite (barf) Nerd pick up a final nomination. Bazinga?

Broad City

I looked it up three different ways, and I’m as shocked as anyone to discover that Broad City has never been nominated for an Emmy. After 5 years,  Abbi and Ilana, the characters and actors, are off to greener pastures, maybe it’s time to celebrate the best best friends of a generation?

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Kimmy has always been more tolerated by Emmy that celebrated by it. The show – and living legend Tituss Burgess – has been nominated every year since its debut in 2015 but the series has never won a single award. We don’t talk enough about the fact that Jane Krakowski doesn’t have an Emmy, considering it’s literally all I want to talk about. 

Game of Thrones

GoT and Peter Dinklage are the incumbent winners for what was not the strongest season of this epic, so you can expect the Drama Categories to be a real – don’t say it – Red Wedding for the other potential nominees. The only real question is whether or not the biggest show in the world’s final season can finally nab anyone other than Tyrion an Emmy. Cersei? Sansa? Ellaria Sand!?!? (That’s a joke, you guys.)


Veep took an Emmy season off while Julia Louis-Dreyfus battled cancer, opening the door for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to essentially sweep last year’s Comedy Categories. While Maisel had a strong second season, there’s really no stopping Veep this year. From the first few episodes, hiatus hasn’t dulled this show a bit, and the Emmys aren’t going to miss an opportunity to give its most decorated actor one last trophy for one of the greatest television performances of all-time. My hope is the swell of support extends to previous nominee, Anna Chlumsky, who is doing career-best work this season.

Should be Contenders


The caustic, wonderful, realistic and most importantly, hilarious British import, has been shortlisted for writing, but never for Best Comedy Series or for its perfect leads (and co-creators and co-writers) Sharon Hogan or Rob Delaney. It seems like the entirety of Amazon’s award season budget has gone to making sure Maisel is marvelous (see what I did there?), so a final season sweep for the Morris-Norris family seems unlikely.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

It’s absolutely wild that the Emmys came around to streaming before they did to the fifth broadcast network, which to date has never received a major acting Emmy. Sadly, that doesn’t feel like it’s going to change for the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which was uniformly excellent. The world is on fire AND Donna-Lynn Champlain doesn’t have an Emmy for her performance as Paula? What am I supposed to do with that? What will I tell my kids!?!?

Jane the Virgin

One of the most praised shows on television, has somehow entered its fifth and final season without an Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Series or for its tremendous lead Gina Rodriguez. I have some small hope for our titular Jane, based on the season opener, in which Rodriguez delivers an epic 7-minute monologue! Dear voters if you watch any 7-minute monologues on your screeners this season, make sure this is the one!

Cancellation Irrelevant

Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds was born out of the NCISCSI-fication of CBS in the early aughts, but it was always seen as meaner and more dour. Sure, I want Paget Brewster to be recognized for her continued brilliance, but this ain’t the one. Could maybe get the opposite of an Emmy for 15 years of exploitative violence against women?


After five long years of *checks notes* the origin story of an entire *checks notes again* city will come to an end. While never a critical darling, the show carved out its place in an ever-growing, overly crowded field of comic book adaptations, specifically with incredibly committed performances by its Rogue’s Gallery.  In an alternate timeline, Robin Lord Taylor would have a shelf’s worth of Emmys for his batshit crazy performance as Penguin, but that’s not the world we live in.


There’s no shot here, as this show fell off the radar of due to scheduling shifts and, I guess, Sherlock fatigue, long before the end of it’s seven-season run. That said, what I would give to see an Emmy nomination for Lucy Liu! I just really want good things for her.


Vikings is a show that exists, despite what the world at large wants you to believe. History’s flagship series ended this past winter after 89 (!!!) episodes. Easily the Emmy Winner if there was an Emmy for shows which were birthed in the wake of Game of Thrones.

Strike Back

This is a show that has been on Cinemax for 7 years!

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