‘Deadwood’: A brief history of HBO shows at the Emmys
Netflix has officially strutted off with HBO’s crown as being the new titan of the Emmy awards, leading the tally with 112 nominations. HBO’s 17-year streak of being the most nominated TV network at the Emmys is officially over. Still, it had a good run with some spectacular shows (and some less spectacular) receiving numerous healthy back slaps and high fives from the TV academy since the late 90s.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not so if you’re of the opinion the Emmys are actually full of shit), many terrific shows have also been snubbed over the years in various notable categories that they more than deserved nominations in. Here’s a brief history of those HBO shows and their Emmy nominations (or lack thereof), including this year’s nominations for the network.
Sex and the City (1998 – 2004)
The groundbreaking drama has long been credited as being one of the main shows that helped to increase HBO’s popularity as a network and it definitely shows in the Emmy nominations. Despite enjoying a grand total of 54 nominations across six seasons, Sex and the City won only seven, including one of Outstanding Comedy Series and acting wins for Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon.
The Sopranos (1999 – 2007)
The legendary show is highly (and correctly) regarded as being one of the best of all time and as a result it was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series every year it was eligible. HBO’s heavy hitter The Sopranos earned an incredible 21 nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series during its time on the air and won six times, with creator David Chase winning three.
Various stars of the show also came away with wins, including James Gandolfini and Edie Falco who both won three Emmys each for their performances as the most dysfunctional married couple ever seen on TV.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 – )
HBO’s irreverent meta-comedy has picked up 43 nominations across its nine seasons, but has only ever won twice.
In 2018 the show did pretty, pretty, pretty well for itself by being nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, with Larry David also receiving a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Both Bryan Cranston and Lin-Manuel Miranda are also nominated for their memorable guest appearances in the recent season of the show.
Six Feet Under (2001 – 2005)
HBO’s macabre drama Six Feet Under scooped up 53 nominations and nine wins, with creator Alan Ball scoring a directing win and Patricia Clarkson winning twice for her depiction of the emotional and artsy Aunt Sarah.
The Wire (2002 – 2008)
You’re going to want to sit down for this one. Not only did HBO’s The Wire never receive any major Emmy nominations, but it also didn’t win a single one. Mercifully, it did receive two writing noms in 2005 and 2008 respectively, but still.
Deadwood (2004 – 2006)
We’re still apoplectic over the fact that HBO’s Deadwood ended far too soon after just three seasons and in that time we’re sad to say that though Ian McShane enjoyed a nomination for his legendary performance as charismatic villain Al Swearengen, he never actually won – the rest of the talented cast including Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock and Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane didn’t stand a chance.
Still, Deadwood was nominated 28 times and won eight awards (albeit in minor categories), which is better than nothing.
Entourage (2004 – 2011)
It’s easy to take cheap pot shots at the overall themes and quality of HBO’s Mark Wahlberg-produced Hollywood comedy, but Entourage actually did fairly well for itself at the Emmys with 26 nominations and six wins in total. The television academy was especially hot for Jeremy Piven, whose supporting role in the show garnered him four consecutive nominations and three consecutive wins in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Game of Thrones (2011 – )
To date, the HBO fantasy drama has managed to cultivate 110 Emmy nominations and 38 wins. In 2018, the series has once again been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and leads the Emmy nominations tally with an impressive 22 nominations, which include acting nods for Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Diana Rigg, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, as well as accolades for directing and writing.
Girls (2012 – 2017)
No matter how many times she was nominated for her acting, writing, or directing on the show, Lena Dunham never did bag an Emmy win. In fact, HBO’s Girls received 19 nominations over the years but only won twice – once for casting and a second for Peter Scolari’s guest appearance in the episode “Good Man”.
Silicon Valley (2014 – 2019)
Mike Judge received a directing nod while Alec Berg picked up a writing nomination for their work on HBO’s Silicon Valley, which has landed 33 Emmy nominations (and only two wins) throughout the years. The show is nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series this year.
Insecure (2016 – )
Star and creator Issa Rae has finally been recognized in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress at the Emmys, but we’re inclined to think HBO’s Insecure also deserves a few more acknowledgments from the TV academy concerning its sharp writing.
Westworld (2016 – )
Just a little behind Game of Thrones comes HBO’s philosophical drama Westworld, with 21 nominations including Outstanding Drama Series and plenty of acting recognition for stars including Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, and Jimmi Simpson. At last year’s Emmys, the show enjoyed similar success and was nominated for 22 awards (of which it won five).
HBO’s newest comedy hit has taken the Emmys by storm this year, amassing a respectable five major noms including Outstanding Comedy Series, acting nods for Bill Hader and veteran Henry Winkler, and directing and writing nominations too.