10 Great Shows That Never Won An Emmy


For decades, television has been a comfort to many; not only bringing joy to people’s lives, but also being a source for education, as well as a bridge for personal connection. So where movies have the Oscars, the world of television has the Emmys. It’s the night when episodic storytelling is rightfully celebrated for its annual contributions, regardless of whether they’re a 30-minute sitcom, or an hour-long gripping drama.

Recently, the 75th Emmy Awards finally occurred after being postponed for several months, due to the 2023 Hollywood strikes. Hosted by Anthony Anderson, the entire ceremony was dedicated to commemorating the legacy of television and the brilliant shows that moved us all. However, as noted in some of the presenter’s antics, not all iconic shows were ever bestowed with the prestigious award. Indeed, for some, it really was just an honor to be nominated.

10 ‘My So-Called Life’ (1994)

Creator: Winnie Holzman

Image via ABC

Set in a fictional suburb near Pitsburg, Angela Chase (Claire Danes) is living the life of a typical teenager as she dwells on the trials and tribulations of adolescence. At 15-years-old, not only must she navigate the complex relationships with her family and friends, but also somehow find her place in the wider world.

Nowadays, it’s almost rare to see teen dramas garner mass amounts of critical acclaim. Yet, somehow My So-Called Life managed to tick every box for fans and critics alike. Perhaps it was because of the brilliant writing that was able to tackle major social issues in ways that were sincere and genuine. Or perhaps it was because of Danes’ incredibly realistic portrayal of adolescent struggles. Either way, this show tugged on the heart strings of many and gained several accolade nominations, including four for the Emmys. Unfortunately, none were ever won, nor did they have the chance to receive any others, as My So-Called Life was abysmally canceled after just one season.

My So-Called Life

Release Date
August 25, 1994

Claire Danes , Jared Leto , Devon Gummersall , A.J. Langer , Wilson Cruz , Bess Armstrong , Devon Odessa , Tom Irwin

Main Genre


Watch on Hulu

9 ‘Newhart’ (1982-1990)

Creators: Barry Kemp

Newhart cast in the TV sitcom
Image Via CBS

Author, Dick Louden (Bob Newhart), and his wife, Joanna (Mary Frann), decide to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City living in exchange for a quaint life in Vermont. Now owners of a little inn, the couple experience the misadventures of rural life, with Dick unexpectedly becoming a local television celebrity.

As a classic sitcom from the 80s, Newhart was one that easily got better with age thanks to the immense talent of Newhart himself, the continuous introduction of new fun-loving characters, as well as its even smarter writing. Fans and critics adored this show, often citing its series finale as one of the best closing chapters of all time. However, when it came to the accolades, Newhart sadly fell short quite regularly. Despite earning 25 Emmy nominations throughout the show’s entire run, no award was ever received. Alas, the unfortunate realities of Hollywood.


Release Date
October 25, 1982

Bob Newhart , Peter Scolari , Tom Poston , Julia Duffy

Main Genre


Watch on Amazon Prime

8 ‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009-2015)

Creators: Greg Daniels and Michael Schur

parks and rec
Image via NBC

In an attempt to beautify her town, as well as aid her own professional ambitions, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) – a bureaucrat in an Indiana Parks and Recreation Department – aids her friend Ann (Rashida Jones) as they try to turn an abandoned construction site into a community park. Unfortunately, their mission becomes a lot harder than expected as they’re met with several challenges and tons of bureaucratic red tape.

Often going toe to toe with other beloved sitcoms at the time – such as The Office and Arrested DevelopmentParks and Recreation managed to hold their own as they gained significant critical acclaim. With fun plot points, great on-screen chemistry and several iconic cameos – many would argue that it’s bizarre that the show never once won television’s highest honor. With a Golden Globe, as well as multiple Critics’ Choice Awards, under their belt, Parks and Recreation failed to win a single Emmy – even with its 14 nominations. On the bright side, at least the show remains to be a comforting binge-watch.

Parks and Recreation

The absurd antics of an Indiana town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.

Release Date
April 9, 2009

Main Genre


Watch on Peacock

7 ‘The Brady Bunch’ (1969 – 1974)

Creator: Sherwood Schwartz

Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Muareen McCormick, Eve Plumb, Susan Olsen, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Ann B. Davis in The Brady Bunch
Image via ABC

As widower, Michael Brady (Robert Reed), marries widow, Carol Martin (Florence Henderson), the two forge a new family unit filled with six kids, a dog, and a live-in housekeeper. Now, with their super blended family, new dynamics arise as the kids grow into their adolescence alongside new sibling rivalries.

Where it’s hard to imagine television history without this show’s catchy theme song and iconic family moments, some may find it surprising to know that The Brady Bunch never really caught on during its original run. Indeed, the show only gained popularity during its syndication, a year after its sudden cancelation. As such, this sitcom never experienced the glitz and glamour of Awards season. In fact, it was never nominated for any major accolade – including the Emmy Awards. But at least The Brady Bunch has cemented itself as an iconic staple of television history.

The Brady Bunch

Release Date
September 26, 1969

Robert Reed , Florence Henderson , Ann B. Davis , Maureen McCormick , Eve Plumb , Susan Olsen , Barry Williams , Mike Lookinland

Main Genre


Watch on Paramount+

6 ‘The Kominsky Method’ (2018 – 2021)

Creator: Chuck Lorre


Aging actor, Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas), may no longer be as famous as he once was, but he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Now, a revered acting coach with a studio named after himself, Kominsky faces life’s various curveballs – with the help of his great friend and longtime agent, Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin). Together, the two share laughs and heartache as they navigate personal and professional ordeals as they grow old in Hollywood.

A show can only be as good as its acting ensemble. So, with legends Douglas and Arkin at the helm, it’s safe to say that The Kominsky Method was in safe hands. With smart humor and fully fleshed characters with great banter – the show was another Netflix hit that earned major fan and critical acclaim. But where it did manage to win two Golden Globes – including Best Television Series Musical or Comedy – The Kominsky Method never won any of its 12 Emmy nominations. Despite all this, the show remains to be one of the best projects that celebrates the older generations of Hollywood, as well as a great final goodbye to the late Alan Arkin.

Watch on Netflix

5 ‘Married… with Children’ (1987 – 1997)

Creators: Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt

Married with Children TV

Living in the mundane suburbs of Chicago, Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) is a working-class shoe salesman failing at his job and struggling with his dysfunctional family. With a lazy wife who pesters him about money, a dim-witted daughter, as well as a smart-ass son – their day-to-day lives are filled with many highs and lows.

Before he was the beloved patriarch in Modern Family, O’Neill was the classic sitcom dad. But unlike most sitcoms, Married…with Children had its own flair by not showcasing a sweet, fun-loving, cookie-cutter family. Indeed, the show – and the Bundys themselves – were crass, crude, and politically incorrect. But perhaps that’s what made the show such a breath of fresh air. It depicted the messy realities of life, albeit in a ridiculously funny way. As such, it was a bit of a shame that, throughout its ten-year run, it was only ever nominated for 7 Emmys.

Watch on Hulu

4 ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ (1966 – 1969)

Creator: Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek cast
Image via Paramount+

Following the adventures of the Starship Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley) lead their crew as they explore new worlds across the galaxy. Seeking out new life and new civilizations, they are a crew that boldly go where no man has ever gone before.

As one of the most influential sci-fi programs of all time, Star Trek: The Original Series has not only spawned several expansions to their vibrant story-world, but it has also become a significant piece of pop-culture history. Yet despite its innovation and significance, it has never won a single Emmy throughout its initial airing; it only received 13 nominations. That being said, the show has since received the Emmys Governers Award in 2018 for its outstanding contribution to the television industry. So, technically speaking, there is somewhat an Emmy in their midst.

Watch on Paramount+

3 ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (2005 – Present)

Creator: Rob McElhenney

The cast of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Image via FX Network

Consisting of five narcissistic raging alcoholics, “The Gang” stumbles along as they try to run their failing dive bar in South Philadelphia. Where they often attempt to navigate adulthood, relationships, and professional affairs – their toxic selfishness and overall disregard of basic social etiquette typically prevents them from achieving anything.

As hilariously noted in the most recent Emmy Awards, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hasn’t always had the best luck when it comes to receiving accolades. Indeed, throughout its 16 seasons, the show has only ever been nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Luckily for them, among all the entries on this list, they’re the only ones that still have a fighting chance as they have another two seasons lined up to air. Hopefully, this beloved cult classic gets its flowers as it’s always a good watch.

Watch on Hulu

2 ‘The Wire’ (2002-2008)

Creator: David Simon

Michael K. Williams as Omar Little and Wendell Pierce as Bunk sitting on a bench on The Wire
Image via HBO

Set in the streets of Baltimore, in the midst of America’s war on drugs, The Wire captures this conflict through the perspective of those in the drug network and those in law enforcement. As a gripping tale that challenges the traditional distinctions of good and evil, this drama series is a gritty, realistic portrayal of the complex underbelly.

With its nuanced writing, masterful performances and stunning cinematography, any lover of film and television holds The Wire close to their heart. But where it may now be revered as one of the best crime thrillers of all time, initially during its broadcasting, it was only ever met with two Emmy nominations – both of which were never won. Many fans have argued that this was a complete disservice to an otherwise brilliant show that seemed to be ahead of its time.

The Wire

Release Date
June 2, 2002

Main Genre


Watch on MAX

1 ‘Better Call Saul’ (2015 – 2022)

Creators: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould

Saul (Bob Odenkirk) sitting at his desk with his
Image via AMC

As a spin-off series to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul follows the moral decline of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), now more commonly known as Saul Goodman. Witnessing his struggles as a working-class lawyer, fans will finally get to see just exactly how tumultuous his life was, even before fate brought him to Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Despite its parent show being showered with accolades, Better Call Saul never met with such luck – much to the dismay of its devoted fan base. Like Breaking Bad, it was blessed with stellar cinematography, brilliantly well-written scripts and immensely talented actors who could command every scene. And yet, bizarrely, they were met with the biggest travesty of all. Indeed, of their whopping 54 nominations, Better Call Saul never won a single Emmy Award. As noted by several media outlets, this is supposedly a new record, making the program officially the most snubbed show of all time.

Watch on Netflix

NEXT:The 10 Most Emmy-Nominated Shows Without Any Wins


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