2016 Emmy Nominations: Snubs And Surprises

Earlier today the 2016 Emmy nominations were announced, and you know what that means: it's time to complain about how wrongheaded Emmy voters are for failing to recognize your favorite show. That's part of the fun, right? But while we're at it, it's worth pointing out a few things they got right, too, even if — as in the case of The Americans — it took 'em a while. Below, let's look over some of 2016 Emmy snubs and surprises. 

The Snubs

If you hoped 2016 would be the year the Emmys finally let go of their genre bias, we'll we've got some bad news for you. And if you further hoped HBO's utter dominance meant some of its more underrated gems might finally get some love, well, we've got even more bad news.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

The CW

The CW has been killing it lately. Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are two of the most distinctive shows on television right now (as the Golden Globes have already recognized), and The Flash is a bright spot in a TV landscape saturated with superhero dramas. You wouldn't know it from looking at the Emmy nominations list, though. The CW scraped together a meager five nominations, none of them in the "major" categories. On the bright side, one of those five went to Anthony Mendez for his utterly perfect narration on Jane the Virgin.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

Alums of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show had a weak showing at this year's Emmy nominations. Sure, John Oliver got a much-deserved nod for Last Week Tonight. However, Stephen Colbert's Late Show and Larry Wilmore's Nightly Show were both shut out — as was The Daily Show itself, for the first time since 2000. And Samantha Bee's excellent Full Frontal might be the snub that hurts the most. In the past few months Bee has emerged as one of the most vital voices on late night, equal parts funny and furious. But voters apparently disagreed as her show only managed to secure one nomination, for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.

Daredevil Season 2

Netflix's Marvel Series

The Emmys have never been much for superhero shows, so it's probably not surprising that they've little use for Daredevil or Jessica Jones. That doesn't mean it's not disappointing. The two shows got four nominations between them — sound editing and stunt coordination for Daredevil, title design and theme music for Jessica Jones. None of the actors doing excellent work on this show were recognized — not Krysten Ritter, not David Tennant, not Charlie Cox, not Jon Bernthal — and neither were the writers nor the directors.



Starz's Outlander has been one of the most talked-about new shows of the past few years, which should make it a contender, right? Nope. Although the sumptuous period piece did get recognized for its production design and costumes, it was completely shut out in the best drama, acting, writing, and directing categories.

The Leftovers

The Leftovers

HBO cleaned up with 94 total Emmy nominations this year, the most of any network. Yet not a single one went to The Leftovers, which is regularly hailed by critics as one of the best shows currently airing. Emmy voters will have one last chance to catch up, as The Leftovers' next season will be its last.

Show Me a Hero

Show Me a Hero

Here's another HBO show that got left in the cold while Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Veep gobbled up every accolade in sight – this despite the fact that Show Me a Hero stars one of the hottest rising stars of the day, Oscar Isaac. Sadly, creator David Simon is probably used to getting ignored by now. He was also the guy behind The Wire, which managed only two nominations in its entire critically acclaimed five-season run.

The Good Wife

The Good Wife

Though the Emmys' affection for The Good Wife has definitely waned in the past couple of years, fans might have hoped that season 7 might get a bit of a bump by virtue of being the show's last. Alas, it did not. The Good Wife failed to make the cut for Best Drama, and star Julianna Margulies — who took home Best Actress for the role in 2011 and 2014 — couldn't break into the Best Actress category.

Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black

Netflix's Orange Is the New Black started out as an Emmy darling in 2014, picking up three wins and another nine nominations for its first season. Sadly, that love affair seems to have cooled off fast. This year, the Netflix dramedy only managed one nomination for casting. Granted, season 3 was not the show's best. But seeing as much worse seasons of much worse shows have been nominated in the past, it's interesting how quickly the Emmys have changed their minds about this series.


Well, that was a bummer, so let's move on to some good news...

The Americans

The Surprises

We complain because we care, but sometimes the Emmys surprise even us with their excellent taste. Cheers to the Emmys for recognizing excellence in the following (or, in a couple of cases, finally letting go of some bad habits).

Mr Robot

Mr. Robot

Okay, so it's not exactly shocking that Emmy voters like Mr. Robot, seeing as everyone else seems to like it too. Still, you never know with these folks and so it was nice to see this newcomer get some love. It's too bad Christian Slater couldn't score a nom, but at least star Rami Malek did. Mr. Robot hasn't yet reached the level of watercooler buzz and critical acclaim that Mad Men or Breaking Bad enjoyed in their heyday, but a Best Drama nomination is certainly a good start.

Aziz Ansari in Master of None

Aziz Ansari for Master of None

As with Mr. Robot, we're not especially startled to see Master of None make the cut, but we're thrilled nonetheless. And it did better than we might have predicted, with star and creator Aziz Ansari scoring in the Best Actor, Best Directing, and Best Writing (with Alan Yang) categories. He'll probably be named in the Best Comedy category too, when all is said and done — the show itself was nominated but the Emmys take a while to sort out which producers get the credit.

horace and pete season 2

Horace and Pete

The Emmys are not exactly known for their love of the new and different, but they embraced Louis C.K.'s unorthodox webseries. It probably helps that they already like C.K. a whole lot — FX's Louie has been a favorite for some time now — but still, good on them for being willing to branch out.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory & Modern Family

For many years The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family dominated the comedy nominations, even as buzzier and more original shows cropped up all over the small screen. But their stranglehold on the Emmys has started to loosen in the past year or so, and that trend continued into this year. Both shows still did fine — The Big Bang Theory got seven nominations including three for Guest Actor/Actress, and Modern Family got four including Best Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actor — but they're nowhere near the inescapable forces they've been in years past. And thank goodness for that. These shows are fine, but even their fans would likely admit that at this point, they're nowhere near as fresh as they used to be.

The Americans

The Americans

For years, TV fans have been begging the Emmys to just watch The Americans, please, it really is that good, we swear to God. This year, it looks like the voters finally listened. While the spy drama did get a little bit of attention last year, with noms for Guest Actress and Writing, 2016 is the year it finally emerged as a serious contender, with five nominations including Best Actress (Keri Russell), Best Actor (Matthew Rhys), and best of all, Best Drama.

Constance Zimmer on UnREAL

Constance Zimmer for UnREAL

After a shockingly fantastic first season, it's honestly a big disappointment that UnREAL didn't do better in this year's Emmy nominations. Still, we'll take what we can get. As Quinn King, Constance Zimmer combines sharp intelligence, a dark sense of humor, and a complete disregard for morals with just enough vulnerability and charisma so that we kind of love her anyway. It's a fascinating character elevated even further by a once-in-a-lifetime performance, and Zimmer completely had this one coming.

Thomas Middleditch in Silicon Valley

Thomas Middleditch for Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley has been nominated in the Best Comedy Series category since its first season, which is why it's weird that Emmy voters are only now getting around to noticing how great the acting on it is. Better late than never, though, right? Thomas Middleditch scored his first nomination for playing Richard Hendricks, and it is definitely deserved. This past season saw Richard rise to new heights and sink to new lows, as the show itself just got funnier and smarter and more deliciously painful.People v OJ Simpson

Actors of Color

Months after that #OscarsSoWhite kerfuffle, the Emmys went in a much different direction by nominating actors of color in all six lead acting categories — the first time that's ever happened in Emmy history, as pointed out by Buzzfeed. For years now the small screen has had a reputation for being more welcoming of diverse voices than the big one, and a quick look at the nominations is a great reminder of why.

Laurie Metcalf in Getting On

Laurie Metcalf

While most actors felt lucky today to get recognized once this morning, Laurie Metcalf, already a three-time Best Supporting Actress winner for Roseanne, added another three nominations to her resume today for Getting OnThe Big Bang Theory, and Horace and Pete.

Honest Trailers

Hey, you know those Honest Trailers we keep sharing with you? Well, they're officially an Emmy-nominated show now, having been recognized in the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series category. So you're welcome for showing them to you.