Some Thoughts on the Emmys


So the nominations are out for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards. Yeah, they started handing those out back in 1949, which is scary. I wonder how many awards the DuMont Network took home? Oh, none.

Anyhow, I was looking over the list today and noticed that, shock and surprise, one of the best shows of this decade, and one of the best shows ever, was basically screwed over yet again.

Yes, Battlestar Galactica was, once again, snubbed in the three major categories of Best Dramatic Series, Best Lead Actor in a Dramatic Series and Best Lead Actress in a Dramatic Series. It did receive nominations in several other notable fields, including Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, but on the big three? No love.

This is hardly surprising. Awards groups seldom like to recognize that science fiction can be just as good, if not better, than many “straight” dramas. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was arguably the best show on TV during it’s fourth, fifth and sixth seasons, yet it was ignored. Star Trek: The Next Generation was given some love by the Emmys, but not until the final season when it was nominated for Best Dramatic Series and lost.

This nonsense is hardly limited to the Emmys. Tell me quick: what film won the 1977 Academy Award for Best Picture? Come on, think hard. Give up? Hannah and Her Sisters, a Woody Allen film that I haven’t seen, but is apparently rather good. Nevertheless, most people these days haven’t even heard of it, and it certainly hasn’t had a big impact on the world of film, unlike one of the other films that was nominated and should have won, a little indie film called Star Wars.

2001, King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, E.T., The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet are all science fiction or fantasy films that should’ve received more awards than they did. Certainly one can argue that all should’ve been nominated for Best Picture (some were), and that at least one or two should’ve won (none did).

In fact the only science fiction or fantasy film to ever win Best Picture was The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which was a pretty great movie, though perhaps not as good as The Fellowship of the Ring, which was nominated but lost out.

The problem is that groups like the Oscars and the Emmys want to give out awards to “serious” works, which is why science fiction films or TV are almost never selected regardless of quality. It’s the same reason that you’ll seldom see a comedy win Best Picture at the Oscars (though some are at least nominated and now that there’s going to be ten nominations a year, we might see this change).

Oh, well. Maybe these attitudes will change some day. Maybe. I know part of the problem is that the vast majority of science fiction and fantasy movies and TV shows tend to be total crap. I can only think of five science fiction shows off the top of my head that were really, really good (Doctor Who, Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, the newer version of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The X-Files was way too uneven in quality to be on the list). I can think of more science fiction movies, but very few fantasy and no fantasy TV shows.

Someday maybe the good science fiction and fantasy will get the respect it deserves from the mainstream, but that day is not today. Meantime, the last episodes of BSG are out on DVD on the 28th, so I’ll add those to my collection and at least I’ll get to appreciate a good program even if the awards people don’t.


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