The 2017 Emmys Eligibility Dates Exclude Two Major Shows

by Kadeen Griffiths
Ken Woroner/BBC America

The time right before the Emmys nominations are announced is always incredibly tense for TV fans, and 2017 is no different. However, the 2017 Emmys eligibility dates are, once again, bewildering and even downright infuriating when they result in perfectly good shows not making the cut for the nominations. Thus was the way of the world when it came to two in particular: Orphan Black and Game of Thrones. Fans of both shows will notice pretty quickly that Season 5 of Orphan Black and Season 6 of Game of Thrones won't be recognized for how good they were. But there's a logical reason for that.

The eligibility period for the 2017 Emmys was from June 1, 2016 — May 31, 2017. Now, some Game of Thrones and Orphan Black episodes did air within those dates, specifically the last four episodes of GOT Season 6 and, well, the last three episodes of Orphan Black Season 4. However, the Emmys have a "hanging episodes" rule that dictates that "the 'hanging episodes' that are in a contiguous rollout on the same distribution platform join in eligibility the already-qualified-as-eligible episodes of the series." In layman's terms, that means that if most of the season airs in one eligibility period and finishes in the next, the whole season counts as part of the previous eligibility period.

Helen Sloan/HBO

In TV fans terms, that means that Orphan Black Season 4 was qualified for the 2016 Emmys, Game of Thrones Season 6 was also qualified for the 2016 Emmys, Orphan Black Season 5 will be qualified for the 2018 Emmys, and neither show is qualified for the 2017 Emmys. Get it? It hurts, and it definitely seems like a major snub, but, really, it wasn't. The shows had their chance to shine, and now they'll have to sit out this awards season to let other programs make the cut. Which is a positive thing when you really think about it.

Understanding the Emmys eligibility period is a key part of dealing with your sadness when your favorite show doesn't get all the awards you think it deserves. There might just be a good reason.