"Game Of Thrones was snubbed!" Plenty of fans probably uttered some variation on that exclamation when the 2017 Emmy nominations were announced, horrified by the complete lack of nods for the hit HBO fantasy series. After winning Outstanding Drama Series two years in a row, how could it fail to even get nominated in the category? Well, there's a very simple reason: Game Of Thrones was not eligible for Emmys this year due to its delayed Season 7 premiere. And honestly, maybe that's for the best.
When the show won Outstanding Drama last year, it was awarded for the show's sixth season — and the seventh season won't premiere until July 16, several days after the nominations were announced on July 13. But given how the Emmys are notorious for nominating the same shows every year — something viewers repeatedly complain about, without fail — taking a year off might have been in the best interest of everyone involved.
Think of how The Big Bang Theory and its actors seemed to have a firm chokehold on the Emmys for years upon years. Think of how Downton Abbey sat stubbornly idle in the Outstanding Drama Series category well past its prime, never winning but never yielding its spot to more deserving shows. Think of how Modern Family continues to be a default choice for voters, taking a slot that could have gone to more daring comedies like Better Things, Dear White People, or Insecure.
Given that Game Of Thrones is already the most popular show of all time by most metrics, it would be easy to start feeling like the show was overstaying its welcome or hogging the spotlight. In reality, the fantasy series hasn't always been an Emmys darling; in fact, before its inaugural Outstanding Drama win two years ago, the only Primetime Emmy it won throughout its first four years was a Supporting Actor trophy for Peter Dinklage way back in Season 1.
But perception is everything, and right now, Game Of Thrones is definitely the Prom King. As of its impressive Season 6 haul — 23 nominations and 12 wins — it has officially won more Emmy Awards than any scripted show in history, its 38 total trophies besting Frasier's 37. (The long-running and unscripted Saturday Night Live is still the overall champion with 50 wins to its name over the past 42 seasons.)
Given that Peak TV just seems to keep getting Peak-ier, with more new shows premiering on more new platforms each year, it would have been a bummer if Thrones had started building resentment just as it entered its penultimate season by taking up all the oxygen in the room. Just think of all the amazing new shows that there already wasn't enough room for in the 2017 nominations: American Gods, Legion, and 13 Reasons Why. Now think of the shows that might have missed out had Thrones been in the mix: what if This Is Us hadn't made the cut? Or Stranger Things? Or The Handmaid's Tale, or The Crown?
Now, when Game Of Thrones undoubtedly gets nominated for a wide swath of awards for Season 7 in 2018, the show will somehow feel new again… even as it's entering its endgame. It's amazing what taking a year off can do when it comes to building goodwill. So while it may be painful to sit through a ceremony in which Game Of Thrones' name isn't called once, it will probably be for the best in the long run.
Remember, you can squabble over the throne as much as you want, but that won't stop the fact that winter is coming. The seven shows nominated for Outstanding Drama Series this year can duke it out among themselves… but at the end of the day, no matter who wins, Game Of Thrones will be coming for the crown again in 2018. Everybody else better watch their backs.