Conspiracy Against Sci-Fi/Fantasy With Awards? (Or Can We Put This Stupid Myth To Rest Now, PLEASE?)

I hear it time, and time again.  There is some kind of bias against sci-fi and fantasy by the major awards:  Oscars, Emmy, and Golden Globes.  So the question that must be asked is, is that true?

The answer is an emphatic HELL NO.  It’s not true.  It’s not close to being true.  The truth is the awards are biased towards money.  The 90s kind of proved without a shadow of doubt that a Studio, Network, etc. can buy an award.  You throw around enough “For Your Considerations,” adverts, and invite voters to parties, etc.  Soon enough you have SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE winning best picture.

Did Newline have any trouble getting THE LORD OF THE RINGS movies nominated and eventually winning?  Nope.  Just a little money.  I could go on at length about how those movies had no right what so ever to be nominated for much except art related awards (design, costumes, FX, etc), but that just gets the idiots enraged.  Peter Jackson winning a best director award proves that there is no bias against sci-fi/fantasy.  If he can win, and win with a fantasy flick it proves….

This is just a bad myth.  TV?  Go back to the TWILIGHT ZONE the grandfather of all sci-fi, it not only won awards for best writing its first 2 seasons, it also was nominated for best Drama after it’s second and best season.  Historians all know the overall quality dropped after season 2, with Rod Serling being over worked.  If there had been an Emmy for best drama TV series instead of Drama for both TV series and TV movie, it would have won.  The fact that it didn’t win ended up being a point brought up many times for the awards to be split, which they finally were.

I hear idiots jump up and say “The X-FILES was ignored too,” and it’s one of the most nominated TV shows of all time.  It’s also won quite a few awards.  Sure, you can ignore DGA, etc. awards.  You just want to count Emmy Awards?  For 4 straight seasons  it was nominated for Best Drama.  The stars were nominated 6 times, and Anderson actually won once.  Numerous editing, writing, cinematography, etc. awards were actually handed out to them.  Peter Boyle won a best Guest acting award, which is truly about the toughest award to win for actors, and other guests were nominated on more than one occasion.

Yes, the show stopped receiving big nominations right around the time when the quality dropped.  Go figure.

I hear other idiots jump up and say “What about BUFFY?”  You’re right BUFFY was ignored.  However, was it ignored because it was sci-fi/fantasy or because it was a “teen show?”  Whedon did get a writing nomination one year if my memory hasn’t totally failed me.  Gellar was nominated one year for a Golden Globe.  The series was nominated and won numerous Teen Choice awards.  It never won a HUGO which is specifically THE award for sci-fi.  Saturn awards were handed out left and right, but not a HUGO.  This was a show looked down on by sci fi people because of the teen aspect.  You want a conspiracy?  How about “Teen Shows Never Win Non-Teen Awards,” there you might actually have something.


Sci-Fi/Fantasy snub or Teen Show snub?  Maybe the skirt length disqualified them?

So why were such good shows like BUFFY left out?  Is it a conspiracy?  No.  It’s called:  MONEY.  The WB didn’t throw parties, didn’t pay for a lot of “For Your Consideration,” adverts, and didn’t woo the voters.  You know who did?  CBS, NBC, etc.

There is no conspiracy.  Generally decent shows mostly worthy of nominations are nominated.  Shows like FRINGE & TRUE BLOOD weren’t snubbed.  They didn’t deserve it.  Yes, there were snubbed shows.  They all have one thing in common:  Nobody went to bat ($) for them.  Look at FX, they spent nothing on THE SHIELD, because it was the final season and thus no money in it for them to spend money.  If you’re looking for proof to what I say, that’s a damn perfect example.


30 responses to “Conspiracy Against Sci-Fi/Fantasy With Awards? (Or Can We Put This Stupid Myth To Rest Now, PLEASE?)

  1. How about once Buffy actually caught on with the general public it was past its best years and did not deserve to be nominated

  2. carl, I don’t believe a show needs to “catch on,” it just needs to be good and recognized for it. However, I agree by the time BUFFY became more “mainstream,” it was already on a downward spiral of quality. However the season where Angel went bad definitely deserved more awards from even the sci-fi community.

  3. Buffy was nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series and another for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series for “Hush”. You were just going off by memory? Wow, you’re good.

  4. imkeh, that is only because I’ve participated in numerous conversations about that subject. That is definitely one show that was ignored despite critics totally raving about it. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but the WB didn’t pursue the awards either. I think because it was a “teen,” show and that is why the sci fi awards kind of ignored it as well.

    The HUSH episode was worthy of awards, but the season as a whole that year, no.

  5. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy (that word gets thrown around too loosely) but I do think that when it comes to awards, scifi will never get the type of recognition that mainstream entertainment gets. Scifi has always had a level of stigma attached to it – people who are not fans think of it as kid stuff or tv for geeks or losers who wear Trekkie costumes and live in their parents’ basements. No awards will be given to scifi shows, whether they are deserving or not, merely because no judges will be open-minded enough to think scifi is more than that.

    Forget Buffy, think of another example: the Battlestar Galactica remake. While I’ve never watched it myself, I’ve heard time and time again from tv critics (TV Guide, EW) that it’s one of the best shows on tv, not one of the best scifi shows, one of the best shows, period. And yet has it ever gotten any nominations? I don’t think so (someone correct me if I’m wrong and I’m not talking about the technical awards here).

  6. I think Buffy was robbed for the 5th season. Since the emmys use episodes to vote, it should have been nominated for Best Drama because of the episode, “The Body”, whereby Joyce Summers dies. That episode was so riveting and emotionally power. The only flaw in that episode I think is that they should have left the vampire out in the ending scene. But, the episode was so intense and riveting, that the Emmys & Golden Globes should have nominated it Best drama for that year. I think that episode would have or should have sold it.

  7. How about SUPERNATURAL? In my humble opinion is a truly amazing show. The writing and the acting are top notch and every season gets stronger than the one before. Is this a case of the network not giving a crap about the show and no promoting it whatsoever, and therefore not getting recognition?

  8. On the Hugo/Buffy thing, the only year it was nominated was 2002, where it lost to LOTR. In recent years they’ve had a seperate short & long form dramatic presentation award, but back then it was all lumped in together. You could make the argument that as it was the only tv show nominated in that year it may have won if they had seperate awards like they do now. The fact it only got nominated once does support Nick C’s point though.

    Shelley mentioned BSG. I have to admit I’ve never liked it that much, and have never really understood all the love that goes its way. The only episode I actually really enjoyed was “33” from the first season. I have tried to like it but in the end I couldn’t give a toss if on the next jump they all accidentally ended up appearing in the middle of some star and getting incinerated. I actually found myself supporting the Cylons. The depth of my apathy regarding the survival of the characters in a show that is ostensibly about said characters trying to survive against the odds is probably not a good thing, but I always assumed it was just me.

  9. Nick-
    You make a good point about campaigning translating to nominations, and that’s certainly valid. I do think, however, that a sci-fi or fantasy show earning major nominations is the exception rather than the rule. The victory for “Lord of the Rings” may have had more to do with the fact that it was a successful adaptation of a beloved book series. Regarding television, it does seem fairly clear that, besides the examples you provided, the Emmys don’t really lavish sci-fi fare too much. When a different group nominates the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jessica Alba and hands out a trophy to Anna Paquin for “True Blood,” it seems that Emmy voters aren’t terribly open-minded. They’re on the verge – the top ten placement for Mary McDonnell last year and the directing/writing noms for BSG, but they’re more comfortable with choices like Sally Field and Mariska Hargitay over McDonnell and Paquin.

  10. You’re right. Teen shows don’t get the respect they deserve. First Buffy, now Friday Night Lights. We also can include Freaks and Geeks in that slot.

  11. Shelly, sci-fi shows have won numerous awards. Again, THE X-FILES is one of the most nominated programs of all time. One season they were nominated for best drama with NYPD BLUE (which won), CHICAGO HOPE, ER, and LAW & ORDER. That is not bad company at all. In fact for 3 seasons they were all nominated back to back to back for best Drama.

    When you talk about a truly good show that transcends the genre it’s a part of, they usually get nominated. Lets be honest how many truly great sci-fi programs have their been? Even STAR TREK: TNG got an emmy nom for best drama one year, SAG nom, and WGA nom.

    The sad truth is there hasn’t been a great sci-fi program on any of the major 4 networks in the past 20 years except for X-FILES.

  12. TheMediaFan, you’re wrong. While writing awards are given for individual episodes, best drama is an overall category of all episodes. BUFFY shouldn’t have been nominated that year at all. Just as TRUE BLOOD shouldn’t have been, because it’s about the season as a whole. When 1/3rd of your season is “awful,” in your words, you just can’t justify its nomination.

    Victor, Yes, SUPERNATURAL is deserving of many, many, many awards. Definitely cinematography, art direction, and stunts. It should be nominated for writing, and possibly even win for writing. Best Drama? Maybe not this year, tough competition this year, but last year’s strike filled season? There wasn’t anything better.

    It’s definitely because the CW doesn’t go all out to win an award. I think this is because they don’t want to piss off their parent company that also owns CBS. They don’t even try.

  13. Shelly, also BSG is garbage. It has more plot holes than some of the worst TV series you’ve ever seen. Is it entertaining garbage? Sure, some episodes. Other episodes are just trash like garbage. Was the original series better written, better acted, and just overall better? YES. That alone says a lot in my mind.

    The 2 million people in the states who turned in week in and week out though are a very vocal bunch and very obsessed, as you’ll note by the response to my statements. 😉

  14. Abe, the foreign press has a fascination with Anna Paquin and have for ages. Was she deserving of the Golden Globe? Hell, no. So pointing to them as some kind of reasonable justification is silly. Plus we’re talking Warner Brothers here. They knew the fascination with her, and they went out and bought her a nice award to put on her mantle with her Oscar.

    I could point out that she didn’t even win a Saturn Award which is for sci-fi only. How can she not win that if she won the Golden Globe?

    Also you pointing out how they rightfully nominate Sally Field just kind of shows the competition these actresses are up against. McDonald was the best thing on BSG, and she did get in the top 10 last year. That’s not a bad showing when you consider how bad the rest of the show was around her.

    Paquin was robbed. She should have been nominated for her work as Irene Sendler. Her work as Sookie? Sorry.

    They need a night time soap category in these awards so the fanatic fanbases of DH and TB can get their noms.

  15. I watchd every episode of the new BSG and while I enjoyed it the first season alot, it spent the most of rest of the time annoying me. The characters either didn’t learn from thier mistakes, or behaved totaly of character (black market), and finally the presentation of “god works through people” through the enitre series, except when convienent has kept me from purchasing the dvds.

    To say that you didn’t like it beacuse you coud identify with the cylons is kind of misleading. The whole show was built in a grey area of “do these people even deserve to survive” and one could easily fall on the cylon side of things.

    I simply enjoyed the fact that unlike Trek, everything was not wrapped up in some technology enabled solution at the end of the hour, it didn’t deny what we know as human nature and have everyone living in some strange, alien, utopian society, and the ship would even have a fresh paint job put on week to week. Of course all those things were done much better in Firefly(of which I am a huge fan), but what can I say, I am a sucker for spaceships.

  16. “To say that you didn’t like it beacuse you coud identify with the cylons is kind of misleading. The whole show was built in a grey area of “do these people even deserve to survive” and one could easily fall on the cylon side of things.”

    Assume that was partly meant for me. I did get the whole moral relativism. There are plenty of decent dramas where the ethics of the protaganist(s) are clouded (or worse), but are engaging nonetheless – Dexter for example.

    In the case of BSG I just wasn’t that fussed about their fate. I got into it in the first season and went with it – as you said “I’m a sucker for spaceships”.

    The problem was that as it progressed I began to get the impression I was the victim of a fraud. Its okay to do a sci-fi show and not have anything huge to say, but woebetide you if you try and give the impression that you’re heading towards some profound payoff and fail to deliver. In this case “it was god wot done it” or maybe not ‘cos he doesn’t like to be called that. I’ve been solemnly told this was not a Deux ex machina. We even had a Christ analogy in the form of Starbuck ‘cos that’s not been done before. The end was a symptom of the fact they had no real clear idea of where they were going after about half way through season 2. I assume that Nick C is thinking of the Final 5 reveal as one of the plot holes amongst others.

    What turned me of in the end was the po-faced, relentless seriousness of it all. Its like a big, grim, soap (not space) opera. I know the situation is about as bad as it gets, but it needed more variety in the drama.

    I’m probably sounding harsher than I mean to. I didn’t hate it, I’m just not convinced its as great as some think. The awards its been nominated for in the past and this year seem fair enough to me.

  17. Never watched The X-Files but I heard the year it won, it was only because that was the season they did the Scully has cancer storyline. But again, never watched, so what do I know? As for BSG, I’ve never watched that, either, but it certainly does seem to get a lot of love from critics.

    I don’t agree with some of you that Buffy never deserved a nomination but then I’m a Whedon fan. Nick, you say many scifi shows have gotten recognition from Emmys – other than X-Files, what shows are you talking about because I can’t recall a single one? (I’m not being snotty, I’m genuinely curious to know the answer).

  18. The Twilight Zone, Star Trek (Leonard Nimoy), Star Trek The Next Generation, Tales From the Crypt (Kirk Douglas, Tim Curry and William Hickey), Twin Peaks, X Files were all nominated for primetime Emmys. But those are few and far between. Shelly is right on that.

  19. MediaFan, I’m trying to think of a sci-fi/fantasy show other than the ones you’ve mentioned that should have been nominated, and I’m really struggling. I do think BUFFY was overlooked (for the reaons Nick C says), but other than that I’m drawing a blank. FIREFLY could have grown into something more, but it was cut short.

    The simple truth is that most genre output just isn’t good enough. Sure its entertaining stuff, and I love alot of it, but to win an Emmy for best drama you have to do a bit more than just be fun.

    The job of good sci-fi is to use science and the future to hold a mirror up to the present, ask some tough questions, make your brain do some work, and actually raise the horizons of the viewer. Its a job that written sci-fi normally does quite well, but TV seems to have a problem with. In literary terms for the most part TV sci-fi seems quite happily stuck in 1930s pulp fiction land. Thats fine if you just want to entertain, but in order to win awards they might have to move forward a bit to like the 1970s or something.

    Anyway does LOST not count as sci-fi?

  20. Shelly, sci-fi shows with Emmy and Golden Globe noms or wins for best drama or TV series: THE TWILIGHT ZONE, THE MUNSTERS, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. , THE AVENGERS, GET SMART, STAR TREK (twice nominated out of its 3 seasons),BSG (the original series), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, QUANTUM LEAP (nominated 3 times), TWIN PEAKS, STAR TREK: TNG, THE X-FILES (nominated 4 straight seasons for Emmy, nominated 4 times for Golden Globe, won 3 Golden Globes for Best Drama), ALIAS, LOST, HEROES, TRUE BLOOD.

    The real question is, can you name a great sci-fi show that was truly snubbed besides BUFFY and FIREFLY? One was canceled early, so the studio and network wouldn’t have even tried to buy an award for it.

    It’s a myth. Can we all agree on that now? BSGINO and TRUE BLOOD weren’t truly deserving and anyone with any knowledge on writing and technique can point out multiple reasons why. TRUE BLOOD is just a soap opera. It does entertain, but that isn’t worthy of going up against some of the great, great shows on TV.

    What sci-fi show is missing that deserves to be on that list?

  21. “What sci-fi show is missing that deserves to be on that list?”

    Firefly Season 2

  22. Richard Steven Hack

    Again, as long as the criteria is that sci-fi has to be put up for Best Drama, then, yes, we can agree that it is not being snubbed.

    However, getting next to nothing for True Blood is being snubbed.

    It’s easy to win arguments when you control the criteria for winning.

  23. RSH, why is TB deserving of an Emmy nod? It was awful to horrible for 1/3rd of the season.

    If TB was snubbed, then so was ACCORDING TO JIM.

  24. Not to veer off the main topic of this thread, but as long as you mentioned “According to Jim,” do you have an explanation as to why such an awful show (and I’m trying NOT to be a “Susan” here, the show was just downright lame – and I actually LIKE Belushi as a person so my opinion is nothing personal against him) lasted as long as it did?

    Was it just super cheap to produce or was it actually getting decent ratings? I seem to remember (although my memory may be failing me) that the ABC comedy lineup was kind of a laughingstock rather than a success story during the tenure of “According to Jim.” Yet it seemed to be around for a number of years – and definitely didn’t deserve it, especially when you consider how many shows that were much better quality were axed before their time.


  25. TheMediaFan

    Hack is right Nick. Richard I agree with you. By the way, by seasons end, I suspect True Blood will reach 5 million viewers

  26. TheMediaFan, seriously you have issues. Do you understand what BEST DRAMA means? It means it provides higher quality than any other show. Some of the is opinionated. Some of it is TECHNICAL.

    TB should not be nominated, and that is why it wasn’t. It’s a vampire soap opera. I understand people liking it, and I understand them loving it and being fanatical about it. However, show some reason and look at the other shows and what they provide. Did any of them suck for 1/3rd of their season? Nope.

  27. Well, I agree with you Nick, the 1/3rd did not merit a nomination

  28. I tend to agree, although I was a little surprised Olmos didn’t get a token Emmy nod for BSG – although I was also expecting Chiklis to get a nomination, which you alluded to in your post. Awards (at least the “major” ones) definitely revolve around money. You can even see it in things like sports – when players are eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame the players who played for teams such as the Yankees and Red Sox have their teams actively promoting them to voters, whereas athletes who played for small market teams have to make their case on their own.

    However, even after reaching this conclusion, it’s still amazing to me that The Wire garnered so few Emmy nominations (two, both for writing).

  29. Clearly they do – so you must be part of it.

  30. Buffy won a Hugo for ‘Conversations with Dead People’