The Walking Dead is the most successful cable TV show in history. It has routinely set new records and then shattered them when it comes to viewer numbers. The current season, Season 5, has beat Sunday Night Football in the ratings several times. Fans cannot get enough of The Walking Dead, so why has it been snubbed by all major award shows every year?
Awards nominations are starting to roll out for this coming awards season and already The Walking Dead has been snubbed by the SAG awards, which nominated the show only for “Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series” and the show and cast were completely ignored by the Golden Globes. Last year the show was totally ignored by venerable awards institutions like the Emmys. Even though Season 4 of The Walking Dead, which is the season that would be considered for nomination, was the strongest season of the entire series there were no nominations for the show. Critics and fans agreed that it was shocking that Melissa McBride, who plays Carol Peletier on the show, wasn’t nominated for her outstanding work in “The Grove”.
The Genre Show Curse
Even though The Walking Dead can hardly be considered just a genre show many of the nomination committee members for the major awards shows see it as a genre specific show, and it’s hard for genre shows to find acceptance at major awards shows. However, many of the most prestigious award shows are recognizing Game of Thrones in major acting categories and it can be argued that Game of Thrones is just as much of a genre show as The Walking Dead. It’s very possible that another factor working against the show is that it airs on a basic cable channel and not a channel with the reputation and notoriety that a channel like HBO has. Other genre shows like Orphan Black have also been shunned by the major awards shows despite brilliant acting, complex storylines, and great direction.
The Saturn Awards, which are specifically given to horror, science fiction, and fantasy films and TV shows have awarded The Walking Dead many trophies over the past few years including Best Presentation on TV which the show won twice as well as acting awards for Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride, and Chandler Riggs. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman won a special Saturn award and series favorites Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln were nominated for Saturn awards as well. But when it comes to mainstream awards shows the show usually is only nominated in technical categories if it’s nominated at all.
When it comes to awards that are nominated and voted on by fans The Walking Dead consistently does well. Even if the nomination committees of major awards shows can’t see the brilliant writing, directing and acting on the show the fans see it and are happy to reward the show with trophies. Recently Daryl Dixon was voted to be the MTV Character of the Year by fans. In the People’s Choice awards the show has been nominated each year in categories like Favorite Sci-Fi Show, Favorite Drama, Favorite TV Hero and Favorite Anti-Hero. It has won awards in all those categories, with Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes winning Favorite Anti-Hero last year. Last year the show also got a nod in the TV Character We Miss The Most category when Hershel Greene was voted to be the most missed character on TV. But the women of The Walking Dead have been consistently left out of the People’s Choice awards despite some amazing performances in the past couple of seasons.
The Most Successful Show in TV History
It doesn’t seem that not winning any major TV awards has hurt the show, which dominates the TV ratings. As the audience numbers grow the show continues to shock, amaze and delight fans even as it breaks their hearts. The cast and crew of The Walking Dead might not have a lot of Emmys or Golden Globes but they have the devotion of millions of fans which is probably a better measure of success than golden statuettes. But those same fans would really like to see the Emmys or the Golden Globes recognize The Walking Dead for the amazing work that the cast and crew do.