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Emmy Snubs of ‘Justified’ and ‘Louie’ are… Unjustified
July 19, 2012  | By David Bianculli  | 8 comments

Editor's Note: For a look at all of this year's nominees, check out TVWW's complete — and we mean complete! — list of nominees. And for a different spin on the Emmy hype, read Tom Brinkmoeller's Raised on MTM.

Louis C.K.’s sad-sack comic persona on FX’s Louie is used to being treated shabbily — but Louie shouldn’t be. Nor should another FX series, the brilliant drama Justified, yet both were snubbed by Thursday’s Emmy nominations. What the FX is going on here?

The Outstanding Drama Series category, this year, made room for only one show from broadcast TV — PBS’s Masterpiece Classic offering Downton Abbey — and even that was a miscalculation of sorts.

Downton Abbey, by most reasonable estimations, belongs in the miniseries category, not in series. Arguably, it’s the same sort of offering as another PBS import, the Masterpiece Mystery! show Sherlock, which does appear in the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie category — along with FX’s American Horror Story, which presented a 13-week narrative that was packaged and presented as a weekly series.

But back to the Outstanding Drama Series category. Other than Downton Abbey, it was all cable. Not even CBS’s excellent The Good Wife made the cut — but HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones did, along with three superb series that all had outstanding years: AMC’s Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and Showtime’s Homeland.

But where the hell is Justified?

That show had a stellar year, with Timothy Olyphant doing his best work yet as deputy marshal Raylan Givens, and Walton Goggins and season-long guest star Neal McDonough providing phenomenal support. Yet only Jeremy Davies, another recurring guest star, got an Emmy nomination from the show’s cast, and it was snubbed in all major categories.

On the comedy side, Louis C.K., at least, was nominated as Outstanding Actor — and his performance truly is a marvel of subtlety and originality. Yet Louie didn’t make the cut as one of the Outstanding Comedy Series, while HBO’s Veep did. No excuse for that whatsoever.

The rest of the comedy pack, at least, is defensible: ABC’s Modern Family, NBC’s 30 Rock, CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and the newcomer, Girls, whose Lena Dunham also got a nod as Outstanding Lead Actress.

But there are other glaring omissions, besides Louie. Where in the world is Showtime’s Episodes? It should not only be nominated as one of TV’s best comedies from last season, but  lead actress Tamsin Greig gave the season’s best comedy performance, period. And Matt LeBlanc, as an exaggerated version of himself, wasn’t far behind. Both, like the show, were ignored.

So were ABC’s The Middle and NBC’s Community, all of which deserved a nomination ahead of Veep.

Other categories included other snubs, led by Fox’s American Idol in the Reality Competition Program, and Jeff Probst of Survivor as reality host. But this year, the biggest crimes were against Justified and Louie, two of television’s best shows that deserved Emmy recognition.


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Paul Horton
Totally agree with the Justified and Louie snubs. I also agree that VEEP got way too much love this year. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is incredible, but the show hasn't really hit the funny bone consistently for me. Smart writing, but not necessarily funny. Also, nearly every principal on "Modern Family" getting nominated for best acting is overkill. Brilliant show, great writing and acting, but all four of the male leads grabbing a nomination? Just, no. Same with Matt Weiner and Mad Men. I love that show. This year was great, but there were shows that deserved some attention. Specifically the "Crawlspace" episode of "Breaking Bad". Just wow. And last but not least, it's always been a head scratcher to me, how "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and "Archer" never get noms. For anything.
Aug 7, 2012   |  Reply
And no nomination for "Treme"?
Jul 23, 2012   |  Reply
I started watching Justified a few years ago and it is by far one of the best shows on TV- Mad Man and so many others are predictable and boring; All the actors on Justified especially Raylan & Boyd are complex,understated and so powerful. The women are strong, smart and of course beautiful. They work well as a team.
How sad, that this show is not recognized for its actors, script and power.
Jul 22, 2012   |  Reply
Greg Kibitz
Could not agree more about both Louie and Justified. They're just two of my favorite never miss series, amongst far too many others, many that also get no proper Emmy cred! I'd make a list, but many have already been mentioned.

That said, IMO, The #1 comedy that never gets adequate attention is Curb Your Enthusiasm. And to the guy that thinks Big Bang is ailing, you are so wrong. Just as good as ever and only 1 of 2-3 shows on TV or cable that make me nearly die laughing at times. Then again, being a Scientist, Engineer, Nerd and fellow Shelton like Aspie, it hits awfully close to home, and thus means far more to me than most.
Jul 21, 2012   |  Reply
Parks & Rec is consistently one of the funniest shows on TV and Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson is the best character on network TV and yet both were snubbed not only by the Emmys but by this column. Please give Parks & Rec it's due! It is appreciably better than 30 Rock which was almost hard to sit through this season and yet got a nomination for best series which it did not deserve this season.
Jul 20, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
You're right. Parks & Recreation should have been another one I mentioned. No question.
Aug 1, 2012
Gregory Kibitz
Agreed about Parks & Rec. Way better than 30 Rock. Way more creative and gorund nreaking than 30 Rock. 30 Rock though good at times is just as often very flat. Plus Tinay always goes for the same old lame jokes and predictable humor. SAhe may have broken new ground in season 1 or 2, but that was a very long time ago. And never, ever has 30 Rock been nearly as good as Curb Your Enthusiam, Big Bang Theory or Louie but year after year the Emmy goes to: 30 Rock. Meaning other than the 100% spot on kudos for Breaking Bad and Mad Men, its all rigged. All about politics, and no one ever wants to peave off Tina Fey or Loren Michaels. As in, same as it ever were!
Jul 21, 2012
Where is the love for Vincent Kartheiser? I've watched all 5 seasons of Mad Men, and by far this was Pete's year. Not to say he wasn't Emmy worth in all of the other seasons, but he was outstanding this year. Still, I'm happy for Elizabeth Moss and Christina Heindricks as they are both more than deserving for this wonderful season. And I couldn't be happier for Jessica Lange.
Jul 19, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
I agree with you about Vincent -- and so many other supporting actors and actresses, a category I didn't really even address. Too many snubs there, all across the board...
Aug 1, 2012
I had to stop and look this up. Yes, the noms are based on this past year which is why Jared Harris got the nod for his portrayal. And "Girls" just finished their first season and is up for several awards. It would also explain Peggy/Elizabeth as lead actress and Joan/Christina as supporting actress as they both had a very strong season, especially Christina Hendricks. But Pete/Vincent, a real shame; he really held his own against all of the other male players. And John Slattery was nominated for the first four seasons, but not Season 5, so I guess the awards are really current. It gets confusing with the cable shows that don't run on the September/October-May season, but air sort of "whenever".
Jul 23, 2012
Greg Kibitz
I agree Pete/Vincent rocked this last season. But, and I may be wrong, I believe that this last season of Mad Men does not qualify for this year's Emmy's because it aired in this calendar year. If that is worng, then please feel free to right my ship.
Jul 21, 2012
30 Rock? Defensible? For 2011? Louie isn't to my taste but I admire the vision and execution and can see why others would like and nominate it for awards. 30 Rock was terrible last year. Big Bang was still watchable but kind of wheezing as well. I did watch a couple of episodes of Girls and it should be in the drama category - it isn't a comedy. As you noted, Episodes, Community and The Middle were all more deserving. I'd also throw in a couple of shows whose titles probably cost them respect, Happy Endings and Cougartown. I guess those base double-entendres were nice for the initial marketing but once the producers actually put good shows on the air, they were stuck with the embarrassing titles.
Jul 19, 2012   |  Reply
I too am greatly disappointed not to see Justified on the nomination list. Hands down it has some of the finest writing, best acting, and direction on tv right now. Granted, the shows nominated are good shows too. But I'm too biased...and believe Justified has them all beat. Timothy Olyphant's final scene of this past seasons was so brilliant and subtle and heartbreaking...I can't believe that he was snubbed like this. I may not have the most sophisticated understanding of the industry since I'm merely a viewer, but Justified is the biggest winner to me. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
Jul 19, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Mine, too. And so am I.
Aug 1, 2012
Rinnie, I totally agree with you. Justified has everything going for it. Yes there are other very good shows around but if I had to pick one it would be Justified.
Jul 20, 2012
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