This morning, the Television Academy announced the Emmy nominations and once again continued to pass up the CW in the top categories, despite the network delivering two of the most critically acclaimed series, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin,” of this past TV season.
The oft-overlooked network has struggled to get recognized by the Television Academy, and has even poked fun at this trend in years past:
#Emmy nomination day! Or as we call it, Thursday.
— CW Network (@TheCW) July 19, 2012
The consolation prizes were some very deserved nominations in the creative arts side: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” nabbed nods for single-camera picture editing for a comedy series, original music and lyrics (“I’m Going on a Date with Josh’s Friend!” and “Settle For Me”), choreography (“I’m So Good at Yoga,” “A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes” and “Settle For Me”) and original title theme music, while “Jane the Virgin’s” Anthony Mendez got his second nomination in a row for narrator.
Previously, the network’s programs earned 11 Emmy nods for the creative arts categories and only won one Emmy for “Smallville” for sound editing (um, yay?). But when it came to the prestige categories lauding the shows themselves or performances, those nominations have proven to be as elusive as the legendary Mew (an extremely rare Pokemon).
This Sept. 18 will mark 10 years since the CW first launched as a joint venture between UPN and The WB. The network built a reputation of courting young adult viewers in the 18-34 demographic and featuring attractive and youthful stars on series like “Gossip Girl” and “90210.”
Perhaps it’s this veneer of superficiality that has blinded the Academy to the actual merits of the CW’s programming. It defies comprehension that the much beloved “Gilmore Girls” only racked up one Emmy award — for makeup, of all things. It’s not just a beloved show that has earned a Netflix revival as a coda, but unlike, let’s say “Full House,” it earned widespread critical acclaim and its characters, setting and rapid-fire dialogue are still held up as examples of excellent television. Similar sentiments could also be said for “Veronica Mars.”
But that is the old guard, and new shows such as “Jane the Virgin,” which is loosely adapted from a telenovela, and the smartly hilarious musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” are creating real conversations with critics and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is responsible for the Golden Globes. Last year, “Jane the Virgin” rightfully snagged a best comedy actress Golden Globe win for its star Gina Rodriguez and a nomination for best comedy. This year, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom won the best actress in the comedy category.
The CW is also finding its voice with critical darling genre shows, even beyond its roster of DC superheroes. Now in its third season, the dystopian series “The 100” is standing out among shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Breaking Bad” when it comes to exploring moral complexity and for the sheer scope of its storytelling. As for the comic book-inspired “iZombie,” it’s resurrected the wit, banter and relationships that we all loved so much in “Veronica Mars.”
So why are the Emmys blind to The CW’s charms? Again, the youth-oriented programming could have been a distraction, but also in the age of Peak TV, it takes a lot of buzz to stand out and gain the Academy’s attention. Regardless of the reasons, the Emmys are long overdue to get with the program.