The“Game of Thrones” dominance at this year’s Emmys gave it 38 overall wins, which just gave the drama enough juice to surpass “Frasier’s” 37 and make it the most decorated scripted series of all time. The show had better get used to this moniker, because it’s not going to change for a while.
“Game of Thrones” has two more seasons left, which will very likely rack up more wins and allow the show to pull ahead even further. Of the Top 10 most Emmy-winning shows of all time, six — “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Cheers,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Frasier” — have long since been canceled and therefore no longer pose a threat to the title.
The only other scripted series that’s alive in that Top 10 is “Modern Family,” which appears to have lost its Emmy steam, staying steady with 22 wins. In its 2011 heyday, it had a total of 12 nominations and five wins. This year, none of its four nominations yielded fruit. The comedy is clearly not a contender and has lost its buzz no matter how long it manages to stick around.
As a scripted series, “Game of Thrones” has no peer, but it doesn’t have the most Emmys overall. That honor goes to “Saturday Night Live,” which has 45 wins to its name, thanks to recent wins by Kate McKinnon and the hybrid comedy powers of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler combined. The variety sketch powerhouse continues to earn double-digit nominations across a broad swath of categories, and its formula for finding hot new talent and commenting on current events makes it a renewable resource for awards for decades to come. Even if “Game of Thrones” surpasses “SNL” in the next three years (its delayed 2017 premiere will make it ineligible for Emmy consideration until 2018) it will end after Season 8, which will allow “SNL” a chance to take the title back.
The wild card in the bunch is “The Simpsons,” which falls under the Animated Program category, and therefore won’t touch the scripted record. Once “Game of Thrones” ends, however, “The Simpsons” will likely still continue, allowing it to eventually catch up and overtake it for the most Emmys overall. It could be a huge gap to bridge though. The final two seasons of “Game of Thrones” will still be big winners, while “The Simpsons,” which celebrates its 600th episode this season, isn’t really moving the awards needle forward anymore.
“Game of Thrones’” achievement at the Emmys therefore was no mean feat, and will be difficult, but not impossible to topple. Co-creator Dan Weiss said it best on Sunday night when reflecting on the meaning of the record: “Someone will take this from us, but hopefully not until we’re all dead.”
There’s a High Valyrian phrase for that also: Valar morghulis.