Nothing says Emmys season like mourning a scorned TV series. Sure, in the age of Peak Peak Peak TV, there are so many shows out there that it's possible the concept of an Emmys snub is starting to lose its meaning. But as long as we have rage to spare for televised awards shows, we'll be here. Plenty of must-watch shows failed to make the cut for the 2022 Emmy nominations, from comedies to limited series and underdogs to perennial favorites, and before the rest of awards season speeds ahead, we're taking a moment to appreciate the shows that should still be in the conversation.
Not all of the series below were shut out completely, but none were recognized with nominations in the Outstanding Drama, Comedy, or Limited Series categories. These are the best shows overlooked by the Emmys this year.
To me, the biggest surprise of these Emmy nominations is FX's Atlanta getting snubbed in the Comedy Series category. Season 3 was controversial, and the first season of the show to not receive rapturous praise across the board, but it's still a much-discussed season of a very popular and acclaimed show that earned nominations in its first two seasons (and should have won both times). It only got three nominations this year, including one for Comedy Actor for Donald Glover. But now that I think about it, Atlanta has never gotten the Emmy love you might expect for a show of its stature; after all, Glover didn't win Outstanding Comedy Actor for the season with "Teddy Perkins." But still, Atlanta didn't seem like a show that was vulnerable to falling out of Emmy favor the way it apparently has. -Liam Mathews
At this point the Television Academy would probably have to be possessed by the ghosts of the '90s in order to recognize a procedural, much less a genre procedural. But Paramount+'s Evil happens to be one of the best shows on TV right now. Created by Robert and Michelle King (whose legal drama The Good Wife won Emmys during its run on CBS; it can be done!), the spiritual horror works on every level, spinning barbed parables of modern morality while leading its heroes into increasingly twisted territory. The scripts are sharp and unpredictable, swinging from winking humor to dead-serious dread and leaving room for fun formal experimentation, like Season 2's remarkable silent episode. The cinematography, influenced by 1955 expressionist thriller Night of the Hunter, of all things (this show premiered on CBS!), is operatic, lighting a single-family home in Queens in the same chiaroscuro as a moody monastery. And the cast — including Katja Herbers, Mike Colter, and Aasif Mandvi as a trio of investigators and Michael Emerson as their gleeful antagonist — expertly balances the show's unusual tone. Evil is prestige TV in the form of a procedural, which is, if anything, twice as impressive as your average cable drama. -Kelly Connolly
Look, it needs to be said: just about any single scene in the The Righteous Gemstones is funnier than most of the shows nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series this year. (I'm looking at one in particular; it rhymes with Ned Yasso.) Danny McBride's brand of humor has never really hit with the Emmys, but Gemstones had a well-earned moment of mainstream success in its near-perfect second season. There were jokes about toilet babies; there was a Macaulay Culkin cameo. It leveled up, and it's no fault of the HBO comedy's that it's not nominated. You have to believe the Emmy voters simply weren't watching, and that one's on them. -Allison Picurro
Pachinko's lone nomination for Outstanding Main Title Design implies that the show's opening is its best part, but that's just not the case. Of course, the joyful opening title sequence, a dance set to "Let's Live for Today," is awesome and one of the best openers of the year. But Soo Hugh's drama, based on Min Jin Lee's novel of the same name, stands out for what comes after the title. Hugh's adaptation should have been a major contender for Best Drama Series — it brought the raw emotions from the book to the screen while implementing a storytelling approach that addressed the story's present-day generation more sharply. The cinematography, directing, and editing all contributed to Pachinko fully immersing the viewer in Sunja's story and transporting us in this transcontinental saga from 1915 Busan to 1989 Osaka. And we can't forget about the performances. Newcomer Minha Kim gave a singular performance as teen Sunja, and veteran star and Oscar winner Yuh-jung Youn also deserved an acting nod in her portrayal of an older Sunja, who pulled at the heartstrings in every scene. -Kat Moon
Station Eleven wasn't totally ignored by the Emmys — the stunning HBO Max limited series landed a total of seven nominations, including cinematography, directing, writing, editing, score, and, most notably, a deserved nomination for lead actor Himesh Patel. But how could a show recognized for its outstanding cinematography, directing, writing, editing, score, and one of its lead performances be left out of the overall conversation for the best limited or anthology series? It's a baffling oversight, particularly considering some of the shows that were recognized (but this article isn't about that). Station Eleven will go down as underappreciated in its time, but its emotional impact — a potent mix of pressing a finger on the wound and healing that wound — will outlast any Emmy. As a show about the necessity of art in the time of a pandemic, it already proved its value. -Kelly Connolly
FX's Reservation Dogs is the kind of freshman success story that seemed poised for Emmy recognition, with an exciting young cast and a perspective rarely seen on TV. Created by Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, the hangout comedy follows four Native American teens (played by D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor) getting into scrapes as they look for a way out of their rural Oklahoma reservation after the death of their friend. The show is easygoing but deeply felt, a mix of teenage angst and optimism that feels loved and lived in from the start. With any luck, it won't escape the voters next time. -Kelly Connolly
This seemed like the year Paramount Network's populist mega-hit Yellowstone would finally get some Emmys attention. The coastal elite viewers who make up the Emmys voting bloc finally watched it, and they loved it. And since popularity is the make-or-break thing for the Emmys — people don't vote for a show if they haven't seen it (or if no one is talking about it) — it really looked like Yellowstone might have a chance to break through in acting categories for Kevin Costner or Kelly Reilly. But once again, it was entirely shut out. Meanwhile, Yellowstone's limited series spin-off 1883 is a much better show than some of the nominees for Outstanding Limited Series, but it was shut out from any series or acting nominations, though it did receive three nominations overall, two for cinematography and one for Music Composition for Brian Tyler and Breton Vivian's score. -Liam Mathews