It’s just when the Emmys roll around that things seem a little … unfair. Unfair in that apples are competing against oranges. Shows and writers and actors who turn out 24 episodes a year, working within network television rules and network television fears, are competing against their colleagues who typically have half that many episodes, much more lax content constraints and far less (though certainly not none) of the ratings worries.
Being popular has its price. Often that price is edginess or darkness, emotional depth or simply a more realistic version of life, which often includes bad language, graphic violence and nudity.
Often that price is the Emmy.
The idea that the “popular” is the enemy of the “artistic” isn’t new, the Academy Awards often suffer from the same criticism, but the economics of cable vs. broadcast, the different number of episodes per season, and the FCC rules all bake in cable advantages (or broadcast disadvantages) in TV production that don’t exist to that extent in feature film production.
I’m rarely on the side of complaining TV creatives, but here the broadcast TV folks have a point.