At one point, The Walking Dead was both a ratings monster and critical winner, with the majority of vocal fans championing how the story was going. Today, however, as the AMC hit is currently in production on the world-changing Season 9, everything feels completely backwards on the popularity front. And The Walking Dead's lowered pop culture ranks are partially evidenced by how the show fared for the 2018 Emmy nominations: it received just one nomination, and not for makeup or special effects, but for the short-form drama The Walking Dead: Red Machete.
Having premiered both on the web and as part of the commercial breaks during the first half of The Walking Dead Season 8, Red Machete is a tale told in six micro-chapters that serves as an origin story for the titular weapon that Rick has used in the flagship series. An effectively moody and plot-lite stretch of storytelling that featured a surprise appearance from The Claimers' Joe, it was nominated for Outstanding Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series at the upcoming 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, where it's going up against projects from Wyatt Cenac, James Corden, Grey's Anatomy and TV writer Megan Amram.
It's a pretty stacked category, comparatively, and it'll be the only one where AMC's The Walking Dead team will have any personal stakes. Check out how the show celebrated the nomination below.
As fans are well aware, The Walking Dead has never been an awards darling anywhere outside the genre-specific circuit, so this isn't exactly a major snub. But there have been some expectations over the years. Greg Nicotero and his team won for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for those first two seasons, and was nominated in four of the next five seasons. (That was its only nomination in 2017.) But this year, it was beat out by Westworld, Game of Thrones, Star Trek: Discovery, The Assassination of Gianni Versace and American Horror Story: Cult.
Similarly, the show regularly got nominated for the Outstanding Special Visual Effects categories, as well as Outstanding Sound Editing. None of that this year either. Effects nods went to Westworld, Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, Game of Thrones and Lost In Space, so it seems like there wasn't room for anyone there other than HBO and Netflix. Sound editing also went to several of the same series we've heard about already, with Homeland also joining in.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC for Season 9 this October. But until then, you can watch the entire digital series of Red Machete, and rewatch Season 8 streaming in full on Netflix. Maybe next year, the TV Academy will have more reason to reward the cast and crew's efforts.
Find out if the digital series wins the gold when the 2018 Primetime Emmys air on Monday, September 17, at 8:00 p.m. ET. And to see what new and returning shows are on the way before then, head to our summer premiere schedule.