Pondering the People’s Choice Awards for Game of Thrones Season 8: An Analysis

Qyburn 2

Game of Thrones season 8 might have come and gone, but awards season is here to stay. As we know, the Emmys are coming up on September 22nd, for which GOT is nominated for, well, a few awards. But while the Emmys are the big name in show business for all things TV, there are still tons of other awards circuits that are making the rounds. For example, while the Emmys are voted for by members of the Television Academy, just this week, nominations came out for the People’s Choice Awards. Not being a TV industry insider, I have some thoughts and some feelings myself. Now, the critics and insiders of the TV industry who nominated GOT season 8 for the most Emmys of a single season in TV history are just that – insiders, right? Surely, the ‘people’ would “put season 8 in its place.” Well…

The People’s Choice Awards covers both TV as well as movies, and let’s just say that while Avengers: Endgame predictably leads all movie nominees, Game of Thrones (I would argue just as predictably) leads the TV nominees rather handily. Let’s take a look at all of its nominations and assess the competition:

Game of Thrones season 8
Stranger Things season 3
The Walking Dead season 9
The Big Bang Theory season 12
Riverdale season 3
This Is Us season 3
Grey’s Anatomy season 15

David’s thoughts: WWE Raw, huh? What about WWE Cooked? Anyway, given this is the People’s Choice Awards and not the Emmys, I think GOT will steamroll the competition. That said, my hunch suggests that the ones to watch are either Stranger Things or The Big Bang Theory – ST because it has a large hype machine behind it (although I didn’t really like season 3 myself), and TBBT because it was also its final season, same as GOT. Will that be enough to squash GOT? Let’s be real, probably not, but it’s what I’ve got.

Grey’s Anatomy season 15
This Is Us season 3
Chicago P.D. season 6
Game of Thrones season 8
Stranger Things season 3
Big Little Lies 
season 2
Riverdale season 3
The Walking Dead season 9

David’s thoughts: This list is oddly similar to the above. I don’t exactly see Chicago P.D.‘s name being read from the envelope on the night of, but what do I know, given I’d never have in my wildest dreams predict its nomination in the first place. That said…it’s pretty much GOT or bust in this category. Maybe Big Little Lies pulls out the surprise win? But I doubt it (though I did quite like season 2).

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Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Cole Sprouse, Riverdale
Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead
Finn Wolfhard, Stranger Things
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
KJ Apa, Riverdale

David’s thoughts: I see this going to either Kit out of GOT being the hot name of the hour, or Jim Parsons for nostalgia, finality purposes. This logic applies to either of these final season shows, I think.

Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead
Camila Mendes, Riverdale
Lili Reinhart, Riverdale
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

David’s thoughts: Curiously, Emilia Clarke is nowhere to be seen, nor Lena Headey, for that matter. Not to worry, as Sophie and Maisie are nominees instead. I would have said that it’s most likely to go to Maisie, whose name seems to be the hot one on the ticket…but all these nominations for Riverdale, a show of which I’ve only ever seen 2 episodes (which was more than enough), are making me second guess that. Is it truly that popular? If so, perhaps our bets may best be hedged on one of the two women nominated from that show?

Zendaya, Euphoria
Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Lili Reinhart, Riverdale
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

David’s thoughts: If Zendaya doesn’t win, we riot, correct? Anyway, it seems that women are dominating this category in which anyone was able to be nominated, which is pretty neat. It seems to be a tossup, but Zendaya gave such a powerhouse performance, and because Euphoria seems to have been nominated here and only here, it leads me to believe that she may be the likeliest winner. Voters of non-industry awards love newcomers, and she’s the only one who is not starring on a veteran show.

Game of Thrones
Orange Is the New Black
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
The Umbrella Academy
Queer Eye
13 Reasons Why
Stranger Things

David’s thoughts: Woof. What a weird category. Almost everyone watched GOT week to week as the last, true watercooler show in existence, at least for now. So, this category is effectively asking the voters to quantify which show best broke the trend of TV past and embraced the future. I’m not sure I, myself, would vote GOT for this specific category (any season of it, for that matter), as it has always been something that I not only watched week to week, but also something I’ve enjoyed discussing week to week. It took me 7 weeks to watch the 8 episodes of Stranger Things this season, so I would not personally vote for that. I love Outlander, but again, also wouldn’t want to binge it. I haven’t seen The Umbrella Academy or Queer Eye, nor have I seen more than a few stray episodes of Law & Order: SVU. I’m currently halfway through 13 Reasons Why season 3, and while I enjoy it (and understand if you don’t), I wouldn’t call it wildly bingeworthy, so much as just something to watch. However, Orange is the New Black season 7 is something I watched in just 4 days – something I’d not done since its revelatory season 4. So, if I were voting, that’d be my choice. As for which of these I think will win? If people vote based on the actual category, and not just on their ‘favorite show,’ I think that, based on most peoples’ consumption habits, the winner is likely to be Stranger Things.

And lastly, but most curiously, is the surprising omission for Game of Thrones in this category:

Stranger Things
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The Flash
The Umbrella Academy
The 100

Uh oh – does this spell danger for our very own ratings juggernaut? Have the people sworn vengeance on season 8? What does it all mean? Let me know why all of my above opinions and speculation are terrible, and what thoughts you have about all the nominations in the comments below!



    Mandy Moore, This Is Us
    Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
    Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
    Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead
    Camila Mendes, Riverdale
    Lili Reinhart, Riverdale
    Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
    Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

    Everybody loves Arya. 👸🏻🗡

  2. mau:
    Who is voting for this award and how?

    Basically, no one.

    The nominees for the People’s Choice Awards are determined by a web research company which surveys the online popularity of shows and movies among men and women ages 18 to 54.

    That’s how they come up with the nominees. I believe they also only look at American viewers, meaning the rest of the “people” that form the online fanbase are excluded.

  3. Surprised that ‘Succession’ hasn’t been nominated in any category. Is this a show that slipped under the radar last year? A very timely satire of rich white men behaving badly. The first episode was like some awful mockumentary but after that the show really picked up. Maybe it’s on at the “wrong time of year”, too late to be considered for either 2018 or 2019.

    Also ‘True Detective’ season 3 which was a vast improvement on season 2. Mahershala Ali was superb as usual.

    The Walking Dead OTOH is waaaay past its Best Buy date – it’s such a stale formula now. That’s the only nominee I was able to watch other than GoT…

  4. I’d like GoT to win (as I’ve said before I don’t hate season 8 or find it as incongruous as some have – and I’m not denying other people a right to an opinion). I think the backlash against season 8 may affect its chances adversely though. I’m somewhat out of date with TV series (I’ve largely been listening to podcasts or radio recently) though I did watch some earlier seasons of “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” and liked them. Sometimes one wants “brain food” type TV shows and sometimes one wants (or at least this one does) entertainment. People probably know I’m in the GRRM age bracket but when I was younger if dramas featured a drug problem it would be concerned parents worrying about their offspring being hooked on drugs. One of the subplots on “Chicago P.D.” when I watched it was a young woman whose mother had a drug problem (and the mother kept promising to get off drugs but kept letting her daughter down). I found that quite interesting. It treated a similar plot to one of the “Absolutely Fabulous” themes where the mother was hippy-dippy doo-dah and the daughter was more grounded only in a serious way whereas AbFab was played for laughs. I said once (I think maybe on the forums) that when I watched “Chicago Fire” I thought perhaps Casey was being played by Eugene Simon (Lancel) but actually the Casey actor is an Australian, Jesse Spencer.

  5. Maissie, Maissie, Maissie, and maybe Millie Bobby Brown.

    Strange that I heard here that season 3 of ST was the least best. But in the people I know that already watched it, they all said it was the best of all 3, and the ratings say it’s almost the same every season. (I Still need to wait first need to watch another show till it’s done, I don’t watch ST alone, but I’m very excited for season 3).

    As for why GoT is excluded in the fantasy category is maybe because it’s not focussed on fantasy. But rather on the drama. I think those other shows are more heavily fantasy.

  6. And how is Grey’s anatomy still on the list, I loved that show. Still liked to bingewatch many episodes in one running, and it begins to be fun again to watch. But it’s not that great anymore. And it’s a shame because I worry they push the show so far that less then half of the seasons are good and the other half just bad.

  7. And if I may give a great sci-fi show as a recommendation: Fringe.
    5 seasons of total of 100 episodes. First season has 50 minute episodes after 2 40 minute episodes. The ending is brilliant and put everything that came before together. With a very climatic ending. The characters are brilliant. The emotion is great, great humor in it. The characters are easily liked before the end of first episode you probably liked them.

    Plotwise it also have done something that other shows only dedicated one episode too, and for them it’s the plot. It’s done amazing.

    If you love sci-fi and have a story that is bigger then you would amagine at first, this is the show for you. It begins with a group of people who use the world as their personal lab, experiments running lose. But that’s just the beginning after that we find out why those experiments were needed and what comes then is amazing.

  8. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    Yeah, Succession is the best show I’ve seen this year, S2 is even better than S1. Jesse Armstrong wrote for ‘The thick of it’ (precursor to Veep) and they managed to predict a fair few blunders in British politics. I love Tom and he’s awful, i’m really confused by it, it’s Matthew Macfadyen’s delivery, he’s so funny. Not sure it fits the criteria of these awards, it might not be big enough yet. Last years best drama movie was 50 shades freed… so theres that.

    Regardless of its reception, GOT is a cultural phenomenon, so I expect it to do well in all of the awards coming up, and I think they will go all Return of the King and award it for the show as a whole, I think that played a part in its record Emmy noms, particularly in the acting categories.

    Apparently you can vote 25 times per day for each category? That seems weird unless I am misunderstanding.

  9. Okay, I want GoT in pretty much all categories. (Alrighty… THAT’S out of the way.)

    I simply cannot believe The OA was completely left out.

    Just me, then? I’ll see myself out, having only just popped in for a moment.

  10. Hrmp. My hatred for much of the end notwithstanding, there’s not much I’d rather see win in most categories. As with the Emmys. This is the last big go-’round and I’m sure they’re truly honering everybody for the big picture. For “Female/Drama TV Star,” uuummm, I guuueeessss…Maisie? And Kit for Male. Definitely GoT for “Show” & “Drama Show.” OitNB is a quintessential binger, though (and that final season was a return to form; I recall 6 being much less eventful, especially following 5.) 13 Reasons Why, I suppose I missed, not having heard a lot of talk about it and since it had basically made me more mad than anything before. Surprised to see Law & Order (which I’m sure I’ve seen marathons of on TV) and Chicago PD, but I guess since crime and medical dramas are constant staples it shouldn’t be overly shocking to see the biggest ones nominated.

  11. kevin1989: Strange that I heard here that season 3 of ST was the least best. But in the people I know that already watched it, they all said it was the best of all 3, and the ratings say it’s almost the same every season. (I Still need to wait first need to watch another show till it’s done, I don’t watch ST alone, but I’m very excited for season 3).

    IMO, season 3 was by far the weakest of the three seasons so far, but I still enjoyed it.

    Not scary at all


    The attempts at humor were mostly corny and forced, but some moments were genuinely funny. Just too much cornball humor.

    The 80’s references are a bit too much. Leaned a bit too hard on nostalgia this time around like a crutch.

    The camaraderie of the kids is not really there this season. They are growing up and starting to grow apart. Too much teen melodrama.

    Hopper was an ass most of the season, but I still think he’s one of my favorite characters.

    Will is becoming more useless as the seasons go on.

    There’s also a “controversial” scene in the last episode that, IMO, turned some people off from the show. It’s a pretty polarizing scene. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but didn’t really mind it either. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you watch.

    Having said all that I still enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the fourth season.

  12. Imo the People’s Choice Awards are maybe one step above the MTV Movie & TV Awards and Kids’ Choice Awards…. maaaybe. I’ve never considered them a very big deal. Still, it’s always nice to have the ones win that I want to. 😛

  13. Thank you for the info and for analysing the the situation. I’ll root for GoT in every category, though TBH I’ve not yet seen most of the competition. I genuinely feel Maisie and Emilia did dominant work this season, so I wish EC had been nominated too. IMO, S7 was Sophie’s brilliant season. I just hope GoT does well in the Emmys. The actors need a GoT rout with coat-tail effect because so many are in vote-splitting danger. I think Emilia has the best Emmy chance because the field is fairly clear and the Killing Eve stars could cancel out each other.

  14. I hope GOT wins, but I’m not getting my hopes up. If I recall, GOT doesn’t really do all that well at the People’s Choice Awards.

  15. Mr Derp,

    Well for me scary doesn’t matter. I didn’t found season 1 and 2 scary at all. I like thriller-like story and character building more. And predictable is not a bad thing in tv for me. Better be predictable and consistent then unpredictable and that the story doesn’t make sense.

    And I don’t get the 80s reference you’re talking about. The show is set in the 80s so that’s logical that a lot of reference is there to the 80s.

    I hope the camaraderie is still there a bit, one of the things I found interesting about ST.

    I wonder what that polarizing scene is, but I see it when I get there. But I personally always liked controversial scenes, if not forced. Is one of the reasons why I liked GoT that they didn’t shy away from it.

    And that’s the most important thing for me, it can be the least season of all 3, but as long as I want to watch the next season, it’s all good for me.

  16. kevin1989: I don’t get the 80s reference you’re talking about. The show is set in the 80s so that’s logical that a lot of reference is there to the 80s.

    There’s not much to get. It’s kind of become a game of “spot the pop culture reference”. The retro-fetishism starts to feel dull and overdone after a while.

  17. Mr Derp,

    Oh, I though you meant more that is was set in the 80s. But isn’t that normal when a show is set in that time. I mean I liked the show Mad Men because is was true to how it was in the 60s etc.

  18. kevin1989:
    Mr Derp,

    Oh, I though you meant more that is was set in the 80s. But isn’t that normal when a show is set in that time. I mean I liked the show Mad Men because is was true to how it was in the 60s etc.

    Having a setting in the 80’s is fine. I actually enjoy it quite a bit. However, there’s a difference between a setting and constantly going out of your way to point things out just because the setting happens to be in the 80’s.

    It’s like bringing up nostalgia just for the sake of it. After a while, there’s no real story. The story disappears in place of nostalgia. “Member berries” for those of you who watch South Park 🙂

    You may feel differently after you watch it. Like I said, I still enjoyed the season. Let me know how you feel afterwards and I’ll be happy to discuss with you further 🙂

  19. Stark Raven’ Rad,

    Vote-splitting is going to dilute GoT supporting actress nominees. NO KNOCK against Gwendoline C. intended, but I have a feeling she’s going to cost Maisie Williams the Emmy. She’ll peel off just enough votes so that some other show’s nominee will sneak under the wire.

    (As much as I adore Lena Headey, I’m not sure her abbreviated Season 8 screen time will be enough to sway on-the-fence voters. She did get ripped off in prior seasons though. I wonder if that’s enough to convince folks to make up for it now.)

  20. Ten Bears,

    I think Lena is a lock, only Peter has had more nominations than her, and she’s never won. Personally, I wouldn’t award her for this season, but it’s their last chance to do it. Imo, it would be a belated Emmy for S5, and her character as a whole.

    Gwendoline got some good press during the voting window because of her self nomination, and some outlets have predicted her win, but I do think it’s Lena’s to lose. Same with Peter, they could give it to NCW because he’s never won and was snubbed in S3, another last chance.

    I really really hope Emelia wins, she was a revelation this season, I didn’t know she had it in her. Kit, sorry but no, I don’t think he will win.

  21. mau,

    It worked perfectly as a one off, I watched S2 and it was pretty meh, gave up 3 episodes in to S3. It’s just not for me as an ongoing series.

  22. I don’t get the hype around Stranger Things either…it’s all right, but…
    And the PCA are like Whose Line points, but two weeks to Emmys weekend!!

  23. shelle,

    Just my thoughts on Stranger Things….

    I only watched it for the first time toward the end of July this year. (Con of Thrones left me completely out of sorts; I was not well and I was couch-ridden, so I binged a LOT of television.)

    I don’t normally do horror – I’d heard it was scary, but there was so much hype. I went for it. (Yes, I’m a movie-fear lightweight and the first three episodes we’re over my scare meter; however, I was still enjoying the show. After that, I was okay with the scares.)

    In discussions with family and friends, (most of whom are also GoT Fans), it seems most of them just enjoyed the show for the sake of fun. It’s just kind of a fun show. No seriously deeply entwined plotlines, no complications. Sure, a few things are thrown in to ponder, but its depth is nothing akin to GoT or its ilk.

    I think, (could be just me), that it’s just entertaining. Like X-Files. Like Twilight Zone. And yep, lots and lots of nostalgia, for nostalgia’s sake. But I like it. It’s amusing. A little scary, a bit to think about here and there, decent attention to details, a surprise or two, easter eggs to watch for… just fun.

    The acting here and there was believable and a few scenes really great – but comparable to GoT? Maybe in the spirit of The PCA’s?

    I thoroughly enjoyed Stranger Things. Would I trade Stranger Things for several more episodes (I don’t mean different ending, just more) of Game of Thrones? Oh. Yep.

  24. LL of Darkwater,

    I agree with you fully, except. For me Stranger Things was never scary to begin with. I enjoyed it and was excited by it, but not scared.

    And I don’t agree with x-files. That show was brilliant. Better then I would have expected before I watched it. The characters are well made and deep. And the big storyline is perfect. (except maybe a bit too stretched).

  25. kevin1989,

    (I’m seriously easily scared. So many movies and shows are RIGHT OUT for me. I was cool with everything after the first three episodes of Stranger Things, but had a rough time until then. So, it’s very understandable that so few were frightened… Oddly, while Zombies terrify me, Wights did not. Huh.)

    As for X-Files… I completely agree. I was kinda referring and comparing the “fun” episodes in X-Files – “Syzygy” “X-Cops” “Clyde Buckman’s Final Repose” “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” and of course, “Dreamland” – to name a few.

    I may have to go look up awards X-Files received. (And maybe binge a few, now that I think about it.)


  26. LL of Darkwater,

    I do get the fun nostalgic aspect (I might be the most nostalgic person ever–constantly drowning in it, lol.) Didn’t find it scary, but I do know someone who said she shouldn’t have watched it alone, so maybe I’m just tougher to spook. I’ve always loved being scared, though. Started with Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction (after which I’d sometimes leave X-Files on but never really got into it.) Then added Tales From the Crypt, Tales From the Darkside, etc. x-3

  27. LL of Darkwater,

    True, some episodes of X-files aren’t that great. I loved that cop episode somehow.

    And if you like x-files, I recommend Fringe, especially for a GoT fan and especially if you liked LOST.

  28. Shelle,

    I know to is an odd choice but have you tried supernatural on the CW. The first 5 seasons are awesome and the brother relationship carriers the show past 10. It has monster of the week episodes and is very similar style to the x files.

  29. Stew,

    Actually I remember when Supernatural was debuting, I was attracted to the title! I did start watching, but somehow didn’t get that into it and continue, so at some point I lost track…don’t recall how far I got before leaving off…but I know it’s had a long run. Suppose I wouldn’t be averse to giving it another shot. ^^

  30. In Season 1-7, People’s Choice (PC) gave GOT 12 nominations – that is an average of about 1.5 per season. GOT has never won a PC.

    In Season 8, GOT gets 8 nominations. 8, did I count right? They also love Sophie.
    It certainly seems as if PC perceives Season 8 as qualitatively different from Season 1-7.?? At least, well, something changed.

    It made me wonder… what kinds of TV shows win PCs? If Got never won in previous years, which TV shows, was winning? (Yes, I read the post on how the PCs are selected.)

    Too jetlagged, I did not dig very deep but I saw that Kim Kardashian has been nominated many times and has won 5 of these individually and with her folks. From a quick scan I could see that Breaking Bad 2 noms, won 1. The Handmaid’s Tale, 1 nom, zero wins. Better Call Saul, nada. The Americans, nada. Westworld, 1 nom, zero wins. Shows do not seem to get the expected final year’s recognitions.

    Unless some-one tells me otherwise, it would appear that shows that pride themselves on original writing, on carefully built characters arcs, and coherent storylines do not dominate the PC awards. It would appear that spectacle and “easy to digest” ideas/stories are the features that help a show do really well at the PC awards. Maybe some youthful fun, as well? Also, it looks like many of the people really do choose trash TV.

    GOT1-7 did not get much love from the PC. But GOT8 really seem to be in their zone. So yes, maybe PC did put GOT8 in its proper place.

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