Despite huge backlash to its final season, Game of Thrones just set the new record for the most Emmy nominations ever received by a single season of television, earning 32 nods. While most of the nominations came in the acting category (an aspect of the final season that even the harshest critics were mostly okay with), there’s one nomination in particular that’s massively controversial. The show’s polarizing finale “The Iron Throne” has been nominated in the “Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series” category, confounding its critics.

Within just hours of its airing, the series finale of Game of Thrones became its lowest-rated episode on IMDb in the show’s entire run, with nearly all of the criticism focused on the episode’s (and the whole season’s) writing. As of right now, the episode has just a 4.2 rating out of 10 and has been voted on by more than 208,000 viewers.

For an episode that’s so widely hated because of its writing to gain an Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Writing” category is a tough pill for many to swallow, but it got us thinking — could this be the worst-rated TV episode to ever earn a nomination in this category?

While the Emmy’s began in 1949, awards for writing weren’t introduced until 1955. So, we went back 64 years and looked at all 336 nominees in the history of the writing category.

The Iron Throne” has the lowest rating of any episode of television ever nominated for an Emmy in “Outstanding Writing” and it wasn’t really all that close.

Only two other TV episodes nominated in the writing category — Hallmark Hall of Fame “The Patriots” (1964) and Ford Startime “The Turn of the Screw” (1960) had IMDb scores below 5. The average IMDb score for episodes nominated for their writing is about 8.4, two times higher than “The Iron Throne” episode.

It’s not all bad news for Game of Thrones though. While the series now has the dubious distinction of producing the worst-rated piece of television to earn an Emmy nomination, it also has two episodes tied for the highest-rated nominees. “The Rains of Castamere” and “Battle of the Bastards” both have a 9.9 IMDb rating, tying it with Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” and “Felina” for best-rated nominees in the “Outstanding Writing” category.

In the interest of fairness, it is worth pointing out that social media chatter and the viral nature of the criticism of the final season of Game of Thrones likely led to a bit of brigading on the voting for the finale’s IMDb rating. Furthermore, these ratings will always be a little skewed (both positively and negatively) for modern television since IMDb didn’t exist when many of the shows on this list were nominated.

However, you can’t imagine the Thrones showrunners and writers of the finale, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (who just canceled their appearance at Comic Con 2019), would be happy to have the worst-rated episode ever nominated for an Emmy.

The Emmy’s will air Sunday, September 22 at 8 pm ET on FOX.

Check out the chart below for the complete rankings of shows nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series:

Program Episode Year IMDb Rating
Game of Thrones The Iron Throne 2019 4.2
Hallmark Hall of Fame “The Patriots” 1964 4.7
Ford Startime “The Turn of the Screw” 1960 4.8
Climax! “An Error in Chemistry” 1955 5
The Loretta Young Show “The Pearl” 1957 5.4
The 20th Century Fox Hour “Miracle on 34th Street” 1956 5.9
The Good Wife End 2016 6
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre “The Loudmouth” 1959 6.4
L.A. Law “Mutinies on the Banzai” 1991 6.4
Producers’ Showcase “Our Town” 1956 6.6
Ben Casey “I Remember a Lemon Tree” 1962 6.6
L.A. Law “His Suit Is Hirsute” 1989 6.6
L.A. Law “On the Toad Again” 1991 6.6
L.A. Law “Beauty and Obese” 1988 6.7
L.A. Law “Bang… Zoom… Zap” 1990 6.7
Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Fog Closing In” 1957 6.8
The Dain Curse NA 1978 6.8
Lou Grant “Blacklist” 1982 6.8
Four Star Playhouse “The Answer” 1955 6.9
L.A. Law “Full Martial Jacket” 1988 6.9
L.A. Law “I’m in the Nude for Love” 1989 6.9
L.A. Law “Urine Trouble Now” 1989 6.9
St. Elsewhere “All About Eve” 1984 7
L.A. Law “Lie Harder” 1991 7
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse “Tragedy in a Temporary Town” 1957 7.1
Lou Grant “Strike” 1981 7.1
L.A. Law “Sidney the Dead-Nosed Reindeer” 1987 7.1
Beauty and the Beast “Pilot” 1988 7.1
The 20th Century Fox Hour “The Ox-Bow Incident” 1956 7.2
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp “The Buntime” 1957 7.3
Alcoa Premiere “People Need People” 1962 7.3
Cagney & Lacey “Child Witness” 1985 7.3
L.A. Law “The Venus Butterfly” 1987 7.3
Gunsmoke “Born to Hang” 1958 7.4
Lou Grant “Lou” 1980 7.4
Skag “Pilot” 1980 7.4
Hill Street Blues “A Hair of the Dog” 1983 7.4
Hallmark Hall of Fame “Eagle in a Cage” 1966 7.5
I Spy “A Cup of Kindness” 1966 7.5
CBS Playhouse “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” 1968 7.5
L.A. Law “Blood, Sweat & Fears” 1990 7.5
ER “Hell and High Water” 1996 7.5
Studio One in Hollywood “Twelve Angry Men” 1955 7.6
NBC Sunday Showcase “The Sacco-Vanzetti Story” 1961 7.6
My Sweet Charlie (NBC World Premiere Movie) 1970 7.6
Columbo “Etude in Black” 1973 7.6
Lou Grant “Marathon” 1979 7.6
Lou Grant “Vet” 1979 7.6
Hill Street Blues “Personal Foul” 1982 7.6
Hill Street Blues “Officer of the Year” 1983 7.6
ER “The Healers” 1996 7.6
Columbo “Death Lends a Hand” 1972 7.7
Columbo “Murder by the Book” 1972 7.7
Columbo “Suitable for Framing” 1972 7.7
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe “Pilot” 1980 7.7
Hill Street Blues “No Body’s Perfect” 1983 7.7
Hill Street Blues “Doris in Wonderland” 1984 7.7
NYPD Blue “Where’s Swaldo?” 1997 7.7
NYPD Blue “Taillight’s Last Gleaming” 1997 7.7
Kraft Television Theatre “Patterns” 1956 7.8
Peter Gunn “The Kill” 1959 7.8
Hallmark Hall of Fame “The Invincible Mr. Disraeli” 1963 7.8
Mission: Impossible “Pilot” 1967 7.8
Police Story “Robbery: 48 Hours” 1975 7.8
Roots “Part V” 1977 7.8
Lou Grant “Dying” 1979 7.8
Hill Street Blues “The Rise and Fall of Paul the Wall” 1985 7.8
Moonlighting “Twas the Episode Before Christmas” 1986 7.8
NYPD Blue “Personal Foul” 1994 7.8
ER “Whose Appy Now?” 1997 7.8
The Waltons “The Scholar” 1973 7.9
Upstairs, Downstairs “The Bolter” 1975 7.9
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (Great Performances) NA 1976 7.9
Roots “Part VIII” 1977 7.9
Lou Grant “Rape” 1981 7.9
ER “Love’s Labor Lost” 1995 7.9
UnREAL Return 2016 7.9
Father Knows Best “Margaret Hires a Gardener” 1958 8
I Spy “The Warlord” 1967 8
CBS Playhouse “Dear Friends” 1968 8
The Waltons “The Love Story” 1973 8
Kojak “Death is Not a Passing Grade” 1974 8
Rich Man, Poor Man “Part I” 1976 8
Lou Grant “Brushfire” 1980 8
Hill Street Blues “Jungle Madness” 1981 8
Hill Street Blues “The Second Oldest Profession” 1982 8
Hill Street Blues “Eugene’s Comedy Empire Strikes Back” 1983 8
St. Elsewhere “The Last One” 1988 8
NYPD Blue “Tempest in a C-Cup” 1994 8
Murder One “Chapter One” 1996 8
ER “Faith” 1997 8
The Practice “Betrayal” 1998 8
ER “On the Beach” 2002 8
The Good Wife “Pilot” 2010 8
The Philco Television Playhouse NA 1955 8.1
The Philco Television Playhouse “A Man Is Ten Feet Tall” 1956 8.1
Leave It to Beaver “Beaver Gets Spelled” 1958 8.1
Playhouse 90 “A Town has Turned to Dust” 1959 8.1
Holocaust NA 1978 8.1
Cagney & Lacey “Who Said It’s Fair, Part 2” 1985 8.1
Hill Street Blues “What Are Friends For?” 1986 8.1
Law & Order “Manhood” 1993 8.1
NYPD Blue “Steroid Roy” 1994 8.1
NYPD Blue “NYPD Lou” 1994 8.1
ER “24 Hours” 1995 8.1
NYPD Blue “The Backboard Jungle” 1996 8.1
The Shield “Pilot” 2002 8.1
Battlestar Galactica “Occupation” / “Precipice” 2007 8.1
Battlestar Galactica “Six of One” 2008 8.1
That Was the Week That Was NA 1965 8.1
Playhouse 90 “The Comedian” 1958 8.2
Playhouse 90 “Days of Wine and Roses” 1959 8.2
Hill Street Blues “Freedom’s Last Stand” 1982 8.2
Hill Street Blues “The World According to Freedom” 1982 8.2
Moonlighting “I Am Curious… Maddie” 1987 8.2
Northern Exposure “Pilot” 1991 8.2
Six Feet Under “Twilight” 2003 8.2
Mad Men “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” 2008 8.2
Lost “The End” 2010 8.2
Downton Abbey “Episode Seven” 2012 8.2
Downton Abbey “Episode Four” 2013 8.2
The Defenders NA 1962 8.2
Miami Vice “Pilot” 1985 8.2
Playhouse 90 “Miracle Worker” 1958 8.3
The Defenders “The Madman” 1963 8.3
Mission: Impossible “The Seal” 1968 8.3
The Bold Ones: The Senator “A Continual Roar of Musketry” 1971 8.3
Roots “Part II” 1977 8.3
Hill Street Blues “Hill Street Station” 1981 8.3
Hill Street Blues “Trial by Fury” 1983 8.3
St. Elsewhere “Newhart” 1984 8.3
St. Elsewhere “Time Heals” 1986 8.3
Hill Street Blues “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” 1987 8.3
Northern Exposure “Democracy in America” 1992 8.3
NYPD Blue “Simone Says” 1995 8.3
The Sopranos “Eloise” 2003 8.3
The Killing “Pilot” 2011 8.3
The Americans The Soviet Division 2017 8.3
Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Lamb to the Slaughter” 1959 8.4
Hallmark Hall of Fame “Teacher, Teacher” 1969 8.4
The Bold Ones: The Senator “To Taste of Death but Once” 1971 8.4
Lou Grant “Cop” 1980 8.4
Moonlighting “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice” 1986 8.4
Moonlighting “Atomic Shakespeare” 1987 8.4
China Beach “Pilot” 1988 8.4
China Beach “Hello-Goodbye” 1992 8.4
NYPD Blue “Pilot” 1994 8.4
Alias “Truth Be Told” 2002 8.4
Deadwood “Deadwood” 2004 8.4
Mad Men “The Jet Set” 2009 8.4
Mad Men “A Night to Remember” 2009 8.4
Homeland “Pilot” 2012 8.4
The Handmaid’s Tale Offred (Pilot) 2017 8.4
The Handmaid’s Tale Holly 2019 8.4
Dr. Kildare “What’s God to Julius?” 1964 8.5
Upstairs, Downstairs “Miss Forrest” 1975 8.5
The Norman Conquests NA 1978 8.5
St. Elsewhere “The Women” 1984 8.5
Hill Street Blues “Grace Under Pressure” 1984 8.5
St. Elsewhere “Qui Transulit Sustinet” 1984 8.5
St. Elsewhere “Sweet Dreams” 1985 8.5
Cagney & Lacey “Turn, Turn, Turn, Part 1” 1987 8.5
24 “12:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.” 2002 8.5
Damages “Get Me a Lawyer” 2008 8.5
The Americans Persona Non Grata 2016 8.5
The Crown Mystery Man 2018 8.5
Bodyguard Episode 1 2019 8.5
Killing Eve Nice and Neat 2019 8.5
Alfred Hitchcock Presents “The Jar” 1964 8.6
Upstairs, Downstairs “Another Year” 1976 8.6
St. Elsewhere “Afterlife” 1987 8.6
Northern Exposure “Kaddish for Uncle Manny” 1993 8.6
My So-Called Life “Pilot” 1995 8.6
The X-Files “Memento Mori” 1997 8.6
The Sopranos “The Sopranos” 1999 8.6
The Sopranos “Second Opinion” 2001 8.6
Mad Men “Six Month Leave” 2009 8.6
Stranger Things Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers 2017 8.6
Medic “White is the Color” 1955 8.7
The Waltons “The Easter Story” 1974 8.7
thirtysomething “Business as Usual” 1988 8.7
Northern Exposure “Burning Down the House” 1992 8.7
Northern Exposure “Midnight Sun” 1993 8.7
The West Wing “Pilot” 2000 8.7
The Sopranos “Where’s Johnny?” 2004 8.7
Grey’s Anatomy “Into You Like a Train” 2006 8.7
CBS Playhouse “The Final War of Olly Winter” 1967 8.8
The Waltons “The Thanksgiving Story” 1974 8.8
St. Elsewhere “Haunted” 1986 8.8
thirtysomething “First Day/Last Day” 1989 8.8
thirtysomething “Second Look” 1991 8.8
Northern Exposure “Seoul Mates” 1992 8.8
The X-Files “Duane Barry” 1995 8.8
The X-Files “The Post-Modern Prometheus” 1998 8.8
The Sopranos “Nobody Knows Anything” 1999 8.8
The Sopranos “Unidentified Black Males” 2004 8.8
Lost “The 23rd Psalm” 2006 8.8
The Wire “–30–” 2008 8.8
Killing Eve Nice Face 2018 8.8
Studio One “No Deadly Medicine” 1958 8.9
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre “Something About Lee Wiley” 1964 8.9
The Dick Van Dyke Show “Never Bathe on Sunday” 1965 8.9
Meeting of Minds NA 1978 8.9
thirtysomething “The Mike Van Dyke Show” 1989 8.9
The Sopranos “College” 1999 8.9
Rescue Me “Guts” 2005 8.9
The Wire “Middle Ground” 2005 8.9
Mad Men “Blowing Smoke” 2011 8.9
Succession Nobody is Ever Missing 2019 8.9
Twin Peaks “Pilot” 1990 8.9
The Dick Powell Show “The Price of Tomatoes” 1962 9
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre “The Game” 1966 9
Twin Peaks “Episode 3” 1990 9
The Sopranos “Employee of the Month” 2001 9
The Sopranos “Whitecaps” 2003 9
The Sopranos “Kennedy and Heidi” 2007 9
Mad Men “The Wheel” 2008 9
Mad Men “Meditations in an Emergency” 2009 9
The Americans “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” 2015 9
Mad Men “Lost Horizon” 2015 9
The Handmaid’s Tale June 2018 9
The Twilight Zone NA 1960 9
The Twilight Zone NA 1961 9
The Twilight Zone NA 1962 9
East Side/West Side “Who Do You Kill?” 1964 9.1
St. Elsewhere “Murder, She Rote” 1985 9.1
thirtysomething “The Go Between” 1990 9.1
NYPD Blue “Lost Israel, Part 2” 1998 9.1
NYPD Blue “Lost Israel, Part 1” 1998 9.1
The Sopranos “Isabella” 1999 9.1
The Sopranos “Amour Fou” 2001 9.1
The West Wing “Posse Comitatus” 2002 9.1
The Sopranos “Whoever Did This” 2003 9.1
The Sopranos “Members Only” 2006 9.1
The Sopranos “Made in America” 2007 9.1
Mad Men “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” 2010 9.1
Mad Men “Far Away Places” 2012 9.1
Homeland “Q&A” 2013 9.1
Game of Thrones “Mother’s Mercy” 2015 9.1
Downton Abbey Episode 8 2016 9.1
Playhouse 90 “The Old Man” 1959 9.2
Sadbird (CBS Playhouse) 1970 9.2
Homefront “The Lacemakers” 1993 9.2
The West Wing “In Excelsis Deo” 2000 9.2
The Sopranos “The Knight in White Satin Armor” 2000 9.2
The Sopranos “Irregular Around the Margins” 2004 9.2
Lost “Walkabout” 2005 9.2
The Sopranos “The Second Coming” 2007 9.2
The Crown Assassins 2017 9.2
The X-Files “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” 1996 9.3
The Sopranos “Funhouse” 2000 9.3
The West Wing “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” 2001 9.3
The West Wing “Twenty Five” 2003 9.3
Lost “Pilot” 2005 9.3
Lost “The Incident” 2009 9.3
Mad Men “Person to Person” 2015 9.3
Mr. Robot eps1.0_hellofriend.mov (Pilot) 2016 9.3
The Defenders “Blacklist” 1964 9.4
Mad Men “Commissions and Fees” 2012 9.4
Mad Men “The Other Woman” 2012 9.4
Breaking Bad “Say My Name” 2013 9.4
Stranger Things Chapter Nine: The Gate 2018 9.4
Homicide: Life on the Street “Three Men and Adena” 1993 9.5
NYPD Blue “Hearts and Souls” 1999 9.5
The Sopranos “Long Term Parking” 2004 9.5
Friday Night Lights “The Son” 2010 9.5
Breaking Bad “Dead Freight” 2013 9.5
Better Call Saul “Five-O” 2015 9.5
Game of Thrones The Dragon and The Wolf 2018 9.5
Ben Casey “A Cardinal Act of Mercy” 1963 9.6
Homicide: Life on the Street “Subway” 1998 9.6
House “Three Stories” 2005 9.6
Grey’s Anatomy “It’s the End of the World” / “As We Know It” 2006 9.6
Mad Men “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” 2010 9.6
Game of Thrones “Baelor” 2011 9.6
House of Cards “Chapter 14” 2014 9.6
True Detective “The Secret Fate of All Life” 2014 9.6
Westworld The Bicameral Mind 2017 9.6
Better Call Saul Winner 2019 9.6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Hush” 2000 9.7
The Sopranos “Pine Barrens” 2001 9.7
Lost “Through the Looking Glass” 2007 9.7
Friday Night Lights “Always” 2011 9.7
Mad Men “The Suitcase” 2011 9.7
Game of Thrones “The Children” 2014 9.7
Better Call Saul Chicanery 2017 9.7
The Americans Start 2018 9.7
Six Feet Under “Everyone’s Waiting” 2006 9.8
Game of Thrones “The Rains of Castamere” 2013 9.9
Breaking Bad “Ozymandias” 2014 9.9
Breaking Bad “Felina” 2014 9.9
Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards 2016 9.9
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse “A Catered Affair” 1956 NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse “Thunder Over Washington” 1956 NA
The United States Steel Hour “Fearful Decision” 1956 NA
Ford Star Jubilee “The Cain Mutiny Court-Martial” 1956 NA
Climax! “The Champion” 1956 NA
Frontier “Patrol” 1957 NA
Telephone Time “Man With the Beard” 1957 NA
Playhouse 90 “Requiem for a Heavyweight” 1957 NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse “Joey” 1957 NA
Kraft Television Theatre “A Night to Remember” 1957 NA
Playhouse 90 “Sizeman and Son” 1957 NA
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars “The Lonely Wizard” 1958 NA
Frontiers of Faith “A Chassidic Tale” 1958 NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame “The Green Pastures” 1958 NA
Omnibus “The Life of Samuel Johnson” 1958 NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre “Eddie” 1959 NA
General Electric Theater “One is a Wanderer” 1959 NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame “Little Moon of Alban” 1959 NA
Playhouse 90 “Child of Our Time” 1959 NA
Playhouse 90 “Project Immortality” 1960 NA
DuPont Show of the Month “The Lincoln Murder Case” 1961 NA
The DuPont Show of the Week “Big Deal in Laredo” 1963 NA
Alcoa Premiere “The Voice of Charlie Pont” 1963 NA
Breaking Point “And James was a very Small Snail” 1964 NA
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre “It’s Mental Work” 1964 NA
The Richard Boone Show “The Hooligan” 1964 NA
The Defenders “The 700 Year Old Gang” 1965 NA
Danny Thomas Special “The Wonderful World of Burlesque” 1965 NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame “The Magnificent Yankee” 1965 NA
Ironside “Ironside: World Premiere Motion Picture” 1968 NA
CBS Playhouse “The People Next Door” 1969 NA
CBS Playhouse “The Experiment” 1969 NA
Marcus Welby, M.D. (ABC Movie of the Week) 1970 NA
The Psychiatrist “In Death’s Other Kingdom” 1971 NA
Benjamin Franklin “The Ambassador” 1975 NA
Benjamin Franklin “The Whirlwind” 1975 NA
The Adams Chronicles “John Adams and Lawyer” 1976 NA
The Law “Complaint Amended” 1976 NA
The Adams Chronicles “Charles Francis Adams: Minister to Great Britain” 1977 NA
The Adams Chronicles “John Quincy Adams: President” 1977 NA
King NA 1978 NA
The Paper Chase “The Late Mr. Hart” 1979 NA
American Dream “Pilot” 1981 NA
I’ll Fly Away “Master Magician” 1992 NA

*Note: About 10% of the episodes nominated did not have an IMDb rating available.

Chris Brantner

Author Chris Brantner

Chris Brantner follows the streaming video industry closely and has reported on it for years. He's also the editor in chief for Streaming Observer. Email him at [email protected] Disclosure: Streaming Observer is supported by readers. Articles may contain referral links. For more information, see the disclosure at the bottom of the page.

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