The biggest snub of this year’s awards season

Vanity Fair awards writer David Canfield doesn’t mince words. “Reservation Dogs has been one of, if not the most, acclaimed half-hour programs on American television for each of its three seasons, and its utter absence from the Emmys damningly reflects on the TV Academy’s increasing inability to honor worthy shows that don’t garner huge audiences,” he says. “The representational breakthroughs of the show are worth highlighting alone, but in its execution above all, the show has stood tall as one of the richest and most imaginative of its class.”

There’s still a chance that Rez Dogs will be recognised for its final season at the Emmys next time around, given the eligibility period, but industry insiders aren’t so sure. “Given that the TV Academy has not paid much attention to the show in its previous seasons, and that it ended last fall, I don’t think it’s a strong contender in the [next] Emmys race,” Coates says.

And yet, he remains hopeful about the show’s lasting legacy. “What I hope for Reservation Dogs is that the word-of-mouth and critical love for it will help build an audience on streaming, and that its young actors, as well as Sterlin Harjo, have long careers ahead of them,” he says. “But there are also all of the systemic issues within Hollywood that exist elsewhere in our society, and the cards are stacked against them.”

In the end, Harjo didn’t create Reservation Dogs for the powers that be; he created it for Native viewers like me. As it turns out, it was never about the awards, the accolades, or the acclaim – it was about authentic Indigenous representation.

“When you kick a door in, you don’t necessarily get to run into the room; it’s your job to hold the door open for others,” Harjo concludes. “I know that Rez Dogs will stand the test of time – just making this show was the award in itself.

Reservation Dogs is available to stream on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK

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