Game of Thrones Finale is the Lowest Rated TV Episode in History to Get Emmy Nomination for Writing

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:

ProgramEpisodeYearIMDb Rating
Game of ThronesThe Iron Throne20194.2
Hallmark Hall of Fame“The Patriots”19644.7
Ford Startime“The Turn of the Screw”19604.8
Climax!“An Error in Chemistry”19555
The Loretta Young Show“The Pearl”19575.4
The 20th Century Fox Hour“Miracle on 34th Street”19565.9
The Good WifeEnd20166
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre“The Loudmouth”19596.4
L.A. Law“Mutinies on the Banzai”19916.4
Producers’ Showcase“Our Town”19566.6
Ben Casey“I Remember a Lemon Tree”19626.6
L.A. Law“His Suit Is Hirsute”19896.6
L.A. Law“On the Toad Again”19916.6
L.A. Law“Beauty and Obese”19886.7
L.A. Law“Bang… Zoom… Zap”19906.7
Alfred Hitchcock Presents“Fog Closing In”19576.8
The Dain CurseNA19786.8
Lou Grant“Blacklist”19826.8
Four Star Playhouse“The Answer”19556.9
L.A. Law“Full Martial Jacket”19886.9
L.A. Law“I’m in the Nude for Love”19896.9
L.A. Law“Urine Trouble Now”19896.9
St. Elsewhere“All About Eve”19847
L.A. Law“Lie Harder”19917
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse“Tragedy in a Temporary Town”19577.1
Lou Grant“Strike”19817.1
L.A. Law“Sidney the Dead-Nosed Reindeer”19877.1
Beauty and the Beast“Pilot”19887.1
The 20th Century Fox Hour“The Ox-Bow Incident”19567.2
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp“The Buntime”19577.3
Alcoa Premiere“People Need People”19627.3
Cagney & Lacey“Child Witness”19857.3
L.A. Law“The Venus Butterfly”19877.3
Gunsmoke“Born to Hang”19587.4
Lou Grant“Lou”19807.4
Skag“Pilot”19807.4
Hill Street Blues“A Hair of the Dog”19837.4
Hallmark Hall of Fame“Eagle in a Cage”19667.5
I Spy“A Cup of Kindness”19667.5
CBS Playhouse“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”19687.5
L.A. Law“Blood, Sweat & Fears”19907.5
ER“Hell and High Water”19967.5
Studio One in Hollywood“Twelve Angry Men”19557.6
NBC Sunday Showcase“The Sacco-Vanzetti Story”19617.6
My Sweet Charlie (NBC World Premiere Movie)19707.6
Columbo“Etude in Black”19737.6
Lou Grant“Marathon”19797.6
Lou Grant“Vet”19797.6
Hill Street Blues“Personal Foul”19827.6
Hill Street Blues“Officer of the Year”19837.6
ER“The Healers”19967.6
Columbo“Death Lends a Hand”19727.7
Columbo“Murder by the Book”19727.7
Columbo“Suitable for Framing”19727.7
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe“Pilot”19807.7
Hill Street Blues“No Body’s Perfect”19837.7
Hill Street Blues“Doris in Wonderland”19847.7
NYPD Blue“Where’s Swaldo?”19977.7
NYPD Blue“Taillight’s Last Gleaming”19977.7
Kraft Television Theatre“Patterns”19567.8
Peter Gunn“The Kill”19597.8
Hallmark Hall of Fame“The Invincible Mr. Disraeli”19637.8
Mission: Impossible“Pilot”19677.8
Police Story“Robbery: 48 Hours”19757.8
Roots“Part V”19777.8
Lou Grant“Dying”19797.8
Hill Street Blues“The Rise and Fall of Paul the Wall”19857.8
Moonlighting“Twas the Episode Before Christmas”19867.8
NYPD Blue“Personal Foul”19947.8
ER“Whose Appy Now?”19977.8
The Waltons“The Scholar”19737.9
Upstairs, Downstairs“The Bolter”19757.9
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (Great Performances)NA19767.9
Roots“Part VIII”19777.9
Lou Grant“Rape”19817.9
ER“Love’s Labor Lost”19957.9
UnREALReturn20167.9
Father Knows Best“Margaret Hires a Gardener”19588
I Spy“The Warlord”19678
CBS Playhouse“Dear Friends”19688
The Waltons“The Love Story”19738
Kojak“Death is Not a Passing Grade”19748
Rich Man, Poor Man“Part I”19768
Lou Grant“Brushfire”19808
Hill Street Blues“Jungle Madness”19818
Hill Street Blues“The Second Oldest Profession”19828
Hill Street Blues“Eugene’s Comedy Empire Strikes Back”19838
St. Elsewhere“The Last One”19888
NYPD Blue“Tempest in a C-Cup”19948
Murder One“Chapter One”19968
ER“Faith”19978
The Practice“Betrayal”19988
ER“On the Beach”20028
The Good Wife“Pilot”20108
The Philco Television PlayhouseNA19558.1
The Philco Television Playhouse“A Man Is Ten Feet Tall”19568.1
Leave It to Beaver“Beaver Gets Spelled”19588.1
Playhouse 90“A Town has Turned to Dust”19598.1
HolocaustNA19788.1
Cagney & Lacey“Who Said It’s Fair, Part 2”19858.1
Hill Street Blues“What Are Friends For?”19868.1
Law & Order“Manhood”19938.1
NYPD Blue“Steroid Roy”19948.1
NYPD Blue“NYPD Lou”19948.1
ER“24 Hours”19958.1
NYPD Blue“The Backboard Jungle”19968.1
The Shield“Pilot”20028.1
Battlestar Galactica“Occupation” / “Precipice”20078.1
Battlestar Galactica“Six of One”20088.1
That Was the Week That WasNA19658.1
Playhouse 90“The Comedian”19588.2
Playhouse 90“Days of Wine and Roses”19598.2
Hill Street Blues“Freedom’s Last Stand”19828.2
Hill Street Blues“The World According to Freedom”19828.2
Moonlighting“I Am Curious… Maddie”19878.2
Northern Exposure“Pilot”19918.2
Six Feet Under“Twilight”20038.2
Mad Men“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”20088.2
Lost“The End”20108.2
Downton Abbey“Episode Seven”20128.2
Downton Abbey“Episode Four”20138.2
The DefendersNA19628.2
Miami Vice“Pilot”19858.2
Playhouse 90“Miracle Worker”19588.3
The Defenders“The Madman”19638.3
Mission: Impossible“The Seal”19688.3
The Bold Ones: The Senator“A Continual Roar of Musketry”19718.3
Roots“Part II”19778.3
Hill Street Blues“Hill Street Station”19818.3
Hill Street Blues“Trial by Fury”19838.3
St. Elsewhere“Newhart”19848.3
St. Elsewhere“Time Heals”19868.3
Hill Street Blues“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”19878.3
Northern Exposure“Democracy in America”19928.3
NYPD Blue“Simone Says”19958.3
The Sopranos“Eloise”20038.3
The Killing“Pilot”20118.3
The AmericansThe Soviet Division20178.3
Alfred Hitchcock Presents“Lamb to the Slaughter”19598.4
Hallmark Hall of Fame“Teacher, Teacher”19698.4
The Bold Ones: The Senator“To Taste of Death but Once”19718.4
Lou Grant“Cop”19808.4
Moonlighting“The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice”19868.4
Moonlighting“Atomic Shakespeare”19878.4
China Beach“Pilot”19888.4
China Beach“Hello-Goodbye”19928.4
NYPD Blue“Pilot”19948.4
Alias“Truth Be Told”20028.4
Deadwood“Deadwood”20048.4
Mad Men“The Jet Set”20098.4
Mad Men“A Night to Remember”20098.4
Homeland“Pilot”20128.4
The Handmaid’s TaleOffred (Pilot)20178.4
The Handmaid’s TaleHolly20198.4
Dr. Kildare“What’s God to Julius?”19648.5
Upstairs, Downstairs“Miss Forrest”19758.5
The Norman ConquestsNA19788.5
St. Elsewhere“The Women”19848.5
Hill Street Blues“Grace Under Pressure”19848.5
St. Elsewhere“Qui Transulit Sustinet”19848.5
St. Elsewhere“Sweet Dreams”19858.5
Cagney & Lacey“Turn, Turn, Turn, Part 1”19878.5
24“12:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.”20028.5
Damages“Get Me a Lawyer”20088.5
The AmericansPersona Non Grata20168.5
The CrownMystery Man20188.5
BodyguardEpisode 120198.5
Killing EveNice and Neat20198.5
Alfred Hitchcock Presents“The Jar”19648.6
Upstairs, Downstairs“Another Year”19768.6
St. Elsewhere“Afterlife”19878.6
Northern Exposure“Kaddish for Uncle Manny”19938.6
My So-Called Life“Pilot”19958.6
The X-Files“Memento Mori”19978.6
The Sopranos“The Sopranos”19998.6
The Sopranos“Second Opinion”20018.6
Mad Men“Six Month Leave”20098.6
Stranger ThingsChapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers20178.6
Medic“White is the Color”19558.7
The Waltons“The Easter Story”19748.7
thirtysomething“Business as Usual”19888.7
Northern Exposure“Burning Down the House”19928.7
Northern Exposure“Midnight Sun”19938.7
The West Wing“Pilot”20008.7
The Sopranos“Where’s Johnny?”20048.7
Grey’s Anatomy“Into You Like a Train”20068.7
CBS Playhouse“The Final War of Olly Winter”19678.8
The Waltons“The Thanksgiving Story”19748.8
St. Elsewhere“Haunted”19868.8
thirtysomething“First Day/Last Day”19898.8
thirtysomething“Second Look”19918.8
Northern Exposure“Seoul Mates”19928.8
The X-Files“Duane Barry”19958.8
The X-Files“The Post-Modern Prometheus”19988.8
The Sopranos“Nobody Knows Anything”19998.8
The Sopranos“Unidentified Black Males”20048.8
Lost“The 23rd Psalm”20068.8
The Wire“–30–”20088.8
Killing EveNice Face20188.8
Studio One“No Deadly Medicine”19588.9
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre“Something About Lee Wiley”19648.9
The Dick Van Dyke Show“Never Bathe on Sunday”19658.9
Meeting of MindsNA19788.9
thirtysomething“The Mike Van Dyke Show”19898.9
The Sopranos“College”19998.9
Rescue Me“Guts”20058.9
The Wire“Middle Ground”20058.9
Mad Men“Blowing Smoke”20118.9
SuccessionNobody is Ever Missing20198.9
Twin Peaks“Pilot”19908.9
The Dick Powell Show“The Price of Tomatoes”19629
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre“The Game”19669
Twin Peaks“Episode 3”19909
The Sopranos“Employee of the Month”20019
The Sopranos“Whitecaps”20039
The Sopranos“Kennedy and Heidi”20079
Mad Men“The Wheel”20089
Mad Men“Meditations in an Emergency”20099
The Americans“Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”20159
Mad Men“Lost Horizon”20159
The Handmaid’s TaleJune20189
The Twilight ZoneNA19609
The Twilight ZoneNA19619
The Twilight ZoneNA19629
East Side/West Side“Who Do You Kill?”19649.1
St. Elsewhere“Murder, She Rote”19859.1
thirtysomething“The Go Between”19909.1
NYPD Blue“Lost Israel, Part 2”19989.1
NYPD Blue“Lost Israel, Part 1”19989.1
The Sopranos“Isabella”19999.1
The Sopranos“Amour Fou”20019.1
The West Wing“Posse Comitatus”20029.1
The Sopranos“Whoever Did This”20039.1
The Sopranos“Members Only”20069.1
The Sopranos“Made in America”20079.1
Mad Men“Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”20109.1
Mad Men“Far Away Places”20129.1
Homeland“Q&A”20139.1
Game of Thrones“Mother’s Mercy”20159.1
Downton AbbeyEpisode 820169.1
Playhouse 90“The Old Man”19599.2
Sadbird (CBS Playhouse)19709.2
Homefront“The Lacemakers”19939.2
The West Wing“In Excelsis Deo”20009.2
The Sopranos“The Knight in White Satin Armor”20009.2
The Sopranos“Irregular Around the Margins”20049.2
Lost“Walkabout”20059.2
The Sopranos“The Second Coming”20079.2
The CrownAssassins20179.2
The X-Files“Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”19969.3
The Sopranos“Funhouse”20009.3
The West Wing“In the Shadow of Two Gunmen”20019.3
The West Wing“Twenty Five”20039.3
Lost“Pilot”20059.3
Lost“The Incident”20099.3
Mad Men“Person to Person”20159.3
Mr. Roboteps1.0_hellofriend.mov (Pilot)20169.3
The Defenders“Blacklist”19649.4
Mad Men“Commissions and Fees”20129.4
Mad Men“The Other Woman”20129.4
Breaking Bad“Say My Name”20139.4
Stranger ThingsChapter Nine: The Gate20189.4
Homicide: Life on the Street“Three Men and Adena”19939.5
NYPD Blue“Hearts and Souls”19999.5
The Sopranos“Long Term Parking”20049.5
Friday Night Lights“The Son”20109.5
Breaking Bad“Dead Freight”20139.5
Better Call Saul“Five-O”20159.5
Game of ThronesThe Dragon and The Wolf20189.5
Ben Casey“A Cardinal Act of Mercy”19639.6
Homicide: Life on the Street“Subway”19989.6
House“Three Stories”20059.6
Grey’s Anatomy“It’s the End of the World” / “As We Know It”20069.6
Mad Men“Shut the Door. Have a Seat.”20109.6
Game of Thrones“Baelor”20119.6
House of Cards“Chapter 14”20149.6
True Detective“The Secret Fate of All Life”20149.6
WestworldThe Bicameral Mind20179.6
Better Call SaulWinner20199.6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer“Hush”20009.7
The Sopranos“Pine Barrens”20019.7
Lost“Through the Looking Glass”20079.7
Friday Night Lights“Always”20119.7
Mad Men“The Suitcase”20119.7
Game of Thrones“The Children”20149.7
Better Call SaulChicanery20179.7
The AmericansStart20189.7
Six Feet Under“Everyone’s Waiting”20069.8
Game of Thrones“The Rains of Castamere”20139.9
Breaking Bad“Ozymandias”20149.9
Breaking Bad“Felina”20149.9
Game of ThronesBattle of the Bastards20169.9
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse“A Catered Affair”1956NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse“Thunder Over Washington”1956NA
The United States Steel Hour“Fearful Decision”1956NA
Ford Star Jubilee“The Cain Mutiny Court-Martial”1956NA
Climax!“The Champion”1956NA
Frontier“Patrol”1957NA
Telephone Time“Man With the Beard”1957NA
Playhouse 90“Requiem for a Heavyweight”1957NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Playhouse“Joey”1957NA
Kraft Television Theatre“A Night to Remember”1957NA
Playhouse 90“Sizeman and Son”1957NA
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars“The Lonely Wizard”1958NA
Frontiers of Faith“A Chassidic Tale”1958NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame“The Green Pastures”1958NA
Omnibus“The Life of Samuel Johnson”1958NA
Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre“Eddie”1959NA
General Electric Theater“One is a Wanderer”1959NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame“Little Moon of Alban”1959NA
Playhouse 90“Child of Our Time”1959NA
Playhouse 90“Project Immortality”1960NA
DuPont Show of the Month“The Lincoln Murder Case”1961NA
The DuPont Show of the Week“Big Deal in Laredo”1963NA
Alcoa Premiere“The Voice of Charlie Pont”1963NA
Breaking Point“And James was a very Small Snail”1964NA
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre“It’s Mental Work”1964NA
The Richard Boone Show“The Hooligan”1964NA
The Defenders“The 700 Year Old Gang”1965NA
Danny Thomas Special“The Wonderful World of Burlesque”1965NA
Hallmark Hall of Fame“The Magnificent Yankee”1965NA
Ironside“Ironside: World Premiere Motion Picture”1968NA
CBS Playhouse“The People Next Door”1969NA
CBS Playhouse“The Experiment”1969NA
Marcus Welby, M.D. (ABC Movie of the Week)1970NA
The Psychiatrist“In Death’s Other Kingdom”1971NA
Benjamin Franklin“The Ambassador”1975NA
Benjamin Franklin“The Whirlwind”1975NA
The Adams Chronicles“John Adams and Lawyer”1976NA
The Law“Complaint Amended”1976NA
The Adams Chronicles“Charles Francis Adams: Minister to Great Britain”1977NA
The Adams Chronicles“John Quincy Adams: President”1977NA
KingNA1978NA
The Paper Chase“The Late Mr. Hart”1979NA
American Dream“Pilot”1981NA
I’ll Fly Away“Master Magician”1992NA

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