It’s as rare for a TV series to receive delayed fan-fueled critical acclaim as it is for J. K. Rowling to not be offensive on Twitter.
Yet that’s exactly what happened at the 2020 Emmy Awards when Schitt's Creek, an initially critically ignored low budget Canadian comedy, made history with the most Emmy wins by a single comedy series in the same season.
Schitt's Creek won for Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Eugene Levy), Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Catherine O'Hara), Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Daniel Levy), Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Annie Murphy), Best Directing for a Comedy Series (Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy), Best Writing for a Comedy Series (Daniel Levy), Best Casting for a Comedy Series (Jon Comerford and Lisa Parasyn) and Best Contemporary Costumes (Darci Cheyne and Debra Hanson).
While it's not unusual for a show to be bestowed with a slew of Emmys for its final season what's unusual about the Schitt's Creek clean sweep is that the people ticking those ballot boxes would not have acknowledged the show's greatness throughout most of its run, or even knew that it existed.
The Emmys have never been in the business of honouring shows with solid, yet slightly under the radar track records.
Instead, they like to be in the business of hanging with the edgy new kids on the block or else sticking with tried and true favourites. Shows with acclaimed lead cast members, big promotional budgets and buzzy first seasons.
This is an especially dominant trend in the comedy categories, which would explain why the Tina Fey led 30 Rock took out the main category three years in a row from its debut season, why Fraiser was in the awards mix from the get-go and how Modern Family reached juggernaut status from its unbroken five-year run in the Best Comedy category.
All continuing the trend of Emmy voters telling the public what's in vogue right from the pilot episode.
But for Schitt's Creek the road to Emmys success was not so conventional and clear cut.