10 of the most beautiful Emmy-nominated TV shows for outstanding cinematography


For a long time, television was considered secondary to cinema. TV shows were simply not seen in the same caliber, and many critics viewed them as an “inferior” product to the movies. There are many reasons for this, including the often inexpensive production values ​​of television.

RELATED: 10 Biggest Surprises At The 2021 Emmys

But times are changing. These days, TV shows can be as beautiful and as expensive as Oscar-winning movies. Revolutionary dramas like Mad Men with fantastic epics like Game Of Thrones, cinematography for television media is the richest and most innovative it has ever been and only promises to improve if the era of “Peak TV” continues to exist.

ten Mad men: 5 nominations

Mad Men received consistent critical praise throughout its run. As one of the best drama series with most viewed value, Mad Men contains some of the greatest actors, writers and directors ever to appear on television. It also contains great cinematography.

Cinematographer Phil Abraham won the first episode, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” and it’s not hard to see why. The episode is an incredible demonstration of Mad Menstyle, filming the office with beautiful long shots, and establishing the mysterious character of Don Draper through the use of smoke (Don smokes cigarettes throughout the episode) and shadow.

9 The X-Files: 5 nominations

Scully and Mulder in The X-Files

X files captured the collective imagination of a nation throughout the 1990s, and it did so in a visually exciting way. While the series undoubtedly looks a bit bland today, its moody visuals and sometimes surreal imagery were cutting edge stuff in the early ’90s, and the series has five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Cinematography at show for it.

RELATED: 5 Ways X Files Are Dated (& 5 Ways They’re Still Perfect)

The show was often visually adventurous, using cinematic film techniques to describe its otherworldly content. Aliens, UFOs, and monsters are filmed with eerie attention to detail, and the series’ bucolic northwest setting is often captured in stunning detail. He brought supernatural films to the small screen in an effective and disturbing way.

8 The West Wing: 5 nominations

The West Wing Christmas

West wing is now considered one of Aaron Sorkin’s best projects. While most of the show’s praise is for its writing, many critics have also appreciated its inventive cinematography – primarily the now iconic follow-up shots the series has used throughout its airing.

The travellings are not only impressive from a technical point of view, but they also help to convey the speed and fluidity of the central protagonists of the show. The camera is always on the move, as are the show’s busy characters and the rapid-fire, dialogue-rich script.

7 Bonanza: 5 nominations


Often regarded as one of the greatest television shows ever made, Windfall is admittedly old school but no less impressive for that. The western spanned 14 incredible seasons and 431 episodes between 1959 and 1973. By this time, it received considerable praise for its cinematic visuals and won five Emmy nominations.

Westerns are inherently visually interesting entertainment due to their expansive locations and breathtaking views. The western genre on television took off in the 1960s thanks in part to the incredible experience of seeing these visuals on the small screen, and Windfall“Superb cinematography definitely played a role in popularizing the genre.

6 Law and order: 5 appointments

Law and Order Chris Noth and Jerry Orbach

The original Law and order series aired for 20 seasons and 456 episodes throughout its airing, and people tend to forget how awesome and influential the series was in its early days. Between 1993 and 2001, Law and order received five Emmy nominations for Best Cinematography. It mixes up many visual elements of court and police proceedings, skillfully blending dramatic close-ups in which actors can reveal their characters’ emotions with cinematic action sequences.

RELATED: 10 Hidden Details About Law & Order’s Main Characters Everyone Missed

The show generally used a subtle but different visual style for the two sections of each episode. For “Law,” the filmmakers generally used a blue-gray light scheme to express the gravity and danger of the New York Cityscape. In “Order,” earth tones such as brown and green were accentuated to establish the middle of the courtroom and frame the inevitable testimonies and confessions more intimately than the previous section. This visual pattern would repeat itself in almost all of its seasons as well as the many spinoffs in the Law and order franchise.

5 CSI: 6 nominations

William Petersen and Jorja Fox in CSI

The original CSI quickly became a cultural phenomenon and ended up filming for 15 seasons and 337 episodes. Part of its success can no doubt be attributed to its talented cast, but it was also a well-made TV show that also contained some outstanding cinematography.

The show contained an impeccable use of lighting to set the tone and atmosphere, and its famous crime scenes were often shot to maximize the graphic nature of the crimes the characters were investigating. In a weird way CSI makes violence look good, and it has the prices to prove it.

4 Breaking Bad: 6 nominations

According to Forbes, breaking Bad is the greatest TV series of all time, but it can also be the most magnificent. Vince Gilligan’s criminal tragedy is filled with many inventive camera techniques and creative shots, and desert landscapes are often used to convey the loneliness and brutality of the main character.

The show’s New Mexico setting is barren, dusty, expansive, and unmistakably beautiful, and the show’s many camera tours are simply breathtaking. breaking BadCinematographers have placed cameras on shovels, in washing machines, and even inside vacuum cleaners to achieve multiple angles and create a distinct visual style that no other show has matched before or since. .

3 Boardwalk Empire: 6 nominations

Boardwalk Empire continued HBO’s streak of success in producing quality drama following the findings of acclaimed shows like The Sopranos and Thread. As well as containing one of the late Michael K. Williams’ best roles, Boardwalk Empire is also a beautiful spectacle with jaw-dropping production values ​​and careful attention to historical detail.

The show is not only cinematic in scope and detail, but it beautifully conveys the 1920s setting through the use of shadows and colors. Boardwalk Empire manages to be both handsome and gritty at the same time as it realistically portrays the seedy life of Atlantic City gangsters during Prohibition. According to Daily Studio, show cinematographers Kramer Morgenthau and Jonathan Freeman used Super 35 film to provide texture and light density to capture the look and feel of the period.

2 The Little House on the Prairie: 7 nominations

The cast of The Little House on the Prairie

It is difficult for the modern public to imagine how popular Little house in the meadow was in fact. The show was a hit throughout its nine seasons and received a number of prestigious Emmy nominations. Its remote and expansive setting lent itself perfectly to gorgeous cinematography, and the show certainly delivered on that front.

RELATED: 10 Darkest Episodes Of Little House On The Prairie, Ranked

Few TV shows are as beautiful as this one, especially those from the 1970s. Thanks to its cinematography, the show somehow manages to be both broad and intimate in its delicate insight. of Quaker life in the alluring meadows. Some of the more notable shots include series star Michael Landon riding horses at sunset and child actress Melissa Gilbert picking flowers in a sun-dappled field.

1 Game Of Thrones: 9 nominations

Game Of Thrones is the show that effectively bridges the ever-narrowing gap between television and cinema. The show had the production values ​​of a big-budget blockbuster, and it looked just as cinematic. It’s no surprise that he currently holds the record for most nominations for Best Cinematography with nine.

Everything about the visuals on this show was top notch, from the clarity and lighting to the reach and creative camera techniques. A notable visual highlight of the series is season 6’s long “Battle of the Bastards” follow-up shots that fully reflect the large and brutal cost of the war being waged by the show’s warring characters. Finally, a big budget historical fantasy drama made its way to the small screen, and thanks to its incredible cinematography, viewers were convinced that television could deliver a visually striking spectacle that was previously only available to motion pictures.

NEXT: The 10 Most Beautiful Places In Game Of Thrones, Ranked

The Vampire Diaries: a quote from 10 main characters that goes against their personality

About the Author


Previous NYIT Honorary Award Recipients 2020-21
Next The program of shows announced for the 49th season of Geva