Last night at the Beverly Hilton, the Television Critics Association gave out the annual TCA Awards for the best in television at our annual summer meeting. And it may not surprise you that, since critics like me were voting, the big winners were shows that critics like me love.
Showtime’s freshman psychological thriller Homeland was named Outstanding New Program, while Claire Danes won for individual achievement in drama (our unisex best actor/actress category). FX’s eccentric comedy Louie, just picked up for a fourth season, won as best comedy, and Louis CK for individual achievement in comedy. The other winners included Breaking Bad (best drama), whose star Bryan Cranston hosted the awards, Downton Abbey (miniseries) and Game of Thrones. (The awards are given out in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, home to the Golden Globes; but the TCA’s are, ironically, nontelevised and off-the-record, which makes for good attendance by the awardees, who can have a good time without an audience.)
The latter show won Program of the Year, a sort of overall-best-show category, the reasons for whose existence I am still not entirely clear on, but I’m happy enough that it won. (Best show on TV the whole past season? Nah, but close enough for me.) Likewise ABC Family’s Switched at Birth—I’m pretty sure I checked my ballot for Phineas and Ferb, but it’s a very well-done young-adult show with a sophisticated take on diverse themes. And our TV-legacy-focused categories honored David Letterman and Cheers (while 60 Minutes, no spring chicken itself, won the news-and-information category).
The nominees we had to choose from are listed in this earlier post. Like any awards, the critics’ can be vulnerable to vote-splitting and categories dominated by usual suspects. (A lot of my colleagues don’t watch a lot of reality TV, for instance, and in my opinion the nominations overlooked many better non-competition reality shows like No Reservations.) But all in all, I’d put this list up against any TV awards I’ve seen handed out in the past year. Look at the list and tell me what you’d change:
· Individual Achievement in Drama: Claire Danes (“Homeland,” Showtime)
· Individual Achievement in Comedy: Louis C.K. (“Louie,” FX)
· Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “60 Minutes” (CBS)
· Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)
· Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: “Switched at Birth” (ABC Family)
· Outstanding New Program: “Homeland” (Showtime)
· Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: “Masterpiece: Downton Abbey” (PBS)
· Outstanding Achievement in Drama: “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
· Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: “Louie” (FX)
· Career Achievement Award: David Letterman
· Heritage Award: “Cheers”
· Program of the Year: “Game of Thrones” (HBO)