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Bunheads, Maslany, The Americans, and More Get Credit at the TCA Awards

If there was a theme of this year's critics' awards, it was vengeance for the overlooked

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Tatiana Maslany at the "Orphan Black" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on June 5, 2013 in Beverly Hills.
Vera Anderson / WireImage / Getty Images

Tatiana Maslany at the "Orphan Black" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on June 5, 2013 in Beverly Hills.

At its annual ceremony in Los Angeles, the Television Critics Association (of which I am a member) gave out the 2013 TCA Awards for outstanding service in the honorable field of television. TCA is a big group of varying tastes, so many years it’s hard to discern a pattern in the critics’ awards. But there was at least a bit of a theme this year: avenging the overlooked.

Thus Bunheads, lamentably cancelled by ABC Family, won the TCA award for children’s programming. (Yes, it may be a stretch, or at least limiting, to call it a children’s program, even if it’s split between teen and adult characters. But its voters, myself among them, saw this as Bunheads’ best shot at recognition.) Tatiana Maslany, ignored by the Emmys for her tour de force performance in Orphan Black, won for individual achievement in drama. (Not, note, “best actress”; for the TCA awards, men and women compete in the same categories.) And The Americans, also dissed by the Emmys, picked up the award for best new program.

In past years, I’ve said that I don’t always agree with many of the choices my colleagues make en masse. This year, though, I have to say, I pretty much agree with the field; even where my first choice didn’t win, I’m pretty well satisfied with the winner. Yes, there are some usual suspects in there, but generally deserving ones. (I’ll say it again, though, that even I — having attended TCAs for over a decade — still don’t have a handle on what distinguishes a “Program of the Year,” which this year went to Breaking Bad.)

Game of Thrones, Central Park Five, Louie, Parks and Recreation — they were either the class of their field this season or close enough not to argue. (I’d have given some hardware to Enlightened, which I voted for — but even in a critics’ organization, that was a long shot.) Career Achievement honoree Barbara Walters, as much flak as she draws for her celebrity interviews and for The View (from me as well), is a trailblazer for women in broadcast news and defined the celebrity interview format. Shark Tank is a prime example of breezy but sharp reality TV, gamifying the mysteries of entrepreneurship and valuing a business. (It’s also a rare example of genuinely good primetime family TV, at least for my family.) As for the Heritage Award for All in the Family, the only reasonable complaint might be what took us so long.

So as dull as it might be to say, I largely agree with the choices of the professional organization to which I belong. Yeah, I said it! But have a look at the full list of winners below, and let me know what you’d change:

Individual Achievement in Drama: Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, BBC America)
Individual Achievement in Comedy: Louis C.K. (Louie, FX)
Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: The Central Park Five (PBS)
Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: Shark Tank (ABC)
Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: Bunheads (ABC Family)
Outstanding New Program: The Americans (FX)
Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: Behind the Candelabra (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Drama: Game of Thrones (HBO)
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: (Tie) The Big Bang Theory (CBS) and Parks and Recreation (NBC).
Career Achievement Award: Barbara Walters (ABC)
Heritage Award: All in the Family (CBS)
Program of the Year: Breaking Bad (AMC)

5 comments
NokaLover
NokaLover

Just glad that Tatiana Maslany won, yey!

jenny5555
jenny5555

someone needs to explain to me, please, the love for "The Big Bang Theory". I've seen a few episodes here and there, and the humor is so old-school sitcom. I figured the emmy love was because, well, it's the Emmy's, but TCA? Tied with Parks and Rec?? What am I missing?

vilechuckles
vilechuckles

@JamesPoniewozik

If we're being honest, Mad Men and Enlightened were the two best shows this year, right??  Game of Thrones is up there but not close to those two. The bar is just that high this year.  Breaking Bad was great, but definitely not as solidly brilliant as it has been.  

anon76
anon76

@vilechuckles 

While I enjoy Enlightened, Mad Men is just not my cup of tea.  Game of Thrones is one of my favorite shows I've ever seen on t.v.  If we're being honest, we should recognize that beyond some technical aspects our opinions on "best shows" are entirely subjective.

vilechuckles
vilechuckles

@anon76@vilechuckles 

Sigh.  Yes, you're right.  Thanks for setting me straight.  Because it's not true that some people have better taste than others.  And it's not true we can understand something's brilliance, greatness and still not be into it.  I don't like Seinfeld.  They're too gross for me.  But that's the point.  I get what the show is about and have total respect for what they did. I understand why it's considered one of the best comedies of the last 25 years and see no point in arguing it. 

I love Game of Thrones. Mad Men and Enlightened have just had better years. For many, many reasons.  Again, Game of Thrones was great this year.  For many, many reasons I can break down why it doesn't touch MM or Enlightened.  Maybe James up there or someone else can break it down for ya. 

I'm sorry I offended your Khaleesi.