Television Critics Pile on the Praise for the Shows I Like

The annual TCA awards are pretty much the exact opposite of the Emmy Awards.

Television Critics Association Nominations – Variety.com

Television Critics are, for the most part, much better informed on the actual quality of network and cable television as opposed to being completely ignorant to various entertaining programs. As a result, these are awards that actually give us an indicator of who gave the best performances, not just who submitted the best episode. And, let me tell you: the result is an intense race that creates categories impossible to decide upon.

Program of the Year

“American Idol” (Fox)
“Friday Night Lights” (NBC)
“Heroes” (NBC)
“Planet Earth” (Discovery)
“The Wire” (HBO)
“When the Levees Broke” (HBO)

This is such a bizarre category, because it’s really more defined as programming from I guess a…I don’t even know what it means. Either way, you’ve got reality television, family drama, Sci-Fi drama, Nature Documentary, gritty HBO drama, and a Katrina documentary. That’s a diverse mix of shows right there. Are they looking for something new, something powerful…I don’t even know.

Comedy Series

“30 Rock” (NBC”)
“The Daily Show” (Comedy Central”)
“Entourage” (HBO”)
“The Office” (NBC”)
“Ugly Betty” (ABC”)

This category is just unfair, TCA. The Office against The Daily Show? Throw 30 Rock into the mix and you’ve got an impossible decision to make. I really have no idea how I’d decide on this one, and I for one support separate variety categories just to keep this conundrum from taking place.

Drama Series

“Friday Night Lights” (NBC”)
“Heroes” (NBC”)
“Lost” (ABC”)
“The Sopranos” (HBO”)
“The Wire” (HBO”)

We don’t know how much this will coincide with Emmy’s list, but I feel for certain that three of these shows will be named on July 19th. The Wire is one of those shows that has never garnered Emmy attention due to its lack of Network coverage, and without star power or pedigree it might have trouble breaking through at the Emmys. However, the amount of critical attention given to the series might make it something to catch up on this summer.

New Program

“30 Rock” (NBC”)
“Dexter” (Showtime”)
“Friday Night Lights” (NBC”)
“Heroes” (NBC”)
“Ugly Betty” (ABC”)

Umm, TCA? Are you following my viewing habits or something? I doubt they are, but these five shows are likely to make it onto my respective Drama/Comedy Emmy FYCs in July, and are probably my top 5 new shows of the season. I’m especially happy to see Dexter getting some love, it is most deserved.

Individual Achievement in Comedy

Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
Stephen Colbert (“The Colbert Report”)
America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”)
Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)
Jon Stewart (“The Daily Show”)

Like the comedy series category, this one is just mean. Alec Baldwin vs. Tina Fey? Jon Stewart vs. Stephen Colbert? And the lovely and talented America Ferrera against them all? I can’t quite see how Fey deserves to be here over Steve Carell, but if it helps her get an Emmy nod I’m all for it. Still, impossible to decide on this one.

Individual Achievement in Drama

Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”)
Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”)
Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)
Hugh Laurie (“House”)
Helen Mirren (“Prime Suspect”)

Once again, TCA, did you really have to do it this way? Hugh Laurie against Helen Mirren? Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler forced to face off against one another? And then you have Michael C. Hall’s fantastic performance? This is just uncool.

What do these awards mean for the Emmys? Well, hopefully it will clue in some voters on what shows made a difference last year, but for the most part it is likely to be a drop in the bucket when it comes to how voters vote. The only thing this does confirm is that Heroes is likely to make a big splash. Uneven quality or not, the series seems poised to be the “hip” show for the ceremony, and might bump Lost in the process. Also, where’s Battlestar Galactica, TCA? Huh? Huh?

Critics are a strange bunch: analytical, intelligent, bold. Voters aren’t like them, so expect less interesting nominations. In the meantime, get out there and watch ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘Dexter’, and learn why critics (and I) enjoy them so much.

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Filed under 30 Rock, American Idol, Award Shows, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, House, Lost, NBC, Television, The Office, The Sopranos

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