June 5, 2011

first ever critics' choice television award nominees

The Broadcast Television Journalist Association (BTJA) will hold the first ever Critics' Choice Television Awards on June 20. The luncheon awards presentation (hosted by the lovely Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance) will stream live on VHI.com and be broadcast on June 22 on the Reelz Channel.

BTJA is a new group affiliated with the Broadcast Film Critics Association (not to be confused with the larger, more well-known Television Critics Association). While it appears to be designed for the relatively small group of "television critics on television," there are a some well-respected online critics, namely Matt Roush from TV Guide Magazine.

News of yet another award show isn't very intriguing in itself, but looking at the favorites selected by critics rather than, say, the Emmy voting pool (much less the ratings charts) is pretty interesting. At the very least, if this is an opportunity to give kudos to some oft-neglected quality programming, then I'm all for it.

Let's look at the nominees:

Many of these picks are pretty predictable --  the definition of "good drama" is usually far more widely accepted than comedy. For that reason, though, sometimes the top picks can become tiresome. Like Dexter is there just because it has to be at this point, etc. So, it's gratifying to see shows like Friday Night Lights and Fringe (John Noble!) get recognition here. Ratings shmatings. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are one of the best drama pairings in the history of television. Hyperbole? My blog. It will be interesting to see if other more recent critical favorites like Justified, The Killing, and The Walking Dead make any headway at the major award shows this year. I think it's fairly safe to say Game of Thrones will. Also glad to see the critics call out some specific good performances that might not come with a big show behind them -- Shawn Hatosy's work on Southland is a great example.

BEST DRAMABoardwalk Empire, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Justified, The Killing, Mad Men, The Walking Dead

BEST ACTOR - DRAMA: Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), William H. Macy (Shameless), Timothy Olyphant (Justified)

BEST ACTRESS - DRAMA: Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Mireille Enos (The Killing), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Anna Torv (Fringe)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - DRAMA: Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Walton Goggins (Justified), Shawn Hatosy (Southland), John Noble (Fringe), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), John Slattery (Mad Men)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - DRAMA: Michelle Forbes (The Killing), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Margo Martindale (Justified), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Chloë Sevigny (Big Love)

Not surprisingly, the comedy picks have a much wider range that we're used to seeing. And since "good comedy" seems so much more open to interpretation, a look at critic's picks can be fun because TV critics are so often some of the biggest TV fans. Shows like Louie and Archer aren't really my thing, but they have huge fans, so great to see them recognized. I've long been concerned that Community is too "weird" for the Emmys -- but here's proof the show (and Danny Pudi!) are critically-acclaimed. Funny, I pretty much wouldn't change a thing in any of the ultra-competitive comedy acting categories, although some supporting character love for The Office would have been nice. Yay for the first-recognized brilliance of Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson, Martha Plimpton's so-bad-she's-good mom from Raising Hope, and the hilariously under-appreciated Eden Cher from The Middle.

BEST COMEDY: Archer, The Big Bang Theory, Community, Glee, Louie, The Middle, Modern Family, The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock

BEST ACTOR - COMEDY: Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Steve Carell (The Office), Louis C.K. (Louie), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Joel McHale (Community), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

BEST ACTRESS - COMEDY: Courteney Cox (Cougar Town), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Patricia Heaton (The Middle), Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - COMEDY: Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Danny Pudi (Community), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - COMEDY: Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Busy Philipps (Cougar Town), Eden Sher (The Middle), Sofía Vergara (Modern Family)

These categories crack me up. It feels like an exposition of what really goes on our televisions while we're doing laundry on a Sunday afternoon (not what Emmy voters claim to enjoy). Housewives? Love it. Hoarders? Damn you, I can't look away. Same goes for Sister Wives. As for hosts, thank goodness for some MUCH-delayed love for Cat Deeley, the best host on television. As a unit, the collection of best talk shows is kind of hilarious. Come to think of it, do we ever see Oprah at the Emmys?

BEST REALITY SERIES: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Hoarders, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Sister Wives, Undercover Boss

BEST REALITY SERIES - COMPETITION The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Top Chef

BEST REALITY SHOW HOST: Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars), Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance), Ty Pennington (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)

BEST TALK SHOWChelsea Lately, The Daily Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Oprah Winfrey Show


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