The Television Critics Association Continues to Nominate More Series And Actors
And We Should All Be Happier Because of It
Over the last couple of years, I have increasingly regulated the accomplishments of the Television Critics Association to the backburner when compared to the new (and to be fair, far more inclusive Hollywood Critics Association) in regard to their nominations. This is hardly fair to an organization that has been around far longer and has had the foresight to give Homicide three consecutive Best Drama Awards, recognize Twin Peaks, Deadwood and Better Call Saul when the Emmys never would, and are willing to give heritage prizes to actors and series we never quite give enough credit to.
Understandably given everything that has happened the last few weeks, the TCAs annual nominations slipped under the radar and I only became aware of them today. And I don’t know if they keep trying harder or if they are genuinely reflecting the high quality of TV out there. But they keep raising the standards and I keep appreciating their efforts.
This year they gave nominations to ten actors and actress in Individual Achievement in Drama. None of them were for Ozark or Euphoria which automatically raises my respect for them. Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn are competing for Better Call Saul and they acknowledged the brilliance of Mandy Moore for This is Us — I already love them more. Indeed, all of the choices are good ones. Lee Jung-Jae for Squid Game, Melanie Lynskey for Yellowjackets, Amanda Seyfried for The Dropout, Michael Keaton for Dopesick, Margaret Qualley for Maid (no Pam and Tommy even better), and Adam Scott for Severance are all among the best performances of the year. I’m not wild about Jeremy Strong being here, but at least he’s the only member of the Roy family nominated.
There are only eight nominees in the comedy category, but honestly the quality is better there. Bill Hader, Steve Martin and Jason Sudeikis were all certain to be nominated as were Jean Smart and Quinta Brunson. But I am impressed that the TCA acknowledged Pamela Adlon for Better Things and even more that they recognized Bridget Everett for Somebody Somewhere, a series that has clearly slipped under the Emmys radar. And really, could anyone argue with Janelle James being here for Abbott Elementary? I can’t.
Outstanding New Program is basically incredibly impressive. Abbott Elementary, Severance, Only Murders in the Building, Yellowjackets and The White Lotus (and credit to the TCA for admitting that this is a new program and not a Limited Series) are among the best. We now should accept that Ghosts is a brilliant new program, and I give more credit to the acknowledgement of Reservation Dogs. I think I have to watch Pachinko now.
The Limited Series awards are, of course, dominated by streaming. The Dropout and Dopesick here (but not Pam and Tommy) and there seems to be credit for The Girl from Plainville. Maid is included. Give credit to the TCA for including Midnight Mass, Station Eleven and Under the Banner of Heaven, though I do think Scenes from a Marriage could be chosen over one of them.
Outstanding Achievement in Drama: Better Call Saul, Severance, Squid Game, Succession and Yellowjackets mirror the Emmy choices. But give them their props for showing the common sense to nominate This is Us and the extraordinary foresight to recognize The Good Fight and Pachinko instead of Ozark and Euphoria. TCA, I’m sorry I neglected you last year.
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy is basically a mirror of the Emmys in some expected ways: Abbott Elementary, Barry, Hacks, Only Murders in the Building and Ted Lasso are here. But Reservation Dogs got in over What We Do in the Shadows which is probably the right call and Atlanta was put in over Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I might not have chosen Ghosts over say The Wonder Years, but since the Peabodys had the very good chance to give it an award (most of its awards brought no new news so I’ll let them slide) I think it’s possible I am in the wrong.
I actually like almost every choice for Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch. No one would argue with John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, A Black Lady Sketch Show or Saturday Night Live and I’m overjoyed to see Seth Meyers, Amber Ruffin and Ziwe competing for prizes. I’m not sure for Tim Robinson.
As for Program of the Year: Would I have liked to see This is Us in there? Sure. But it’s hard to argue with any of them: Abbott Elementary, Better Call Saul, Hacks, Severance, Squid Game, The White Lotus and Yellowjackets are among the best shows out there. It would be petty at this point to complain about Succession’s presence, since it got fewer nominations than Better Call Saul or Abbott Elementary. Hell, I don’t even mind that Ted Lasso didn’t make it this year. And can we just be in awe for a moment that the most nominated series is a broadcast show? Seriously, I wasn’t sure that was allowed any more by any awards group any more.
The TCA will be meeting later this month — in person for the first time since 2019. And as always, I’m looking for their choices. I don’t necessarily think the Emmys will go along with them, but for a group that was willing to acknowledge The Americans and Better Call Saul were the better dramas than the final two seasons of Game of Thrones, honestly, you might do well to listen. In the meantime, every year in every way, the TCA makes me proud of my chosen occupation.