Before the Emmys get to honor the best shows, the Television Critics Association (TCA) has announced the nominations for its 34th annual TCA Awards. The critics’ choices for the TV shows certainly reflect the idea that we are living in an era of overwhelming multi-platform content on network, cable and internet streaming services. Whoa, the head spins just thinking about it.
This reporter has been attending the TCA press tours for more than 30 years when there were just three networks and PBS airing shows on TV’s made with tubes. It has been my pleasure to be part of the organization’s gatherings twice a year with more than 200 professional journalists who cover television. It’s a great bunch of folks from publications across the U.S. and Canada who get to watch and complain about TV for a living and write about it. How cool is that?
Now they’ve presented a list of the best of the best from this season. Some nominations get my wholehearted approval; others lead me to ponder “What were they thinking?” And some of my favorites never made the list—I can’t believe the brilliant White House drama Designated Survivor is not among the nominees for Outstanding Program, and alas ABC canceled it. Now I’m stuck with the current White House drama on the nightly news and comedy shows.
The Television Critics Association will hold the organization’s 34th Annual TCA Awards on August 4 at the Beverly Hilton. The event will be hosted by Robin Thede, star of the popular BET late night series The Rundown with Robin Thede.
Who will be honored? Well, the TCA nominations have a mix of old and new recognizing outstanding programming in the 2017-2018 season. The awards honor actors, producers and programs in a variety of categories, including news and information, youth, reality, comedy and drama.
The BBC America’s freshman thriller Killing Eve leads all series with five nominations. Other notable nominees include past TCA Award-winners FX series Atlanta and The Americans and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Other freshman favorites were Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Netflix’ GLOW, and Barry, the HBO fish-out-of-water hitman comedy starring Bill Hader. Also, the compelling FX true crime drama The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which captured Darren Criss his well-deserved individual achievement in drama nod.
“The success of shows like Killing Eve and The Americans and Barry all underline what a killer year this was for TV,” said Daniel Fienberg, TCA President and TV critic for The Hollywood Reporter. “My sincerest apologies for that pun. It’s an exciting time for television and the TCA Awards nominations show how much great programming there is and how it can be found anywhere and for every audience. We’ve recognized shows from broadcast, cable, premium cable, streaming and PBS, series aimed for the youngest of children, the most mature of adults and for viewing by the entire family. From sexy assassins, to brooding spies, to babies who are Muppets, I’m excited to see which series will rise to the top when we gather together on August 4.”
Other notable nominees include television trailblazer Ted Danson (Cheers) for NBC’s devilishly clever comedy The Good Place; versatile superstar Donald Glover for FX’ Atlanta; the sweeping Queen Elizabeth biographical series The Crown; the food travel spectacular Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and the powerful 10-part historical special The Vietnam War from Ken Burns for PBS for outstanding achievement in news and information.
This year the Awards have introduced the new Sketch/Variety Shows category, which pits some of the country’s top comedic newsmakers against one another. For the sketch/variety inaugural award the nominees are Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and the controversial Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. All have a penchant for ripped from the headlines political commentary but thank goodness they’re not nominated in the news and information category.
Tune in your favorite shows and enjoy.
Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association, has written for a variety of top publications for more than 35 years and was half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.