Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Critics Choose "Community," "Homeland" and "Sherlock" as Their Faves

The Broadcast Television Journalists Association (that would be your BTJA) gave out its second annual Critics Choice Awards for the television shows and performers its critic members enjoy the most last Monday night, June 18.

So who and what did the TV critics commend?

The Best Comedy Series award for "Community" showed that somebody appreciates creator Dan Harmon and his anarchic vision (even if that somebody isn't NBC, who recently gave Harmon his pink slip) and that the critics at the BTJA are willing to bypass Emmy darling "Modern Family" just this once. The other comedy series nominated (besides "Community" and "Modern Family") were "The Big Bang Theory" on CBS, "Parks and Recreation" on NBC, HBO's flashy new "Girls" series, and "New Girl," the Zooey Deschanel vehicle on Fox that is not as new as but more singular than "Girls." Out of those, I wouldn't quibble with any of "Community," "Modern Family" or "Parks and Rec," which are all on my Must Watch list.

And even though "Modern Family" didn't take home the Best Series award, it did take Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen as sweetly flaky Phil and Claire Dunphy.

"Homeland," the nerve-wracking Showtime series about a Manchurian Candidate/terrorist and the bipolar agent tracking him, won the Best Drama Series award over fellow nominees "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men," both on AMC, PBS's "Downton Abbey," HBO's "The Game of Thrones," and the lone major network contender, "The Good Wife" on CBS. That is a pretty impressive line-up of nominees, right there.

Claire Danes, the bipolar agent I mentioned up there, was named Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role on "Homeland."

PBS's new "Sherlock" nabbed the prize for Best Movie/Miniseries, as well as Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries for star Benedict Cumberbatch.

FX's secret agent cartoon "Archer" won Best Animated Series, Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations," the international food show on the Travel Network, was named Best Reality Series (non-competition category), while NBC's "The Voice," the singing contest with the oversize swivel chairs holding Cee-Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton as judges/mentors, won Best Reality Series -- Competition. NBC also picked up the award for Best Talk Show for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," the fun and amusing show that outclasses its late-night partner, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on a nightly basis. And, no, Leno wasn't nominated. "Conan," "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The View" were.

Five shows set to premiere next fall were given the nod as Most Exciting New Series (apparently based on the premise and/or pilots) including "The Following," "The Mindy Project, "Nashville, "The Newsroom" and "Political Animals."

Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series went to Bryan Cranston and Giancarlo Esposito for AMC's "Breaking Bad," with "Mad Men," also on AMC, taking the Best Supporting Actress award for Christina Hendricks. Best Guest Performer in a Drama was Lucy Liu for "Southland" on TNT.

Best Actress in a Movie/Miniseries was Julianne Moore, playing Sarah Palin in HBO's "Game Change," with Louis C. K. named Best Actor in a Comedy Series for "Louie" on FX,  and Zooey Deschanel (the "New Girl" herself) and Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation") tying for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Paul Rudd took Best Guest Performer in a Comedy for his adorable and hilarious turn as a rich dimwit running against Amy Poehler's character for town council on "Parks and Rec."

Best Reality Show Host was also a tie, between Tom Bergeron of "Dancing with the Stars" and Cat Deeley of "So You Think You Can Dance." Maybe we should demand a dance-off?

You can click here to see all the winners and here if you'd like to expand your horizons to include all the nominees. It won't be too long till it's Emmy time (nominations announced on July 19) so if your fave did not prevail with the critics from the BTJA, never fear. More awards to come!


  1. That's a very impressive slate of nominees right there (winners too, of course). Though if it were just me, I would bypass "New Girl" and substitute "Happy Endings," which I think is being pretty brilliant pretty regularly. Very glad to see some attention paid to the endearing Cat Deeley.

    And I know everyone says it, but Benedict Cumberbatch is just the most wonderful name ever.

  2. I would really, really prefer not to see "New Girl" on any of these lists. I tried it once and could only take a few moments of Zooey Deschanel's twee persona before I had to go elsewhere. I can't even take the 1-minute iPhone ad she does about the rain and tomato soup. Leave Siri alone and put some shoes on, chick!

    And, yes, "Happy Endings" would be a much better choice. "Girls" doesn't really appeal to me, either, so "Happy Endings" can slide right onto the list of nominees in place of both of those.

    I smile just typing Benedict Cumberbatch. Oddly, he seems to be quite the heartthrob for Gen Whatever We're Up To. I wouldn't have guessed that. His name being memorable doesn't hurt, I'm sure.

  3. In fairness (though that goes against my nature) to "New Girl," they have retooled it considerably since the pilot: toned down the magnitude of Zoe's tweeness, made it much more of an equal ensemble and less of a star vehicle, and fleshed out the interest and humor of the other characters. Usually in the later episodes, if she acted That Way, someone else would impatiently get on her case about it (though we still would have to endure seeing her act That Way first, so...). I guess I saw most of its episodes and quite enjoyed some of the 2012 ones. But it would still go well down on my list of current sitcoms.