Thursday, June 04, 2009

Crix pix

As a TV critic type, I'm usually just supposed to express my own opinion, but every now and again, I get called upon to participate in a poll of many critics, or to choose nominees and winners in the annual Television Critics Association awards, which will be handed out at the summer press tour in early August. One of those polls I participated in was Variety's recent poll on the best shows of the '00s, and the TCA nominees were just announced. Full list of the latter, and a few of my own thoughts, after the jump:

Battlestar Galactica (SciFi Channel)

Lost (ABC)

Mad Men (AMC)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

The Shield (FX)


30 Rock (NBC)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

The Daily Show (Comedy Central)

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

The Office (NBC)


Breaking Bad (AMC)

Friday Night Lights (NBC/DirecTV)

Lost (ABC)

Mad Men (AMC)

The Shield (FX)


2008 Summer Olympic Coverage (NBC)

24: Redemption (Fox)

Generation Kill (HBO)

Grey Gardens (HBO)

Taking Chance (HBO)


Fringe (Fox)

The Mentalist (CBS)

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (HBO)

True Blood (HBO)

United States of Tara (Showtime)


Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

Steve Carell (The Office)

Tina Fey (30 Rock)

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)


Glenn Close (Damages)

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Walton Goggins (The Shield)

Jon Hamm (Mad Men)

Hugh Laurie (House)


Camp Rock (The Disney Channel)

The Electric Company (PBS)

Nick News (Nickelodeon)

Sid the Science Kid (PBS)

Yo Gabba Gabba (Nickelodeon)


60 Minutes (CBS)

The Alzheimers Project (HBO)

Frontline (PBS)

The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)

We Shall Remain (PBS)




Saturday Night Live (NBC)

The Shield (FX)

Star Trek (NBC)
Now, obviously this was a group thing, and therefore, there are shows on there that I wasn't a fan of (say, "True Blood"), as well as the absence of shows I really like (I pushed, to no avail, for "Chuck" to get a comedy series nomination). But I'm really pleased that the TCA as a group was able to highlight the likes of Jim Parsons and Walton Goggins. Given all "The Shield" love, the easy pick would have been Michael Chiklis, and while that sure wouldn't have been the wrong pick (seriously, go watch the final minutes again), Goggins was every bit his equal, and he doesn't have any acting hardware in his trophy case. (Though, of course, he has that Oscar for producing "The Accountant.")


Alex said...

I'm confused, Alan - you linked to the best shows of the 00's, but the list here is the best shows of this year (I think). ?

Danny said...

SNL is program of the year but not one of the year's best comedies? That's a little confusing. But overall, a neat list! Much better than whatever the Emmys will come up with for sure. Thanks Alan.

Anonymous said...

Not a lot of love for the ladies, huh?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alex, two separate things: Variety poll of the best of the '00s (the link), and the TCA Awards nominees for 2008-09 (the stuff listed in this post).

Anonymous said...

SNL is nominated for program of the year?

Why? I can count on one hand the number of episodes this season that didn't bore me to death.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I imagine some people (and I wasn't one of them) felt that the show influenced the presidential election (which I don't believe) and therefore nominated it based on the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin run at the start of the year.

Devin McCullen said...

I said this yesterday about the Best of the 00s list for drama actor, but I think it applies for the TCAs as well. It does say something about what people reward when you look at a group and Don Draper's the nice guy! I mean, I get why it happens, bad guys are generally more interesting, but still.

Anonymous said...

No CHUCK = no legitimacy of the award.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that Dexter wasn't included on the list. In my opinion it's the best written show on television.

Matt said...

I suspect the SNL nomination has to do with two things:

1. The success of the "Weekend Update Thursday" brand extension.
2. That the Palin sketches were, for the first time in who knows how long (arguably since 1976?), directly influential in shaping voter's perceptions of a major national political candidate.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm disappointed that Dexter wasn't included on the list. In my opinion it's the best written show on television.

Not this season, it wasn't.

Hatfield said...

I know I'm constantly going on about Deadwood, so I may be no different than one of those Jericho or Moonlight truthers in saying this, but how the hell does McShane get left off that list of best lead actors of the decade? Hard to argue with everyone there, but he was just better than at least two of them, and definitely Hall (as much as Hall is awesome as Dexter).

I am thrilled, however, that The Wire was listed on the top shows.

Unknown said...

Maybe I'm misunderstanding teh concept but "The Shield" for a Heritage award? how can that be?

Alan Sepinwall said...

The argument was that The Shield was extremely influential in the type and variety of scripted programming we now see on basic cable. It showed that you could make a show this good on a cable budget, and enough viewers would find it to make it profitable.

LA said...

Grey Gardens? What the hell? Does Drew Barrymore actually have that much pull?

Andrew said...

Wouldn't it have made more sense to perhaps wait until the '00s are over before voting on the best of this decade? I mean lets say hypothetically that season 3 of Mad Men ends up completely sucking (won't happen, but just saying). Might that lead to less people voting for it?

By the way, how the hell did that 24 movie get a nod? Is the miniseries/TV movie field really that weak, or were people just trying to get in some non-HBO representation?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Wouldn't it have made more sense to perhaps wait until the '00s are over before voting on the best of this decade?

Take that up with Variety, I guess. We're only a few months away, and Mad Men season two would have to really fall off a cliff (say, Joan decides to get a sex change) for it to drop out of the discussion at this point.

By the way, how the hell did that 24 movie get a nod?

Some people (both in and out of the TCA) love 24 and think the show can do no wrong.

Paul said...

Lost and FNL over The Shield for best shows of the '00s? How to explain that one given the two former got exponentially worse after their first seasons while the Shield improved every year, peaking in (arguably) one of the best season's by a drama ever.

IMO the Only shows that have a leg up on the Shield this decade are The Wire, Arrested Development (a comedy) and maybe the Sopranos.

Unknown said...

Lost and FNL over The Shield for best shows of the '00s? How to explain that one given the two former got exponentially worse after their first seasons while the Shield improved every year, peaking in (arguably) one of the best season's by a drama ever................................................this is why these lists always stir up so much debate. I wouldn't argue with the Shield being on the list but not at the expense of Lost or FNL but instead of the West Wing. wtf? talk about a show that got worse- after they canned Sorkin that show became unwatchable.

One thing that really struck me about this list was how weak the new shows were this year. I didn't realize until I saw it in b&w>

Alanna said...

I'm all for nominating the best performance, regardless of gender, and I've read some good arguments about why we shouldn't have separate "Actor" and "Actress" Emmy categories. But ... wow, only two women in the top ten performances? While I'm sure these were the best performances (and I'm not crying "sexism"), the lack of parity is rather depressing. Women definitely need better roles on TV.

Anonymous said...

Again, no love for Kyle Chandler.

jcpbmg said...

Kyle Chandler really is getting a rough break

Even Martin Sheen was nominated on the Variety list (and I am of the belief he never deserved an Emmy as much as everyone else thought he did)

Steve said...

What do Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton have to do to get some recognition... Man. I want them to be MY parents (well, emergency backup parents)... that's how convincing they are.

Unknown said...

I completely agree Steve-a-rino mom doesn't quite stir up the same sort of feelings in me that Connie does. ( And now that she's the principal - oh, man -

I think I've got some psychology to work out.)

But yes - the conversations and interactions between these two rival any acting/writing on television.

dez said...

Yo Gabba Gabba (Nickelodeon)

I love that psychedelic little show! Do you know when it's coming back?

Eldritch said...

Given all "The Shield" love, the easy pick would have been Michael Chiklis ... Goggins was every bit his equal, and he doesn't have any acting hardware in his trophy case.

He deserves this award because other actors already have plenty? That just doesn't seem like a sound way to select the "best."

You hear this kind of comment so much involving the Oscars. This actor should win because he's never won an award in his long career. That actor should have won last year or has been sick recently, so giving him an award this year will make up for that.

Does this really have anything to do with which actor is best? Sure, Chiklis is an obvious choice. That's because he's GOOD. He went up against Glenn Close and Forest Whitaker and equaled them.

If Goggins is a terrific actor, I have no problem with his being nominated or winning. I'd just hate to see anyone win due to sentimental or political reasons.

Besides, the quality of acting is not something that can easily be measured. It can't be measured with some kind of meter that gives you a number. The quality of acting is measured in the personal judgments of people in the audience. It seems unfair to declare one performance "best" when they can't really be compared.

I understand we have a penchant for winners, victors. But I really feel the group of nominees should be appreciated, rather than anointing only one of them as the winner, and disregarding the rest. If Chiklis are "equals," then give them both awards.

Tom said...

"The Sopranos" has to be a lock for best drama of the aughts. It is the defining cultural artifact of George Bush's America. (Then again, I live in Jersey, so maybe I'm biased.)

Nicole said...

I think Goggins was outstanding in the last season of the Shield. He had to go through a gamut of emotions and deal with impossible situations with his character, whereas, Vic was essentially doing what he was doing in the earlier seasons. Not that Chiklis did a bad job, but Goggins was more powerful this season.

I don't think SNL belongs on that list in any fashion. There were a few funny skits with Fey as Palin, but following the election, there was nothing spectacular, especially since we all have lowered expectations for that show anyway. Something like In Treatment is far more worthy of that list.

And looking at the list of new programs of the year, it seems as though this was not a stellar year. I didn't see the Ladies Detective Agency, but have seen the others, and they were nowhere near as brilliant as Mad Men was in its first year.

Anonymous said...

All things considered I think both lists are very good. To respond to a few of the comments above:

Deadwood is a Western that only ran a couple seasons, and thats going to be a very tough sell as one of the best shows of the 21st century no matter how great it was.

I love the Shield and I'm thrilled about that Goggins nomination. But Paul, to say the show improved every season is crazy. The best seasons were 1, 2 (Armadillo and money train heist), 5 (Forest Whitaker), and the last season. The three seasons in between those were not nearly as strong.

SNL is easy to bash but the Palin thing was huge, and SNL is a perfect fit on the newer technologies like DVR and Hulu. I bet very few critics sit through it live each week, but almost every one of them probably skips through it on DVR or watches the most popular clips online.

todmod said...

Are you going to post your best of the 00s, Alan? Would love to see it.

todmod said...

Also, well done to the critics. That drama list is perfect in my opinion, the comedy list rock solid, and there are some great choices that will get Emmy snubs in the acting (Patrick Harris, Parsons, Goggins).

Hatfield said...

Anonymous, I agree it's a tough sell (I'd add to it being a western the unconventional dialogue), and I'll live with it outside the top list as a show, but anyone who saw it and didn't think McShane was amazing is crazy. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean those other guys weren't better...but actually, it does. Ha, how's that for a convincing argument!

Mark B said...

I agree with everyone above who understands that Saturday Night Live has no place on any Best Program list. It is unwatchable and spending time to explain its banality is stupid. My pick would be The Shield because the writing stays focused on the core story lines (no airliner accidents necessary) and the acting is superb. Walton Goggins deserves recognition for his work and only Bryan Cranston is close to what Goggins achieves in portraying the emotional blender of a well developed complete character.

As much as I love Breaking Bad, it is a work in progress as is every other Best Drama nominee. It’s like asking to choose between the Mona Lisa and four incomplete paintings. The television series as collection of short stories is different from the television presentation of a long story arc. Perhaps in the future, these award categories will separate the two approaches.

KB said...

Is it still hip to hate on SNL? Thats sooo 2004. Get over yourselves. Battlenerd Geekactica is the worst show to appear on that program of the year list by far. Mad Men is also way over rated. Lost and The Shield are awesome, and there are several other shows I'd put above SNL on my list of programs of the year. But its not the worst choice by any means.

Savvy Veteran said...

I really like the "Best of the '00s" list's picks for drama series (although I must say, I would have loved to see "Veronica Mars" in, at the very least, the 'Just Missed' category), and for the most part, the comedy series. I disagree with the declaration that "The Daily Show" was one of the best comedy shows of the decade, but I can definitely understand why people would pick it. But I am baffled by the placement of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Has it been included as a sobering reminder of the mediocre position the sitcom genre was sadly in for much of the decade? I know it won a couple of Emmys and the like (I still can't believe it beat out Arrested Development in '05), but I bet that I could think of at least 20 shows from '00-'09 that were better. Really.

Okay, rant over. Sorry about that.

Savvy Veteran said...

Oh, and it's entirely possible that some people actually LIKED the show, heaven forbid. I just realized that my opinion is not gospel! Hopefully if there are any "Raymond" fans out there my words do not come across as too blasphemous.

Karen said...

Two thoughts immediately come to mind: first, that nobody seems to have any love for the actual actors in BSG, anywhere, ever. A crime.

Second: we're only about eight episodes into season 1 of Friday Night Lights from Netflix and I think Kyle Chandler is doing one of the most fabulous acting jobs I've seen in a long time. The man is amazing.

Nicole said...

I don't understand the love for Everyone Loves Raymond either. Sure it's not as bad as According to Jim, but it got repetitive really fast. And out of all of them, Patricia Heaton was my least favourite character, coming off as very shrewish. I think Frasier should have gotten it instead, because the good years were really good. Everyone Loves Raymond was just consistently mediocre.

Otto Man said...

I agree with everyone above who understands that Saturday Night Live has no place on any Best Program list. It is unwatchable and spending time to explain its banality is stupid.
Agreed. If a show was good 10% of the time, it doesn't belong in the top five.

Also, those critics who like "24"? They're morons.

Ostiose Vagrant said...

BSG's most deserving actor got a nomination: Mary McDonnell.

The Daily Show, if we're just talking laugh-out-loud quotient does belong on both lists. If on one there's SNL and the other Raymond.

The list for the decade skewed towards recent programming. I'd say it's too early to put Mad Men or FNL or 30 Rock in the Pantheon. But being a hypocrite, I'd put Deadwood's 3 seasons in there. And the one season of Freaks and Geeks.

Most glaring problem nom for me: Larry David. Curb had some great seasons but really? Larry was putting on an acting clinic? Even he'd find that funny. I'd replace with the the inimitable NPH or John Mahoney's Marty Crane.

Anonymous said...

It's about time that Walton Goggins was recognized for his outstanding work.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. Wake me up when MAD MEN DOESN'T win everything for this year's TCAs.

Kudos however for Walton Goggins, although I thought his work in Season 6 was far better (all the stuff immediately post Lem).

Am I the only one who thought 30 ROCK and THE OFFICE had very sub par seasons?

As for the Variety list, it's going to THE SOPRANOS all the way, all categories. Another total bore for me, wish it would go to WEST WING instead...

Anonymous said...

Wow that was an actual good list for the best shows of 00s.

Mine would be
1. The Wire
2.The Sopranos
3. The Shield
4.The West Wing
5. Lost

Then a toss up between Mad Men Deadwood/Six Feet Under/Rescue Me/Brotherhood/

gladly said...

Man, it would be great to see Generation Kill get some love. I expected that miniseries to get much more recognition awards-wise than it has. Such a deserving cast and production.

Clare said...

YAY For Generation Kill! This was such a brilliant show - though admittedly hard to get into. So good to see it get some love. Sadly, I don't think it will win, but I can dream.

GabbyD said...

for comedy, no Colbert Report?

Robot Cactus said...

It's about time Walton got recognition for his acting on The Shield. He was good throughout the entire series, but from the season 5 finale throughout the end of the series he was, in my opinion, the most incredible actor of the series. And that's saying a lot. He absolutely deserves this.

SJ said...

Woah woah woah....Ian McShane didn't make the list???

I don't know about you guys but to me Ian McShane's performance as Al Swearengen is the most captivating performance on TV ever. I'm shocked that the critics won't even nominate him.

Also, Mad Men over BSG? I disagree, but the critics do love Mad Men.

SJ said...

And yes, great to see Generation Kill get some love! It was a wonderful miniseries...even better on the 2nd viewing.

Karlos said...

I didn't really like Generation Kill. There were too many main characters, and there wasn't really much of a plot or story. It seemed to me just following the war. Honestly wasn't that interesting to me.