Megan looks at the Emmy potential for HBO’s critically acclaimed Insecure

One quibble with the show Insecure is its title, the fact that implies that its heroine, Issa Rae (or in the show’s case, Issa Dee), is hesitant or scared, when what we see onscreen is a strong woman, mining her way through relationships and career decisions. But there’s a reason for that.

“There’s this idea [on TV] that black women can’t be as insecure as white women or any other women,” Insecure showrunner Prentice Penny explained in an interview with AwardsDaily TV. And that makes sense. When you think of Viola Davis or Kerry Washington, you don’t think of their characters getting to let their hair down and mess things up. They’re simply not getting the opportunity to rap “Broken Pussy” to themselves in the mirror.

Which is where Rae comes in, arriving at a point in television when voices like hers are need to be heard. The Golden Globes certainly have fallen in love with Rae, giving her a shot at the beloved Ingenue award (aka Best Actress Comedy or Musical). But will the Emmys feel the same?

Maybe. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is probably another guaranteed nomination in this category in 2017, especially when it will be Veep‘s final season. Tracee Ellis Ross will probably get in again for Black-ish, too. While slated for Season 5, Inside Amy Schumer may not be coming back in 2017, which could leave that spot open. Ellie Kemper could get in for Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but this isn’t a guarantee since she didn’t get in for Season 1. Getting On is over, so Laurie Metcalf won’t be getting in in 2017.  Finally, Lily Tomlin could likely get in for Grace & Frankie, since she’s been nominated for each season of the series so far.

That leaves three available spots. Who will she be competing with? Sarah Jessica Parker for Divorce (who’s a big threat); Rachel Bloom for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; and Gina Rodriguez for Jane the Virgin.

In the Comedy Series categories, including writing and direction, it’s pretty crowded. Insecure would be competing against VeepBlack-ish, Silicon Valley, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Transparent, Master of None, and Divorce. 

Although what if Insecure got a nod for Outstanding Original Music for “Broken Pussy”? That’d be cool AF.

Final Verdict

Insecure’s best bet for a nomination is Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. Here’s how the Emmy nominations could end up in that category. One thing Insecure has going for it that some other shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend don’t have going for it is that it’s on HBO (the Emmys rarely recognize CW).

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep

Sarah Jessica Parker – Divorce

Issa Rae – Insecure

Lily Tomlin – Grace & Frankie

Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish



Most Likely Nominations
Actress – Comedy

Possible Nominations
Comedy Series
Original Music

Hairspray Live

Joey Moser looks at NBC’s latest live musical Hairspray Live! and its Emmy potential

Hairspray Live! is just the type of musical we need right now. It’s bright, colorful, and fun. If you can’t get up and dance to the finale anthem, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” then you’re truly dead inside. NBC stepped up the production value for their latest musical theater outing, and there were some truly entertaining moments.

The musical adaptation (you know, the second movie version) of the John Waters’ cult comedy came out less than 10 years ago, so when it was originally announced as the latest outing, I was curious. It was obviously chosen because it boasts a large, diverse cast with a winning and rambunctious score, but I’m not sure any of the executives could have predicted how vital a show like Hairspray really is at the moment. With Donald Trump’s inauguration looming, we all need something to smile and dance to. A message of inclusion and acceptance definitely doesn’t hurt either.

In case you missed the original…or the stage musical…or the movie version of the stage musical, Hairspray Live! follows plump Tracy Turnblad as she gains popularity on a dance show in 1960’s Baltimore. What starts as a dream to become famous turns into an opportunity to create social change and end segregation and bigotry. Tracy is a dream role for any young actress, and the show has a tendency to cast an unknown in the role. This time around, they selected Maddie Baillio, and she’s a charming discovery.

You can almost imagine the NBC executives watching the mega-successful (and Emmy-winning) production of Grease Live! on FOX and thinking they need to step up their game. The sets are massive and the costumes are top-notch. They could easily find themselves in the awards conversation when Emmy season kicks back into high gear. There are golf carts on hand to zoom the cast members from set to set all the while Glee star Darren Criss comments at the commercial breaks. Commentary during the breaks is unnecessary by the way. Buck this trend, I beg you.

When the Broadway veterans are on stage, they take control of every scene. Harvey Fierstein, reprising his role as the gravelly voiced, curvaceous matron Edna, is a joy to watch, and there is a shot of him riding on a hot dog cart in “Welcome to the 60’s” that made me howl with gleeful laughter. Kristin Chenoweth, as the racist Velma Von Tussle, is the performance we don’t deserve. She belts those high notes with such an assured force that would make any skeptical audience member stand up and cheer. Jennifer Hudson, as expected, blows the roof off of the entire downtown Baltimore strip. Shout out to the directors for making sure “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now” remained in this version.

Is it perfect? Not entirely. The staging feels less assured than the performances with the camera continually moving back and forth out of the performers’ way. Garrett Clayton is also woefully miscast as Tracy’s love interest, Link Larkin. Note to the casual viewer: don’t watch crime saga King Cobra, with Clayton as gay porn star Brent Corrigan, before tuning into this feel good musical spectacular—every seductive teenage look will take an entirely different feeling. Sorry, bud. You make Zac Efron look like Brando.

But, hey, who am I to judge something so feel good and eager to reassure you that change is possible? The production succeeds because its heart is in the right place. It’s breezy material performed with exhuberance.

Does the production have a shot during awards season? It could follow in Grease Live!’s footsteps considering the sheer size of the show. The period nature of the musical doesn’t hurt either. Grease Live! had the advantage of coming out after the holidays (it debuted in late January), and its ratings definitely had the industry talking for months.

Guaranteed Nominations
Costume Design
Production Design

Possible Nominations
Special Class Program/TV Movie
Harvey Fierstein, Limited Series/Movie Supporting Actor
Kristin Chenoweth, Limited Series/Movie Supporting Actress

2017 ASC Awards
Press release provided by the ASC

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has announced its television nominees for the 31st annual Outstanding Achievement Awards. The 2017 ASC Awards winners will be revealed on February 4, 2017, during the organization’s annual ceremony, held at the Hollywood & Highland Ray Dolby Ballroom.

John Simmons, ASC — who recently won an Emmy for his work on the multi-camera series Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn — announced the nominees today before a luncheon held at the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood.

The 2017 ASC Awards nominees are:

Regular Series for Non-Commercial Television

John Conroy for Penny Dreadful, “The Day Tennyson Died” (Showtime)

David M. Dunlap for House of Cards, “Chapter 45” (Netflix)

Anette Haellmigk for Game of Thrones, “Book of the Stranger” (HBO)

Neville Kidd for Outlander, “Prestonpans” (Starz)

Fabian Wagner, BSC for Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards” (HBO)


Regular Series for Commercial Television

Tod Campbell for Mr. Robot, “eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc” (USA)

John Grillo for Preacher, “Finish the Song” (AMC)

Kevin McKnight for Underground, “The Macon 7” (WGN)

Christopher Norr for Gotham, “Wrath of the Villains: Mr. Freeze” (Fox)

Richard Rutkowski for Manhattan, “Jupiter” (WGN)


Movie, Miniseries, or Pilot for Television

Balazs Bolygo, HSC, BSC for Harley and the Davidsons, “Amazing Machine” (Discovery)

Paul Cameron, ASC for Westworld, “The Original” (HBO)

Jim Denault, ASC for All The Way (HBO)

Alex Disenhof for The Exorcist, “Chapter One: And Let My Cry Come Unto Thee” (Fox)


WGA TV nominations

The Writers Guild of America East and West unveiled their WGA TV nominations for the 2016 television year. New series Stranger Things, Westworld, and Atlanta made an impact in the series races. All series are nominated in the New Series category. The WGA Awards will be announced on February 17.

The full list of nominees follows.


The Americans, Written by Peter Ackerman, Tanya Barfield, Joshua Brand, Joel Fields, Stephen Schiff, Joe Weisberg, Tracey Scott Wilson; FX

Better Call Saul, Written by Ann Cherkis, Vince Gilligan, Jonathan Glatzer, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, Heather Marion, Thomas Schnauz, Gordon Smith; AMC

Game of Thrones, Written by David Benioff, Bryan Cogman, Dave Hill, D.B. Weiss; HBO

Stranger Things, Written by Paul Dichter, Justin Doble, The Duffer Brothers, Jessica Mecklenburg, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Alison Tatlock; Netflix

Westworld, Written by Ed Brubaker, Bridget Carpenter; Dan Dietz, Halley Gross; Lisa Joy; Katherine Lingenfelter, Dominic Mitchell, Jonathan Nolan, Roberto Patino, Daniel T. Thomsen, Charles Yu; HBO


Atlanta, Written by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms; FX

Silicon Valley, Written by Megan Amram, Alec Berg, Donick Cary, Adam Countee, Jonathan Dotan, Mike Judge, Carrie Kemper, John Levenstein, Dan Lyons, Carson Mell, Dan O’Keefe, Clay Tarver, Ron Weiner; HBO

Transparent, Written by Arabella Anderson, Bridget Bedard, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, Jessi Klein, Stephanie Kornick, Ethan Kuperberg, Ali Liebegott, Our Lady J, Faith Soloway, Jill Soloway; Amazon Studios

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Written by Emily Altman, Robert Carlock, Azie Mira Dungey, Tina Fey, Lauren Gurganous, Sam Means, Dylan Morgan, Marlena Rodriguez, Dan Rubin, Meredith Scardino, Josh Siegal, Allison Silverman, Leila Strachan; Netflix

Veep, Written by Rachel Axler, Sean Gray, Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, Eric Kenward, Billy Kimball, Steve Koren, David Mandel, Jim Margolis, Lew Morton, Georgia Pritchett, Will Smith, Alexis Wilkinson; HBO


Atlanta, Written by Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms; FX

Better Things, Written by Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K., Cindy Chupack, Gina Fattore; FX

Stranger Things, Written by Paul Dichter, Justin Doble, The Duffer Brothers, Jessica Mecklenburg, Jessie Nickson-Lopez, Alison Tatlock; Netflix

This Is Us, Written by Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger, Bekah Brunstetter, Dan Fogelman, Vera Herbert, Joe Lawson, Kay Oyegun, Aurin Squire, K.J. Steinberg, Donald Todd; NBC

Westworld, Written by Ed Brubaker, Bridget Carpenter, Dan Dietz, Halley Gross, Lisa Joy, Katherine Lingenfelter, Dominic Mitchell, Jonathan Nolan, Roberto Patino, Daniel T. Thomsen, Charles Yu; HBO


American Crime, Written by Julie Hébert, Sonay Hoffman, Keith Huff, Stacy A. Littlejohn, Kirk A. Moore, Davy Perez, Diana Son; ABC

Confirmation, Written by Susannah Grant; HBO

Harley and the Davidsons, Written by Seth Fisher, Nick Schenk, Evan Wright; Discovery Channel

Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, Written by Dianne Houston; Lifetime


11.22.63, Written by Bridget Carpenter, Brigitte Hales, Joe Henderson, Brian Nelson, Quinton Peeples, Based on the novel by Stephen King; Hulu

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Written by Scott Alexander, Joe Robert Cole, D.V. DeVincentis, Maya Forbes, Larry Karaszewski, Wally Wolodarsky, Based on the book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin; FX

Madoff, Written by Ben Robbins, Inspired by the Book The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth by Brian Ross; ABC

The Night Of, Written by Richard Price, Steve Zaillian, Based on the BBC Series Criminal Justice Created by Peter Moffat; HBO

Roots, Written by Lawrence Konner, Alison McDonald, Charles Murray, Mark Rosenthal, Based upon the Book by Alex Haley; History Channel


“Episode 101” (Now We’re Talking), Written by Tug Coker, Tommy Dewey; go90.com

“Escape the Room” (Life Ends at 30), Written by Michael Field; vimeo.com

“Itsy Bitsy Spider” Episode 1 (Thug Passion), Written by Motrya Tomycz; vimeo.com

“The Party” (The Commute), Written by Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark; youtube.com


“Passage” Part 4 (Fear the Walking Dead), Written by Lauren Signorino & Mike Zunic; amc.com

“Under Siege” (The Strain), Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle, Based on the novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan; fxnetworks.com


“Barthood” (The Simpsons), Written by Dan Greaney; Fox

“First Day of Rule” (Elena of Avalor), Written by Craig Gerber; Disney Channel

“Fish Out of Water” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Elijah Aron & Jordan Young; Netflix

“A Princess on Lothal” (Star Wars Rebels), Written by Steven Melching; Disney XD

“Stop the Presses” (BoJack Horseman), Written by Joe Lawson; Netflix


“Gloves Off” (Better Call Saul), Written by Gordon Smith; AMC

“I Am a Storm” (Shameless), Written by Sheila Callaghan; Showtime

“Klick” (Better Call Saul), Written by Heather Marion & Vince Gilligan; AMC

“Switch” (Better Call Saul), Written by Thomas Schnauz; AMC

“The Trip” (This Is Us), Written by Vera Herbert; NBC

“The Winds of Winter” (Game of Thrones), Written for Television by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; HBO


“Kimmy Finds Her Mom!” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Written by Tina Fey & Sam Means; Netflix

“Kimmy Goes on a Playdate!” (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Written by Robert Carlock; Netflix

“Pilot” (One Mississippi), Written by Diablo Cody & Tig Notaro; Amazon Studios

“R-A-Y-C-Ray-Cation” (Speechless), Written by Carrie Rosen & Seth Kurland; ABC

“Streets on Lock” (Atlanta), Written by Stephen Glover; FX

“A Taste of Zephyria” (Son of Zorn), Written by Dan Mintz; Fox


The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Writers: Dan Amira, David Angelo, Steve Bodow, Devin Delliquanti, Zach DiLanzo, Travon Free, Hallie Haglund, David Kibuuka, Matt Koff, Adam Lowitt, Dan McCoy, Lauren Sarver Means, Trevor Noah, Joe Opio, Zhubin Parang, Owen Parson, Daniel Radosh, Michelle Wolf; Comedy Central

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Writers: Kevin Avery, Tim Carvell, Josh Gondelman, Dan Gurewitch, Geoff Haggerty, Jeff Maurer, John Oliver, Scott Sherman, Will Tracy, Jill Twiss, Juli Weiner; HBO

Late Night with Seth Meyers, Writers: Jermaine Affonso, Alex Baze, Bryan Donaldson, Sal Gentile, Matt Goldich, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Mike Karnell, Andrew Law, John Lutz, Aparna Nancherla, Chioke Nassor, Seth Meyers, Ian Morgan, Conner O’Malley, Seth Reiss, Amber Ruffin, Mike Scollins, Mike Shoemaker, Ben Warheit, Michelle Wolf; NBC

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Writers: Mike Brumm, Nate Charny, Aaron Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Cullen Crawford, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Ariel Dumas, Glenn Eichler, Gabe Gronli, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Daniel Kibblesmith, Matt Lappin, Opus Moreschi, Tom Purcell, Jen Spyra, Brian Stack; NBC


Documentary Now!, Writers: Bill Hader, John Mulaney, Seth Meyers; IFC

Inside Amy Schumer, Writers: Kim Carmele, Kyle Dunnigan, Jessi Klein, Michael Lawrence, Kurt Metzger, Christine Nangle, Claudia O’Doherty, Dan Powell, Tami Sagher, Amy Schumer; Comedy Central

Maya and Marty in Manhattan, Head Writers: Mikey Day, Matt Roberts, Bryan Tucker Writers: Eli Bauman, Jeremy Beiler, Chris Belair, Hallie Cantor, David Feldman, R J Fried, Melissa Hunter, Paul Masella, Tim McAuliffe, John Mulaney, Diallo Riddle, Maya Rudolph, Bashir Salahuddin, Marika Sawyer, Streeter Seidell, Martin Short; Emily Spivey, Steve Young; NBC

Nathan For You, Written by Leo Allen, Nathan Fielder, Adam Locke-Norton, Eric Notarnicola; Comedy Central

Saturday Night Live, Head Writers: Rob Klein, Bryan Tucker Writers: James Anderson, Fred Armisen, Jeremy Beiler, Chris Belair, Megan Callahan, Michael Che, Mikey Day, Jim Downey, Tina Fey, Fran Gillespie, Sudi Green, Tim Herlihy, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Zach Kanin, Chris Kelly, Erik Kenward, Paul Masella, Dave McCary, Dennis McNicholas, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Josh Patten, Paula Pell, Katie Rich, Tim Robinson, Sarah Schneider, Pete Schultz, Streeter Seidell, Dave Sirus, Emily Spivey, Andrew Steele, Will Stephen, Kent Sublette; NBC


68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Written by Jack Allison, Tony Barbieri, Jonathan Bines, Joelle Boucai, Robert Cohen, Gary Greenberg, Josh Halloway, Sal Iacono, Eric Immerman, Jimmy Kimmel, Bess Kalb, Jeff Loveness, Jon Macks, Molly McNearney, Danny Ricker, Jeff Stilson, Joe Strazzullo, Alexis Wilkinson; ABC

73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, Written by Barry Adelman; Special Material Written by Dave Boone, Ricky Gervais, Jon Macks, Matthew Robinson; NBC

88th Annual Academy Awards, Written by Dave Boone, Billy Kimball; Special Material Written by Scott Aukerman, Rodney Barnes, Neil Campbell, Matthew Claybrooks, Lance Crouther, Mike Ferrucci, Langston Kerman, Jon Macks, Steve O’Donnell, Nimesh Patel, Vanessa Ramos, Chris Rock, Frank Sebastiano, Chuck Sklar, Jeff Stilson, Michelle Wolf; CBS

Triumph’s Election Special, Written by Andy Breckman, Josh Comers, David Feldman, R J Fried, Jarrett Grode, Ben Joseph, Matthew Kirsch, Michael Koman, Mike Lawrence, Brian Reich, Craig Rowin, Robert Smigel, Zach Smilovitz, Andrew Weinberg; Hulu


Hollywood Game Night, Head Writer: Grant Taylor; Writers: Michael Agbabian, Alex Chauvin, Ann Slichter, Dwight D. Smith; NBC

Jeopardy!, Written by John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Deborah Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC


General Hospital, Writers: Shelly Altman, Anna Theresa Cascio, Andrea Archer Compton, Suzanne Flynn, Janet Iacobuzio, Elizabeth Korte, Daniel James O’Connor, Jean Passanante, Dave Rupel, Katherine Schock, Scott Sickles, Chris Van Etten, Christopher Whitesell; ABC


“Girl Meets Commonism” (Girl Meets World), Written by Joshua Jacobs & Michael Jacobs; Disney Channel

“Just Add Mom” (Just Add Magic), Written by John-Paul Nickel; Amazon Studios

“Mel vs. The Night Mare of Normal Street” (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street), Written by Laurie Parres; Amazon Studios

“Mucko Polo, Grouch Explorer” (Sesame Street), Written by Belinda Ward; HBO


Dance Camp, Teleplay by Nick Turner & Rex New and Cameron Fay, Story by Nick Turner & Rex New; youtube.com

Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas, Written by Geri Cole & Ken Scarborough; HBO

R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet Of Souls, Written by Billy Brown & Dan Angel; Freeform


“Chasing Heroin” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria; PBS

“The Choice 2016” (Frontline); Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS

“Inside Assad’s Syria” (Frontline), Written by Martin Smith; PBS


“American Reds,” Written by Richard Wormser; WPTS Dayton

“Jackie Robinson, Part One,” Written by David McMahon & Sarah Burns; PBS

“Netanyahu at War” (Frontline), Written by Michael Kirk & Mike Wiser; PBS


“Ambush In Dallas” (World News Tonight With David Muir), Written by David Bloch, Karen Mooney, David Muir, David Schoetz; ABC News

“Brussels Under Attack” (World News Tonight With David Muir), Written by David Bloch, Karen Mooney, David Muir, David Schoetz; ABC News

“Muhammad Ali: Remembering A Legend” (48 Hours), Written by Jerry Cipriano, Craig Wilson; CBS News


“CBS Sunday Morning Almanac” June 12, 2016 (CBS Sunday Morning), Written by Thomas A. Harris; CBS


ADTV considers the Emmy potential for HBO’s newest smash hit Westworld

Awards observers and critics held their collective breaths with HBO’s Westworld. The buzz coming from the set focused only on a handful of seemingly disastrous events. First, the production informed some actors they would be participating in explicit orgies. Well, to be specific, extras’ contracts called for “genital-to-gential touching,” according to Deadline, and there’s also that amusing need to exist “on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back.” Alrighty then.

(Photo: HBO)
Next, the whole controversy around the production stopping to allow for (horrors!) the writers to carefully plot out the remainder of Season 1. To me, this always feels like a good thing, but the internet pounces on delays like vultures. Was it a good idea? More on that later.

Finally, at last summer’s Television Critics Association, writer/producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were inundated with questions about the pilot’s suggestion and near-display of Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores’s brutal rape. That initially felt like the train rolling off the track. Thanks to Game of Thrones, the icky subject of rape as plot device hangs over HBO’s head, and adding one more piece of evidence to the conversation felt like a step in the wrong direction. Turns out, that conversation eventually died down as the series justly depicted the scene as a horrific event and spent much of the season in revenge mode.

So now that Season 1 is finally complete with tonight’s 90-minute season finale, what do we make of Westworld on its own merits?

One thing Westworld excels in is repetition. The refrain “These violent delights have violent ends” was not accidental. In fact, the Season 1 finale harkened back to the finales of the great 1980s soap operas with operatic revelations and strokes painted with a very broad brush. Minor spoiler here, but the season closer reminded me a great deal of Dynasty‘s infamous “Moldavia Massacre.” Now, I bet I’m the only person to draw that conclusion, but there it is. Westworld‘s series finale nearly reached the heights of the season premiere. After repeat viewings, it may indeed surpass it. No doubt viewers were frustrated with the lack of concrete resolution on all questions, but did you really expect it given the often meandering storylines of the previous episodes?

The Season 1 finale ultimately provided exactly what I personally needed from the series. It delivered an action-packed and deeply felt 90 minutes with major twists and pleasant surprises, and it offered a towering performance from Evan Rachel Wood, which should all but solidify her Emmy placement (see below). Additionally, each major cast member had some nice moments, including the often under-served James Marsden, and there were some unexpected deaths that will unlikely result in robotic replacements. It was an exciting finale that undoubtedly started planting seeds for Season 2. The production delay was worth the wait as this is a complex series in which, undoubtedly, even the writers themselves became lost. I cannot wait to revisit the season again.

What will Emmy think of Westworld?

Full disclosure: I watched the pilot episode of Westworld three times before it finally aired. I will still, to this day, proclaim it one of the finest hours in 2016 television. It unfolded and gradually revealed itself to me in intriguing ways. It explored complicated themes of humanity and the nature of violence. The series’ hosts at once became metaphorical representations of history’s millions of repressed. It was a great first hour, and it’s promise became supported by subsequent episodes that ranged from good to insanely great.

(Photo: HBO
Given Westworld‘s place in pop culture buzz, it’s hard to imagine right now at this moment Emmy ignoring it. This series feels like the heir apparent to Game of Thrones‘ vacant slot in the 2017 Emmy window. That’s apparently how HBO wants to play it too. Westworld may not return until 2018, and I would wager a small sum of money that it drops after the Emmy eligibility that year. Perhaps Game of Thrones and Westworld will leapfrog each other to avoid direct competition. We’ll see about that.

But this year, the Emmy headwinds feel strong. Game of Thrones raked in 13 nominations for its freshman season, and Westworld should push beyond that number into Boardwalk Empire territory of 15 nominations. Technically, it will most assuredly match Game of Thrones‘ 9 Creative Arts nominations. The advancement comes in the acting awards. Game of Thrones only earned one nomination (and a win) for Peter Dinklage in 2011. Westworld is guaranteed at least two nominations for its actors: Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton. The only impediment to these two very fine actresses would be if HBO decides to campaign Newton in the Lead Actress category as they appear to be at the 2017 Golden Globes. It’s hard to imagine them both getting into the top slots, and my money was on Newton prior to tonight’s season finale should that scenario occur. Now, I don’t know, but I’m hoping they will avoid the conflict.

That leaves the men of Westworld. Their numbers include the great Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, and Ed Harris on the surface, so surely one of those actors will merit a nomination. Then, if Emmy really goes hog wild for the series, you could consider James Marsden, Ben Barnes, or Jimmi Simpson. Writing, direction, and series nominations are assured.

Final Verdict

Boardwalk Empire emerges as the most apt comparison for Westworld‘s Emmy chances. Both series premiered in the fall, both series feature period splendor, and both series heavily rely on sprawling casts. The critics responded more to Boardwalk Empire with a Metacritic score of 88 compared to Westworld‘s lower 74. Still, it’s difficult to imagine the Television Academy undervaluing the biggest story of 2016. The upcoming Golden Globe, SAG, and DGA nominations should help tell the story of this iconic and original series, but, right now, I’m betting big on Westworld‘s Emmy fortunes.

(Photo: HBO)





Guaranteed Nominations*

Drama Series
Evan Rachel Wood
Thandie Newton
Main Title Design
Main Title Theme Music
Art Direction
Sound Editing
Sound Mixing
Visual Effects

Possible Nominations*

Anthony Hopkins
Ed Harris
Jeffrey Wright
Sidse Babett Knudsen
Jimmi Simpson
Ben Barnes
Louis Herthum
Music Composition
Stunt Coordination

*I’m omitting category placement for now.

Critics' Choice

After a partnership with Entertainment Weekly that resulted in the departure of nearly a sixth of its membership, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association announced the nominations for their seventh annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards. The newest crop of nominees resulted in less typical critical favorites and even more surprisingly produced some very audience-friendly nominees from Jeffrey Dean Morgan of The Walking Dead to best series nominations for This is Us and Stranger Things.

Where are the best reviewed shows of the year?

A disconnect seems to be growing between the BTJA’s favorite shows and performances of the year and the overall critical favorites of the year. Past Critics’ Choice nominees like Rectify, Casual, Catastrophe, Broad City, Orange is the New Black, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and You’re The Worst failed to earn a single nomination this year even though they are currently some of 20 best reviewed shows of 2016 on Metacritic. On top of that, some shows earned acting recognition but were shut out of the top races. This happened even though they were nominated in the past and are still some of the best reviewed shows of the year like The Americans, Transparent, and American Crime.

Instead, BTJA voters decided to bring back Modern Family (as well as Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen), nominations that haven’t happened since 2012.  Voters also fully embraced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with five nominations for a season a lot of critics and fans referred to as an aimless sophomore slump after the voting group ignored the show’s breakout first season. Overall, popular choices that gained buzz through articles and online support prevailed like Stranger Things and This is Us even without individual acting nominations over shows that earned universal critical acclaim.

Voters also made the interesting choice of showering shows with acting nominations but ignoring them when it came down to picking their favorite comedies, dramas, and limited series of the year. Ray Donovan (3), House of Cards (4), Outlander (2), and American Crime (4) all earned a lot of nominations but were left out of the conversations for best series in their respected genres.

The single most glaring snub of any series might be the complete shutout of the limited series The Night Of which is currently tied with The People v. O.J. Simpson for the best reviewed limited series of the year. Unfortunately, this might be a sign that the acclaimed limited series might struggle to stay in the minds of voters throughout awards season and into Emmy season.

In terms of individual acting nominations, it’s worth pointing out that voters embraced Better Call Saul across the board except for a supporting actress nomination for Rhea Seehorn who arguably earned the loudest praise from critics. The Veep fans among the group chose to honor Tony Hale once again even though the fifth season was a treasure cove of material for the rest of the supporting cast. With four nominations total, the Roots remake did well in terms of nominations, but Anika Noni Rose was left out after seemingly getting the most buzz when the miniseries aired last Memorial Day.

So overall, the question needs to be asked if the Critics’ Choice Awards are becoming less about what are the most celebrated shows of the year by critics than what exactly are they? What are these awards saying about the state of the television and what are they celebrating? And what is the point of yet another awards show if they aren’t making unique passion fueled choices but instead, for the most part, simply copying and pasting the choices of the Emmys?

A Silver Lining

Critics have always been relied on to celebrate smaller shows, especially ones that industry awards tend to ignore and although the recognition of new comedies this year were few and far between no surprise was more welcome than the two nominations for Fleabag. The little-seen British import might not have made huge waves when it was initially released but critics (including ADTV’s own Joey Moser) have been passionately championing the show and its star Phoebe Waller-Bridge since its release. Less surprising but equally deserving is the recognition of the best reviewed comedy of 2016 Atlanta and its creator/star Donald Glover who critics have been excited about since his time on Community.

(Photo: Amazon)

A Confused Membership

In 2015, the BTJA voted on two sets of TV awards so that they could merge the eligibility calendar and ceremony with the film awards, and it looks like the change heavily confused some voters. Mandy Patinkin somehow snuck into the Supporting Actor in a Drama Race without a single new episode of Homeland to judge him off of. A day later the BTJA corrected their mistake by replacing Patinkin with Better Call Saul’s Michael McKean, but the embarrassment lingers and begs the question as to how necessary the BTJA is if they don’t even pay enough attention to television to know what shows are actually airing. On top of that voters also nominated Maura Tierney for the third season of The Affair, a season that hasn’t aired yet although the pilot is available to stream early online.

The Crown

The Crown was one of the few new dramas that BTJA voters seemed to really love with nominations for Jared Harris and John Lithgow as well as Outstanding Drama. Shockingly, voters left out the star of the show Claire Foy. What makes their omission even more confounding is that Foy’s performance as Queen Elizabeth is probably the main reason critics fell in love with the show in the first place. If voters wanted to use the Critics’ Choice to influence industry voters, nominating the relatively unknown star of the show in a breakout performance would be the obvious choice. Instead, voters chose to celebrate Emmy nominees like Lithgow and Harris who need much less help being noticed by their peers. Even without a Critics’ Choice nomination, Foy still has a good chance of winning an award this winter with Golden Globes voters.


Readers, what are your reactions to this year’s Critics’ Choice nominees? What were you most excited to see and who do you think will win when the winners are announced next month?


ADTV considers the Emmy potential for Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Roanoke

Well, that happened…

American Horror Story: Roanoke premiered mid-September in an exciting cloud of mystery. Previous seasons all but spilled their guts with highly stylized trailers that often felt more cohesive than the actual seasons they forecasted. Roanoke saw none of that. We actually only learned the theme and title of the new season when it originally premiered. Something inspired Ryan Murphy to work against his basic instincts, and, for a while, it really paid off. The sixth season of his Emmy-favorite series finally wrapped last night, wrapping a gruesome bow around wildly mixed results.

First, the good: Kathy Bates dipped into her inner Annie Wilkes to give us The Butcher in the first half of the season. Literally no one on Earth could wrap their tongues such clunky horror dialogue that invoked both the blood moon and “consecrate” so deliciously. Then, Murphy flipped the script halfway through and gave us Kathy Bates playing the actress who played The Butcher in “My Roanoke Nightmare.” This twist became the ultimate meta/snake eating its own tale saga, and Bates played the new role to the hilt. That is, until Murphy and crew killed her off just when things were getting great.

That leads to the bad: the back half of the year felt new and different, pulling American Horror Story into something of a bloodthirsty Big Brother scenario. It seemed to really work for exactly one episode until the  entire cast started dropping left and right. In excruciatingly gory ways. Forget emotional connections or logic and reason. Roanoke devolved into “here a slice, there a cut” with the attention of a teen off his ADD meds. Potentially, I’m the only person in the world that found this disappointing. Granted, it offered a more horrific take on the material than any season since Asylum. These events actually depicted a horror story over the recent costume dramas Murphy seemed to favor. Yet, I always relished the moments where Murphy and his writers combined the horror with great performances – namely Murder House and Asylum.

And then there’s that finale, which danced uncomfortably between tabloid and reality TV satire and the horror pathos that closed the season. After weeks of exceedingly graphic deaths and real scares, the finale felt like an unnecessary coda. It seemed at once both choppy and rushed and meandering. I’m not sure how really you could have ended this series, but Chapter 10 is not what I wanted it to be. It left a bad taste that effectively diminished any good will engendered by such a raw approach.

But that’s just my take.

(Photo: FX)

What will Emmy think of Roanoke?

In its heyday, the American Horror Story series received recognition for both its creative flourishes and its accomplished acting. Neither are likely to factor heavily into the Emmy 2017 conversation. First, the unplugged nature of the season eliminates much of the opportunity for extravagant set designs. I’m still not over Hotel losing that race. Perhaps, the Television Academy will appreciate the construction of the Roanoke house, but its spartan interiors pale in comparison to much that came before. The costumes are effectively modern save the flashbacks and the dead colonist garments. Maybe there’s a slight opportunity there. The creative, reality TV influenced, and often hand-held cinematography could warrant attention as well, but many complained about the overall darkness of the series. That could indicate that the cinematography branch won’t look kindly on the proceeding for not effectively solving the problem of available light sources (much of the show takes place at night during the “blood moon.”)

So, with such limited creative arts potential, that leaves the actors. Kathy Bates is the strongest possibility here, even with Emmy favorite Sarah Paulson taking three roles. Her midseason monologue illustrating a descent into madness offered some of the finest moments in the entire American Horror Story series. However, beyond Bates, pickings are indeed slim, and we have the series framing to blame for that. The reality show whoring and adherence/devotion to horror movie tropes didn’t give the actors much room to grow or develop their characters. Paulson offered a fine trifecta, but her British accent bordered on comic. When she wasn’t “on camera” recounting her story in the first half of the season, Lily Rabe began to develop an emotionally resonant storyline as the characters returned to Roanoke. But then she died. As did everyone else in a fit of running and screaming and bloodletting.

Yes, it’s good horror, but it doesn’t make for great acting.

Given the Television Academy’s polite refusal of HotelRoanoke isn’t likely to stem that tide. It provided a definite uptick in overall quality, but this season as it finished didn’t provide Emmy a reason to return. I’m not saying it will be shut out, but last season’s eight nominations may not be as low as it gets.

Guaranteed Nominations

Kathy Bates, Supporting Actress

Possible Nominations 

Limited Series
Sarah Paulson, Actress (or Supporting Actress)
Lily Rabe, Actress (or Supporting Actress)
Production Design

2016 Critics' Choice

There’s a lot to be happy about with the latest awards announcement. The Critics’ Choice Television Award Nominations were announced early Monday morning, and there are a lot of new faces. HBO leads with 22 nominations (no surprise there), but ABC and Netflix trail right behind with 14 each.

Atlanta and Fleabag (yay!!!) landed nominations in the Best Comedy category while HBO’s newest epic, Westworld, will go toe-to-toe with three fan favorites: weekly sobfest This is Us, sci-fi phenomenon Stranger Things, and Netflix’s The Crown. Have you forgotten about FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson? Critics sure haven’t! The true crime saga picked up 6 more nominations this morning.

The Critics’ Choice Awards will be announced in a televised ceremony December 11 at 8pm ET with host TJ Miller.

Here are your 2016 Critics’ Choice Television Award nominees. 

NOTE: Mandy Patinkin was removed as Homeland did not air during the eligibility window. He was replaced by Michael McKean from Better Call Saul

Atlanta – FX
Black-ish – ABC
Fleabag – Amazon
Modern Family – ABC
Silicon Valley – HBO
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix
Veep – HBO

Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep – HBO
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live – NBC
Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish – ABC
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag – Amazon
Constance Wu – Fresh Off the Boat – ABC

Anthony Anderson – Black-ish – ABC
Will Forte – The Last Man on Earth – FOX
Donald Glover – Atlanta – FX
Bill Hader – Documentary Now! – IFC
Patrick Stewart – Blunt Talk – Starz
Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent – Amazon

Julie Bowen – Modern Family – ABC
Anna Chlumsky – Veep – HBO
Allison Janney – Mom – CBS
Jane Krakowski – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix
Judith Light – Transparent – Amazon
Allison Williams – Girls – HBO

Louie Anderson – Baskets – FX
Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine – FOX
Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix
Ty Burrell – Modern Family – ABC
Tony Hale – Veep – HBO
T.J. Miller – Silicon Valley – HBO

Alec Baldwin – Saturday Night Live – NBC
Christine Baranski – The Big Bang Theory – CBS
Larry David – Saturday Night Live – NBC
Lisa Kudrow – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Netflix
Liam Neeson – Inside Amy Schumer – Comedy Central

Archer – FX
Bob’s Burgers – FOX
BoJack Horseman – Netflix
Son of Zorn – FOX
South Park – Comedy Central
The Simpsons – FOX

America’s Got Talent – NBC
MasterChef Junior – FOX
RuPaul’s Drag Race – Logo
Skin Wars – GSN
The Amazing Race – CBS
The Voice – NBC

Chopped – Food Network
Inside The Actors Studio – Bravo
Penn & Teller: Fool Us – The CW
Project Runway – Lifetime
Shark Tank – ABC
Undercover Boss – CBS

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – CNN
Chrisley Knows Best – USA Network
Deadliest Catch – Discovery
Ice Road Truckers – History
Intervention – A&E
Naked and Afraid – Discovery

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – TBS
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – ABC
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – HBO
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Comedy Central
The Late Late Show with James Corden – CBS
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – NBC

Ted Allen – Chopped – Food Network
Tom Bergeron – Dancing with the Stars – ABC
Anthony Bourdain – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – CNN
Nick Cannon – America’s Got Talent – NBC
Carson Daly – The Voice – NBC
RuPaul – RuPaul’s Drag Race – Logo

Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones – HBO
Kit Harington – Game of Thrones – HBO
John Lithgow – The Crown – Netflix
Michael McKean – Better Call Saul – Showtime
Christian Slater – Mr. Robot – USA Network
Jon Voight – Ray Donovan – Showtime

Christine Baranski – The Good Wife – CBS
Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones – HBO
Lena Headey – Game of Thrones – HBO
Thandie Newton – Westworld – HBO
Maura Tierney – The Affair – Showtime
Constance Zimmer – UnREAL – Lifetime

Sam Heughan – Outlander – Starz
Rami Malek – Mr. Robot – USA Network
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul – AMC
Matthew Rhys – The Americans – FX
Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan – Showtime
Kevin Spacey – House of Cards – Netflix

Caitriona Balfe – Outlander – Starz
Viola Davis – How to Get Away with Murder – ABC
Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black – BBC America
Keri Russell – The Americans – FX
Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld – HBO
Robin Wright – House of Cards – Netflix

Better Call Saul – AMC
Game of Thrones – HBO
Mr. Robot – USA Network
Stranger Things – Netflix
The Crown – Netflix
This Is Us – NBC
Westworld – HBO

Mahershala Ali – House of Cards – Netflix
Lisa Bonet – Ray Donovan – Showtime
Ellen Burstyn – House of Cards – Netflix
Michael J. Fox – The Good Wife – CBS
Jared Harris – The Crown – Netflix
Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead – AMC

All the Way – HBO
Confirmation – HBO
Killing Reagan – National Geographic
Roots – History
The Night Manager – AMC
The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX

Bryan Cranston – All the Way – HBO
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: The Abominable Bride – PBS
Cuba Gooding Jr. – The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX
Tom Hiddleston – The Night Manager – AMC
Tim Matheson – Killing Reagan – National Geographic
Courtney B. Vance – The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX

Sterling K. Brown – The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX
Lane Garrison – Roots – History
Frank Langella – All the Way – HBO
Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager – AMC
John Travolta – The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX
Forest Whitaker – Roots – History

Olivia Colman – The Night Manager – AMC
Felicity Huffman – American Crime – ABC
Cynthia Nixon – Killing Reagan – National Geographic
Sarah Paulson – The People v. O.J. Simpson – FX
Lili Taylor – American Crime – ABC
Kerry Washington – Confirmation – HBO

Elizabeth Debicki – The Night Manager – AMC
Regina King – American Crime – ABC
Sarah Lancashire – The Dresser – Starz
Melissa Leo – All the Way – HBO
Anna Paquin – Roots – History
Emily Watson – The Dresser – Starz

Critics' Choice

Awards season and the Critics’ Choice are upon us and with them comes controversy.

The Fall TV awards season begins next Monday, November 14th, when the Broadcast Television Journalists Association announce their television nominees for the 7th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. This week, as frivolous as it feels in our current American political situation, I’ll dissect the current controversies surrounding the BTJA and end the tracker with some of the shows we’ll likely see recognized when nominations are announced.

Critics’ Choice Controversy

The Critics’ Choice Awards are a relatively new awards group, especially on the television side. Recently, the BTJA ran into a major setback that ended with many of the industry’s top television critics resigning from the association including Ken Tucker and two of the nominating committee’s co-chairs, Michael Ausiello and Debra Birnbaum.

The recent departures from the BTJA stem from the decision to partner with Entertainment Weekly not only with the announcement of their nominations but also linking the awards group to various exclusive Critics’ Choice content featured on the magazine’s website. Many respected critics penned a letter condemning this new partnership, ending the letter with their resignation from the group. TVLine’s Michael Ausiello described his frustrations with the changes as “it seems like it’s becoming a marketing event for a single brand, and that’s something I’m just not comfortable with.”

Over the course of two days, 13 critics in total have resigned from the BTJA, accounting for almost 15 percent of the group’s members. Without critics from websites like Indiewire, TVLine, TVGuide, Variety, US Weekly, and Buzzfeed, the association will have a difficult time earning respect as an awards group originally meant to represent the best of the critical industry honoring the best TV has to offer. This is not the first time some of the members have been loudly critical of the organization. Earlier this year the board announced that they would be moving the awards ceremony to December 11th, a choice many of its members criticized a publicity stunt to be the first award of the season that detracted from the films and shows they were trying to celebrate.

It will be interesting to see if the award’s seventh batch of nominees consist of peculiar choices without some of the most respected and recognizable critics in the industry or even worse predominately feature only shows that EW championed.

The Top Shows to Look Out For

The Critics’ Choice awards always produce some of the most left-field choices for their favorite series and performances of the year, making their nominations and winners some of the most interesting of the year. These are some of the shows and performances to keep an eye on this year.

(Photo: HBO)

 Drama Races

The Americans – The (partially) reigning Critics’ Choice winner for Outstanding Drama has been nominated for every season, and, with Season 4 the most beloved by critics yet, there is a huge chance The Americans will be a major player.

Animal Kingdom – The family crime drama fits in with some of the critics’ group past obsessions like Sons of Anarchy, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if BTJA voters make room for the show, especially in the supporting races for actors like Ellen Barkin or Shawn Hatosy.

Bates Motel – BTJA voters have always made room in their nominations for Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, and, after some of their best material, they have a good chance of returning once again.

Marvel’s Luke Cage – A Marvel superhero show might not seem like an obvious awards contender, especially with critics, but critics and audiences have been warming up the Netflix/Marvel partnership, first with an actress nomination for Krysten Ritter last year. Luke Cage is even bigger and even possibly broke down the server for a couple hours, and critics have had a lot of great things to say about the show’s social commentary on gentrification in Harlem.

Mr. Robot – As the other reigning drama champ (and arguably the most accoladed new show of 2015), Mr. Robot shouldn’t be counted out for its sophomore season even if it was one of the most divisive seasons of TV in 2016. No matter what critics are still in love with Rami Malek’s lead performance, and he should remain a frontrunner.

Rectify – Although the Sundance drama hasn’t garnered much attention over the years, it has been a critics darling, especially Aden Young. As the only show (of any genre) to earn a score of 100 on Metacritic, Rectify should be a major contender for its fourth season.

Stranger ThingsStranger Things may appear as more of a pop culture phenomenon than a critical darling, but BTJA voters have always warmed up to genre shows. The popularity surrounding the show should mean good things for actors like Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, and the show as a whole.

This is Us – As the critics’ darling of network TV, This is Us has a good chance of popping up at this year’s Critics’ Choice Awards, especially in the supporting actor races since this is the awards group that fell in love with the Parenthood ensemble.

Westworld – The TV buzz over the past couple weeks has been almost entirely focused on the mysteries of Westworld, and no other fall drama has come close to attracting the same amount of attention. Depending on how obsessed the BTJA becomes with the show, it could rack up a lot of acting nominations for the show’s ensemble.

Season 3
(Photo: Comedy Central)

Comedy Races

Atlanta – As the best reviewed comedy of 2016, Atlanta should have no problem breaking into the outstanding omedy race as well as Donald Glover becoming a lead actor frontrunner.

black-ish – The Critics’ Choice Awards have always made room in the comedy races for sitcoms, and no other television family is gaining as much attention as ABC’s the Johnsons. As the best sitcom on network TV, black-ish should easily return to all major categories, and in a perfect world might even earn a supporting actress nomination for the legendary Jenifer Lewis.

Broad City – For the show’s first two seasons, BTJA voters made sure to nominate Broad City as one of their favorite comedies of the year as well as singling Ilana Glazer out. It will be interesting if they continue to make room for the MTV comedy now that they are voting at the end of the year as opposed to the spring when the show is fresher in their minds.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Last year, critics took it upon themselves to champion Rachel Bloom and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as the little show that could throughout the awards season, and it seems that a year later their love for the TV musical has only grown. On top of a second nomination for Bloom, critics just might nominate the show in the outstanding comedy race.

Insecure – It seems that everyone is obsessed with Issa Rae, and she is on her way to earning her first major awards nomination. There’s a good chance Insecure could be recognized as one of the BTJA’s favorite comedies of the year as well.

Lady Dynamite – Netflix had a hard time finding the right audience for Maria Bamford’s show as it was one of the most personal, uncomfortable, and genre defying shows on television. If anyone’s going to embrace one of the strangest comedies of all-time it will be the critics.

Silicon Valley – As the last winner of the Outstanding Comedy award before the television awards timeline was moved to match the film awards, the HBO workplace comedy is probably a major contender once again, even if ADTV wasn’t the biggest fan of the newest season. If their hosting choice (TJ Miller) is any indicator, we might be seeing even more recognition for the show.

Speechless – The BTJA loves the matriarchs of ABC’s comedies and has nominated nearly every one of them since the award’s conception, so the first comedy with a disabled child starring Minnie Driver should have a good chance at receiving some sort of recognition.

Transparent – Even as the show steers further and further away from comedy territory it still seems to dominate with voting groups. This year there seemed to be little buzz surrounding the third season premiere, and whether or not the show is recognized this year will be a good indicator if the show is losing steam.

Veep – In such a rough election year, the silver lining seemed to be Veep‘s fifth season which went on to receive just as much critical acclaim after the switch in showrunners from Armando Ianucci to David Mandel.

You’re The Worst – BTJA voters have always had a soft spot for the FXX comedy, and last year they awarded the show with a best comedy nomination as well as acting nominations for Aya Cash and Kether Donohue.


What shows are you anticipating to be recognized this year by the BTJA at the Critics’ Choice Awards? Will the drop in membership and new partnership with Entertainment Weekly have any sort of effect?


Who has the greatest 2017 awards buzz: HBO or FX? Here are some series from both cable giants that could see future attention.

This time last year, awards buzz around 2016 focused on Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl and Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, and that goes to show you how much can truly change in a year. Instead, a new class of HBO programming struggles to stand out against the new gold standard of television, FX. In a year where strong networks like Showtime floundered, FX and even USA are looking to take their place as the new future of television (well besides streaming). These are the seven shows and performances to look out for this awards season.


After twelve years, Sarah Jessica Parker comes home to prove that she is still the silver screen queen even though she’s a year older than Wilford Brimley in Cocoon. Divorce may be divisive among critics, but the HBO dramedy aligns perfectly with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s TV sensibilities. They loved middle aged actresses on premium dramedies (Laura Dern, Toni Collette, Laura Linney, Mary-Louise Parker), and Sarah Jessica Parker is a 4-time Golden Globe winner for Sex and The City, which won three best series awards in a row. On top of Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce has so many HFPA-friendly elements that the show is poised to be nominated as one of their favorite comedies of the year and possibly even a lead actor nomination for Thomas Haden Church, especially with so little competition.

Other voting groups like the critics and the guilds might be a little more hesitant to reward the show. With a 60% score on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, critics are unabashedly disappointed with the show, and guild members, especially the WGA, are more likely to reward showrunner and Emmy-nominee Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) if at all. If the Critics go for a left field choice, they might nominate Molly Shannon in the supporting race for what is probably the flashiest performance on the show.

Best Bet

Lead Actress in a Comedy, Sarah Jessica Parker: Golden Globes

Possible Contenders

Comedy Series: Golden Globes

Lead Actor in a Comedy, Thomas Haden Church: Golden Globes

Worth Mentioning 

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Molly Shannon: Critics Choice

Actress in a Comedy, Sarah Jessica Parker: SAG Awards

(Photo: HBO)


Insecure may not have the weight of star power or a gimmicky plot behind it, but it became HBO’s best reviewed new show of 2016 by simply being great. Insecure is the most relatable comedy on premium cable, and awards groups are going to jump at the chance to be the first to recognize Issa Rae. The Golden Globes love to pretend they discovered new talent before any other group, and Issa Rae is bound to follow in the footsteps of Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom. Unfortunately, Insecure might be too small of a show, especially in ratings, for the HFPA to recognize it in any other category.

Critics, on the other hand, have been championing Issa Rae as a creative talent ever since her webseries Awkward Black Girl and there’s a good chance they’ll jump at the opportunity to award the show as a whole, especially since they chose another auteur-esque comedy last year, Master of None.

Best Bet

Lead Actress in a Comedy, Issa Rae: Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice

Comedy Series: Critics’ Choice

Possible Contenders

Comedy Series: Golden Globes

Worth Mentioning

WGA Award

(Photo: HBO)


HBO struggled over the past few years to build their next big drama now that Game of Thrones is coming to an end. The network failed to find the right audience for The Leftovers, embarrassed themselves with the second season of True Detective, and flat-out pretends Vinyl never existed. Now Westworld seems to be their only hope and appears pretty likely to be embraced throughout awards season. The HFPA loves to reward almost every major HBO show, and this is the perfect opportunity for the Foreign Press to ditch Game of Thrones, a show they have never been enthusiastic about. The large ensemble cast could easily sneak into the SAG ensemble race since there are a couple of open slots, especially since SAG voters have embraced HBO fantasy shows like GoT and even True Blood.

The biggest question regarding Westworld is whether or not the fantasy ensemble will be recognized for its individual performances. No one from the ensemble has stood out in a Peter Dinklage or Uzo Aduba manner, so it’s hard to tell which actors will be recognized (if any) especially after HBO made some interesting submission decisions. Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton were both submitted as lead actresses while four men have to fight it out in supporting, although Anthony Hopkins is the sole lead actor representation. As of now, Ed Harris is likely to stand out in the supporting actor race, especially in a year where that category is so up in the air.

Best Bet

Drama Series – Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice

Drama Ensemble – SAG Awards

Possible Contenders

Lead Actress in a Drama, Evan Rachel Wood: Golden Globes

Supporting Actor, Ed Harris: Golden Globes

Worth Mentioning

Lead Actor in a Drama, Anthony Hopkins: Golden Globes



Until Atlanta, Donald Glover received a television outlet in comedies that never really seemed to fit him creatively from his breakout role on Community to his short stint on Girls to offset the show’s white Brooklyn problem. Now that he seems to be in complete creative control, his first starring role emerges as the best reviewed new show of 2016. It feels like an obvious Critics’ Choice contender/frontrunner for lead actor and series in the comedy races, especially since this is the same voting body who has repeatedly awarded a showrunner/star like Louis CK and even championed Glover’s first show Community.

The Foreign Press could go either way with a show like Atlanta by celebrating it the same way they did Lena Dunham and Girls in its first year, or they could completely ignore the show the way they have other auteur-driven comedies like Master of None  and Louie. In the end, HFPA voters will probably realize there is too much hype around the show to ignore and, if anything, the cinematography will make Atlanta stand out as more cinematic than any other comedy in contention.

Best Bet

Lead Actor in a Comedy, Donald Glover: Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice

Comedy Series: Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes

Possible Contenders

WGA Award, PGA Award

(Photo: FX)

Queen of the South  

The Foreign Press loves international stars, so, although Queen of the South comes across as a little too mainstream to be an awards contender, Alice Braga could easily sneak into the drama actress race. The USA drama might not have as much buzz as other shows, but throughout the summer it did have consistently stronger viewership than Mr. Robot. The Brazilian star came to fame after a role in the Oscar winning City of God and is now the star of a show about an international drug cartel, a theme that helped Narcos earn two major nominations last year. From Ugly Betty to Jane the Virgin, Globes voters have always had a fascination with telenovela-inspired shows, and Queen of the South might just be the next obvious pick.

Possible Contenders

Lead Actress in a Drama, Alice Braga: Golden Globes


Louie Anderson won the first major award of his career this year for his work on Baskets, and he might just be able to ride that wave of support into the fall awards season. Golden Globes voters have the impossible task of narrowing down the supporting races to five performances with complete disregard to genre. As of recently they’ve used the Emmy winners as a jumping off point even if Baskets barely made an impact last winter.

Possible Contenders

Supporting Actor, Louie Anderson: Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe

Worth Mentioning

Lead Actor in a Comedy, Zach Galifinakis: Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice

Vice Principals

The most surprising fact about the Critics’ Choice Awards just might be that the current record holder for the most nominations isn’t an Emmy favorite like Allison Janney or Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Instead, that honor goes to Walton Goggins. They couldn’t get enough of him in Justified and Sons of Anarchy, and, if the voting body had been around throughout The Shield, he’d probably have even more nominations. Vice Principals may be a divisive show (I have an equal number of friends who found it outright offensive as found it hilarious), but Goggins’ southern flamboyancy/Christley Knows Best character is flashy enough to stand out in such an underwhelming lead race, at least with BTJA members.

Best Bet

Lead Actor in a Comedy, Walton Goggins: Critics’ Choice

Of course there are a dozen more shows that could potentially break out as well. The Golden Globes almost always nominate Showtime somewhere, and maybe they’ll feel bad for the network in its odd year and throw a bone to Billions. Critics have always adored Louie, so maybe they’ll embrace his creative partner and star of Grease 2 Pamela Adlon in her new show Better Things. Hell, maybe the Foreign Press will decide to punish us for Donald Trump and bring back Roadies. Anything can happen.

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