The Americans and Breaking Bad Lead the TCA Awards Nominations

By Tim Surette

Jun 11, 2013

It was only a few weeks ago that an association of television critics nominated a bunch of television shows for the Critics' Choice Awards. Now some critics are nominating a bunch of television shows for the Television Critics Association Awards. TOTALLY DIFFERENT!

The nominations for the TCA Awards were announced today, and you'll notice a lot of similarities to the nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards, with a few exceptions due to the TCA Awards not separating categories by gender. Thanks to The Americans, FX leads all networks with seven total nods, a first for the network at the TCA Awards (and probably all other awards shows too, I'm guessing). 

Let's take a look at all the nominees in the important categories, complain about them, and then begrudgingly make a case for which show should win!


The Americans, FX
Breaking Bad, AMC
Game of Thrones, HBO
House of Cards, Netflix
The Walking Dead, AMC

Didn't I complain about Justified not making this category at the Critics' Choice Awards? Yep, so I'm going to be consistent and complain about it not making this category here. Given critics' love for Homeland, it's a shock that it's also not nominated, but them's critics for ya. Loving you one day, leaving you the next. I'm stifling my laughter over The Walking Dead appearing on this list. Really? TWD? Who's in this TCA thing anyway? (Full disclosure, they didn't let me in their little club last time i applied so screw 'em.) Let's flip a coin between The Americans and Game of Thrones here. 


The Americans, FX
Breaking Bad, AMC
Game of Thrones, HBO
Homeland, Showtime
Mad Men, AMC

So I guess House of Cards and The Walking Dead are good enough for Program of the Year consideration but not for Outstanding Achievement in Drama consideration? Already there's a problem with these awards! And look, no comedies in the Program of the Year category! So we're just doubling up on drama categories for no reason at all. This makes no sense. That's why the TCAs should let me take over. First order of business: Get me a cool parking spot. Second order of business: Include Louie on the list of nominees for Program of the Year. Anyway, just re-read the blurb above for this category, as it applies here, too.


Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Monica Potter, Parenthood (NBC)
Matthew Rhys, The Americans (FX)

I'm fully on-board with the TCA Awards' mixed-gender categories because I don't just think women are equal to men, I think they're much better. Need proof? Three women to two men! Take that, you overrated sex with dangly parts! Just like with the Critics' Choice Awards, we're seeing love for Tatiana Maslany, and I'm pretty psyched for that. Would I have put chosen Vera Farmiga or Monica Potter over Claire Danes? Probably not, but I understand that both women are doing wonderful work on their respective shows. I thought I needed to be extra vocal about Matthew Rhys to get him nominated for things, but apparently others also think he's great in a wig. And of course there's Bryan Cranston, who had some great moments last year in Breaking Bad's shortened run. But I'm still handing this to Maslany because her wacko performance as multiple Orphan Black characters is still fresh in my mind. 


The Big Bang Theory, CBS
Louie, FX
New Girl, Fox
Parks and Recreation, NBC
Veep, HBO

Only two of these shows make me ELL-OH-ELL, and they're Louie and Veep. But Louie makes me feel things, too, so I'm going with the aging, balding, redheaded dude. Though it must be said that if Enlightened is categorized as a comedy, it definitely belongs here. Are you all sick of me yapping about Enlightened yet? 


Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
Lena Dunham, Girls (HBO)
Jake Johnson, New Girl (Fox)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Basically this list includes the funniest person from all the shows that were nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy, but swap out the "uncool" nerds of The Big Bang Theory for the chic pick in Dunham. And yes, I think Jake Johnson is funnier than Max Greenfield, so it's great to see him recognized here. As great as Louis C.K. is, his strength is in his writing more than his acting. Meanwhile, Julia Louis-Dreyfus remains hilarious on Veep, so in my mind she wins by a nose. Though I have to point out that if Laura Dern were on this list, she'd get my vote for crafting one of the best characters on television in Enlightened's Amy Jellicoe. 


The Americans, FX
Elementary, CBS
House of Cards, Netflix
The Mindy Project, Fox
Orphan Black, BBC America

A few months ago, I would have said The Americans was the easy pick, but Orphan Black was absolutely terrific and so different from anything else on television. So picking a winner for this category is like choosing between two children, so I'll go with The Americans and hope Orphan Black doesn't see. And just to echo what many of you in the comments will be saying, "Hannibal didn't get nominated!? WTF OMG!!"


American Horror Story: Asylum, FX
Behind the Candelabra, HBO
Downton Abbey, PBS
Rectify, Sundance Channel
Top of the Lake, Sundance Channel

Wait, Downton Abbey is back to being a miniseries? Breaking Bad has an eight-episode season and it's a drama series, but Downton Abbey has an eight-episode season and it's a miniseries? Hmm. Anyway, Rectify, dude. 

And I'll let you talk among yourselves about the rest of the categories...


The Amazing Race, CBS
The Glee Project, Oxygen
Shark Tank, ABC
Survivor, CBS
The Voice, NBC


Adventure Time, Cartoon Network
Bunheads, ABC Family
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, PBS
Sesame Street, PBS
Switched at Birth, ABC Family


60 Minutes, CBS
Anderson Cooper 360, CNN
Central Park Five, PBS
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC


All In the Family, CBS
Lost, ABC
Saturday Night Live, NBC
Star Trek, NBC
Twin Peaks, ABC


James L. Brooks
James Burrows
Jay Leno
William Shatner
Barbara Walters

The TCA Awards will be held on August 3. What do you think of this year's nominees?

  • Comments (47)
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  • gtbell Jun 14, 2013

    Enough with vampires and the walking dead!!! Let's award the shows that feature great writing; great acting and believable storylines. You know, things that could happen to any one of us.

  • GirishKrishna1 Jun 13, 2013

    Elementary has to be the most head-scratching inclusion in here, especially over Hannibal.

  • MissMunchkin Jun 11, 2013

    Tim, I'm sorry, but it's pretty obvious that Program of the Year has nothing to do with programming and everything to do with the impact the show has had on television as a whole. The Walking Dead has broken RECORDS. The makeup effects on the show have been AMAZING. The acting -- especially Andrew Lincoln's, I don't care what anyone says -- has been TOPNOTCH.

    The storylines this scene have been maybe a little dull, a little dragged down... Whatever you complain about. Fine. But to ignore the impact that TWD has had on cable television is stupid and ignorant just because of some grudge you have against the show. Robert Kirkman has never claimed to be writing anything more than a drama with zombies. This is not a zombie show with drama as some people keep forgetting; it's the other way around. And Program of the Year has nothing to do with the storytelling anyway.

    Those numbers don't lie. And I really, really, really hope you don't do the reviews next season for your own happiness. You seem beyond bitter over this show for some reason. So, please, pass on this assignment to someone else who won't be so angry every time they even think of the title name. I love this show, and I have pointed out its flaws time and time again, but I'm also not blinded by unnecessary hate to not be able to understand why TWD is getting these nods. It's obvious if you would just stop seeing red.

  • lostwithrobin Jun 12, 2013

    I came here to say the exactly same thing. Program of the Year is likely more about the trascendence of one TV Show and not so much about how crazily good it is. (Not that those two things can't be at the same time however).

  • LiseLotteDive Jun 11, 2013

    Whoopsie Daisy...I forgot to mention the fantastic UK-shows Black Mirror and Mad Dogs.

  • LiseLotteDive Jun 11, 2013

    Breaking Bad all the waaaaay!!!! It's all about the "better than sex"- feeling I'm after.

  • Taccado Jun 11, 2013

    Tatiana Maslany won a Critics' Choice Award! (Against Claire Danes and Vera Farmiga!!) Hopefully she'll win a TCA Award too.

  • crazedtvhead91 Jun 11, 2013

    "Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel (A&E;)", finally this woman gets some recognition. hmph!!

  • klotensen Jun 11, 2013

    Hannibal didn't get nominated!? WTF OMG!!

  • LucaMaltaglia Jun 11, 2013

    The Walkind Dead is absolutely perfect as program of the year, considering the results it made (rating-wise). It is also perfectly suited that it is completely absent from any other category.
    Of course one could wonder why critics give an award for something called "program of the year"...

  • shae_SA Jun 11, 2013

    Tatiana to win all awards this season! she already has one in the bag!
    OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlackOrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack OrphanBlack

  • kanniballl Jun 11, 2013

    She definitely does a solid job.

    She does a much better job than Eliz Dushku did on Dollhouse; and Eliza did alright. In that show, Eliza had to play a different person every week; each with a completely different personality. However since each personality was a one-off, none of them really got the dedication needed to make them truly unique. But they were unique enough: tone of voice, language, flirty-movement versus uptight business, etc. But nowhere near the level of small details Tatiana puts in.

    Pursed lips, speaking habits, walking, etc. Which is I guess easier when you only have to worry about like 5 or so in the short-term.

    However... I don't know how sustainable this will be if they keep introducing new clones unless they start killing more of the older ones. Otherwise, trying to juggle too many different styles / personalities is going to hit a limit and the quality will start going down.

  • kanniballl Jun 11, 2013

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