Critics' Choice TV Awards: Finally Someone Gets it Right!

Here at TV.com, we love the concept of awards shows. But in practice, awards shows always seem to lean a little too heavily on the common denominator—in addition to kowtowing to influence from big studios that reap rewards whenever their products' trophy cases get a little heavier. Yeah, I just called the Emmys a total sham.

Before I make myself sound even more like an insufferable tool who's whining about not getting his way, let me explain it more bluntly: The Emmys and its ilk play things too safe. They try to balance credibility with mainstream popularity in order to maximize their stature and ratings, respectively. The result is usually a watered-down ceremony during which everyone pats each other on the back as soon as they finish scratching each other's backs.

That's why the recently released nominations for the inaugural Critics' Choice Television Awards, from the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, are such a breath of fresh air. The categories are typical, but several of the nominees are not. Let's take a look at some of the highlights. (The full list of nominees in the Drama and Comedy categories appears at the bottom of this page).

1. Genre shows are getting their due in the Best Drama category
The CCTAs followed the model of the Academy awards by overloading its two main Drama and Comedy categories with nominations, but at least they realized that Lost isn't the only award-worthy sci-fi/fantasy show out there. Among the 10 nominees in the category are Fringe, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead—three shows that are deserving of drama kudos but will likely scare off Emmy voters because (over-generalization alert!) they're all old curmudgeons who still think science-fiction is the domain of teenage boys. My only minor gripe is that Men of a Certain Age didn't get any love. (Note: Eligible series aired between June of 2010 and May 31 of this year, hence no Breaking Bad.)

2. Historically Emmy-ignored drama actors are getting the recognition they deserve
Breaking into the Emmys club isn't easy, as voters love to repeat nominees in the acting fields from year to year. I guess the thinking goes that if an actor was nominated last year and is still on the show, he or she is still good enough to be nominated. But that makes it harder for breakout performances to shine through (Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston is an exception). Case in point: Friday Night Lights' Kyle Chandler didn't get recognized for his superb work until last year, about four years too late. But the CCTAs aren't afraid to throw new names in the mix: Timothy Olyphant earned a nod for Justified (though to be fair, I think he'll be an Emmy nominee this year, too), as did his castmates Walton Goggins and Margo Martindale. But the names on this list that surprised me most are those of Anna Torv and John Noble of Fringe, who have quietly been doing award-worthy work. The Emmys completely ignore network shows that are ratings-challenged, and I'll eat my shoe if Noble and Torv appear on the Emmys ballot this year. Props to the CCTAs for giving these two their due.

3. The Best Comedy nominees include shows that are actually funny
This may be a direct result of having 10 nominees, but any Best Comedy list that includes both Archer and Louie is okay in my book. I think we can agree on one thing: Archer, the raunchy FX 'toon about an arrogant superspy, will NEVER get nominated for an Emmy, even if the Emmys eventually create a category for "Best Animated Series About an Arrogant Superspy" (the award would probably just go straight to Mad Men). Louie, which is also on FX, faces a similar situation: The show a free-form mining of Louis C.K.'s perverse, yet insightful, brain. Constantly talking about masturbation is a surefire way to not be invited to the Emmys. The Golden Globes, maybe, because they just want anyone to pay attention to them. But the Emmys, no way. Community, the most innovative network comedy by far, has also been nominated in this category for the CCTAs. But what will its chances be come Emmy time? I get the feeling it's simply too weird for the Emmys, even though it's arguably the best comedy on TV right now. One gripe: no nomination for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I know it's not as good as it used to be, but are there really 10 comedies out better than Sunny?

I'm not sure if The Critics' Choice TV Awards will ever become a hit, but at least it's starting off in the right direction. The awards will air on Reelz Channel on June 22, but can be watched live on June 20 on VH1.com.


Here's the full list of nominees in the Drama and Comedy categories:


BEST DRAMA SERIES
Boardwalk Empire
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Fringe
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Justified
The Killing
Mad Men
The Walking Dead

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
William H. Macy, Shameless
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Anna Torv, Fringe

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Walton Goggins, Justified
Shawn Hatosy, Southland
John Noble, Fringe
Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire
John Slattery, Mad Men

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Margo Martindale, Justified
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Chloë Sevigny, Big Love

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Archer
The Big Bang Theory
Community
Glee
Louie
The Middle
Modern Family
The Office
Parks and Recreation
30 Rock

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Louis C.K., Louie
Charlie Day, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Joel McHale, Community
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Courteney Cox, Cougar Town
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Patricia Heaton, The Middle
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Danny Pudi, Community
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Jane Lynch, Glee
Busy Philipps, Cougar Town
Eden Sher, The Middle
Sofía Vergara, Modern Family


Which shows and actors do you think are most deserving of these noms? Is anyone missing from these lists?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Jun 26, 2011
I'd love to see Anna Torv win for "Fringe".
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Jun 16, 2011
LOVE!! the Fringe nominations. Watching that show since the beginning and Im glad its finally getting the recognition it deserves. If any actors deserve an emmy it would be anna torv and john noble, with Walters... quirkiness and Walternates increasingly complex character. and The drama that accompanies both Olivias whereever they go. i know this post was just Fringe gushing, but im going into withdrawal since the season ended
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Jun 13, 2011
"But the names on this list that surprised me most are those of Anna Torv and John Noble of Fringe, who have quietly been doing award-worthy work. "

Amen! to that, and Fringe being on the 'best drama' list. My other picks: Timothy Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Martha Plimpton, Eric Stonestreet, Parks and Recreation
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Jun 13, 2011
I don't see myself paying any more attention to these awards than I would to any other TV awards. Just mewling critics crying for attention they're not likely to receive.
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Jun 12, 2011
Outsourced is the funniest comedy. Only good noms are Archer, Community, Glee, The Middle & Modern Family for the comedies. Broadwalk Empire, Dexter, Fringe, Mad Men & the Walking Dead for Dramas. Julie, Jane Lynch, Busy, Eden & Sophia are all great for sup actress in comedies. Ty, Neil, Ed, Danny & Eric are all great for sup actors in comedies. Only Courtney & Patrica for best actress in comedy. Alec & Charlie excellent choice for best actor in comedy. John Noble & Michael Pitt are incredible for best sup actor in dramas. Steve, Michael, Jon & William for best actor in a drama. Anna Torv only one for best actress in drama. Too bad for Josha Jackson who's even better in Fringe. How I Met Your Mother, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, Pretty Little Liars & Nikita should've got noms also. Nurse Jackie, The Office & The Big Bang Theory are the worst shows on TV & they got noms. Don't forget the great Charlie Sheen & the wonderful Betty White.
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Jun 12, 2011
@jelly_donut_92
*....Missing Peter Dinklage for supporting actor in Game of Thrones....*

In case of GoT, it is really difficult to say who is main charakter and who is supporting character. For GoT, you really fare well with the credo *Expect the unexpected!*
But I really salute CCTA for the list of nominations.
GoT Cha! ;)
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Jun 11, 2011
Comedy catergories:Best Comedy:Glee,Best Actor:Jim Parsons,Best actress:Tina Fey,Best supporting actor:Eric Stonestreet,Best Supporting actress:Sofia Vergara
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Jun 10, 2011
Where is Cote de Pablo from NCIS---does anyone not believe she is Israeli & Mossad? Her acting is superb. Edie Falco has gone on record saying her show is NOT a comedy so what's up with that?
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Jun 09, 2011
Best drama - Justified, best actor in drama - Michael C. Hall, best actress - Katey Sagal, best supporting actor - Alan Cumming, actress - Archie Panjabi (since there's no Julia Styles), best comedy - Community, best actor in comedy - Jim Parsons, actress - Edie Falco, supporting actor - Danny Pudi, actress - Busy Philipps. In my opinion ;)
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Jun 09, 2011
I don't follow the Critic's Choice awards but I'm happy Fringe is there. I like Breaking Bad and B. Cranston but somehow I'm happy he is not nominated. I hope the Emmys will have a similar list. I still think Hugh Laurie deserves an Emmy for his years as House. The episode where he operated himself should made him a contender.
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Jun 09, 2011
These are not so great! no Sons? Jackie is a comedy??? What planet do you watch????
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Jun 09, 2011
What happened to Misha Collins best supporting actor in Supernatural? Where are the nominations for The Vampire Diaries? The CW gets the shaft again.
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Jun 09, 2011
I, too, would have liked to have seen SUPERNATURAL recognised for it's high quality productions over the past 5 years and especially Jensen Ackles who has been consistently good and in some episode exceptional in his acting.
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Jun 09, 2011
Community for the win!!! Charlie Day for the win!!!!! Yay for Critics Choice!!
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Jun 09, 2011
What about Julia Styles for best supporting actress on Dexter? She was awesome! I hope Dexter takes home Best Drama or Best Actor in Drama.
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Jun 08, 2011
Friday Night Lights is probably the best show on tv and has been for several years. No one appears to be acting, which makes it great.
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Jun 08, 2011
All good nods, but im confused by Edie Falco getting a nod for best actress in a comedy series??? Has anyone seen Nurse Jackie, a drug addicted nurse screwing up her entire life does not a comedy make in my opinion, that said Edie is great in it!
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Jun 08, 2011
I am really excited that John Noble and Anna Torv are nominated for this award! I don't think John Noble has been nominated for an Emmy since FRINGE began and he totally deserves it, especially this year with playing two completely different characters. Actually, that could be said for any of the cast members pulling double duty. It's also cool that The Walking Dead is nominated, didn't expect that.
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Jun 08, 2011
Danny Pudi for Comunity?! hells yeah!
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Jun 08, 2011
Why is The Killing and Game of Trones in the list? They didn't even finish the first season yet.
Danny Pudi better wins...
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Jun 08, 2011
Fringe shud definately score this time.
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Jun 08, 2011
We are definitely rooting for Shawn Hatosy in the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category. This nomination was expected - next stop: a well-deserved Emmy nomination. Southland rocks!
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Jun 08, 2011
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Give-John-Noble-an-Emmy-For-Walter-Bishop/101067319936948
sign up people! join the petition! make Tim eat his shoe!
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Jun 08, 2011
I am so happy that Justified has so many nominations and I hope that Emmys also gives this show its props.
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Jun 08, 2011
That was a damn excellent list of nominations. While I don't watch all those shows (I do watch about 90% of them, though) simply because they don't appeal to me, I recognize that they are all great shows and actors worthy of nominations.
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Jun 08, 2011
Absolutely elated that Fringe has received the attention it so deserves. Anna Torv and John Noble...just absolutely fantastic! And Parks and Recreation - just beyond happy at the moment! Hopefully the results will see these two shows in particular (that is not to say the others do not deserve commendation - Cougar Town, Modern Family, It's always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Big Bang Theory, The walking Dead, Game of Thrones.....) actually win at least one category. Fingers crossed.
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Jun 08, 2011
Awesome lists, glad for Dexter and Justified. I only feel Sons of Anarchy missed out. :( Or were they not eligible as well?
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Jun 08, 2011
Finally! Someone who's not afraid of actual GOOD television.
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Jun 08, 2011
I love this list of nominations! Especially the nods to Fringe and Parks and Recreation. Also, the nods to Nick Offerman, John Noble, Anna Torv, Busy Phillips, Amy Poehler, and Courtney Cox. Of course, big shout-outs to Modern Family and their nominations!
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Jun 08, 2011
Dexter shouldn't even be nominated (I'm a fan of the show but the last season was pretty much pointless) Awards should be based on the season of the show not the series. *Glee gets nominated even though the 2nd season was horrible* Other shows that had a better season and continue to do good deserve the spot.
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Jun 08, 2011
Good to see Community nominated and Joel McHale. With Steve Carell and Tony Shaloub gone he might end up getting a nomination, but I doubt Community or even Parks will get an Emmy Nomination for Best Comedy, I think that will go to "Office, Modern Family, Glee, Big Bang Theory, and 30 Rock" seriously BBT better then Community? Come on.
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Jun 08, 2011
Also, Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion both made leaps and bounds in Castle this year (season 3 was miles ahead of anything the show's done before). It'd be awesome to see it getting some recognition.
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Jun 08, 2011
hmmm, tv critic extols the virtues of an Awards show which Critics and Journalists run. What a surprise. Golden Globes anyone? The list doesn't look dramatically different to the Emmy list anyway. Mad Men, 30 Rock (again), Michael C Hall and Boardwalk Empire have surely had enough love?
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Jun 08, 2011
I love awards show, but get so fricking frustrating when the awards go to the same people every year. The Critic's Choice werre refreshing as they finally recognized some shows that got their due. Was estatic to see Anna Torv and John Noble getting some love (actually think Noble has a chance of getting nominated this year) Was also glad to see Martha Plimpton getting her due--- sexiest, funniest grandma ever!



But WTF is Parenthood? Is it because the voters don't know if it's a drama or a comedy? Damn you, Lauren Graham for always choosing these kinds of shows. Now they've got ANOTHER series to ignore you for. If they nominate Kathy Bates instead of her...



Also, wasn't Shameless a comedy? We may need to createa new category just for Showtime's programming.



But mostly this was a good group. Here's hoping this manages to move more on to people's radar.
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Jun 08, 2011
I agree that the Emmys are out of touch. It's good to see shows like Community and The Middle getting some recognition. I'm curious why they chose Danny Pudi and not Donald Glover for supporting. I love them both, and they deserve tp be recognized. They both had great scenes this season.
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Jun 08, 2011
its good to see that connie britton and kyle chandler yet again get noms for their work in fnl. it such a great show and they deserve it! also the good wife strolls again with some great noms as well, can't pick which one could win cuz they r both great shows in the same category! don't understand why josh charles and chris colfer didn't get noms. come on! they definitely deserve it.
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Jun 08, 2011
This list needs more Julia Stiles.
Otherwise, it's great.
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Jun 08, 2011
Some notable misses, but these are still the best nomination lists I've probably ever seen. If Justified or a Justified cast member is nominated for a category, I say they should win it. If Community or a Community cast member is nominated for a category, they should win it. What? No, my two favorite shows aren't Justified and Community...
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Jun 08, 2011
For Best Drama Series I think that Sons of Anarchy deserved a nomination.
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Jun 08, 2011
Eden Sher for Best Supporting Actress, really?! Love The Middle, but don't think she's there yet. Would have thought any of the actresses (Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown) in Community would have been much more deserving. How'd you miss them, CCTAs?
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Jun 08, 2011
Damn good selections but Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage earned nominations for their work on "Game of Thrones" and Emmy Rossum was the best thing about "Shameless" and deserved a spot on the Best Actress list. And the boys of "The Killing" Brent Sexton and Joel Kinnaman were pretty damn good themselves. There are not 10 better comedies than "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia" "30 Rock" was boring this year. "Bored to Death" was better than "30 Rock" as well. "The Middle" really. . been there/done that. "Glee" blew chunks in its sophomore season. Nice job nominating Charlie though. Jason Schwartzman got screwed. Alec Baldwin, again, really... My favorite comedy nominee is Sterling Archer and the rest of the ISIS crew picking up a nom. The Emmies gave Seth McFarlane's past its expiration date "Family Guy" a best comedy nomination, why not give "Archer" a shot? The episode "Stage Two" was one of the funniest half hours of television this year. Johnny Bench called and his big hands are happy with the "Archer" nom. "Sons of Anarchy" deserves to be in the Best Drama race as well. There aren't 10 better Dramas on television. Loving the "Justified" love. Margo Martindale v Michelle Forbes is just awesome.
More+
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Jun 08, 2011
The Middle deserved its nominations. 'Nuff said.
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Jun 08, 2011
Happy to see Shawn Hatosy and "SouthLAnd" getting some love. Shawn was fantastic this season.
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Jun 08, 2011
Nurse Jackie and Edie Falco are comedies??? Yeah, that show splits my side!
Tara you got screwed!!!!!
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Jun 08, 2011
Chris Meloni for all the excellent work he did in 12 seasons of L&O SVU. He was passed over when he shouldn't have been and now it's too late. He'll go elsewhere and win plenty of awards by people who appreciate talent.
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Jun 08, 2011
They Did do a good job
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Jun 08, 2011
Jason Segel for HIMYM, Donald Glover for Community (definitely deserved a nomination) and basically the entire cast of Game of Thrones (Peter Dinklage!) are missing, but other than that, well done CCTAs! Nick Offerman for the win!
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Jun 07, 2011
Wow, good job CCTAs. There are very few oversights here. Refreshing.
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Jun 07, 2011
Would've liked to have seen Jason Segal get some recognition for How I Met Your Mother.
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Jun 07, 2011
I actually mostly agree with these lists, they are really good.
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