Normally, the Television Critics Association, of which I am a member, holds its annual TCA Awards in early August.The last two years the awards have been delayed and devoid of a live, in-person gala, due to pandemic safety concerns — which wins the award for Least Damaging Thing to Happen Due to COVID.
Announcing the winners for our 37th annual accolades was also delayed until just this week. That timing, in my opinion, is actually a good thing, because it came just before Sunday’s 73rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, airing on ABC and CTV.
Ted Lasso took the triple crown in 2021 as Outstanding New Program, Outstanding Achievement In Comedy, and Program Of The Year. The only reason Jason Sudeikis didn’t also win for Individual Achievement in Comedy is that the TCA’s acting categories are genderless, and nobody else was going to top the performance Jean Smart gave earlier this season in Hacks. Smart, who just turned 70 and whose credits range from Designing Women to Mare of Eastown, also won the critics’ Career Achievement award. Alex Trebek won it last year. Next year? Ed Asner.
Besides Smart’s win, HBO/HBO Max earned three other awards. I May Destroy You‘s creator, writer, executive producer and star Michaela Coel took Individual Achievment in drama; while Mare of Eastown won outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries or Specials. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won the Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch for the third time in the past four years.
TCA often runs ashore in categories that cast too wide a net. This year, for example, Framing Britney Spears won in the Outstanding Achievement in News and Information category. Edward R. Murrow, we’re sorry.
Showtime’s Couples Therapy and Netflix’s Deaf U tied for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming. Another tough category for critics, who generally do not breed, is Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming. This year, The Baby-Sitters Club got the four votes it needed.
Best drama of the year? The Crown. Series that was snubbed? In my opinion, The Queen’s Gambit.
Our heritage award went to The Golden Girls. Only Betty White, 99, survives among the four main leads, who included Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty. They’d like to thank you, TCA, for being a friend.