Vince Gilligan’s critically acclaimed television series, “Breaking Bad”, deservedly claimed the coveted program of the year, during the 29th annual Television Critics Awards (TCA), this Saturday night. This is contrasted from last year’s award winner, HBO’s excellent Game of Thrones.
Comprising a 220 member panel, the critics’ association celebrates the greatest talent in television, presenting prestigious awards for a total of 11 categories, notably in drama, comedy, news and reality, alongside other performances and show formats.
Breaking Bad, for those unfamiliar with the program, focuses on a high school chemistry teacher, called Walter White, who becomes afflicted with an inoperable form of lung cancer. Desperately clinging to life, Walter (played by Bryan Cranston) determines to provide for his family, prior to shuffling off this mortal coil. With this in mind, Walter wields his capable talents in chemistry, and begins to “cook” methamphetamines (A.K.A. crystal meth), with the assistance of former student, Jesse Pinkman. What ensues is several years of unmitigated carnage, as White’s character undergoes a gradual transition, hardening through experience.
“The Americans” also earned a prize for outstanding new program, a show crafted by ex-CIA agent, Joe Weisberg. The Americans witnesses the migration of two Russian spies, during the 1980 Cold War era, dispatched by the KGB to spy on the American administration. Posing as an American couple, the two soviet intelligence operatives are tasked with infiltrating the highest echelons of government, whilst attempting to maintain a facade in front of their unwitting, U.S.-born children.
As far as newcomers go, The Americans is a fantastic selection, offering a truly innovative storyline, original plot twists and compelling, well-written characters. Although nominated for a host of award categories, at both the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and TCA Awards, surprisingly, this is the first actually claimed.
Meanwhile, HBO’s Game of Thrones was bestowed the best drama award for its epic medieval/fantasy tale, chronicling the warring factions of Westeros and Essos. Adapted from George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, Game of Thrones has generated a huge following, shocking many with its dark portrayal of several noble factions, vying for the Iron Throne to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. The story is complicated further by the emergence of a race of fabled creatures, descending from the icy tundra of the North.
(Knock, knock, knock) “… Penny?” If you understand that reference, you can perhaps gather that “The Big Bang Theory” also won an award for best comedy, which was split with NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” in a shock tie.
Moving on to other awards, HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” won the category for best movie, mini-series or special. No doubt, Michael Douglas, who depicted Liberace’s intimate affair with a younger man, Scott Thorson, will be tearing up as we speak (type… you know what I mean). The black comedy appeared at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and kicked up a storm, receiving positive, aggregate scores on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
Specifically, within the acting categories, Louis C. K., for the FX channel’s “Louie” snatched merit for outstanding achievement in comedy. Tatiana Maslany won the outstanding achievement in drama for her work in BBC America’s Orphan Black, a program that explores the ethical and moral implications of human cloning, as well as its overall impact on the human psyche.
Barbara Walters won the career achievement award, whilst CBS’ “All in the Family” and ABC’s “Shark Tank” were honored with the Heritage Award and best reality program, respectively. Finally, PBS’ Ken Burns film “The Central Park Five” took an award for news and information programming, whereas ABC’s recently canned “Family Bunheads” won the youth programming award.
So, congratulations to all the winners and contending nominees. Without question, it has been another great year for American television. Let’s hope, with Breaking Bad’s series-finale swan song looming, this year, there’s more talent (like The Americans) being funneled down the creative pipeline.
Written By: James Fenner