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The 2011 TV Awards

Posted by The TV Critic on 13 December 2011 | 23 Comments


The 2011 TV Awards

Hey everyone,

Last year's awards podcast was a lot of fun so I will make it an annual tradition. The Emmy's and other industry awards quite rightly focus on the television season as it functions from September to August. However I think there is something interesting about a set of awards that encompass one calendar year. Sometimes shows can have a good start to a season and then fall away or vice versa so hopefully these awards can throw up a surprise or two.

Here are some things to bear in mind

- This is "The TV Critic's" site so this isn't a vote (yet, by next year I hope to be able to do that) but I do want to know what your favourite TV from 2011 was.

- The podcast was much longer than I intended last year and I want to add categories! So to make sure it doesn't run for hours and hours I will do most of my shortlisting here and so the podcast can just be your thoughts and the winners of the awards.

- Below I have put together my personal shortlists for your consideration and some statistics which hopefully will be fun to look at.

- I hope to release the podcast on the 26th December so get your nominations in before Christmas Day.

Last Year's Winners
Best drama show of 2010 - Mad Men
Best comedy show of 2010 - Community
Best drama episode - "Shadow Games" - Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Best comedy episode - "Modern Warfare" - Community
Best actor in a drama - Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Best actress in a drama - Lucy Lawless (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
Best actor in a comedy - Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Best actress in a comedy - Sophia Vergara (Modern Family)

With no Mad Men on this year and Spartacus cut down to only six episodes we should be in for some new winners. I'm adding "Best drama moment" and "Funniest comedy moment" so that you can talk about what you really enjoyed more specifically. I'm also adding "Worst show of 2011" because that should be fun.


These statistics reflect the scores out of 100 that I have given each show this year. Obviously I haven't included all the shows which I don't write about or don't give scores to. You are welcome to nominate any show you like. It seems like Breaking Bad is likely to be the runaway winner and it will be interesting to see if Homeland's average dips or climbs when the last two episodes air.


I don't make my decisions based on statistics alone. However a look at the list of episode scores is helpful.

It wasn't a spectacular year in terms of individual episodes. Again Breaking Bad has a strong claim on victory with only the Homeland pilot really sticking out to me as a contender.


Now this one should be tasty. Obviously Bryan Cranston v Aaron Paul would look like the obvious battle but then you do have Giancarlo Esposito and Dean Norris in the background. Damian Lewis has done a fine job on Homeland, Michael Pitt has been very strong on Boardwalk, there's Kelsey Grammar on Boss and don't forget Peter Dinklage who won the Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. I also liked Jeremy Allen White (Philip Gallagher) on Shameless. Who am I forgetting?


Claire Danes is looking good in this category because she is the one woman who gets to play lead on a show I cover. But what about Anna Gunn (Skyler White) or Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan) who both play a supporting role with aplomb? Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) has a lot of fans and Lucy Lawless (Lucretia) was last year's winner. Again Emmy Rossum (Fiona Gallagher) was strong on Shameless.


Obviously these are likely to come from your favourite episodes on your favourite shows but I'd love it if people had some offbeat choices. It's difficult not to be spoilery but my contenders include several moments from Breaking Bad including a twelve step meeting, a karaoke video, a poisoning and a man who knocks. From The Walking Dead there's a couple of things which Shane did with his gun which had quite an effect on me. The opening minutes of Game of Thrones were pretty awesome as were its last. Carrie going to any length to save herself on Homeland and Solonius calling out Batiatus on Spartacus are up there too.


This one looks like a straight shoot out between The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Recreation. Statistically they are very close and for me it will be choosing between laughs and sentiment. It’s not been a good year for comedy and the gulf between those two and the rest of the shows is sad to see.


Again stats aren’t everything but this is a fascinating list.


The question becomes do you penalise Family Guy because “It’s a Trap” is a Star Wars parody and so benefits massively from working with familiar source material? Otherwise it’s another toss up between Parks and TBBT. Family Guy and How I Met Your Mother both get a regular kicking from me so I’m pleased to see that both have some offerings in the list.



Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper) was last year’s winner and won the Emmy so he is looking good right? Yes but to be fair to Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter) he has handled more of the emotion on that show. Over on Parks you are spoilt for choice in supporting players with Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson), Chris Pratt (Andy Dwyer), Adam Scott (Ben Wyatt) sure to be popular choices.

But then things get more complicated. What about Steve Carell (Michael Scott) whose farewell season included ten episodes in 2011? Or Alec Baldwin (Jack Donaghy) who always performs well despite the show he is on. Or what about the guys on Community whose performance have not been something I have criticised despite my disappointment with the show? Then there’s Modern Family with its litany of actors young and old. What about Charlie McDermott (Axl) and Atticus Shaffer (Brick) over on The Middle? There are also a bunch of comedies I don’t care for with good actors on them. I’d say this was a very tough category.


Again this is really tough. Amy Poehler (Leslie Knope) is the star of her show but I think her character has become more suited to playing it straight rather than being silly. Kaley Cuocu (Penny on TBBT) is a popular lady but she isn’t asked to do a huge amount. There are supporting ladies on both those shows who deserve mention and again the three ladies from Community could make a strong case for inclusion. Again Modern Family has several candidates though I have been complimenting Sarah Hyland (Hayley Dunphy) recently. Then there’s Eden Sher (Sue Heck) on The Middle who continues to make me smile. Then you have actresses like Zooey Deschanel (Jess, New Girl) and Eliza Coupe (Jane, Happy Endings) who I like in general but don’t like on their shows. Another difficult choice.


Now then this is entirely an excuse for you to post any joke you can remember from 2011. It's not easy to remember jokes but if one comes to mind then let everyone know. I won't shortlist anything because if I go through it I will probably spoil what the eventual winner is (and I don't know what it is yet, it will be fun trying to find it though).


Wow, this could take a while. It depends whether you just pick something you hated or work out which show was the most criminal waste of talent. Let’s just say the following shows will be on my shortlist: 30 Rock, Entourage, Camelot, Mr Sunshine, Up All Night, New Girl and Happy Endings.

So there you go have at it. It’s a challenge just to remember what was on this year. Don’t forget Falling Skies, Alphas, Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, The Killing, Justified, Lights Out, Perfect Couples, Traffic Light, Cougar Town, Mad Love, The Borgias, Camelot, Breakout Kings, The Cape, Episodes, Mr Sunshine or Wilfred.


Post your comment


  • Best Drama: I'm going to go the "favorite" route on this one rather than what I think was technically "the best," so that means my vote goes for Homeland. It felt new, fresh and really interesting and exciting. While some of the latter episodes didn't grip me on the same level as some of the ones early on, it still remained my favorite experience watching a show this year
    Best Comedy: Parks and Recreation
    Best Drama episode: The Good Soldier - Homeland
    Best Comedy episode: Fancy Party - Parks and Recreation
    Best Drama Actor: Aaron Paul. Really drew me in and stole the show on Breaking Bad as far as the two main leads are concerned. Not that Cranston was bad, but Paul's character and vastly improved acting over the past two seasons have just been a joy to watch.
    Best Drama Actress: You know what? Again, maybe not the best in the technical sense, but I'm going to echo David Lopez and say Jessica Lange. She was the best and most entertaining thing about American Horror Story. For as awful as that show really is at the end of the day, she really breathed life into every scene she was in.
    Best Comedy Actor: Donald Glover - Community. Thinking about the comedies I watch I couldn't really think of any characters that have, in the past year, really grown...shown me something new...or made me laugh out loud consistently enough to win this except for Donald Glover's Troy. For me he has been the best/funniest part of Community and the fact that hasn't always been the case kind of makes him stand out here for me.
    Best Comedy Actress: Mary Louise Parker for Weeds. Just kidding. This one is tough for me...I'm going to pull one out of left field a little and select Erinn Hayes from Childrens Hospital. She stands out to me on that show, among both the men and the women. And the show makes me laugh. A lot.
    Favorite Comedy moment: When the producers and writers of Dexter thought they'd really pulled off a great "twist" with some of Dexter's main antagonists.
    Worst Show of 2011: That i actually watched? Probably Mr. Sunshine, unfortunately. I was really rooting for Matthew Perry

    Posted by Brando, 25/12/2011 1:23pm (8 years ago)

  • Ok Robin I'm keep this as short as possible Best Dram:American Horror story(it got the old Lost Juices flowing )
    Best Comedy: The League
    Best Drama ep. The Birth from American Horror story. ( the shit went down on that ep)
    Best Comedy ep: Werewolves of Highland from Beavis and Butthead.(Anytime you make fun of Twilight is good with me)
    Best Drama Actor: Jon Bernthal (He killed literally and figuratively)
    Best drama Actress: Jessica Lang
    Best Comedy Actor: Dani Purdi
    Best Comedy Actress:Aubrey Plaza
    I can"t remember my favorite comedy moment so I guess that just the worst comedy and for that's The New Girl (A total waste of Zooey Deschanel)
    Thx for doing this ...Later

    Posted by David Lopez, 24/12/2011 5:27am (8 years ago)

  • Wow! The best shows of 2011. First I have to say that this has probably been one of the best years of dramatic televisions I have seen in a long time. I am only going to write about the dramas if you’ll forgive that.
    So many dramatic moments that left me aghast and screaming at the television.
    Best Drama and best Dramatic moment:
    The walking dead
    Anyone remember screaming along with Shane as he ran toward Rick leading the walker into the barn. Those last eight minutes could match any moment in tv history, but I didn’t expect I would be saying that about a show like the walking dead, but there you are.
    Game of Thrones
    Having read the books, I knew the fate of Ned Stark, but that moment still welled up inside me. I liked the courage of the writers (take note Homeland) and enjoyed the moment immensely. Another great moment from this show was also the final reveal of the dragons at the very end of the season. That was just as powerful to me. This was such a great show and I am anxious to see where it will go in the coming seasons.
    I am really torn about this. I used to love this show, but this season has been a complete waste of time. As Robin stated, this entire season seemed predicated on that last minute shot at the end of the season. It was a total WTF moment, but just the crowning glory of a weak season.
    This was a diabolical show that makes sure you hate everyone on it. However, it was fun to watch a show that didn’t really care. Maybe a little over the top, but still a fun watch. Sick pleasure, if you like that sort of thing. But then I enjoyed the first two seasons of Dexter.
    This was an obvious choice. Only BB and GOT surpassed the boldness of this show. I am choosing to ignore the disappointment of the last episode.
    American Horror Story
    This was my guilty pleasure of the year. No other show on tv treated its main characters like cannon fodder like this show. Every episode was a reveal that was both laughable and shocking at the same time. It was a total fun ride and I cannot wait to see where the second season will take them

    Spatarcus: Gods of the Arena
    This was probably the most consistent show of the season. Every episode delivered a pivotal moment that reverberated through the rest of the season. The acting, the action and the writing were consistently great. There is certainly something to be said for a compacted season. This show and the HBO shows is the reason I am almost ready to give up on network television.
    Breaking Bad
    What can I say about this show, that hasn’t been expressed better than Robin? Without a doubt in my mind the best show on television and in contention for one of the best shows in television history. I like how this show is designed to have an end. It’s a lesson tv execs should learn. Stories end, otherwise there wouldn’t be a point to them.
    So my best drama is obvious: Breaking bad and Crawl Space gets my best episode too.
    Honorable mentions:
    Justified, Torchwood, Strike Back, Person of Interest, hell on Wheels, Boardwalk Empire, Suits, Sons of Anarchy, Shameless, White Collar, Fringe and Castle.

    Posted by Kayode from Baltimore, 23/12/2011 7:15pm (8 years ago)

  • Ok, here are my nominations:

    Best drama show - this was tough to call but I think it has to be Game of Thrones. I loved the gritty, dark realism of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad and they both had a lot of moments where the tension was almost unbearable. However, for much of the time they were unremittingly bleak. I also very much enjoyed Spartacus and Homeland, which were both excellent in their different ways. But I think Game of Thrones had everything. The cinematography, the level of detail, the sheer scale of the world the show managed to portray and the intricacies of the plot. There was humour, there were some really dark moments (that crown scene, anyone?), and a good balance of action and characterisation. The season had its flaws but I think it was a very successful adaptation of a complex book, and is deserving of my nomination as the year's best drama.

    Best drama actor - several close contenders for this but Aaron Paul (Jesse, Breaking Bad) takes this for me, for his consistent and mesmerising portrayal of conflictedness and misery throughout the season. Often he didn't say much but his expressions and demeanour always spoke volumes. Special mention also goes to Ryan Cartwright for the completely convincing way he played Gary, the autistic character in Alphas. Excellent portrayal of the traits of autism without being over the top or seeming patronising.

    Best drama actress - Claire Danes (Carrie, Homeland). She had the most interesting and challenging role of the actresses in shows I've watched this year, and I think she delivered every time. I also enjoyed seeing Anna Gunn get some good scenes to work with as Skyler in Breaking Bad, so she is my runner up.

    Best drama moment (contains Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad spoilers) - I couldn't decide between two for this category. First there's Ned Stark's execution. I was convinced it wasn't going to happen, that somehow he would be saved, and then suddenly he was beheaded. Big shock and I didn't see it coming at all, because in virtually any other show he would have got out of it.
    Then there's Gus' death in Breaking Bad which was a brutal and hugely cathartic end to a very slow-burn and tense season. All the characterisation and gradual layering up of events made the finale all the more rewarding to watch.

    Biggest disappointment of the year - Dexter. As we have discussed over on the Dexter pages, this year saw a further drop in the calibre of this show. I really hope next year I won't be nominating it for this category again!

    Thanks for running these Awards, Robin - it's really interesting reading everyone's nominations and I'm looking forward to the podcast for some discussion and the winners :)

    Posted by Kay, 22/12/2011 8:32pm (8 years ago)

  • This counts as your submission. I call it nomination because it's not a vote :-) I will choose the winners.

    Next year I will have a proper poll up and we can have readers choice winners which should be more fun.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 22/12/2011 4:29pm (8 years ago)

  • So this is a nomination thread or does this count as our submissions?

    Posted by Brando, 22/12/2011 4:04pm (8 years ago)

  • Hi Tariq, brilliant! Genuinely I love that you nominated a bunch of shows that I haven't seen\ no one else has mentioned. It's great to get other perspectives and recommendations. I will comment more on the podcast. Thank you.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 22/12/2011 1:17am (8 years ago)

  • Hi Robin.

    I wanted to mention a couple of shows which I thought were excellent this year that might not normally get the attention they’re due.

    Firstly, Stargate Universe, which was cancelled at the beginning of the year, effectively ending decades of space-based science fiction on television. This show was hugely underrated. The central storyline was fascinating, the writing dark and complex and the performances all excellent, particularly Robert Carlyle, who’s currently hamming it up brilliantly on Once Upon A Time. Sadly, the Stargate fanbase found it too dark while some wouldn’t even give it a chance due to the association with the whole Stargate franchise. This is a real shame because Stargate Universe was at times of the calibre of Battlestar Galactica and Lost and definitely deserved a better fate.

    Secondly, I wanted to tout Person Of Interest, starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. This show is great. It harks back, in both theme and content, to some of the best shows of the 60s, 70s and 80s (The Fugitive, The Six Million Dollar Man, Knight Rider, etc) but with a very modern twist. Many shows stick to the ‘story of the week with a bit of story-arc attached to the end of the episode’ format but Person Of Interest manages to tie together the individual episodic storylines and the overarching narrative perfectly. For me, this has been one of the standout shows of the year.

    Thirdly, as an individual episode of television, I thought the season three finale of The Mentalist was incredible, a perfectly crafted episode which pulled together plot elements going right back to the pilot. Tense, dramatic and emotional, this episode had it all.

    Finally, I wanted to briefly mention two shows which have had their fair share of detractors and one show which we all agree was brilliant.

    Of the former, I seem to be the only person on Planet Earth who enjoyed the US remake of The Killing. The first season was taut and thrilling from beginning to end with some brilliantly honed writing and performances throughout. According to the internet, however, I seem to be an audience of one!

    Next, a mention of Terra Nova, which despite an uneven first season, ended on an amazing season finale, really setting up the story perfectly for next season. I understand some of the criticisms which were levelled at this show, but I loved it.

    And finally, Game Of Thrones. What can be said about this exceptional piece of television. Perfect writing and execution coupled with perfect casting and performances. And one of the most faithful adaptations of a novel I have ever seen on screen. Very excited about season two.

    Posted by Tariq Latif, 21/12/2011 11:34pm (8 years ago)

  • Thank you for posting :-) all your nominations will be on the podcast...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 20/12/2011 4:53pm (8 years ago)

  • Thanks, Robin, for including us in your Awards. This is what makes good television so much fun -- all the water cooler talk on the internet and twitter. My vote for Best Drama is a three-way tie: Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad. I am also a new fan of Homeland and Boss, but have not seen their finales; so I cannot give them my vote for best drama yet. However, I have been told that the finale for Homeland last night will make it trump my nominations for best drama. My nomination for Best Dramatic Actor would be Aaron Paul who plays Jesse Pinkman. Having two sons, I just think Aaron captures his role perfectly. My nomination for Best Dramatic Actress is Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow. She is fierce and I simply love her. My favorite dramatic scene was at the very end of Game of Thrones with Daenerys. I won’t spoil it for those who aren’t there yet; the rest of you know exactly what I mean. I had been waiting for that scene since the first episode, and I have not read any of the books! lol

    My nomination for Best Comedy would, hands-down, be Modern Family. Having a big family myself, I laugh every minute through every episode because it is absolutely just like real family life in America today. I would nominate each actor for Best Comedian and each actress for Best Comedienne. Every character plays their part to make me nonstop laugh. Kudos to Jay, Phil, Mitchell, Cameron, Manny and Luke. And the same goes to Claire, Gloria, Haley and Alex! All I can say is I hope they continue to bring it on for a lot of seasons.

    In my opinion the Worst New Show was I Hate My Teenage Daughter. All I can say is: absolutely pathetic!

    Posted by Janey, 20/12/2011 6:08am (8 years ago)

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