The Broadcast Television Journalists Association announced the winners of its third annual Critics' Choice Television Awards on Monday night during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and the winners list, unlike a lot of other awards shows, probably looks similar to the winners you might pick.
Why? Because unlike the Emmys or the Golden Globes, BTJA voters (of which I am one) are made up largely of people whose jobs are to watch television — good, bad, reality, scripted, broadcast, cable, and whatever category Netflix's original programming falls into. BTJA members, like regular viewers, watch and love TV and recognize, as the CCTA nominees and winners lists attest, that there's terrific storytelling, writing, producing, and performances happening in every corner of TV land.
Here are five reasons why this year's CCTAs are way better than the Emmys:
1. "The Big Bang Theory" was the most-watched comedy in primetime for the season that ended in May. While some critics might continue to dismiss it, BTJA voters recognize the show has only become funnier and its characters more richly developed throughout its six seasons. Hence its win as Best Comedy Series — while "Modern Family" seems to have a lock on the best comedy Emmy, even though the still frequently funny series has started to feel stale as it heads into its fifth season.
Another acknowledgment by the CCTAs that what's popular can also be what's really good on TV: "Game of Thrones," which tied with "Breaking Bad" for best drama honors.
2. "The Middle" star Eden Sher is an endearing scene-stealer as adorkable teen Sue Heck, as is Kaley Cuoco, the high school graduate neighbor who usually goes toe-to-toe with her scientist boyfriend and his fellow geek pals on "The Big Bang Theory." Neither has received so much as an Emmy nomination, but they shared this year's Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series award at the CCTAs. Ditto Andrew Lincoln, leader of the survivors on the wildly popular "The Walking Dead." He's been overlooked by the Emmy folk so far, but he received a well-deserved CCTA nomination for Best Actor in a Drama, a crowded category that includes the likes of Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis, and winner Bryan Cranston.
3. Heard about "Orphan Black," the new sci-fi drama that just completed its first season on BBC America? The network's breakout hit followed "Doctor Who" on Saturday nights this spring and developed a devoted fan base that's eagerly awaiting its second season. You probably won't hear about the show at the Emmys in September, but "Orphan Black" star Tatiana Maslany won the CCTA for Best Actress in a Drama Series on Monday night. It's quite possible that you will already know about every nominee in the best actress categories at this year's Emmys, but here's a bold CCTA selection that will probably lead to new viewers for a deserving show. Ditto the tie win for Sundance Channel's fantastic "Push Girls" in the Best Reality Series category.
4. And about those ties, three CCTA categories ended in ties (let's be honest, nobody likes a tie). In these instances, though, the ties were a result of multiple shows and performances that drew large groups of fervent supporters. It's like saying there were too many good TV shows and performers in those categories, and because a couple of them had so many fans, they shared top honors. Mention that the next time you hear someone complain there's nothing worth watching on TV.
Besides, though it's always more fun to have a clear-cut winner, Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett once said, "If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out." Disturbing imagery aside, he makes a good point.
5. The Most Exciting New Series category. Though there's no guarantee these upcoming shows will turn out to be as great as their premises or pilot episodes suggest, it's fun to have a list of the programs that look most promising, as chosen by people who, again, watch a lot of TV for a living. Hundreds of new series are launched during the year, so any help in sussing out the ones that should be on your radar is a good thing.
[Related: 12 New Must-Watch Shows]
A complete list of winners from the third annual Critics' Choice Television Awards:
Best Comedy Series: "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Louis C.K., "Louie" (FX)
Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep" (HBO)
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Simon Helberg, "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Tie):
- Kaley Cuoco, "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
- Eden Sher, "The Middle" (ABC)
Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Patton Oswalt, "Parks and Recreation" (NBC)
Best Drama Series (Tie): "Breaking Bad" (AMC) and "Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Best Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" (AMC)
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black" (BBC America)
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Michael Cudlitz, "Southland" (TNT)
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Monica Potter, "Parenthood" (NBC)
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Jane Fonda, "The Newsroom" (HBO)
Best Movie or Mini-Series: "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)
Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series: Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra" (HBO)
Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series: Elisabeth Moss, "Top of the Lake" (Sundance Channel)
Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series: Zachary Quinto, "American Horror Story: Asylum" (FX)
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series: Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Asylum" (FX)
Best Reality Series (Tie): "Duck Dynasty" (A&E) and "Push Girls" (Sundance Channel)
Best Reality Series – Competition: "The Voice" (NBC)
Best Reality Series Host: Tom Bergeron, "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC)
Best Talk Show: "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central)
Best Animated Series: "Archer" (FX)
Critics' Choice Television Icon Award: Bob Newhart
Thalo's Critics' Choice Inspiration Award: "Bunheads" (ABC Family)
Most Exciting New Series:
- "The Bridge" (FX)
- "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC)
- "Masters of Sex" (Showtime)
- "The Michael J. Fox Show" (NBC)
- "Ray Donovan" (Showtime)
- "Under the Dome" (CBS)
Check out red carpet photos from the CCTA: