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'This Is Us,' 'Handmaid's Tale,' 'Atlanta' top TV critics nominations

A few weeks before the July 13 arrival of Emmy nominations, the Television Critics Association announced its 33rd Annual Awards nominations  this week to recognize the best work in the 2016-17 TV season.

The TCA Awards have different categories and the Emmys typically ignore some of the TCA nominees and winners in much the same way the Oscars may ignore the Golden Globes.

For instance, in 2016 the TCA Awards in drama and comedy went to "The Americans" and "Black-ish." The Emmys in those categories went to "Game of Thrones" and "Veep."

I am one of the more than 200 TCA members from the United States and Canada, though I probably don't watch as much TV as many of them. Or at least I admit to the dirty little secret that there is no way any critic can watch all the programs on broadcast television, cable or being streamed these days.

Not surprisingly, cable and streaming shows do better with critics than broadcast network shows because critics usually are looking for something different and more original than broadcast network shows.

CBS, which dominates viewing in Western New York, only received one TCA nomination. NBC has seven nominations, ABC three and Fox zero.

HBO led the nominations with 12, followed by FX with 11 and Netflix with 10.

In other words, HBO received more nominations than the four broadcast networks combined and FX had as many as the four networks combined.

Here's my rule: I only vote for programs that I have seen.

The nominees had to air the majority of their season between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017 to be eligible for consideration. The winners will be announced at the invitation-only presentation on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as part of the TCA's summer press tour. Kristin Chenoweth is the host.

Without further ado, here is a list of the nominees, followed by which stars and programs I plan to vote for in each category.


Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us,” NBC

Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers” & “Fargo,” HBO & FX

Claire Foy, “The Crown,” Netflix

Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies,” HBO

Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette And Joan,” FX

Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette And Joan,” FX

My vote: It is hard enough to pick a winner when one gender is involved, but combining male and female actors in the same category makes it just about impossible to be fair. My vote goes to Brown, who is the heart of "This is Us." But I suspect Moss will win.


Pamela Adlon, “Better Things,” FX

Aziz Ansari, “Master of None,” Netflix

Kristen Bell, “The Good Place,” NBC

Donald Glover, “Atlanta,” FX

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” HBO

Issa Rae, “Insecure,” HBO

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag,” Amazon

My Vote: Another difficult call because of the combined genders. I vote for Ansari because "Master of None" was my favorite comedy of the past two seasons. The episodes this season were unlike anything in almost all comedies. They have few of the rhythms expected in comedies, vary in length and have unorthodox styles lines and have a plentiful supply of friendship, romance and heart.


“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” TBS (2016 Winner in Category)

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” HBO

“The Lead With Jake Tapper,” CNN

“O.J.: Made in America,” ESPN

“Planet Earth II,” BBC America

“Weiner,” Showtime

My Vote: "O.J. Made in America," the five-part series documenting the rise and fall of the former Buffalo Bills running back, would seem to be the sure winner. But you know how much I love "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver." And a Tapper upset wouldn't bother me in this political year.


“The Circus,” Showtime

“The Great British Baking Show,” PBS

“The Keepers,” Netflix

“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” A&E

“Shark Tank,” ABC

“Survivor: Game Changers,” CBS

My Vote: I've recommended "The Keepers," the Netflix documentary about the mystery behind the 1969 murder of a nun, and the sexual abuse by a priest covered up by the Baltimore Diocese with the possible help of law enforcement authorities and politicians.


“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS (2016 Winner in Category)

“Doc McStuffins,” Disney Junior

“Elena of Avalor,” Disney Channel

“Odd Squad,” PBS

“Sesame Street,” HBO

“Speechless,” ABC

My Vote: I'll have to recuse myself on this one. I'm a grandpa now and haven't seen enough youth programming to vote with any conviction.


“Atlanta,” FX

“The Crown,” Netflix

“The Good Place,” NBC

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“This Is Us,” NBC

My Vote: "The Handmaid's Tale" has gotten the best national reviews I've seen in decades, but I couldn't get past a few episodes because the content was so dark. I'll vote for NBC's "This Is Us," which made broadcast television relevant again.


“Big Little Lies,” HBO

“Fargo,” FX

“Feud: Bette and Joan,” FX

“Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” Netflix

“The Night Of,” HBO

“Wizard of Lies,” HBO

My Vote: "The Night Of"" would have gotten my vote if not for the disappointing ending. Heck, forget the ending. It still gets my vote, though I suspect "Fargo" will win.


“Better Call Saul,” AMC

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“The Americans,” FX (2015 & 2016 Winner in Category)

“The Crown,” Netflix

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“This Is Us,” NBC

My Vote: I was a little disappointed with "The Americans" this season, probably because its goal was to set up the next and final season. Once again, I'm voting for "This Is Us."


“Atlanta,” FX

“Black-ish,” ABC (2016 Winner in Category)

“Fleabag,” Amazon

“Master of None,” Netflix

“The Good Place,” NBC

“Veep,” HBO

My Vote: As I said before, none was better than "Master of None." But I expect a win for "Atlanta."


“Atlanta,” FX

“Big Little Lies,” HBO

“Stranger Things,” Netflix

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu

“The Leftovers,” HBO

“This Is Us,” NBC

My Vote: "This Is Us," which tied "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Atlanta" with the most nominations at four each. But I expect "Handmaid's" will win over my colleagues in this category.


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