How should Gold Derby respond when a member of the Board of the Directors of the Television Critics Association attacks us as “MORONS” for having the audacity to discuss the TCA Awards in a video? Happily, his unprofessional tantrum was denounced by some of his peers, but we have held off till now to offer our own response.
Clearly, some critics can’t take criticism, so let’s really lay it on and hope that all TCA leaders, not just our attacker, consider reforming one of the most seriously flawed media awards on the planet. In our follow-up video, Gold Derby editors Marcus Dixon and Riley Chow join me in detailing many of its gravest sins today and yesterday (neither “The Wire” nor “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” ever won a TCA Award for dramatic program or individual achievement) and absurdities (how can “Orange Is the New Black” now be nominated for Program of the Year but not be up for either Best Drama or Comedy Series?). However, we also make a point of celebrating many of their past TCA Award winners that were not only deserved, but Emmyless. (Thank you, TCA, for all that “Malcolm in the Middle” love!)
There’s a curious degree of institutional arrogance that pervades TCA, which is a journalists’ group that does not believe in transparency or in maintaining journalist standards at its website. At the site, you will not find a list of TCA members. Why hide them? By comparison, the Critics Choice TV Awards reveal their members at their site. Ditto all other major journalist groups that bestow awards, including the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and even, egads, the much-maligned Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
There’s something else you won’t find at the TCA site either. Even though they are only days away from bestowing the 2014 awards, these journalists still have not gotten around to adding last year’s winners to their award database. Yes, you can find the list if you dig through old press releases, but winners are missing from the database, which is also lacking something else, by the way: past nominees. The fact that TCA does not list past nominations suggests one of two things: laziness or else its leaders do not want us to see what they passed up when declaring winners. Such omissions would be bad enough if made by any other awards organization, but these are journalists doing a very poor job of journalism.
But the biggest problem with the TCA Award is the voting process that reaped embarrassing results this year. “Masters of Sex” and “Silicon Valley” were shut out of the nominations even though both programs reaped sky-high scores at Metacritic. “Sleepy Hollow,” by comparison, got nominated for Program of the Year even though TV critics only gave it a 64 score at Metacritic. Meantime, over at the rival Critics Choice TV Awards, “Masters of Sex” and “Silicon Valley” received multiple nominations. Bottom line: the TCA Awards voting process is seriously flawed and in desperate need of overhaul.
Memo to all TCA leaders: It’s time you considered dire changes and improvements. First of all, come out from hiding and stop hurling childish insults at other journalists if you don’t like what we say. We offer our critique constructively, the same way TV critics scrutinize TV programs, and we hope that you’ll take these thoughts to heart. A few years ago, we came down equally hard on the Critics’ Choice Awards and we’d like you to consider their response: President Joey Berlin discussed our views with his Board of Directors, they agreed with much of what we said and they made serious reforms. Today, Berlin says, the integrity of those awards is vastly improved by those changes.
Here at Gold Derby we love the TCA Awards. When you are at your best, you really nail it and we hail you for it. Some of your members and past officers participate at Gold Derby right now with their Emmy predictions and we consider many of them to be good friends. We’re baffled by the current attack by your organization’s leadership, but let’s hope this invites frank, open discussion that encourages you to make long-overdue changes desperately needed at TCA.
Below, please watch Part 2 of our video discussion of the TCA Awards and share these thoughts and suggestions with the full TCA membership. Or else listen to the podcast version here or at iTunes.