Lifetime's cult hit "UnReal" entered the mainstream Monday when the Critics Choice TV Awards nominated it for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actress (Shiri Appleby) and Best Drama Supporting Actress (Constance Zimmer). This fan-favorite series takes place behind the scenes of a "Bachelor"-like reality show and had social media buzzing when it aired last summer. And now the Broadcast TV Journalists Association have given "UnReal" its official stamp of approval.
The inaugural season of "UnReal" merits a jaw-dropping 98% at Rotten Tomatoes and an impressive 78 at Metacritic, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to see it nominated for three Critics' Choice Awards despite being shut out of last week's Golden Globes and SAG Awards.
Also in its favor is the fact that many of last year's nominees and winners were not considered because of the change in the Critics' Choice TV eligibility period. As the most recent kudos already honored achievements from the first half of 2015, only programming that aired between June and December were eligible for this round of awards.
Created by Marti Noxon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro ("The Bachelor") based on Shapiro's short film "Sequin Raze," "UnReal" details the manipulation that goes on in the reality television industry through the guise of a fictional dating show called "Everlasting."
Appleby plays the feminist producer who hates what she does but is just so darn good at it, while Zimmer is the show's bottom-feeding executive producer. Craig Bierko also stars as the creator of "Everlasting" who cares more about ratings — and drugs — than integrity. Lifetime aired 10 episodes this summer and will return for Season 2 in 2016.
"UnReal's" competitors for Best Drama Series at the Critics' Choice Awards are "Empire" (Fox), "Mr. Robot" (USA), "Penny Dreadful" (HBO), "Rectify" (SundanceTV), "The Knick" (Cinemax) and "The Leftovers" (HBO).
For Best Drama Actress, Appleby faces off against Carrie Coon ("The Leftovers"), Viola Davis ("How to Get Away with Murder"), Eva Green ("Penny Dreadful"), Taraji P. Henson ("Empire") and Krysten Ritter ("Jessica Jones").
And in the race for Best Drama Supporting Actress, Zimmer battles Ann Dowd ("The Leftovers"), Regina King ("The Leftovers"), Helen McCrory ("Penny Dreadful"), Hayden Panettiere ("Nashville") and Maura Tierney ("The Affair").
Photo Credits: Joseph Viles/Lifetime