‘Rectify’: Critics’ Choice TV Awards breakthrough for SundanceTV drama?

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SundanceTV’s critically acclaimed drama “Rectify” has aired for three seasons but continues to fly under the radar at most award shows. It has never contended for any Emmys or Golden Globes. However, it continues to receive rave reviews and, as a result, has received high-profile recognition at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards with nominations for Best Drama Supporting Actress for Abigail Spencer in 2013 and Best Drama Actor for Aden Young in 2015. It aired its third season over the summer, and this could be the year it finally breaks through with a Best Drama Series bid – or even a win.

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That’s because of a change in the Critics’ Choice TV Awards calendar. Instead of being handed out in the spring to precede the Emmys, they will now be presented in the winter right alongside the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, starting this year.

But as the last Critics’ Choice TV Awards, held on May 31, already honored achievements from the first half of 2015, they’re only considering programming that has aired since June for this next round of awards. That means “The Americans,” which won Best Drama earlier this year, won’t be eligible. Neither will “Game of Thrones,” which subsequently swept the Emmys. “Justified” is out too, as is “Better Call Saul.” “The Good Wife” and “Empire” could both contend, but only for their material from the fall, not the spring.

That could open up the drama field to underdogs like “Rectify,” which aired its six-episode third season starting on July 9 and received more rave reviews (scoring 89 on MetaCritic and 100% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes). Consider some of these raves:

Alan Sepinwall (Hitfix): This is an amazing show, beautifully acted and simply beautiful to look at … with a keen appreciation for faith and family and community that eludes even some of TV’s more celebrated dramas.

Brian Lowry (Variety): “Rectify” has established itself as a trip worth taking, and for a discriminating few, at least, the protagonist’s slow road to redemption remains an utterly absorbing one.

James Poniewozik (Time): Creator Ray McKinnon has written a generous story, sweetened by luminous direction and Gabriel Mann’s hypnotic score. (Lest I make the series sound too somber, though, the new episodes also show that “Rectify” can be dryly funny.)

Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture): “Rectify” is such a quiet, patient series that it takes awhile to realize how radical its storytelling is. Near the end of season two it seemed to rethink itself, and the first couple of episodes of season three … suggest that the show is about to reinvent itself and shift its focus while trying to hold on to the qualities that made it so special – and frankly, peculiar.

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Photo Credit: James Minchin III/SundanceTV

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