Despite the numerous remakes, sequels, prequels and reboots causing a backlash these days, just about everyone can agree on one thing: Noah Hawley’s TV adaptation of “Fargo” was excellent. Early Thursday morning at the University of Georgia, the 18-member Peabody Board confirmed that not only was the movie-to-TV transformation excellent, but also meritorious, by giving it and eight other programs their prestigious award.
A full list of winners can be found below, but earlier today Indiewire caught up with Hawley to ask him about the honor.
“It never gets old to get recognition,” Hawley said. “I have no illusions that it’s easy — with 300-plus television shows, new networks seeming to spring up overnight, with fabulous filmmakers; the fact that we’ve had such universal acclaim is humbling.”
“Certainly for an award like this — which isn’t just an industry award, but indicates a certain level of cultural impact — you begin to think that possibly people might remember the show for years to come.”
When asked if he was a fan of any of the other winning series, which included “Jane the Virgin” and “The Knick,” Hawley said, “I love seeing ‘The Americans’ get the acclaim that it’s getting. And I’ve said before I love John Oliver’s show, I love that he got it. Like anything you look at the list and there are shows you wish were on it. It’s just great to be considered with everybody who’s up there.”
“It’s a statement to the cultural impact of the show and the fact that these shows are not just entertainment and that, I mean, they can address historical periods and social issues and character struggles that are more universal and worth exploring in a dramatic way,” Hawley continued. “‘Downton Abbey’ didn’t have the impact it had just because it was a good story about people. It was something about that period and that world that was fascinating to people on a level that wasn’t just as an entertainment. I think that’s the idea that’s most rewarding; that idea that we’re having this level of impact that’s not just that we made people on a Tuesday night for a half-an-hour.”
When announcing the awards, the Peabody Board of Judges also provided reasoning for why they chose the shows they did. For “Fargo,” the official statement read: “‘Fargo,’ the series, boasts the same snow-swept backdrop and dark, deadpan ambience as the Oscar-winning movie but tells a different, more complicated story. Its villain, Billy Bob Thornton’s mischievous, murderous, charismatic Lorne Malvo, is a character worthy of Norse mythology.”
When asked what the message of “Fargo” Season 1 was that connected so well with the Peabody Awards, Hawley said, “I like the idea that in some ways we’re focused more on basic human decency than on good versus evil in capital letters; this idea that we’re looking at these larger morality tales in a way that is not storied and heightened, that people can’t put themselves into these characters. We’re looking at the world as it is, just with a sort of Coen Brothers-esque eye.”
Below is the full list of winners, along with the Peabody organization’s explanations for each selection.
“The Americans” (FX)
Fox Television Studios and FX Productions.
In this ingenious, addictive cliffhanger, Reagan-era Soviet spies – married with children and a seemingly endless supply of wigs — operate out of a lovely 3BR home in a suburb of Washington, D.C. Between their nail-biter missions (and sometimes in the midst of them), the series contemplates duty, honor, parental responsibility, fidelity, both nationalistic and marital, and what it means to be an American.
“Black Mirror” (Channel 4)
This cinematically arresting, brilliantly written series from England is an anthology of dark-side tales – dark as a black hole. If its narrative shocks don’t wreck your sleep pattern, its moral conundrums will.
MGM and FX Productions.
“Fargo,” the series, boasts the same snow-swept backdrop and dark, deadpan ambience as the Oscar-winning movie but tells a different, more complicated story. Its villain, Billy Bob Thornton’s mischievous, murderous, charismatic Lorne Malvo, is a character worthy of Norse mythology.
“The Honorable Woman” (Sundance TV)
BBC Worldwide, Drama Republic, Eight Rooks Productions, Sundance Channel.
A visually rich, densely-plotted thriller set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it suggests complexities and age-old vendettas that often escape even the best documentaries, to say nothing of the evening news.
“Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central)
Jax Media LLC.
Schumer’s wholesome, disarming “Brady Bunch” looks belie and enhance a comic intelligence that’s smart, distinctively female and amiably profane, whether she’s applying it to sketch comedy, stand-up, or person-on-the-street interviews.
“Jane the Virgin” (The CW)
Eye Productions Inc., CBS Television Studios Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Electus; RCTV; Poppy Productions.
Immaculately conceived, it’s a smart, self-aware telenovela that knows when and how to wink at itself. Its Latina lead, Gina Rodriguez, is incandescent.
“The Knick” (Cinemax)
Cinemax Entertainment in association with Ambeg Productions, Anonymous Contend and Extension 765.
Graphic, gripping, unapologetically grisly when it has to be, this lavish historical drama masterfully dissects surgical experimentation, doctors’ egos, race relations and socials mores in the New York City of 100 years ago. It gives new meaning to the term “operating theater.”
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television.
A most worthy addition to the news-as-comedy genre, “Last Week Tonight” doesn’t just satirize the previous week’s news, it engages in fresh, feisty investigative reports that “real” news programs would do well to emulate.
“Rectify” (Sundance TV)Gran Via Productions, Zip Works.
A powerful, subtle dramatic series about a death-row inmate freed after nearly two decades thanks to new DNA evidence, it ponders whether what’s been lost can ever be repaid, not just to him but to everyone he and his alleged crimes touched.