Since long before television even came into prominence, the Peabody Awards have been there to dole out honors for distinguished and meritorious public service. Looking back over the list of TV winners, it’s hard to find a single significant program they missed. “The X-Files?” Check. “The Simpsons”? Yep. “Twin Peaks”? You bet. “Mad Men”? Of course. “The Office” Absolutely.
In 2015, nine new and well-deserving series earned a spot on that historical list. Indiewire, always striving to inform the public about the best series (old and new), has written much more than what’s listed below about each of these fine entries, but we thought it best to highlight a choice few articles spotlighting the chosen shows. Take a look for yourself, and tell us what you think of each show in the comments section.
[Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Pivot TV and their broadcast of the 74th Annual Peabody Awards, hosted by Fred Armisen, on Sunday, June 21 at 9e/6p. Find out more here.]
We couldn’t write enough about FX’s beautiful and subtle Cold War drama this spring, as the third season committed fully to the emotional reality of its complex premise.
The genius of the question lies within how much it entails. Most parents would say they’d do anything to protect their family, but Elizabeth and Philip have to face that question more often than traditional couples. Paige’s fate is tied to not only the future of both Russia and America, but her parents’ happiness and their marriage’s longevity. As he did for the first two seasons, Weisberg has crafted a scenario requiring a rapid reaction from all the characters involved, upping the stakes and elevating the repercussions, but one that does not diminish the possibility for bountiful returns.
While the critically acclaimed series comes from Britain, its allegorical deep dives into the impact that technology has had on our lives prove to be more than universal. Once it made its way to America, thanks to DirecTV and now Netflix, “Black Mirror” created a new fanbase obsessed with each stand-alone story.
As its title suggests, the terrific British anthology series “Black Mirror” is meant to offer a darker reflection of ourselves and where we are as a society as technology continues to shape our lives. The mirror in question isn’t just allegorical — it could also refer to the many shiny surfaces into which we peer on a regular basis — like that of, say, an iPhone or a flatscreen TV.
With a well-established career in British television (not to mention Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy), Martin Freeman might have been the last person you’d expect to show up in the Great White North wearing a parka and talking with a distinctive Minnesota drawl. And yet he was the dark, disturbing anchor of FX’s incredible miniseries, a performance which saw him nominated for multiple awards:
It was really nothing more than just the quality of the scripts that kept coming through. So every episode would just be enticing, surprising and funny and violent and it would kind of turn you off and turn you on at the same time.
“The Honorable Woman”
Maggie Gyllenhaal is just one of the many actors who have recently explored the opportunities to be found in the new television landscape, but she didn’t decide to star in the miniseries “The Honorable Woman” because it would be easy:
I didn’t decide to do it because it was a television show. In fact, in some ways, I was really disassociating that it was a television show or that it would be different or require something different of me. I just read the script they sent. It wasn’t until— well, I just remember, three days in, all of a sudden realizing that it was eight hours of drama that I was responsible for holding up, as opposed to two, and having a little panic in a way that I had a little cry in my trailer thinking, “Can I handle this?”
“Inside Amy Schumer” has become one of the most buzzed-about, award-worthy comedies on television this spring thanks to its fearless approach and technical excellence. Just one example: the third season’s brilliant parody of “12 Angry Men,” featuring an all-star cast and a ruthless attack on the way female attractiveness is discussed in our society. Indiewire spoke with co-creator Dan Powell about what went into bringing the episode together in a two-day shoot:
How much room did you leave for improv?
Not a ton, to be honest. In fact, that’s something that we definitely do on other sketches, but with this sketch in particular, Amy and the writing staff spent so much time trying to get the nuance of every line. And also keeping in mind that we only had two days to shoot this entire episode, which is really, really quick. And there were so many set-ups in trying to get the camera moves to really match the movie. We had to plow through pretty quickly. There wasn’t a lot of room for improv, although I will say that Kumail’s line in the episode at the end of Act Two, where he’s like, “So you just keep that on you in case any dildo arguments break out?” Kumail ad-libbed that.
How a Comedy Like ‘Jane the Virgin’ Inspires Social Discussion
Beyond its status as a charming and funny primetime soap, “Jane the Virgin” is one of television’s most powerful voices when it comes to a need for diversity in roles and stories told, as the cast and creator revealed during their first appearance at PaleyFest:
“I found an opportunity to really speak about a subject matter and talk about a culture that doesn’t really get recognized and definitely not as the hero,” Rodriguez said when asked about what drew her to the show. “It was an opportunity to talk about a woman, being strong, women’s choices, and talking about a dual identity that’s true for 54 million-plus people.”
“The Knick” might have been best known for the hands-on involvement of director Steven Soderbergh, but its creators, Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, wrote every episode of the series, which brought to life the story of 1900s New York.
What we found was we just had to write for ourselves. And that’s what we’ve done with every episode of “The Knick.” We’ve written probably six, seven hundred pages of it now, and I don’t think there’s a word of it that we wrote for the audience or for Steven [Soderbergh] or for Clive [Owen] or for the actors, as much as for what this show needed to be. And we are incredibly lucky. It’s like winning the lottery, getting Steven on board this thing. It elevates it to a level of mastery that we could never have imagined.
When HBO’s answer to “The Daily Show” launched last year, it was easy to assume that the show would be just that — a carbon copy of the landmark Comedy Central series. But host John Oliver and his team have truly made the format their own on a new, and groundbreaking, level:
The long-running joke about “The Daily Show” is that it’s where the kids get their news these days. “Last Week Tonight” dispenses entirely with that notion; it knows that any subject it covers will either be old to its viewership or completely unknown to them, and the way it’s risen to the challenges presented by that has created some really compelling segments.
You might not have heard of the SundanceTV drama when it first premiered, but that’s all right; Netflix is here to save the day:
It’s becoming like when iTunes first came out. We get to go snoop around and find something that appeals to our tastes. There’s certainly an audience for a show like “Rectify,” and now there’s more opportunities for people to find it. That’s great. It’s surprising. I mean, I’m kind of in a myopic world in an editing room for 12 to 14 hours a day, and it’s a little bit surreal to hear people are watching this show that a guy from Adell, Georgia thought up one day. If you put it out there, someone is liable to watch it!
READ MORE: ‘Fargo’ Creator Noah Hawley Reacts to Peabody Win, Loves ‘The Americans’ (So You Should, Too)
[Editor’s Note: This post is presented in partnership with Pivot TV and their broadcast of the 74th Annual Peabody Awards. Hosted by Fred Armisen, the 74th Annual Peabody Awards on Pivot is a special TV event that celebrates excellence in media and stories that matter on Sunday, June 21 at 9e/6p. This year’s winners include Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Inside Amy Schumer, The Americans, Fargo, Serial, and more.]