This morning, the Television Critics Association announced the nominees for its 2012 TCA Awards, the TV awards ceremony you should really, truly care about, since it’s the one in which several contributors to The A.V. Club have a say. Unsurprisingly, the members of the TCA liked the shows that were generally well received by television critics during the 2011-2012 television season (and whatever news program or TV movie happened to be on in the background while they were filling out their ballots), with Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Game Of Thrones each notching nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year, in addition to individual nods for the work of Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, and Peter Dinklage—a a theoretical Mexican standoff that rates an automatic “A” in the TV Club books.

Despite wrapping up what many in the TCA heralded as “the year of comedy,” drama dominates the Program of the Year category, with Homeland and Downton Abbey keeping the awards’ highest honor out of the hands of Outstanding Achievement in Comedy contenders The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Modern Family, Parks And Recreation, and Community—the mention of which hereby provides you a moment to gripe about an unwanted notification that has little to do with the show, as well as the continued dismissal of the Greendale Seven’s considerable acting chops. By virtue of being freshman series with strong performances by their female leads, Homeland and Girls received the most nominations of any series, thus giving the people who make both shows four chances at having a physical representation of all the nice things people have said about them in the press.


In terms of surprise nods and/or snubs: Jessica Lange’s delectably over-the-top performance in the first season of American Horror Story boosted the actress into consideration for Individual Achievement in Drama. That nomination absolves the TCA member writing this sentence of his guilt for adding to the pile of Jon Hamm and Claire Danes nominations, rather than going with his gut and honoring Lange for being the only reason to watch American Horror Story. (Additional special thanks to whoever realized that Twin Peaks hasn’t won the retrospective Heritage Award yet.) And in the all-important category of Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming, Todd VanDerWerff’s personal campaign on behalf of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic wasn’t enough to trump perennial favorites like Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba!—we’re trying to find the best, most chipper melody with which to break the bad news. Also, if you’re looking for a statement on the quality of this year’s crop of new shows, consider that a group of professional critics couldn’t even come up with a list that didn’t include Smash. The full roster of nominees follows:

Individual Achievement in Drama

Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, AMC)

Claire Danes (Homeland, Showtime)

Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones, HBO)

Jon Hamm (Mad Men, AMC)

Jessica Lange (American Horror Story, FX)

Individual Achievement in Comedy

Louis C.K. (Louie, FX)

Lena Dunham (Girls, HBO)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep, HBO)

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory, CBS)

Amy Poehler (Parks And Recreation, NBC)

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information

Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)

The Daily Show (Comedy Central)

Frontline (PBS)

60 Minutes (CBS)

The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming

The Amazing Race (CBS)

Dancing With The Stars (ABC)

The Glee Project (Oxygen)

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)

The Voice (NBC)

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming

iCarly (Nickelodeon)

Phineas And Ferb (Disney)

Sesame Street (PBS)

Switched At Birth (ABC Family)

Yo Gabba Gabba! (Nick Jr.)

Outstanding New Program

Girls (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

New Girl (Fox)

Revenge (ABC)

Smash (NBC)

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials

Downton Abbey: Masterpiece (PBS)

Game Change (HBO)

Hatfields & McCoys (History)

Hemingway & Gellhorn (HBO)

Sherlock: Masterpiece (PBS)

Outstanding Achievement in Drama

Breaking Bad (AMC)

Game Of Thrones (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

Justified (FX)

Mad Men (AMC)

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Community (NBC)

Louie (FX)

Modern Family (ABC)

Parks And Recreation (NBC)

Career Achievement Award

Dick Clark

Andy Griffith

David Letterman

Regis Philbin

William Shatner

Heritage Award

Cheers (NBC)

Lost (ABC)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Star Trek (NBC)

Twin Peaks (ABC)

Program of the Year

Breaking Bad (AMC)

Game Of Thrones (HBO)

Homeland (Showtime)

Mad Men (AMC)

 Downton Abbey: Masterpiece (PBS)