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West Wing and Other Quality Shows Receive Recognition

by RonChusid

On rare occasions, quality wins out on television:

Two recently departed NBC programs, White House drama “The West Wing” and gay-themed comedy “Will & Grace,” picked up bids for the TCA’s Heritage Award, which recognizes long-running programs of lasting cultural or social impact.

The third Heritage nominee was the CBS drama anthology “Hallmark Hall of Fame.”

Winners of the TCA Awards, which are decided by critics rather than television industry members who vote on the Emmys, will be announced July 23 in Pasadena, California. . .

Other shows nominated as the most outstanding newcomers were HBO’s polygamist family tale “Big Love,” UPN’s Chris Rock-inspired sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” Comedy Central’s political satire “The Colbert Report” and Fox jailhouse drama “Prison Break.

Rounding out the competition for program of the year are two hot ABC series — medical melodrama “Grey’s Anatomy” and castaway mystery “Lost” — along with HBO mob family saga “The Sopranos” and the Fox espionage thriller “24.” . . .

“M*A*S*H” veteran Alan Alda also drew a nod for his role as the Republican senator who loses the hard-fought race for president on the final season of “The West Wing.” . . .

In another sign that critical acclaim is often at odds with the Nielsens, some of the season’s most popular dramas and comedies were snubbed by the TCA, including CBS powerhouses “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Two and a Half Men.”

6 Responses to “West Wing and Other Quality Shows Receive Recognition”

  1. What, no Gilmore Girls? ;-) I’ve read about the great dialog on this show for years, but am only now catching up with re-runs.

    And can I say, I still miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer. THAT was a show for the ages.

  2. Woulda loved to see BtVS and the Scoobies take on the current misAdministration.

  3. KJ,

    At least Gilmore Girls will be around for one more year. The question is how good it will be without Amy Sherman-Paladino. It took West Wing a good year to recover from the loss of Sorkin. Going into what is probably its last season I don’t know if Gilmore Girls can recover in time.

  4. Ron, there are too many shows I’ve enjoyed that for various reasons had pretty lousy last seasons. I think we both agree that The West Wing had more than hit its second wind when it ended. At least with the Gilmore Girls, I came in late and am less invested, although I love the characters… Marion Ross as Rory’s greatgrandmother had me rolling on the floor. What was the line? “I’ve eaten meals in Thailand and not had dessert.” Can’t remember exactly, but Marion delivered that line so well I tivoed it back three times. Just perfect.

  5. KJ,

    West Wing was by far at its best with Sorkin. It dropped considerably the first year he was gone. Then it did improve. It never reached the quality of the Sorkin years but was a good show again by the end.

    Gilmore Girls was at its best the first couple of seasons, but remained a good show beyond that. It gets weaker when the two main characters are separated as their interaction is the best part of the show. When Rory when off to college it took a little time to get the show working again, and it went downhill again in the first half of this season when the two were feuding.

    In both the case of West Wing and Gilmore Girls, even when they aren’t at their best they are still much better than most shows on television.

    On problem we have with American network television is that shows are made based upon filling up season after season until the show dies. British shows, as well as shows on HBO and Showtime have an advantage in that they have shorter seasons and they don’t have to stretch as hard to fill up every week. They also don’t try to keep the show running beyond the point where it is successful and shows like Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, and probably Sopranos are all able to end with excellent final seasons.

  6. I’m watching the 2001 season of the Gilmore Girls, which I gather is the first season, but caught a 2006 episode last night. Thought there was a real difference in the banter, mood and tone, much more of a downer, but didn’t know in what happened or why it didn’t seem as light as the 2001 shows. Might have been the Rory going off to college thing. The year Buffy made the transition to college from high school was a bit of an odd year in that show as well. Well, except for Spike. The character Spike was the best of the lot and was acted extremely well by James Marsters.