The Peabody Awards are among the most prestigious in media, and Thursday came the announcement of the nine television shows that made the list for 2014.
The shows that received Peabody Awards:
- The Americans (FX)
- Black Mirror (Channel 4)
- Fargo (FX)
- The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)
- Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
- Jane The Virgin (The CW)
- The Knick (Cinemax)
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
- Rectify (SundanceTV)
The shows consist largely of dramas, but it also includes the telenovela dramedy, "Jane The Virgin," as well as the sketch comedy show "Inside Amy Schumer" and HBO's weekly comedic dissection of the news, "Last Week Tonight." It also features the unique anthology series "Black Mirror," a drama that combines "The Twilight Zone" with technology for a grim look at sci-fi futures.
NPR TV critic Eric Deggans was on the Peabody Awards jury and he told The Frame about the selection process.
"We're looking for the best electronic media that's surfaced in mainstream media in 2014. So that's a pretty wide mandate," Deggans said.
He added that the jury was looking for programs that are pushing boundaries: "The show is doing something unique. There is more to the stories that are being told than just the plot — that they're speaking to larger issues in society and that they are doing something that is sort of landmark."
An example cited by Deggans was "Jane The Virgin."
"This is a show that features three generations of Latinas living in one household," he said. "It has sort of soap opera-style elements, but it's funny, and it's dramatic. And it has great depictions of women, it has great depictions of social issues, class issues, and it's one of the best new series focused on a Hispanic cast."
Deggans also said the jury awarded shows that look at modern issues, reflect diversity, and exhibit excellence.
"There's a sense that they're singularly great in a way that's hard to deny," Deggans said.
What does winning a Peabody do for the shows that are honored?
"I think getting a Peabody Award can help a show that is trying to get more visibility, that is trying to get viewers to give it a chance, that maybe is trying something that's difficult and not as easy for people to understand at first blush," Deggans said.
He noted that one such show was "Rectify," which may not have grabbed an audience with one episode, and maybe a Peabody can get listeners to give shows like that a few more episodes.