Dear ASTRAs, please fix your categories before next year’s awards?

ASTRAs 114It’s just as well Tangle won the Drama category at the ASTRA Awards last week.

It could have lost out to The Walking Dead and that would have been pretty embarrassing to the local industry.

But it begs the question: what the hell were they doing in the same category anyway? I thought the point of ASTRAs was to recognise achievement in the Australian subscription TV industry?

Tangle was nominated alongside just 1 other local drama production in 2012 Dripping in Chocolate (UKTV) plus The Walking Dead Season 3 (FX Channel) and Justified (FX Channel) both from the US. I can only conclude that this was to try and disguise the fact it was a light year in local drama. But this is not the answer.

Australian drama should be separated from international dramas that have huge budgets and production values compared to ours. What’s next, Wentworth vs Game of Thrones?

If there is only 1 candidate then a better option would be “One nominee, to be announced on the night” just as the Australian Writer’s Guild does.

The children’s category also included a mix of local and international productions: Mind Over Maddie (Disney Channel), Didi and B (Nick Jr.), Adventure Time – season 4 (Cartoon Network). Meanwhile Conspiracy 365 was ignored. It may not have been the most sophisticated family drama, but at least it employed Australians.

Meanwhile we still have all the Favourite categories being shortlisted by ASTRA judges. This differs markedly from Logies which has a two stage process where viewers get to shortlist the Popular nominees. I doubt viewers would really have nominated Deborah Hutton in the Favourite Female category as a co-host of the Foxtel Movie Show. It only aired for less than a month last year. But maybe there’s something to be read into her also being ASTRA host for the night?

And while Abalone Wars may be a well made doco series, I’m also not so sure it really deserved to make the cut in Favourite Australian Program.

Since the start of 2012 Hutton has been mentioned in reader comments on this site just once (in response to her announcement as host) and Abalone Wars has 2 comments.

Meanwhile next year the ASTRAs will have to decide if Top of the Lake is eligible alongside local dramas. It was made in NZ but with money from BBC Australasia. That means Elisabeth Moss, currently in the running for an Emmy for her performance, could effectively knock out some of the Wentworth women.

But I will finish on a positive. It was great to see a Lifetime Achievement category added, and Bill Collins a very worthy recipient. Brian Walsh should be on next year’s shortlist.


  1. I would recommend that a minimum of 3 nominations are required b4 any award is made. Just because something is the ‘last man standing’ does not justify an award.

  2. Well said, David. I agree with everything said.

    I also like the idea that if it is a ”quiet year” in Aussie content, then announce the nomination / winner on the night.

  3. Couldn’t agree more David! Needs to be a clear distinction between local and overseas programming categories otherwise our local productions can miss out on the credit they deserve.

  4. I feel the same way about journalists who write the best and worst lists of each year, comparing 10M per ep US dramas with low budget Aussie shows like Please Marry My Boy.

    Makes no sense.

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