TVT Critics’ Choice Awards 2014

Aussie TV critics pick the year's best in Drama, Comedy, Reality -and a few turkeys too.

2014-12-21_1309TV Tonight has once again asked some of the country’s top television critics and commentators to pick their best (and worst) television for the year.

There was agreement on several genres: it was a three way tussle for Best Aussie Drama, ABC dominated Comedy and TEN dominated Reality.

… but what happened when they were asked to identify the Annual Trends of the Year? See below.

The critics are:

AM: Andrew Mercado, TV Historian
MH: Melinda Houston, Sunday Age
DS: Debbie Schipp, News Corp
EM: Erin McWhirter, TV Week
DE: Debi Enker, The Age
ML: Michael Lallo, The Age
GB: Graeme Blundell, The Australian
JM: James Manning, Media Week
DK: David Knox, TV Tonight.


“I loved Party Tricks but for complex plotting, eye-popping production – and a multi-racial cast – my vote has to go to The Code” -Melinda Houston.
AM: Devil’s Playground
MH: The Code
DS: INXS: Never Tear Us Apart / The Code (tie)
EM: INXS: Never Tear Us Apart
DE: Devil’s Playground
ML: Devil’s Playground
GB: The Code
JM: INXS: Never Tear Us Apart
DK: The Code



BEST AUSSIE COMEDY: Please Like Me / Utopia (ABC)
“Utopia: beautifully observed satire from Working Dog about the dysfunction of bureaucracy and government that gets funnier with every viewing.” – Debi Enker.
“I’d give it to Please Like Me for one episode alone, a two hander between mother and son in the Tassie wilderness. Funny, vulnerable, with eye-catching landscapes, strong performances and sensitive direction. Nobody else is making comedy like this.” -David Knox.
AM: Black Comedy
MH: Black Comedy
DS: It’s A Date
EM: Upper Middle Bogan
DE: Utopia
ML: Please Like Me / Utopia (tie)
GB: Utopia
JM: Please Like Me
DK: Please Like Me

AM: Studio 10
MH: The Checkout
DS: The Project
DE: Kitchen Cabinet
ML: Spicks and Specks
GB: Dancing with the Stars
JM: Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell
DK: Friday Night Crack Up


BEST AUSSIE REALITY: MasterChef Australia, TEN.
“MasterChef: went back to basics and got itself cooking again,” -Debi Enker.
MH: MasterChef Australia
DS: The Bachelor Australia
EM: The Bachelor Australia
DE: MasterChef Australia
ML: The Bachelor Australia
GB: MasterChef Australia
JM: MasterChef Australia / The Block
DK: MasterChef Australia


“Utterly captivating and groundbreaking look at Aussies in trouble in Thailand. No-nonsense. Trudy McGowan was awesome both at her job and as TV talent.” -Debbie Schipp.
AM: Countdown Do Yourself a Favour
MH: Changing Minds
DS: The Embassy
EM: The Embassy
DE: The Embassy
ML: Insiders
GB: The War that Made Us
JM: The Embassy
DK: Changing Minds


BEST OF PAY TV (Aussie): Wentworth, SoHo.
“Pamela Rabe doesn’t like being singled out from Wentworth’s outstanding ensemble but the arrival of The Freak electrified an already sizzling Aussie drama,” Andrew Mercado.
AM: Wentworth
MH: River Cottage Australia
DS: Wentworth
EM: Devil’s Playground
DE: AFL 360
ML: The Real Housewives of Melbourne
GB: Grand Designs Australia
JM: The Recruit
DK: Wentworth

True Detective

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHOW: True Detective, Showcase / The Good Wife, TEN
“True Detective – brilliant, harrowing, literary as well as highly cinematic,” Graeme Blundell.
“The Good Wife, Ten. Television’s most superb drama. I’m talking free-to-air and cable, both local and international,” Michael Lallo.
AM: The Village
MH: Game of Thrones
DS: Ray Donovan
EM: The Missing
DE: The Good Wife
ML: The Good Wife
GB: True Detective
JM: Happy Valley
DK: True Detective


HIDDEN GEM OF THE YEAR (Aussie or international): Homeland, TEN
“After a terrible third season the fourth season of this thriller has offered up twists in spades. With a cliff-hanger every episode, Homeland is back,” Erin McWhirter.
AM: Hollyoaks
MH: Broad City
DS: Puberty Blues
EM: Homeland
DE: Please Like Me
ML: Masters of Sex
GB: The Gods of Wheat Street
JM: Homeland
DK: The Normal Heart


Wake Up - Tarsh, Tony Abbott, James

DOG OF THE YEAR: Young Lazy and Driving Us Crazy, Seven / Wake Up, TEN.
“Young, Lazy and Driving Us Crazy, Seven. A lazy reinforcement of yoof-of-today cliches,” Michael Lallo.
“Wake Up. The less said the better,” Debbie Schipp
AM: Bringing Sexy Back
MH: Young, Lazy and Driving Us Crazy
DS: Wake Up
EM: Wake Up
ML: Young, Lazy and Driving Us Crazy
GB: The Bachelor Australia
JM: The Big Adventure
DK: I Wanna Marry Harry


MOST OVER-HYPED: Bringing Sexy Back, Seven
MH: Secrets and Lies
DS: Bringing Sexy Back
EM: Bringing Sexy Back
DE: Real Housewives of Melbourne, My Kitchen Rules, The X Factor (tie)
ML: The Newsroom
GB: The Bachelor Australia
JM: Gotham
DK: Resurrection

STARS OF THE YEAR: Ashley Zukerman, Marta Dusseldorp, Luke Arnold, Matthew McConaughey, James Nesbitt, Sarah Lancashire.
MH: Asher Keddie. Again. Dan Spielman just in the one show, but what a show! (And what a performance!).
DS: Luke Arnold (INXS). Ashley Zukerman in The Code.
EM: Luke Arnold (INXS: Never Tear Us Apart), Ashley Zukerman (The Code), Jessica Marais (Love Child, Carlotta), Patrick Brammall (Moodys, Upper Middle Bogan, Offspring).
DE: Sarah Ferguson.
ML: Karl Stefanovic. Gained global attention after telling Fairfax about his suit-based sexism test – then uses this to highlight shocking partner violence statistics and raise money for White Ribbon.
GB: Has to be Marta Dusseldorp who has become one of our great actresses, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson hard to beat as outstanding actors, Clive Owen too but James Nesbitt in The Missing a late contender.
JM: Sarah Lancashire, James Nesbitt.
DK: Marta Dusseldorp, Ashley Zukerman, Sarah Lancashire, Matthew McConaughey, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Samantha Armytage, Pamela Rabe.

Lastly, the critics were also asked to identify the Annual Trends for 2014.

The answers that came back were almost universal -and it’s not good. You can discover what got up their nose, tomorrow.

8 Responses

  1. What’s this then slut? I watched and re-watched Black Comedy and loved it. Yes, some of it was hit and miss but he hits were dangerous and edgy and the guest stars (particularly Brooke Satchwell) were hilarious

  2. Masters of Sex is definately a hiden gem, loved it. Turkeys of the year would be Secrets and Lies and Fat Tony and Co, (with me being the biggest turkey for sitting through every episode of them).

  3. The Good Wife is outstanding. I still can’t believe that they manage to do 22 episodes a season and still keep the quality so high. I suspect most of the glorified cable shows would fall flat with a demand of that many episodes.

  4. Could not agree more in regards to The Good Wife and Homeland in their respective categories. I also agree with Michael Lallo that Masters of Sex is definitely equally strong in the Hidden Gem category (if I wasn’t learning about sexual dysfunction at uni when the series premiered I never would have given it a look, but god am I thankful that I did as I’m totally hooked!). In regards to Aussie Light Entertainment I would definitely go with The Project, HYBPA? & The Living Room. It is terrific to see that although TEN is the underdog it still offers quality content.

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