Movies & TV / Columns

Two Tivos To Paradise: The 10th Annual Norty Awards

September 17, 2016 | Posted by Al Norton

Hello friends; what’s good? I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful summer and that your fantasy football teams are all 1-0. The twins just turned 8 and started 3rd grade; it blows my mind that when I started writing TTTP I wasn’t yet a Dad because remembering any sort of pre-parenting portion of my life is extremely difficult. As a reminder, while we only appear here at 411Mania a few times a year – for the big stuff – we are 24/7 on Facebook; if you want to stay up to date on all thing TV while sharing your views in a snarkportive environment (snarky yet still supportive), find us at Al Norton’s Two Tivos To Paradise (click “Like” and join the community!!!).

Can we pause for a moment to recognize the glory of the word I just created?!?! I need to trademark “snarkportive” ASAP!

What are some of my favorite new shows premiering over the next few weeks? Glad you asked…Let’s start with ABC’s Designated Survivor, which strives – and mostly succeeds – in being a thinking person’s thriller…

NBC’s The Good Place has a great cast to go with some strong writing and it stars not one but TWO TTTP faves…

I have no idea if The CW’s No Tomorrow will be able to keep up the wild charm of the pilot but I am looking forward to finding out…

Fox’s Pitch is pretty well done, with some great work from Mark-Paul Gosselaar…

I am not really sure Pure Genius will turn into a good show but since Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, About A Boy) is involved, I will give it every chance to prove itself…

Send my news to your new newser, treat her better.

How About A Round Of Applause, A Standing Ovation
It’s time for TENTH annual Norty Awards, the Two Tivos To Paradise version of the Emmys. Who would have thought that a decade ago, when I decided to do my picks for the best on TV, that we’d end up here, with a top notch host and a ton of winners stopping by to accept their awards?!?! Not me, that’s for sure, but I am thrilled that so many have as much fun with this as I do!

Before we get started, let me give my standard opening… I want to make sure and get across that these are the performers and series I think were the best in each category for the 2015-2016 TV season. I don’t in any way mean to imply my picks are more or less right than anyone else’s but I will put my research/hours put in up against anyone in terms of time spent creating an informed opinion. Are you going to agree with all my choices? Hells to the no, and I wouldn’t agree with all of yours, either. In the interest of quality civil discourse, please use the comments section below to tell me what/who you would have like to have seen recognized that was not. I am hoping for less “…lost all credibility” and “epic fail” and more “here are my picks.”

Now, it’s a true thrill to welcome back to the TTTP stage for his THIRD time as host of The Norty Awards, the very funny and talented co-host of American Ninja Warrior, please give it up for perhaps the nicest guy in the business, Matt Iseman…

It’s truly an honor to return as the host of the 10th annual Norty Awards! Even better to stand up here with the Norty Award that American Ninja Warrior won last year as the BEST SERIES, REALITY COMPETITION. Amazing to have this life-sized, solid gold statue of Al Norton…. it’s weird how his eyes seem to follow me wherever I go. And they’re always open. I guess that’s how he watches so much TV.

But this is an amazing time to be watching television. It truly is the Golden Era and I’m not just saying that because I’m nominated as BEST HOST. Did you hear that James Corden? I’m nominated, too. And I like to sing in my car with Lady Gaga. Someday, she’ll actually be there (I REALLY need to win the Norty. And learn how to sing). Sorry, enough about me. My point is, there has never been TV this good and this abundant. It wasn’t that long ago that you had 3, maybe 4 channels to choose from on your couch. Now, 24 different “channels” have provided Norty-nominated fare. TV is nailing it. And TV knows it. Seriously…. Masters of Sex, the Big Bang Theory, The Grinder??? I feel like the crew from @midnight has been coming up with TV show names.

But shows can only be as good as their talent and for proof on the incredible range of the talent nominated for Best Performances in a Drama THIS year, many of them could’ve been nominated for Best Performances in a Comedy from the 80s. Seriously:
Michael J. Fox in Family Ties; Alan Alda in M*A*S*H; Laurie Metcalfe in Roseanne; Rob Morrow Northern Exposure; Hank Azaria on the Simpsons. They were making people laugh so long ago, Tyrion Lannister used to crash, the afterparties. Now, decades later, they can all make people cry. I feel like Bill Hader & Fred Armisen need to tell their stories on Documentary Now.
But, perhaps even more impressively, Andre Braugher did the opposite. He went from Homicide to hilarity as the Captain on Brooklyn 99.

Speaking of homicide, the People vs OJ Simpson slayed it. While I cannot shake the thought of Ross Gellar as the patriarch of the Kardashians, Sarah Paulson was eerily good as Marcia Clarke. So good, that Sarah will probably win… which is ironic, if you think about it. Allison Janney continues to pull double duty on Mom and Masters of Sex and we all feel dirtier after reading that. Larry David got here on the strength of his Bernie Sanders impersonation on SNL. It was almost impossible to tell them apart. Here’s a hint, Larry’s the one with a nomination. But he’s not the only Seinfeld vet here tonight and I feel like Julia Louis-Dreyfus rubs it in even more for Bernie. Not only did she made it to the White House on Veep, she got a Norty Nomination. Yes, Jerry Seinfeld ended up his car getting coffee with comedians. But he got a nomination as well. I guess the Seinfeld curse is over (my guess is Jason Alexander will guest star on the final season of Game of Thrones).

Anna Chlumsky is so funny on Veep that she actually FINALLY gave me closure from Macaulay Culkin being stung to death by bees at the end of My Girl. That movie is why I watch TV. No shock that Tina Fey got nominated for her guest performance on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Wonder who she had to sleep with to get that incredibly well-written part? I feel like there’s a Masters of Sex joke to be made there. Actually, I think Aziz Ansari already made it as the Master of None. Okay, maybe it was my girlfriend who made that joke about me.

Good to see Louie Anderson being hilarious on Baskets and doing his part to show that people named Louie are hilarious on FX. Pretty sure next year will see a FX put out a single camera comedy on Satchmo. It’s amazing to see that Tatiana Mislay is nominated once again. She should never be nominated once. She should be nominated 37 times. It’s like she’s doing a one woman show of Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor.

For the Readers Choice, people choose Super Heroes like Daredevil, the Flash, Jessica Jones and Adam Goldberg (his superpower is taking me back to my childhood… it’s a great superpower). Superhero shows are really cropping up everywhere and I think the most impressive super power I’ve seen? Carrying the CW. Heyyyo.

UnREAL is a real fake show about a fake real show that is really good while Mr. Robot is a really good show where you can’t tell what is real and what is fake. Everything in Game of Thrones is fake but really good. But I’m most impressed by perhaps my favorite new show, Billions. It’s so good that one show gave TWO best Lead Actors. TWO!!! Bobby Axe really does get whatever he wants. I really should’ve paid attention during those econ classes. But, as a history major in college, I love Drunk History. I don’t know how I didn’t come up with the show as I lived it for four years. Perhaps that’s why I’m a host. Anyway, I just want to say congratulations to all the nominees, you’re all winners in my book. Alas, Al Norton’s book is the one that matters. So, with that, let’s find out who are the winners of this year’s Norty Awards!

And now on to the awards themselves…

BEST GUEST PERFORMANCE, DRAMA
Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Michael J Fox, The Good Wife (CBS)
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Margo Martindale, The Americans (FX)
Laurie Metcalf, Horace and Pete
Rob Morrow, Billions (Showtime)

Previous Winners: 2015: Walton Goggins, Sons of Anarchy; 2014: Walton Goggins, Sons of Anarchy; 2013: Walton Goggins Sons of Anarchy

WINNER: Laurie Metcalf, Horace and Pete. The opening 10 minutes of the third episode of Horace and Pete was literally all Metcalf, and the rest of the hour continued the tour-de-force. Worth the cost to seek out this career highlight from an actress who came in to the role with an already impressive resume.

BEST GUEST PERFORMANCE, COMEDY
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Larry David, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Timothy Olyphant, The Grinder (Fox)
Paul F Tompkins, @midnight (Comedy Central)
Bradley Whitford, Transparent (Amazon)

Previous Winners: 2015: Ron Funches, @midnight; 2014: Ron Funches, @midnight; 2013: Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

WINNER: Timothy Olyphant, The Grinder. I knew Olyphant could handle comedy but he threw himself into this self-deprecating version of himself with such glee and gusto that I am now convinced there’s really nothing he can’t do.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Louie Anderson, Baskets (FX)
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Ty Burrell, Modern Family (Fox)
Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin (The CW)
Hugh Laurie, Veep (HBO)

Previous Winners: 2015: Timothy Omundson, Galavant; 2014, Terry Crews, Brooklyn Nine-Nine; 2013: Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; 2012: Max Greenfield, New Girl; 2011: Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; 2010: Danny Pudi, Community; 2009: Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother; 2008: Chi McBride, Pushing Daisies; 2007: Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother

WINNER: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Not only is Braugher’s deadpan straight face one of the funniest things on TV, he’s also added depth to it – this is not a one note performance – and it’s clear he’s had a direct impact on the rest of the cast, in particular Andy Samberg, who is so much better than he was at the start. At this point when you submit Braugher’s work on Homicide: Life on the Street, Thief, Men of a Certain Age, and now Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s really undeniable that he’s the best TV has had to offer over the last 20 years.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
Anna Chlumsky, Veep (HBO)
Kether Donohue, You’re The Worst (FXX)
Sarah Hyland, Modern Family (ABC)
Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Previous Winners: 2015: Anna Chlumsky, Veep, 2014: Cristin Milioti, How I Met Your Mother; 2013: Eden Sher, The Middle; 2012: Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory; 2011: Jane Lynch, Glee; 2010: Jane Lynch, Glee; 2009: Kristen Wiig, SNL; 2008: Amy Pietz, Aliens In America; 2007: Ashley Jensen, Extras

WINNER: Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I must admit, I was in no way familiar with Champlin when I started watching CEG but I became an immediate and lifelong fan as she managed to make Paula both a voice of a reason as well as a source of her own style of crazy. And with a great set of pipes, too!

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept her Norty Award, Donna Lynne Champlin…

Thank you Al, for lowering your standards so very, very far as to include my work as “Paula Proctor” this year; much to the collective confusion of your readers who have never watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on The CW even though they’ve heard it’s ‘REALLY GREAT!”. By the way, Season One is on NETFLIX now, so catch the fuck up before Season 2 starts on October 21st.

Of course, a HUGE shout out to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for having the balls to give a fat, middle-aged woman with barely functioning ovaries a sexually active, funny as hell, series-regular storyline. And THEN, to let me sing and prance about in front of millions of people each week like the unhinged, over-paid buffoon that I am? Dream. Come. True.

Thank you 411MANIA, for this awesome honor. And to all those magnificent, plus-sized, character women out there in the trenches…I say, STAY IN THE GAME, LADIES! ‘Cause the game? She is a-changing! And she is NOT wearing SPANX, ya’ll.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Alan Alda, Horace and Pete
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Clayne Crawford, Rectify (Sundance)
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Michael McKean, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Scoot McNary, Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Previous Winners: 2015: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul; 2014: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan; 2013: Rick Hoffman, Suits; 2012: Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad; 2011: Walton Goggins. Justified; 2010: Michael Emerson, Lost; 2009: Ryan Hurst, Sons of Anarchy; 2008: Michael Emerson, Lost; 2007: James Callis, Battlestar Galactica

WINNER: Clayne Crawford, Rectify. I’ve always enjoyed Crawford’s work on Rectify but this past season was an eye opener as Teddy dealt with doing some level of self-analysis for the first time in his life. The scene in the truck where he talks about losing his virginity was one of the best moments on all of television of the season.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept his Norty Award, Clayne Crawford…

Thank you for recognizing Rectify, Mr Norton. I want to thank Ray McKinnon and Everyone at Sundance/AMC for their undying support – not only of the show but the creative process. Allowing Ray to express his singular vision – over 4 seasons (without intrusion) gave us all the motivation and confidence to explore each character fully. Without fear or judgment. Truly unusual in this business.
Here’s to the best cast and crew a show could ever have! Thanks”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Kerry Bishe, Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Regina King, The Leftovers (HBO)
Melissa McBride, The Walking Dead (AMC)
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Maggie Siff, Billions (Showtime)
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL (Lifetime)

Previous Winners: 2015: Kerry Bishe, Halt and Catch Fire, 2014: Allison Tolman, Fargo; 2013: Monica Potter, Parenthood; 2012: Kadee Strickland, Private Practice; 2011: Margo Martindale, Justified; 2010: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, 2009: Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy; 2008: Diana-Maria Riva, Side Order of Life; 2007: Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights

WINNER: Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul. It’s hard to stand out when acting opposite such a perfect pairing of character and performer like Bob Odenkirk/Jimmy McGill but in season two of Saul, Seehorn’s work as Kim Wexler really stood out as we saw her think on her feet, start to see the appeal of the way Jimmy blurs the lines, and struggle to know where her own boundaries were. Both Seehorn and Kim can hold their own with their co-workers, which is no small praise.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept her Norty Award, Rhea Seehorn…

You guyyyyyyys!!! I would like to thank Al, and every single person who influences Al’s taste and decision-making, he is remarkably gifted in both regards. Everyone says so. A Norty! I’m so proud and honored to accept this for my portrayal of Kim on “Better Call Saul;” it’s a dream role, working with dreamy people, and now I have a dream-come-true Norty. Thank you!!!

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE, TV MOVIE OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Sterling K Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Bryan Cranston, All The Way (HBO)
Ted Danson, Fargo (FX)
Connor Jessup, American Crime (ABC)
Courtney B Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo (FX)

WINNER: Sterling K Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. While this may have been the single strongest group of nominees for this year’s Norty Awards – maybe in the history of the Norty Awards – the decision to give Brown the Norty was not a tough one. His work as Christopher Darden was amazing, bringing passion and intensity to the role in a way that made him the most real character on the show. There are very few actors who convey emotion conflict with the authenticity Brown does.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept his Norty Award, Sterling K Brown…

The last time I won anything for my acting was senior year of high school, bruh! This is pretty damn cool. Thank you for the recognition, sir. There were a butt ton of spectacular performances in anthology series this year, and to be singled out amongst them all, both supporting and lead, well…you just made a black man blush! Thanks again for this award and I can only hope that I might be worthy of such a wonderful honor again in the future. Namaste.

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE, TV MOVIE OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
Emayatzy Corinealdi, Roots (History)
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo (FX)
Lily Taylor, American Crime (ABC)
Felicity Huffman, American Crime (ABC)
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Jean Smart, Fargo (FX)

WINNER: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. At this point Paulson is in a category unto herself, a chameleon who can give life to any role. I’d say her work as Marcia Clarke was the best thing she’s ever done but I am pretty sure if I just wait a year, she’ll find yet another way to top herself.

BEST LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Aziz Ansari, Master of None (Netflix)
Chris Geere, You’re the Worst (FXX)
Rob Lowe, The Grinder (Fox)
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley (HBO)
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (Amazon)

Previous Winners: 2015: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent, 2014: David Walton, About a Boy; 2013: James Roday, PSYCH; 2012: Joel McHale, Community; 20122: Steve Carell, The Office; 2010: Zachary Levi, Chuck; 2009: Steve Carell, The Office; 2008: Josh Radnor, How I Met Your Mother, 2007: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

WINNER: Rob Lowe, The Grinder. Even if you consider his work on The Grinder to be a one note performance – which it wasn’t, but still – then you’d still have to give him this award because of what a note it was, a brilliant season long send up of the kind of self-absorption one only finds in the entertainment industry. But the role was so much more than that, one that displayed a little bit of growth and emotional depth while still staying fully in character and always being funny. There was not a hint of acting in Lowe’s work, and I mean that as the highest of praise.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
Aya Cash, You’re The Worst (FXX)
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin (The CW)
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish (ABC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat (ABC)

Previous Winners: 2015: Aya Cash, You’re the Worst & Gina Rodriguez, Jane The Virgin; 2014: Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project; 2013: Sutton Foster, Bunheads; 2012: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; 2011: Laura Linney, The Big C; 2010: Courteney Cox, Cougar Town; 2009: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; 2008: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?; 2007: Laura Kightlinger, The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman

WINNER: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’ll be honest, I had penciled Bloom in for this award after watching the pilot last July but then the full season aired and I was even more blown away by her ability to display a level of emotional vulnerability and honesty not frequently found on television, especially when it’s a role that exposes the parts of all of our personalities we try to keep hidden. And she’s laugh out funny. And she sings!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept her Norty Award, Rachel Bloom…

I am so excited to bring my Norty Award to the nearest pawn shop, use the cash to buy a fistful of blow and then re-watch the entire first season of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ coked out of my mind. Wait, what do you mean gold colored awards aren’t made out of real gold? And what do you mean there’s no tangible award? MAMA NEEDS HER SNOW.

BEST LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Paul Giamatti, Billions (Showtime)
Damian Lewis, Billions (Showtime)
Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel (A&E)
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot (USA)
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Lee Pace, Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Previous Winners: 2015: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; 2014: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2013: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; 2012: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2011: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; 2010: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2009: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2008: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; 2007: Denis Leary, Rescue Me

WINNER: Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul. The expectations for Better Call Saul were so high coming in, what with being the spinoff of one of the best shows in TV history and all, and setting it as a prequel made it even harder since we all know eventually what’s going to happen, yet somehow the show is amazing and in season two, Odenkirk showed us more of the Saul in Jimmy and also the reasons why the transformation hasn’t happened yet. At this point, when you combine the work on the two shows, Odenkirk is giving a TV Hall of Fame caliber performance.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Shiri Appleby, UnREAL (Lifetime)
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (Starz)
Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Keri Russell, The Americans (FX)

Previous Winners: 2015: Taraji P Henson, Empire; 2014: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black; 2013: Claire Danes, Homeland; 2012: Claire Danes, Homeland; 2011: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; 2010: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy; 2009: Jill Scott, The # 1 Ladies Detective Agency; 2008: Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica; 2007: Minnie Driver, The Riches

WINNER: Shiri Appleby, UnREAL. Appleby has always been an actress who I enjoyed but season one of UnREAL was a revelation, with her commitment to the role not being in any way hindered but an attempt to make Rachel more likeable. Her character ran the gamut of emotions, frequently on a weekly basis, and Appleby made sure the audience came along for the ride.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept her Norty Award, Shiri Appleby…

Thank you Norty awards for this awesome honor!! I love playing Rachel Goldberg and am so touched that she’s connecting with so many people. Thank you for making a girl feel special!!

BEST SERIES, REALITY/NON-FICTION
30 for 30 (ESPN)
American Masters (PBS)
Deadliest Catch (Discovery)
The Circus: Inside The Greatest Political show on Earth (Showtime)
Making of a Murderer (Netflix)
Outside the Lines (ESPN)

Previous Winners: 2015: Restaurant Impossible; 2014: Time of Death; 2013: Inside Comedy; 2012; Crave

WINNER: 30 for 30. No show in TV history has told sports stories as well as 30 for 30, and I mean it as the highest of praise when I say that you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy it.

BEST SERIES, REALITY COMPETITION
American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
Chopped (Food)
Great British Bake Off (PBS)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Top Chef (Bravo)
Wizard Wars (Syfy)

Previous Winners: 2015: American Ninja Warrior; 2014: Chopped; 2013: Chopped All-Stars; 2012: The Glee Project; 2011: The Glee Project; 2010: Top Chef: All Stars

WINNER: American Ninja Warrior. Two years in a row ANW has climbed the Norty equivalent of Mt Midoriyama to stand head and shoulders above the competition. More about why in a bit.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept the Norty on behalf of the show, Matt Iseman…

And the winner is…US! BACK TO BACK! For those at home I did not misread the card, it says AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR (I am yelling it as I type that). It’s great hosting an award show, but it’s even better winning. It’s amazing to think this show started as a knockoff of a Japanese show, airing on a cable channel that no longer exists. And now, as we just found out e’re picked up for our 9th season, you’ve named it the Best Reality Competition Show for the second time. It makes us feel like we really are Ninjas!

BEST SERIES, VARIETY/TALK
@midnight (Comedy Central)
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
Not Safe with Nikki Glaser (Comedy Central)

Previous Winners: 2015: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; 2014: @midnight; 2013: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; 2012: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

WINNER: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Simply the smartest, sharpest current events series of the TTTP era and one of the best of all time. I can’t recall a show that has informed and entertained at anywhere near the same level.

BEST HOST, REALITY/VARIETY/TALK SHOW
Samantha Bee, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
Alton Brown, Cutthroat Kitchen (Food)
James Corden, The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
Nikki Glaser, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser (Comedy Central)
Chris Hardwick, @midnight (Comedy Central)
Matt Iseman, American Ninja Warrior (NBC)

WINNER: Samantha Bee, Full Frontal. While I have always found Bee quite funny on The Daily Show, I was in no way expecting her to be so damn great on Full Frontal, bringing the audience her passion, her intelligence, her wit, and her frustration, all of which are on display without a trace of holding back. What we see is her, and what she is is awesome.

BEST SERIES, SKETCH COMEDY
Documentary Now (Comedy Central)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
Portlandia (IFC)
w/ Bob and David (Netflix)

WINNER: Documentary Now. One of the more inventive series in recent memory and the rare spoof that truly loves what it’s making fun of, which makes for some remarkable entertaining television. The truest testament to the show’s quality is that you don’t have to have seen the individual documentary they are goofing on each week (but if you have it makes it that much better).

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept the Norty on behalf of Documentary Now is Rhys Thomas, the show’s Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Co-Director…

On behalf of all of us at Documentary Now! I want to thank all of you at the Norty organization for bestowing such an honor upon us. Were this any other award, Bill, Fred and Seth would never allow me to speak. They frequently refer to themselves as ‘big boys’ and like to have a good laugh at how I dress when I show up for these things. They’re genuinely nice people though and only get angry because they have ‘high standards’ and getting a Norty is testament to all of the hard work they made us all do for them!

It is right?

This is a real award? Something that I can show the others at the factory to keep morale up?

BEST TV MOVIES/ANTHOLOGY SERIES
American Crime (ABC)
Fargo (FX)
The Night Manager (BBC America)
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Roots (History)
Show Me a Hero (HBO)

Previous Winners: 2015: Wolf Hall, 2014: True Detective

WINNER: Fargo. Incredible writing mixed with brilliant acting and more than a dash of “I never know what’s going to happen next”, season two of Fargo was as good as TV got in the 2015-2016 season.

READER’S CHOICE AWARD
Daredevil (Netflix)
The Flash (The CW)
The Goldbergs (ABC)
Jessica Jones (Netflix
Orphan Black (BBC America)
The Walking Dead (AMC)

Previous Winners: 2015: The Goldbergs

WINNER: Jessica Jones. Wow, was this close, but what’s clear is that my readers really love them some Marvel series on Netflix.

THE TTTP AWARD
This is the inaugural TTTP Award, designed to recognize a show that is not only high quality but one that represents the power of the medium when done right, and I can think of no better first winner than NBC’s American Ninja Warrior.

The show works as pure enjoyment of athletic spectacle but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg for a show that inspires like no other on TV and figuratively and literally challenges its viewers to do something, to do more. As co-host Matt Iseman said to the audience when a competitor with a prosthetic leg was taking on the course, “what’s your excuse?” There is no doubt that there are more than a few people out there who are in better shape, or at least trying to get healthier, because of the show.

I can also think of no other show on TV that is more about equality; gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, socio-economic levels…none of those things matter when you step on the course, and there’s a purity to that that’s missing in the world. I am thrilled so many kids, including mine, watch ANW, because I think these sort of messages at a young age increase the odds these kids grow up to be adults who judge other people on who they are, not what they are.

I have laughed, I have cried, I have held my breath, and I have stood and cheered. What else could anyone possible ask for? I am so pleased to award the first annual TTTP Award for Television Excellence to American Ninja Warrior.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept the award on behalf of the show, Matt Iseman…

I can think of no better award to sum up how I feel about American Ninja Warrior than the TTTP Award. It’s been an amazing journey watching the growth of this show and seeing it take hold with the audience. I believe the popularity of American Ninja Warrior comes down to the stories… realizing that these are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And I’m not even talking about on the course, it’s the obstacles that they overcome in life just to get to the starting line. Seeing Steven Moul, the young man with autism, go out on the second obstacle only to receive a standing ovation from the crowd. He showed that you don’t always have to hit the buzzer to be a champion. Every season, we see people like Steven, like Michael Stanger, and Daniela Bright who show us the indomitable spirit that lies within all of us. I believe the message of this show is a message for life: work hard and you can overcome any obstacle. But, if you’ve seen me attempt the obstacles on the course, you’ll understand that I do still plan to stick to hosting.

BEST SERIES, COMEDY
Black-ish (ABC)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)
Life in Pieces (CBS)
Master of None (Netflix)
Transparent (Amazon)
You’re the Worst (FXX)
Veep (HBO)

Previous Winners: 2015: You’re The Worst; 2014: Enlisted; 2013: New Girl; 2012: Louie; 2011: Community; 2010: Glee; 2009: Chuck; 2008: The Office; 2007: The Office

WINNER: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Lots of laughs, catch songs, wonderful performances, and writing that is both strong and also a bit surprising, all the while giving TV it’s best exploration of mental illness in years. I haven’t both loved AND respected a show this much in a long time.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept the Norty on behalf of the show, the writers of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

On behalf of the entire Crazy Ex cast, crew and writers, we want to thank each and every Norty who voted for us. We’re very pro-Norty and try to promote the Norty agenda whenever we can. We look forward to the ascendancy of the Norty party, which will replace the Republican party. It’s not often that the lowest rated show on network TV gets a groovy award, so thank you thank you thank you!

BEST SERIES, DRAMA
The Americans (FX)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)
Mr. Robot (USA)
Rectify (Sundance)
UnREAL (Lifetime)

Previous Winners: 2015: Parenthood; 2014: Breaking Bad; 2013: Breaking Bad; 2012: Sons of Anarchy; 2011: Mad Men; 2010: Friday Night Lights; 2009: Mad Men; 2008: Battlestar Galactica, 2007: Battlestar Galactica

WINNER: Halt and Catch Fire. The single most underrated show on television right now, the first season of HACF was good but the second season took things to a completely different level, with stories that mixed the show’s wonderful and complex characters with the 1980’s computer/technology industry setting to brilliant effect. I am never sure what the folks that populate the series are going to do in any given situation and at the same time, all their choices (good and bad) feel both organic and true, without any sort of trace of the writer’s room felt. While the four leads on the show are top notch, a fantastic example of why it’s so good is John Bosworth; after the first couple of episodes of the show you thought you knew exactly what he was all about and now we’re in season three and he continues to surprise, thanks in part to Toby Huss’ performance and thanks to the incredibly strong writing as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, here to accept the Norty on behalf of the show are Halt and Catch Fire’s creators, Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers…

When we first took our vast interest in computers and decided turn it into a show about computers, we thought no one would be interested in a computer show. However, once AMC—a network that apparently has several computers—took a chance on our computer show, we knew that the world was ready to follow computer-driven stories about various computer men and computer women working in computers. After two years of collaborating with exceptional filmmakers and production personnel, all familiar with computers at least on some tertiary level, and asking them to use their skills to photograph computers while we along with very talented computer-literate writers wrote lines for world-class actors where they discuss computers, build computers, argue about computers, and engage in various other computer-related activities both on computers in real-time and also outside of computers but with computers always physically nearby, it is truly an honor to win an award from a computer-generated bot-blog-program like . Thank you again for your interest and dedication to computers as seen through our show about computers, and we hope that as our computer show premieres its third season on 8/23, you and all bot-blog-programs will continue to allow it to fire computer-related photons into your ocular receptors. Sincerely, ***AUTOMATED RESPONSE***

And there we have it, the 2016 Norty Awards!!! Again, I look forward to reading your thoughts on who you would have picked to win so please use the comments section below to sound off.

It’s Time To Play The Music, It’s Time To Light The Lights
The Muppets video of the week…

Turns Out Not Where But Who You’re With That Really Matters
The Best of What’s Around aka The Best Thing I’ve Watched This Week… First and foremost, Comedy Central’s Jeff Ross Roasts Cops special is laugh out loud funny and worth your time on that level alone, but that’s not close to the hour’s entire appeal; it’s actually as thought provoking a program when it comes to looking at a complex issue facing our country as I’ve seen in recent memory, one that never fails to remember that everyone involved are human beings while at the same time never forgetting it’s airing on Comedy Central. This is perhaps the single best showcase of Ross’ talents as I’ve seen, and for those only familiar with his ability to turn a quick joke, his thoughtfulness will be eye opening. I strongly urge you to seek out the show.

TV Pick Of The Week
I have been waiting months for all of you to be able to watch This Is Us, NBC’s new drama that I loved so much I watched the pilot three times over the summer. Sterling K Brown, who won a Norty a few minutes ago, continues his incredible 2016 as part of an ensemble cast in one of the more emotional hours of TV of the year. I have no idea how they will follow up the opener but I can’t wait to find out.

My list of favorite pilots of the TTTP era is littered with shows that didn’t get a second season (Studio 60, Lonestar, Awake) but I am truly hopeful This Is Us will enjoy a long life.

Don’t miss the series premiere of This Is Us, Tuesday at 10pm on NBC.

Hope You Need My Love, Babe, Just Like I Need You
Other noteworthy programming options for the week…

*There some other TV awards programming on Sunday night on ABC.

*Monday’s Season/Series Premieres – The Voice (8pm, NBC), Gotham (8pm, Fox), The Big Bang Theory (8pm, CBS), Kevin Can Wait (8:30pm, CBS), Lucifer (9pm, Fox), The Good Place (10pm, NBC).

*Tuesday’s Season/Series Premieres – NCIS (8pm, CBS), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8pm, Fox), New Girl (8:30pm, Fox), Bull (9pm, CBS), Scream Queens (9pm, Fox), Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (10pm, ABC), NCIS: New Orleans (10pm, CBS).

*Wednesday’s Season/Series Premieres – Lethal Weapon (8pm, Fox), Survivor (8pm, CBS), The Goldbergs (8pm, ABC), Speechless (8:30pm, ABC), Empire (9pm, Fox), Law & Order: SVU (9pm, NBC), Modern Family (9pm, ABC), Black-ish (9:30pm, ABC), Chicago P.D. (10pm, NBC), Designated Survivor (10pm, ABC).

*Thursday’s Season/Series Premieres – Grey’s Anatomy (8pm, ABC), Rosemont (8pm, Fox), Superstore (8pm, NBC), Chicago Med (9pm, NBC), Pitch (9pm, Fox), Notorious (9pm, ABC), The Blacklist (10pm, NBC), How To Get Away with Murder (10pm, ABC)

Two Tivos To Paradise
@Midnight, 12 Monkeys, America’s Best Cook, American Crime, American Crime Story, The Americans, Antiques Roadshow, Beat Bobby Flay, Better Call Saul, Archer, Arrow, Baby Daddy, Billions, Black-ish, The Blacklist, Bones, Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cake Boss, Casual, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Chopped, Chopped Canada, Comic Book Men, Counting Cars, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Cutthroat Kitchen, Dancing with the Stars, Daredevil, Dark Matter, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow; The Deadliest Catch, Empire, Expedition Unknown, Face Off, Family Guy, Fargo, Flipping Out, Food Network Star, The Fosters, Fresh Off the Boat, Game of Thrones, Ghost Hunters, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, Great Food Truck Race, Grey’s Anatomy, Hawaii Five-0, Inside Comedy with David Steinberg, Inside Amy Schumer, iZombie, Jessica Jones, Kids Baking Championship, Killjoys, The Last Ship, Late Night with Seth Myers, Law And Order: Special Victims Unit, The Librarians, Lost Girl, Louie, Mad Men, Major Crimes, MasterChef, MasterChef Canada, MasterChef: Junior, Masters of Sex, Match Game, The Meltdown with Jonah And Kumail; The Middle, The Mindy Project, Modern Family, Mr. Robot, Murder in the First, Nashville, New Girl, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, The Originals, Orphan Black, Outlander, Outside the Lines, Portlandia, Project Runway, Project Runway All-Stars, Ray Donovan, Real Time With Bill Maher, Rectify, Restaurant Impossible, Saturday Night Live, Scorpion, Shark Wranglers, Silicon Valley, So You Think You Can Dance?, Suits, Supergirl, Supernatural, This Is Not Happening, The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Top Chef, Top Chef: Duels, Top Chef: Masters, Tosh.0, Transparent, UnREAL, The Vampire Diaries, The Voice, The Walking Dead, Wizard Wars, Worst Cooks In America, Younger, You’re The Worst, Veep

People Love You When They Know You’re Leaving Soon
Here ends another Two Tivos To Paradise.

We’ll be back in December with our year-in-review pieces but until then, don’t forget to come find us on Facebook!!!

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