Peabody Awards Continue To Recognize Excellent Shows That The Emmys Overlook

CREDIT: MILES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX
CREDIT: MILES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors, the only governing body to both properly appreciate the greatest drama on television and consistently recognize the work of performers of color (take notes, Emmys and Oscars voters) has announced this year’s entertainment and children’s programming winners. It is, as per usual, an outstanding list of must-see stuff.

The biggest winner wasn’t a single show or creator but a streaming giant: Netflix, home of winner Beasts of No Nation — which is, technically, a movie, but what even is television, what is a movie, what is form, what is genre? We should spend the day investigating and upending these binary categories; it’s what Prince would have wanted. The film stars Idris Elba as a war criminal recruiting child soldiers in an unnamed African country and is directed by Cary Fukinaga, the real reason the first season of True Detective was such a stunner.

Cary Fukunaga Talks ‘Beasts Of No Nation,’ Child Soldiers, And The Power Of NetflixBeasts of No Nation is a film of firsts. It’s the first original feature for Netflix; the movie is being released on…thinkprogress.orgNetflix is also where you can find winners Master of None and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. The former is a series starring and created by Aziz Ansari that ruminates on identity — from big picture, “what does it mean to be the child of immigrants?” questions to the lower-stakes, millennial angst of “what even are we in this relationship?” — in a low-key, quietly funny way. Jessica Jones manages to be part-noir, part superhero-flick, all while reckoning what it means to be a rape survivor. (And that’s not the only Netflix show build around a PTSD-addled woman with a history of sexual abuse: With a completely different framework, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt takes on that same territory.)

Another streaming player to win: Surprising no one, Amazon was recognized for the game-changing Transparent, which the Board said outdid its standout first season with a second season with a “broadened scope and lively sense of self-awareness, along with irreverent wit and poignant moments.”

Also among the honorees are two of last summer’s surprising breakout smashes: USA’s Mr. Robot, a show that so intimately understands our modern paranoias about technology and violence that it accidentally predicted a real-life shooting, and Lifetime’s UnREAL, a show-within-a-show that examines and challenges our fascination with reality TV romance. To celebrate these series — and, by extension, the networks on which they air — is to recognize that there’s room for even seemingly lowbrow brands at the prestige drama table.

‘Master Of None’ Is A MasterpieceThe great love story of Master of None starts, like so many great love stories, with the guy saying, “Oh, fuck, fuck…thinkprogress.orgNot to say the usual suspects went home empty-handed: HBO was a winner for the “deeply philosophical” The Leftovers. ABC’s black-ish, which this season has upped its ante of handling ripped-from-the-headlines issues like police brutality with the thoughtfully-executed “Hope,” was honored for not “let[ting] jokes get in the way of insights about race, class, guns, and other hot-button topics that most popular entertainment shows scarcely mention.”

Rounding out the pack: SundanceTV’s Deutschland 83, maybe because The Americans already won and they wanted to check that “Cold War spy drama that tells the Soviet story from an unexpected point of view” box; Wolf Hall on PBS, based on the novels of Hilary Mantel and centered on Henry VIII’s life in court, chosen for “literate scripting and superb acting with historic-location and natural-light filming, this exceptional series sets a new standard for the genre”; and Cbeebies’ Katie Morag, inspired by Mairi Hedderwick’s books and appreciated for how it “deals honestly and gracefully with death, loss, rivalry and other serious themes.”