ENTERTAINMENT

Peabody Awards Go To 'Last Week Tonight,' 'Jane the Virgin,' 'The Americans' And Other Shows

04/16/2015 09:03 am ET | Updated Apr 16, 2015
HBO

Jane the Virgin,” “The Americans,” “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” were among the entertainment programs that won Peabody Awards this year. The honorees were set to be announced Thursday morning on "Good Morning America."

The Peabody Awards are one of the oldest media awards in the United States, and recognize scripted entertainment, documentaries, radio programs, podcasts, individuals, websites, institutions and all kinds of news programming. On Tuesday, the Peabody Awards announced that David Attenborough, the creator of countless acclaimed nature documentaries, received an individual award for his extensive body of work, and the long-running radio program Afropop Worldwide got an institutional Peabody. Awards in news, documentaries, educational programming and children’s shows will be announced next week.

The 74th annual Peabody Awards ceremony will be held in New York on May 31, and Fred Armisen of "Portlandia" will be the evening's emcee.

The entertainment programs awarded Peabodys this year are an eclectic lot, but the Peabody Awards have always rewarded a wide array of "stories that matter." The good news is, these winning programs are available via various streaming services.

Of programs broadcast in 2014, the following entertainment shows were recognized:

The Americans”: In this spy show set in the ‘80s, two Soviet agents infiltrate suburbia and pull off a series of exciting missions -- but along the way, they come to realize that their undercover task is much more difficult than they thought it would be. The two agents, assigned to the roles of unexceptional married suburbanites, unexpectedly fell in love, and they also care deeply about their children. What would they do if they had to choose between their own hearts and minds and the demands of Mother Russia? The complicated answers to that question have resulted in a captivating drama that mines personal and ideological loyalties for all they’re worth.
Availability: The Season 3 finale of “The Americans” airs April 22 on FX; previous seasons are available via FX Now and Amazon Prime.

Black Mirror”: A series of dystopian tales about technology and morality that energetically revive the anthology tradition of “The Twilight Zone,” "Black Mirror" explores what technology does for us -- and what it takes away.
Availability: The six episodes that make up the first two seasons of “Black Mirror” are on Netflix.

Fargo”: They said it couldn’t be done, but they were wrong. Somehow this television expansion of the world created in the Coen brothers’ film managed the tricky feat of feeling both fresh and necessary, and it riffed off the film in intelligent and dryly comic ways. In doing so, "Fargo" provided actors like Martin Freeman, Allison Tolman and Billy Bob Thornton with a wealth of terrific material.
Availability: The first season is available via FX Now and Amazon Prime.

The Honorable Woman”: This is another show with an astonishingly high bar to clear: It had to work as both the story of two intertwined families -- one Jewish and one Palestinian -- and work as a meditation on the politics and history of one of the most fraught regions in the world. This slow-burn drama worked on every level, in part due to a phenomenal cast led by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and thanks to creator Hugo Blick’s disciplined, compassionate approach to telling a series of smartly constructed interlocking sagas.
Availability: “The Honorable Woman” is on Netflix.

Inside Amy Schumer”: This show deserves many awards for its “Foodroom” sketch alone. That spot-on Sorkin parody aside, this consistently incisive comedy manages to be side-splittingly funny while taking on a wide array of subjects, from sexism to dating to the pitfalls of social media. Like previous Peabody winner "Key & Peele," "Inside Amy Schumer" displays a game, lively intelligence and a ferociously wicked wit.
Availability: The third season begins April 21. Various sketches are on the Comedy Central site and full episodes are on Amazon Prime.

Jane the Virgin”: This CW drama is so many things: It’s a romantic soap, a surreal telenovela, a well-crafted coming-of-age story, a crime show, a showcase for Gina Rodriguez and a long-overdue family drama focused on a Hispanic clan. One of the major accomplishments of the consistently entertaining first season is that it made balancing so many varied elements look easy and even fun.
Availability: The first season of “Jane the Virgin” arrives in the U.K. on E4 on April 22, and in the U.S., Season 1 will arrive in its entirety on Netflix this fall. At the moment, selected episodes are on the CW site and Hulu.

The Knick”: A bloody marvel, Steven Soderbergh’s chronicle of a turn-of-the-century hospital literally pulsed with life as it depicted the triumphs and the terrors of bold and often arrogant doctors trying to heal people with little more than knives, ingenuity and a spirit of adventure. Like “Deadwood,” “The Knick” is a period piece that ignores the conventions of the genre: Nothing about this show is polite, restrained or well-mannered. “The Knick” is like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, and Clive Owen’s subtle, vanity-free performance brilliantly anchored a thrilling and melancholy series of events at New York's Knickerbocker Hospital.
Availability: The first season of “The Knick” is available to Cinemax subscribers on Max Go and on demand.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”: Oliver’s mighty screed about net neutrality justifiably blew up on social media, which shows that even the driest subjects can go viral when infused with an equal mix of fervor, educated analysis and cutting humor. Oliver’s show has become a must-watch, wickedly funny deep dive into the events of each week, and anyone who wondered whether he would be able to find his groove beyond “The Daily Show” quickly got the message: Hell, yes.
Availability: “Last Week Tonight” is available on the show’s YouTube channel and to HBO subscribers on HBO Go.

Rectify”: This is from my non-spoilery write-up of the show’s brilliant second season, which tells the meditative story of Daniel Holden, a man who is released from Death Row after being convicted of murder as a teen: “‘Rectify’ wants to know everything about its finely drawn characters. It wants to examine, rigorously yet gently, all the things that bring them both joy and despair. It's deeply interested in what makes Holden and his family members tick, and each one of them is realistically messy and complicated. As the second season progressed and filled out each person's psychological backstory, Holden and his friends, family and enemies grew into some of the most fascinating characters on television.” The rare drama that depicts Southerners and people of faith as complicated, compelling human beings, “Rectify” is a subtle and ultimately moving meditation on morality, death and spiritual rebirth. It’s both quiet and stunning, and if you haven't heard of it, now's the time to catch up.
Availability: Both seasons of “Rectify” are on Netflix.

The remaining Peabody winners will be announced on April 20 and April 23. It has been my honor to serve as a Peabody juror again this year, and I’m banned from telling you what additional programs won before the official announcements, but I can guarantee you that the news shows, podcasts, documentaries, educational shows and children’s fare that will get Peabodys next week are truly exceptional.

Also on HuffPost:

  • 10 'LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER'
    DH Lawrence's book, banned until 1963, gets a big-budget reworking from the BBC as part of its 20th-century literature season. L'homme du jour James Norton is a war-wounded Sir Clifford Chatterley, unable to satisfy his luscious Lady, played by Holliday Grainger. Where does she turn instead? Step forward Mellors, played here by 'Game of Thrones' star Richard Madden. Script by 'Line of Duty' scribe Jed Mercurio.
  • 9 'WOLF HALL'
    Based on the prizewinning novels by Hilary Mantel, this six-parter has had a reported £6million spent on it, no doubt most of the budget on costume and cast - including Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Mark Gatiss, etc etc. The books' devoted fans will be watching every frame of Thomas Cromwell's rise and fall at the court of Henry VIII. The BBC will not want to disappoint. Starts 21 January 9pm on BBC Two.
  • 8 'DEATH IN PARADISE'
    Back to the lapping shores and palm-fringed breezes of Saint-Marie for the fourth series of this 'Midsomer-On-Sea' ratings winner. Now Humphrey Goodman has realised his feelings for a colleague are more than professional, chaos will surely ensure. Meanwhile, there's a murder - during a seance - to be solved.
  • 7 'HOUSE OF CARDS/MADAM SECRETARY'
    Those with an unsatiable urge for some political drama will find their cup running over in the New Year. As well as the third series of 'House of Cards' dropping onto Netflix in February, there's 'Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni as a former CIA analyst promoted to the US Secretary of State, with Keith Carradine her boss in the Oval Office. Exec produced by Morgan Freeman, this series is going down well in the US, will appear on Sky Living from early in the New Year.
  • 6 'CRISIS'
    Haven't had enough of Gillian Anderson after the creepy finale of The Fall? Fear not, she's back in action in 'Crisis' on Watch Channel, where she plays a Washington CEO, whose daughter is kidnapped along with the President's. 'Crisis' has been cancelled in the US, which means, on the bright side, we'll get the cracking finale we were denied in 'Homeland Series 1'. Starts on Friday at 9pm.
  • 5 'BETTER CALL SAUL'
    This is the highly-anticipated spin off from the phenomenon that was 'Breaking Bad'. Bob Odenkirk plays Saul Goodman in this prequel to his antics with Walter White, although those later events will also get plenty of reference. Coming to Netflix shortly after its February premiere on AMC in the US.
  • 4 'THE GOOD WIFE'
    One of those rare shows that gets better as time goes on, 'The Good Wife' enters its sixth season with its lead actress Julianna Margulies polishing her latest Emmy, and her character Alicia debating whether to run for State Attorney. To be aired sometime this January on More4.
  • 3 'GRACEPOINT'
    Seeing as it worked so well with 'The Killing' and 'The Office', US studio execs did the same with 'Broadchurch', turning it into 'Gracepoint' and promising a different ending. Which we'll be able to see for ourselves when it boomerangs back across the pond to ITV sometime in January. It didn't have anything like the same cachet as the homegrown version, but worth watching if just for David Tennant's American accent.
  • 2 'CUCUMBER'
    A drama about gay men being, well, gay... suddenly becomes interesting with news that it's from Russell T Davies, the provocative, witty, creative force who brought us 'Queer as Folk' and the whole universe of 'Doctor Who' and 'Torchwood'. He wanted to write something real, and he has.
  • 1 'BROADCHURCH'
    Two (real-life) years after the mystery of Danny Latimer's murder was solved, we're back in the community still devastated by his death - including detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), who must rally because there's another crime to solve. Writer Chris Chibnall has installed the same rules of non-disclosure as for the first time around, but can the return to the coastside town possibly have the same impact on a nation of gripped viewers?
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