Crit­ics honor top shows

‘The Hand­maid’s Tale’ and ‘At­lanta’ win big at TCA Awards, which also salutes Ken Burns, ‘Se­in­feld.’

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - — Yvonne Vil­lar­real

“The Hand­maid’s Tale” and “At­lanta” were the big win­ners at the 33rd Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics Assn. awards Sat­ur­day at the Bev­erly Hil­ton in Bev­erly Hills.

“Hand­maid’s Tale,” the Hulu drama adapted from Mar­garet At­wood’s 1985 novel, took home two awards, for pro­gram of the year and out­stand­ing achieve­ment in drama, while the FX com­edy “At­lanta” also won two awards, for out­stand­ing achieve­ment in com­edy and in­di­vid­ual achieve­ment in com­edy for cre­ator-star Don­ald Glover.

“Fargo” and “The Left­overs” star Car­rie Coon made TCA awards his­tory by re­ceiv­ing her award for in­di­vid­ual achieve­ment in drama for both per­for­mances.

The cer­e­mony, which was not tele­vised, was hosted by an en­er­getic and mu­si­cally minded Kristin Chenoweth. The Tony- and Emmy-win­ning fire­cracker made mul­ti­ple cos­tume changes, in­clud­ing the sig­na­ture “Hand­maid’s” robe and bon-

net as well as a royal tip of the tiara to “The Crown.” She also per­formed a pithy spoof of her “Wicked” num­ber “Pop­u­lar,” in which she re­named the awards “The Chen­nies.”

The “Amer­i­can Gods” star also in­vited Ster­ling K. Brown, cel­e­brat­ing the out­stand­ing new pro­gram win for “This Is Us,” to join her on­stage to per­form the duet “For Good,” also from “Wicked.”

In all, 12 awards were handed out, in­clud­ing a ca­reer achieve­ment honor to doc­u­men­tary film­maker Ken Burns and a Her­itage award for the beloved NBC com­edy “Se­in­feld.”

Re­sults were de­ter­mined from votes cast by the TCA mem­ber­ship, which con­sists of more than 220 pro­fes­sional TV crit­ics and jour­nal­ists from the United States and Canada, in­clud­ing this writer.

2017 TCA Award re­cip­i­ents:

In­di­vid­ual achieve­ment in drama: Car­rie Coon, “The Left­overs,” HBO, and “Fargo,” FX

In­di­vid­ual achieve­ment in com­edy: Don­ald Glover, “At­lanta,” FX

Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in news and in­for­ma­tion: “O.J.: Made in Amer­ica,” ESPN

Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in re­al­ity pro­gram­ming: “Leah Rem­ini: Scien­tol­ogy and the Af­ter­math,” A&E

Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in youth pro­gram­ming: “Speech­less,” ABC

Out­stand­ing new pro­gram: “This Is Us,” NBC

Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in movies, minis­eries and spe­cials: “Big Lit­tle Lies,” HBO

Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in drama: “The Hand­maid’s Tale,” Hulu Out­stand­ing achieve­ment in com­edy: “At­lanta,” FX

Pro­gram of the year: “The Hand­maid’s Tale,” Hulu Ca­reer achieve­ment award: Ken Burns

Her­itage award: “Se­in­feld,” NBC — Sarah Rod­man

Trans ‘lives are on the line’

Hol­ly­wood has much work to do when it comes to wide-rang­ing trans­gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion on tele­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to ad­vo­cates.

While trans­gen­der vis­i­bil­ity has no doubt been boosted by main­stream shows such as Ama­zon’s “Trans­par­ent” and E! net­work’s “I Am Cait,” progress has been in­cre­men­tal. Of the 260-plus LGBTQ char­ac­ters on tele­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to GLAAD fig­ures, only 11 were trans­gen­der — and three of them were on “Trans­par­ent.”

“To­day, me­dia im­ages and rep­re­sen­ta­tions of trans­gen­der peo­ple are about 20 years be­hind where me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tions of les­bian and gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple are,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s direc­tor of trans­gen­der me­dia and rep­re­sen­ta­tion. “We’re sort of where LGB sto­ry­telling was in the late ’80s or early ’90s, when it comes to trans peo­ple.”

Adams spoke as part of the GLAAD-spon­sored panel “Trans­gen­der Trends on TV To­day,” held Fri­day at the TCA press tour. Other pan­elists in­cluded Lav­erne Cox (“Or­ange Is the New Black,” “Doubt”), Alexan­dra Billings (“Trans­par­ent,” “How to Get Away With Mur­der”), Jill Soloway (cre­ator of “Trans­par­ent”), Rhys Ernst (pro­ducer and direc­tor of “Trans­par­ent”) and Shadi Pe­tosky (cre­ator of “Dan­ger & Eggs”).

The re­cent news cy­cle — from a mil­i­tary ban and the killing of trans women to the ridi­cul­ing of trans ac­tivist Janet Mock on a ra­dio show and trans­pho­bic so­cial me­dia com­ments aimed at teenage re­al­ity star Jazz Jen­nings — has il­lus­trated the on­go­ing plight of the trans com­mu­nity. The pan­elists agreed that a more well­rounded rep­re­sen­ta­tion of trans­gen­der peo­ple in the me­dia is cru­cial to com­bat­ing the neg­a­tive stereo­types that have long pre­vailed.

“We’ve got to tell these sto­ries bet­ter, be­cause lives are on the line,” Cox said. “Trans peo­ple are be­ing mur­dered, are be­ing de­nied health­care, ac­cess to bath­rooms and em­ploy­ment and hous­ing be­cause of all of these, sort of, mis­con­cep­tions that peo­ple have about who we re­ally are.”

Among the stated goals from GLAAD in bring­ing trans­gen­der char­ac­ters to the next level is mov­ing be­yond the “tran­si­tion nar­ra­tive.”

“For me, I think tran­si­tion nar­ra­tives are most use­ful within [the] com­mu­nity,” Cox said. “Tran­si­tion nar­ra­tives, in and of them­selves, are not nec­es­sar­ily prob­lem­atic, but I think that be­comes the only thing that peo­ple fo­cus on .... I think my life got way more in­ter­est­ing af­ter I tran­si­tioned than it was dur­ing the tran­si­tion.”

Billings noted the ed­u­ca­tional ben­e­fits of a char­ac­ter’s tran­si­tion but agreed it was im­por­tant not to dwell on it.

“If we spend too much time on it, if we draw a cir­cle around it, we are stuck in pu­berty,” Billings said. “But I think there is some­thing im­por­tant about look­ing at that jour­ney and what that jour­ney is. It’s less about cu­rios­ity and more about ed­u­ca­tion.”

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