With new content providers blooming like tomato plants in June and more new shows than anyone can reasonably watch, the television awards season offers a brutal winnowing process. Only a handful of programs that premiered this qualifying year are likely to figure at the
TRUE DETECTIVE (HBO)
McNamara's take: "McConaughey got more attention because his role seemed more difficult and out there, but Harrelson's was actually harder to play because he was the one who had to tether the craziness to planet Earth. Still, if I had to guess, I'd say McConaughey is more likely to win."
Writer-producer Noah Hawley colonizes the snowbound, brutally hilarious world created by filmmakers Joel and
McNamara's take: "Billy Bob is the reason to watch; he brings a dark joy to his performance that sets the tone, even though it's coming from a place of evil. It's a crazy, crazy show, and much better than I expected." Since the TV academy has restored a separate miniseries category, with expanded slots for talent recognition, it's a good bet there'll be a warm spot by the fire for Thornton, the show, sole writer Hawley and perhaps even for standout supporting players Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks.
SILICON VALLEY (HBO)
Creator Mike Judge lampoons the current tech boom in this Palo Alto-set tale of a band of bros who grapple with big-time pressure to succeed after one of their hapless number stumbles onto a game-changing algorithm. Critics logged in enthusiastically, with TV Guide's Matt Roush praising its "deft, resonant satire," while Tim Goodman of the
McNamara's take: "It's fun to watch, and it captures an important time and place, but to me it seems surprisingly like something you could watch on any channel.
FIRST TIME AT BAT:
"Masters of Sex": This Showtime series scored a
"Sleepy Hollow": Female lead Nicole Beharie, nominated already for an