The list of Peabody Award-winning television shows includes 60 Minutes, PBS NewsHour, The Wire, and now, a Netflix mockumentary that dared to ask the question, who drew the dicks? American Vandal was one of eight series to win a prestigious Peabody in the entertainment category, along with Better Call Saul, The Handmaid’s Tale, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King, Insecure, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and SNL.
But with all due respect to one of the best shows on television and last year’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, the real standout among the 2018 honorees is the straight-faced comedy with the CGI handjob.
“A surprisingly insightful rumination on contemporary life, American Vandal slowly shifts focus from a high school student accused of a sophomoric prank/crime to the consequences of solving the mystery,” the Peabodys wrote in a statement. “Wickedly funny, the show also offers a look at how the ethical questions of the true crime genre intersect with the harsh realities of being a teenager in the age of social media.” They also praised Saul for its “innovative style and commanding performances,” and Mrs. Maisel for telling an “imaginative story” that’s both “impressively weighty and effortlessly light.”
Here’s the complete list.
CBS Television Studios for Netflix (Netflix)
A surprisingly insightful rumination on contemporary life, “American Vandal” slowly shifts focus from a high school student accused of a sophomoric prank/crime to the consequences of solving the mystery. Wickedly funny, the show also offers a look at how the ethical questions of the true crime genre intersect with the harsh realities of being a teenager in the age of social media.
“Better Call Saul”
Sony Pictures Television, Gran Via Productions (AMC)
Mixing legal drama, crime thriller, and dark comedy, this “Breaking Bad” prequel of the earnest Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman captures the professional and personal struggles as he navigates an unfair moral universe. A compelling narrative of pathos and character drama, the show’s innovative style and commanding performances reach the creative heights of its origin series.
“Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King”
Netflix, Art & Industry (Netflix)
Hasan Minhaj delivers much more than a hilarious stand-up comedy special. “Homecoming King” is a deeply personal memoir—part Richard Pryor, part Spaulding Gray—that covers the struggles of the immigrant experience, encounters with stereotypes and race expectations, and intergenerational acceptance, while using comedy to invite empathy, caring, and understanding.
HBO Entertainment in association with Issa Rae Productions, Penny For Your Thoughts Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment (HBO)
Issa Rae delivers a groundbreaking series that captures the lives of everyday young black people in Los Angeles with a fresh and authentic take. Breaking away from tired and familiar representations of “diversity” on television, this series offers a fun and intimate portrayal of work, relationships, and the ordinary experiences of the two young black women at its center.
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String Jack Productions and Avalon Television (HBO)
Each week, John Oliver and his team offer something completely new in the merger of comedy and reporting. While scathing in its political critique, the show is also smart and insightful in producing long-form journalism, breaking stories that others have overlooked with precision, clarity, and hilarity.
“Saturday Night Live: Political Satire 2017”
SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video (NBC)
Building on the strength of its election year parodies, “SNL” doubled-down this year with wicked satiric portrayals of President Trump and a clownish coterie of administration apparatchiks. Kate McKinnon and special guests Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy, in particular, produced performances that helped the American public come to terms with an unprecedented presidential administration and its daily political absurdities.
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Hulu, MGM, White Oak Pictures, The Littlefield Company, Daniel Wilson Productions (Hulu)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” offers a timely warning of a fascist, misogynist near future. Equal parts drama, horror, and science fiction, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is captivating, harrowing, and crackling with contemporary political relevance—a cautionary tale about the ramifications of the regulations of women’s bodies and reproductive rights, as well as the specter of theocratic rule.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Amazon Studios (Amazon)
A period drama and feminist comedy, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s story of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” centers on the emergence of a 1950s female comedian who runs afoul of New York decency laws. In the process, the colorful and imaginative story also reflects on the “place” of women in public spaces, Jewishness, familial relations, class expectations, and the importance of a woman not being “ripped right out of a catalogue” that is both impressively weighty and effortlessly light.
77th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony will be held on May 19.