Earlier this week the Writers Guild of America announced its nominations for outstanding achievement in television, new media, news, radio, promotional writing, and graphic animation during the 2013 season. The winners will be honored at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York.
Sadly there were few surprises in the mix. Many of the shows nominated are critical favorites which means they have been on the roster for multiple years. Nominees for Best Drama Series include: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, House of Cards, Homeland and The Good Wife.
Putting House of Cards on the list is sure to make some waves since it is an original Netflix series, a concept that changed the game for television early in the year. The sheer act of considering new content such as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black (also nominated this year in the comedy genre) means that on demand shows have already reached an acclaimed status even in their infancy. If either show walks away with an award look for more and more writers to join studios like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus where they will have more creative freedom.
Again, there were no real shockers in the comedy genre either outside of Orange in the New Black. Other nominees include: Veep, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and Modern Family. Given that 30 Rock just completed its final year that one will probably walk away with the prize if only for nostalgia’s sake. 30 Rock broke the mold when it came out and really set the bar high for quality writing and storytelling in comedy sitcoms, most everything that has come out since owes some debt to the show.
Best new series is always a little trickier. With nominees like Masters of Sex, House of Cards and Ray Donovan it is clear that 2013 was a fantastic year for new shows. Odds are House of Cards will win but Masters of Sex is just as worthy.
The nature of episodic storytelling continues to change and evolve with the creation of new technology and that is very quickly transforming the playing field for writers all over the world. From On Demand to cable there seems to be less and less focus on the once powerful networks. That kind of rapid change will have repercussions that should ripple throughout the world of television well into 2014 and beyond.
For more info, visit WGA.