Hulu’s Emmy-winning juggernaut The Handmaid’s Tale and Netflix’s true crime parody American Vandal were among the 2018 winners of Peabody Awards for excellence in entertainment, the Board of Jurors revealed on Thursday.
The Peabody Awards for Entertainment are annually given to a collection of shows which tell “stories that matter.” This year, nine series were newly named Peabody winners, including one — Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events — for “Children & Youth” programming.
American Vandal was joined by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Golden Globe-winning Amazon series, as the only freshmen series to be awarded the Peabody for adult entertainment this year. The rest of the winners were Better Call Saul for its third season; HBO’s Insecure for its second season; variety series Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Saturday Night Live (the latter, specifically, for “political satire”); and Hasan Minhaj’s comedy special Homecoming King.
The winners will take part in a celebration hosted by Minhaj on Saturday, May 19 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. An Institutional Award will be bestowed to The Fred Rogers Company, and winners in News/Radio/Public Service programming will be announced on April 24.
See the full list of Entertainment winners below, along with commentary from the Board of Jurors explaining each choice.
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.