Top TV Shows honored by Television Critics with help from Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Bryan Cranston hosted the 28th annual TCA Awards honoring the best shows on TV, according to the Television Critics Association. The night was not only a great example that there are impressive productions floating around the vast broadcasting wasteland. But also it was a showcase for Cranston’s comedic talents that were so evident on Malcolm in the Middle, yet so under the radar on his riveting much acclaimed Breaking Bad series on AMC.

Cranston was at ease on stage in the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s ballroom, with about 200 TV writers from across the U.S. and Canada surrounding him. And he often kidded them. “You can always tell the professional critics from the amateurs. The professionals have command of the language and can find so many different ways to say ‘this show sucks,'” he quipped.

Celebrities were on hand too, from the casts of Showtimes’ Homeland, ABC Family’s Switched At Birth, Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance judge Mary Murphy, and of course the cast of Breaking Bad roaring at Cranston’s hilarious opening comedy routine.

“There are a lot of familiar faces, but many who aren’t here,” Cranston said with a sly smile.

“The Game of Thrones cast said they were willing to come, but only if they were serving mutton! Katie Couric was committed to it, but actually was plotting her exit months ago! The cast of The Killing couldn’t be here becasue they’re on suicide watch! There’s no award for most appearances on TMZ, so Lindsey Lohan won’t show up! Jon Hamm apparently broke his mirror! And Charlie Sheen couldn’t be here tonight– but that’s okay, we’ll just tell him he was!”

Yes, it was that kind of funny-silly night thanks to Cranston, who certainly should be considered to host the Emmys in the future. His actress-wife Robin Dearden agrees.

Breaking Bad‘s cast members, Cranston, Aaron Paul, RJ Mitte, Betsy Brandt and co-executive producers Melissa Bernstein and Mark Johnson, gathered on stage when creator Vince Gilligan accepted the TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. The show is entering its final fifth season of watching Cranston’s fascinating Walter White character go from “Mr. Chips to Scarface.”

Other “dark” shows also won TCA awards: Showtimes drama Homeland, with star Claire Danes also winning for best dramatic performance; the FX show Louie won Best Comedy and an award went to the star Lous C.K.

The Career Achievement Award went to David Letterman, and the Heritage Award went to Cheers. Reality Program was Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance. CBS’ 60 Minutes won for News & Information.

Other big winners were ABC Family’s Switched at Birth for Youth Programming. The Program of the Year went to HBO’s Game of Thrones. And for Achievement in Movie/Miniseries, it was PBS’ Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey as the critics’ choice.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.