Today, the awards season officially begins. Well, technically it has been rolling on for quite a while now, but the Golden Globes marks the first big ceremony of the year.

There will be glitz, there will be glamour, there'll hopefully be a bit of controversy (who's going to turn down E!'s mani-cam this time?) - and, undoubtedly, there will be backlash.

It becomes clear every year - thanks to social media - that there is a very vocal bunch of people out there who don't consider awards ceremonies interesting in the slightest.

They don't care who's wearing what, they don't care who picks up Best Original Screenplay, and they certainly don't consider them news - unless a Kiwi wins of course, then it's the best thing ever, but all the other winners? Stuff 'em.

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But if we didn't have awards ceremonies, then our culture would be all the worse for it.

Take American Crime for example. It may seem irritating and clickbaity to call it the best show you aren't watching, but it's true - literally no one is watching this.

In America, the second season made it into the top 100 most-watched shows in the 18-49 demographic - tying for 96th place. It only earned between three and four million viewers every week, which is pretty bad even by modern broadcast network standards.

Over here, the second season played the same week as the States but only on TVNZ On Demand, and only now - a year later - is it airing on TV and even then it's on around 11pm on Monday nights. So yeah, no one's watching it.

Regina King's Emmy wins for American Crime have ensured the show remains on the air. Photo/Supplied
Regina King's Emmy wins for American Crime have ensured the show remains on the air. Photo/Supplied

So why hasn't it been thrown onto the scrapheap alongside the hundreds of other cancelled shows that got similar ratings?

It's simple: awards.

With American viewers leaving free-to-air TV in droves preferring to binge watch and stream shows online, networks have to re-evaluate their priorities. And being able to say you have an award-winning show is better than having a line-up very few are watching.

American Crime won ABC's sole Emmy last year, the second win in a row for star Regina King, one of just three major awards won by network channels. It is a prestigious honour, one made better by how rare it is.

Without awards, American Crime likely would have never been commissioned let alone renewed for a second season. The first season of the anthology series dealt with race in the modern age, while the second focused on a schoolboy who said he was raped by a fellow student - not topics you'd normally expect from a channel owned by Disney.

Yet, thanks to awards ceremonies, channels are more willing to release diverse programming to try and earn themselves some gold statues. ABC will soon be releasing When Will Rise, a mini series about LGBT rights from Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, which they seem to hope will earn them more critical and awards attention.

It's not just fledgling broadcast networks using awards to their advantage. If it wasn't for awards, Netflix likely wouldn't have become the success that it is. The company chose House of Cards, starring Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, as their first big push into the mainstream, and they launched an aggressive awards campaign to help earn them the credentials needed to be taken seriously. Had House of Cards been ignored at the 2013 Emmys, who knows what the company would've done, but they have gone from 14 to 54 nominations in just four years and continue to mount expensive campaigns to stake their place in the TV game.

In a marketplace increasingly being filled up by reboots, remakes and sequels no one asked for, awards ceremonies are like the sole shining light of goodness ensuring that there is actually some good quality stuff out there.

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, which became a success for Netflix after picking up several awards. Photo/Supplied
Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, which became a success for Netflix after picking up several awards. Photo/Supplied

Earlier this year, it was rumoured that Warner Brothers, the makers of

Harry Potter

and DC adaptations, was going to make more franchise-based films and focus less on smaller movies. It's a strategy based more on making money than quality entertainment for people who don't like magic and superheroes, and time will tell if other studios follow suit.

Yet Warner intends to stick with a small pool of filmmakers which includes Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood and Christopher Nolan - the directors behind their biggest award-winners in recent years. As much as they want to reign supreme at the box office, they still want to get that gold.


Even 20th Century Fox is trying their hardest to claim an Oscar for Deadpool, or at the very least a nomination. No super hero movie has even gotten a Best Picture nomination - but that is not for a lack of trying. If more studios tried to make their blockbusters award-worthy, wouldn't that benefit everyone instead of getting more shameless cash grabs like Independence Day?

So when you see news about the Globes today, before you scoff and click away, just ask yourself what you'd prefer: a dozen ridiculously OTT awards shows, or more of the likes ofTwo and a Half Men and Suicide Squad? Hope you enjoy the show.

American Crime airs Monday nights on TVNZ 1 and is available on TVNZ On Demand. The Golden Globes will be broadcast live today from 2pm on Vibe.