The Television Academy announced today the recipients of its 15th Television Academy Honours, recognising seven exceptional television programs and their producers who have leveraged the immense power of television to fuel social change.
The honourees include two documentary/nonfiction series, a documentary special, two limited series, and two comedy series representing some of the most significant and impactful television of 2021. They are Black and Missing, Dopesick, Insecure, It’s a Sin, Reservation Dogs, Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition, and The Year Earth Changed.
Each year, Television Academy Honours celebrates programs across numerous platforms and genres that raise awareness about complex issues facing society. This year’s honourees produced compelling programs—in both fictional and nonfictional works—that address racism, law enforcement, addiction, AIDS, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on nature, immigration, Native American representation, anti-Asian American hate, and the issues facing Black women.
“Now more than ever, television informs and galvanizes audiences around the world. These seven remarkable programs have enlightened viewers and advocated for some of the most significant issues facing our global community,” said Television Academy chairman and CEO Frank Scherma. “We are pleased to honour these extraordinary programs and producers who are committed to influencing social change.”
Jill Sanford, governor for the Children’s Programming Peer Group, chaired this year’s Television Academy Honours selection committee with Bryan Leder, governor for the Professional Representatives Peer Group, and Kim Coleman, C.S.A., Governor for the Casting Director Peer Group serving as vice chairs.
“The Academy Honours committee was delighted to receive so many extraordinary submissions for this award, and we were inspired by the ground-breaking production and storytelling from throughout our industry,” said Sanford. “We applaud the producers, directors and performers who have used their voices and platforms to elevate these important social issues and initiate change.”
The Honours recipients will be honoured during a celebration slated this summer.
In addition to this year’s honourees, the Honours selection committee is giving special recognition to three other programs: Fauci (National Geographic), MAID (Netflix) and Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (History Channel). These three programs will each receive a certificate acknowledging their thoughtful, pro-social content.
Recipients of the 15th Television Academy Honours are:
Black and Missing (HBO Documentary Films presents in association with SO’B Productions)
From multiple Emmy winner Geeta Gandbhir and award-winning documentarian, journalist, author and activist Soledad O’Brien, this compelling documentary follows sisters-in-law and Black and Missing Foundation founders Derrica and Natalie Wilson as they fight an uphill battle to bring awareness to the Black missing persons cases that are marginalized by law enforcement and national media. (HBO/HBO Max)
Dopesick (Hulu, Danny Strong Productions, John Goldwyn Productions, The Littlefield Company, 20th Television)
Starring Michael Keaton, this limited series examines how one company triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history. The series takes viewers to the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction, from the boardrooms of Purdue Pharma to a distressed Virginia mining community to the hallways of the DEA. The unsparing yet deeply human portraits of the various families affected by OxyContin addiction and their intersecting stories hold up a mirror to this American tragedy. (Hulu)
Insecure (HBO in association with Hoorae Productions, A Penny for Your Thoughts Entertainment, and 3 Arts Entertainment)
Starring Issa Rae, the fifth and final season of this relevant series follows characters who highlight the authentic, lived experiences of Black women with a desire to build opportunities for the Black community as they evaluate their relationships, both new and old, and figure out who and what comes with them in this next phase of their lives. (HBO/HBO Max)
It’s a Sin (HBO Max presents a Red Production Company production in association with Channel 4 Television)
Spanning a decade, this series follows five young friends navigating the early days of the AIDS crisis in 1980s London. In writing this series, Russell T Davies hoped to show not just the pain and loss that plagued a generation, but also the lives lived. Where there’s long been much misplaced shame and stigma, there was much joy, strength and love. (HBO/HBO Max)
Reservation Dogs (FX Productions)
From co-creators and executive producers Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, this half-hour comedy follows the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who steal, rob and save in order to get to the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California. Filmed on location in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, the series is a breakthrough in Indigenous representation on television both in front of and behind the camera. Every writer, director and series regular on the show is Indigenous. This first-of-its-kind creative team tells a story that resonates with them and their lived experiences and invites audiences into a surprisingly familiar and funny world. (FX Networks)
Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition (Hulu, Part 2 Pictures, Delicious Entertainment)
Award-winning host, executive producer and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi takes audiences on a journey across America exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups, seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. The program looks at how immigrant traditions have stood the test of time despite ongoing threats, challenging political climates, and cultural misappropriation.
The Year Earth Changed (BBC Studios Natural History Unit in association with Apple)
Showcasing footage from around the world after an unprecedented year, this timely documentary special takes a fresh new approach to the global lockdown and the uplifting stories that have come out of it. From hearing birdsong in deserted cities and seeing whales in Glacier Bay to meeting capybara in suburbs across South America, people worldwide have had the chance to engage with nature like never before. Viewers will witness how the smallest changes in human behaviour—reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to coexist—can have a profound impact on nature. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, is a love letter to planet Earth, highlighting the ways nature’s resiliency and ability to bounce back can give us hope for the future. (Apple TV+)
Sponsors for Television Academy Honours include Kia America, PEOPLE and Ketel One.