A surprisingly ho-hum awards season for HBO’s buzzy new drama True Detective ended on a high note tonight when the first season of the mystery drama won two WGA Awards, for best drama series and best new series. Hailed as a likely awards heavyweight last spring, True Detective didn’t live up to the expectations, with a director Emmy for Cary Fukunaga as the only major honor for the pop culture phenom. He didn’t repeat at the DGA Awards, stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were snubbed at the Emmys, Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, and the series didn’t win a top prize at any of the majors. True Detective was going through a lengthy awards drought, including at the PGA Awards, when the final major awards show for its breakout first season, the WGAs, bestowed two of its top prizes on the show’s creator, Nic Pizzolatto.
It was a night of the auteur, with series creators scoring most of the wins. Louie creator Louis CK dominated the comedy categories with two wins for his eponymous FX series, best comedy series and episodic comedy (the So Did the Fat Lady episode he wrote). Like Pizzolatto, Louis CK penned every episode of Louie‘s 2014 season.
The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King landed the CBS drama’s first WGA Award for writing the poignant The Last Call episode that dealt with the aftermath of Josh Charles’ character’s murder. Like True Detective, the WGAs recognition rectifies previous snubs of what arguably had been The Good Wife‘s strongest season, which failed to land the series a best drama Emmy nomination and a single writing Emmy nom (another standout episode from the 2013-14 season, the Kings-written Hitting the Fan, earned them a WGA nom last year).
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver made a triumphant entrance into the awards race with a win against a slew of heavyweights. The weekly HBO program hosted by former Daily Show correspondent Oliver, nominated for its maiden season, beat Comedy Central’s power duo of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, which have dominated the comedy/variety category at the WGAs, winning in five of the past seven years. Four-time winner The Colbert Report was a sentimental favorite, competing in its final WGA Awards. Last Week Tonight also topped HBO’s incumbent HBO weekly comedy/talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher and 40-year-old Saturday Night Live as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, whose star is considered a potential candidate to succeed Stewart on The Daily Show.