The First Annual I’m-Bored-Here’s-My-Thoughts-On-TV Awards

Summer is always a weird time of year for the tv fans out there. What was traditionally the off-season, filled with reruns and boredom, has turned pretty exciting in our new internet culture. We get constant updates, spoilers, casting news and on set pictures to get us excitedly counting down until September. That’s not to mention the current summer-start shows like Mad Men and True Blood, as well as the upcoming Emmys. Sure the weather’s nicer and we should probably be outside playing baseball or going swimming or doing something else typically expected of the warmer months, but with longer days there’s really just more time to catch up on tv. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing since May, when Lost ended and left a gaping hole in my heart and soul.

I’ve lost my train of thought now, thinking about how sad I am that I have no Ben Linus to look forward to this year, but basically I was going to say something about taking a look at the shows of the past year. Which is exactly what I’m about to do.

Rookie of the Year (best new show)

While I’ve heard good things about Modern Family (haven’t watched yet – sorry) and hate everything about Glee, it’s this year’s other new sitcom that I love the most – Community. Starring The Soup’s Joel McHale, SNL’s Chevy Chase and with appearances by The Hangover’s Ken Jeong and The Daily Show’s Jon Oliver, it’s hard to believe that is the underdog in the newcomer category.

But here we are. Everyone’s singing Jane Lynch praises (pun not intended) whilst the hilarious Troy and Abed have yet to score an Entertainment Weekly cover. I don’t even know how to convince anyone this show is funny. Just watch it! It’s like if TV Tropes decided to make a show using every trope listed, but made it all completely work without seeming too obvious but just obvious enough, and then on top of that made it hilarious.

Somehow, for reasons I cannot even begin to fathom, it was completely snubbed by the Emmy nominations this year. No Best Comedy spot? No Lead Actor for Joel McHale (who they had reading out the damn nominations)? No Supporting for the perfect aforementioned Troy and Abed, or even a throwaway nom to Chevy Chase for just being Chevy Chase? It’s a goddamn travesty. But at least now it can continue to be underrated and consistently funny, instead of trying to live up to it’s own hype.

Comeback Season (most improved)

I can’t even be certain if this one counts, because last year was barely a season. After announcing our beloved David Tennant and be-hated Russell T Davies were leaving the show, as Doctor and show-runner accordingly, we were given a dramatic send off… in the form of six episodes sprinkled throughout the year. The “specials” ranged from the interesting and pretty entertaining (Waters of Mars) to the terrible (Planet of the Dead) and climaxed in an overwrought, overly dramatic mess of a finale (not that I didn’t cry into a bucket of ice cream during it).

Stephen Moffatt, the man responsible for some of the best NuWho episodes, was stepping in as show-runner and was bringing along a twenty-something with an Easter Island head no one had ever heard of to be the Doctor. Expectations were high. And I’m not talking about among the media or the fandom, I just mean me. Expectations were very high, and yet I was blown away.

It was funny, adventurous, action-packed, everything the show should be. Unlike previous seasons, there’s no standout best and worst because everything’s been pretty great across the board. From the creepy Dream Lord in Amy’s Choice to the emotional Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor to even the premiere, which introduced us to feisty Amy Pond, her loveable boyfriend, and the Big Bad – the crack in her wall. It just may be the best season of NuWho yet (or at least tied with Donna’s season). And to top it all off, somehow Matt Smith’s Franken-face even became endearing. That’s the magic of the Doctor.

Best New Character

Dexter is an amazing show. Fact. Michael C Hall plays our favourite serial killer well – really well. But this past season he got some competition (in more ways than one) with John Lithgow’s Trinity Killer. Lithgow, best known as the goofy nice dad from Third Rock From The Sun, is probably the creepiest motherfucker on tv. He’s like, if Ben Linus and Christopher Walken had a baby that slit people’s throats and called them cunts. Creep. In the first episode, we are introduced to him as he stands naked, abducts a woman and slices her leg open from behind and drains her into a bathtub. Throughout the course of the season, he murders, kidnaps children, abuses his family, plays the happy-go-lucky family man and the elusive killer, makes toy trains even creepier, gets naked a lot and tops it all off by murdering Dexter’s sugary-sweet (and okay, sometimes naggy) wife Rita in the same fashion as his first kill. Trinity, you raised the bar. It’ll be hard for any of Dexter’s future foes to top that.

Best Individual Episode

Now let’s do this one a little differently. I mean it’s tough to just highlight one episode above the rest in all of television. So let’s check out the contenders.
Lost – the one where everyone dies (on the submarine, not “and goes to heaven”)
Dexter – the one where Dexter kills Trinity and Trinity kills Rita (finale)
Fringe – the one where it’s the 80s (props for the intro alone)
Mad Men – the one where the guy gets his foot cut off by a lawn mower
Community – the one where they play paintball

How do I pick a winner from that roundup?

Okay, it’s the Mad Men lawnmower one. I’ve rewatched that scene a few dozen times.


Worst New Show

To quote the best new show, Community – “I hate Glee! I just don’t understand the appeal!

Honestly, I don’t get why Degrassi plots set to Kidz Bop soundtracks is so popular. I watch Glee, I hear this:

(I really just want an excuse to post that). On the topic of making good things horrible,

Most Depreciated Show

Once upon a time, Big Bang Theory was my guilty pleasure show. I liked it because it was silly and geeky and made Spock jokes, but it wasn’t exactly good. I’m kind of a comedy snob (aka Arrested Development fan) so the fact that the jokes were slightly obvious and the plot slightly simple was well, embarrassing. But I enjoyed it for what it was – cute and dorky-funny. Then third season happened.

It went from light and funny to downright bad. Leonard and Penny finally got together just to bicker nonstop and experience the most contrived relationship problems one could come up with. Now if one forced and unfunny couple isn’t enough, Howard got a girlfriend – who also had nothing in common with him, and also was the source of many ridiculous and unrealistic fights and reactions. And Dr Sheldon Cooper, played by the fabulous Jim Parsons, has somehow become over and underused at the same time. Dominating every episode and forcing the other four to become mere background characters is frustrating, but not moreso than watching a talented comedic actor be reduced to shouting “BAZINGA!” to the laugh-track’s delight. (I still love Raj, though – no complaints on his part). And I will give props to the flashback episode, it was the high-point of the season. This year was the first time you could tell BBT was brought to us by the same guy responsible for Two and a Half Men.

Best New But Cancelled

I had to Google what shows were “new but cancelled” this year. Found a bunch of things I’d never heard of/seen, like “The Deep End” “The Beautiful Life” and “Happy Town.” So basically nothing of value was lost. Let’s instead just mention 24, the best old but cancelled show. 8 seasons of Jack Bauer saving the world without sleeping, eating or even sitting down.  I’m sure he could have done it 8 more times – actually, he probably will in the eventual movie. Can’t wait!

And last but most certainly not least, the biggest made-up category of them all,

Most Valuable Show (best of the year)

Surprisingly tough. I feel like I should be giving it to Lost just for existing (and because I’m nothing if not predictable), but I’d be lying if I said I loved half a season’s worth of hanging around the temple. Still the greatest show of all time!! But not my pick here.

What it comes down to for me is two great shows that had particularly masterful seasons: Mad Men and Dexter. Both seasons were interesting and intense and ended with the main character’s lives falling to pieces, but there was one obvious winner:

Flawless season. Well done.

And that brings us to the end of this award ceremony! Congrats to the winners, condolences to the losers, and good luck when the hype dies down Glee.

Look for Mark’s choices later this week, and as always, sound off in the comments.

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