Revitalization Award: Once Upon A Time
A lot of shows go through what is known as the sophomore slump — their first season was so good, that it is almost impossible for the second season to live up to the expectations, and on occasion, can never recapture that original inspiration (Heroes, I’m looking at you). This was certainly the case for Once Upon A Time, a stunning mix of surprise, heart and comic Gold that faltered when the creators decided to give the residents of Storybrooke their magic mojo back (and their memories to boot). Suddenly, the spark that made the show so good was diminished, and its future didn’t look bright at all. Then came Neverland (along with a conniving Peter Pan (Robbie Kay)) and voila — the magic was back. When they introduced the plot line for Henry’s (Jared Gilmore) kidnapping at the end of season 2, the whole thing just felt off somehow; as if the producers were grasping at straws. But setting that storyline up gave way to a marvelous arc over the course of the first half of the third season. Robbie Kay gave just the right amount of bite to Pan’s menacing persona and all of the story beats (introducing Tinkerbell (Rose McIver) and her connection to the fairies and Regina (Lana Parrilla), discovering that Pan is Rumpelstiltskin’s (Robert Carlyle) father, David’s (Josh Dallas) sacrifice, and the reason for kidnapping Henry) were all perfectly paced and developed. Though the second half of the season lost a step with its wicked storyline, overall, this season reminded us all why Once Upon A Time was appointment television. Let’s hope they can continue this energy into next season’s Frozen arc.
Most Surprising Death: Detective Jocelyn Carter (Taraji P. Henson), Person of Interest
All of these awards are for shows I watch, so there were some deaths that may have been surprising, such as Brian on Family Guy, but they’ve been disqualified for that reason. Hershel’s (Scott Wilson) death on The Walking Dead was certainly a sad moment, but none of those characters are guaranteed a contract renewal. And speaking of The Walking Dead, although watching Carol (MelissaMcBride) put a bullet to young Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) was shocking (and Lizzie’s slaughtering of little sister Mika (Kyla Kenedy) even more so), they weren’t regular characters that have been with the show since the beginning, so it wasn’t necessarily surprising that they would meet their end. The same can’t be said for Carter on Person of Interest. Not only was she one of the main catalysts for the purpose of the show, whether she was chasing or helping Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Finch (Michael Emerson), without her, the show wouldn’t have had as much juice. Hensen brought a strong will and a powerful essence to the show, and her drive to ultimately take down the mob-connected HR, added a lot of depth to her character and her relationship with Reese. Having her gunned down by the head of the organization after completing her goal came out of nowhere and ended the life of a terrific character that was just gearing up to officially join Finch’s angels club. And though her death resonated throughout the latter half of the season (and gave Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman) a lot more to do), Carter’s death was unbelievable on so many levels. RIP Detective; you will never be forgotten.
Best New Duo: Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy), Almost Human
The show may have been a little uneven, and had to take some time to find its rhythm, but the same can’t be said for the stars of Almost Human, Kennex and Dorian, partners thrown together against their will who instantly connected as the perfect odd couple. Urban and Ealy were brilliant together, playing off each other as if they had been together for several seasons. They hated each other with a fervent passion, had different viewpoints of the world at large and were polar opposites in how they conducted themselves in the field, but they still held an unspoken respect for each other as people (or androids, in Dorian’s case) and in the way they complimented each other as partners. It’s a real shame that Fox gave this show the Firefly treatment, as the chemistry between Urban and Ealy kept me coming back each week only to watch the rest of the show evolve into something that deserved more than it was given.
Best Special Effects: The Tomorrow People
When The Tomorrow People first started, I wrote a quick post about how the characters felt too ordinary, and not the extraordinary characters the show was claiming them to be. Though the show (and the characters) did get better over the course of the somewhat uneven season, there was one aspect that never changed — the stellar special effects (and more to the point, the teleportation effect). From the very first episode, the producers gave us movie quality effects that outperformed everything else on screen. You almost have to wonder — if the producers had spent as much time and effort on the scripts and the direction as they did the effects, would the show have survived? I think it just may have.
Worst Special Effects: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
I’m not sure if Once Upon a Time in Wonderland would have been as flawed as it was if it hadn’t have been for the cringe-worthy special effects, which at times made the show look like a painting rather than a real world (and if that was how it was meant to feel, it didn’t work). The effects made the vastness of the world, as well as a lot of its more fantastical characters (such as the Cheshire Cat and the Caterpillar), look ridiculously fake. Revolving your whole concept around poor effects only made the characters and the plots feel no more real than computer animated pixels, and it had a detrimental effect on the show as a whole, as evidenced by the latter half of the season, which was far better than the first half partly because it didn’t rely so heavily on the effects.
Most mismatched (yet effective) music: Helix
On a show about a virus that turns people into killer virus transports, the music that played over some of the more intense scenes on the surface felt wildly out of place but were actually very supportive. From the elevator-style opening title song, to the loving or happily upbeat songs used during sequences of carnage, the music was confusing and effective all at the same time. The reason for this is because it added a deeper level of contradiction to what was happening. It gave us a light and airy feel to help us, in a way, cope with the menace and the dread of what was actually happening to the characters. It may not seem right, but to have a darker more ominous music pounding away over the already brutal events wouldn’t have kept us as emotionally involved. By creating a soothing atmosphere, we were able to tolerate the madness and feel the raw emotion of the scene because we were given support through the tenderness of what we were hearing.
First to die Award: Lucky 7
Need I say more?
Thanks for checking out the 2014 Chaos Television Awards. Come back next year when I do it all over again. Until then, keep your eyeballs glued to the television so you don’t miss any groundbreaking (or incredibly mind-numbing) moments.