Now that the “Main” categories are out of the way (read Part 1 here), it’s on to some specialty awards.
Best development of a character: Dr. Schetany (Ben Shankman), Royal Pains
Character development can go one of two ways: either it feels natural and highlights a character’s flaws, fears, hopes and dreams, or it feels forced and goes completely against the character’s past and what he stands for. In Royal Pains, Ben Shankman has created a very uptight, neurotic character in Dr. Schetany, but as he continues to attempt to become a better person, he has had to step way out of his comfort zone to mature into a much more well-rounded person. Beginning with the kindness of taking Dyvia and her baby into his very clean home, Dr. Schetany learns how to break from his routine, which leads to helping a girl he has feelings for, all of which led to him falling in love and find heartbreak, betrayal and forgiveness. The scene where he sits at a new place and tries to banter with the waitress the same way he did with the girl he liked, and realizing, “It’s just not the same,” was heartbreaking and gives Dr. Schetany a depth that not a lot of characters embody.
Most excited to play a villain: Emily Rose (Mara), Haven
There are heroes and then there are villains, and as most actors will say, they usually find playing the villain much more fun. And as we wait to see how Jennifer Morrison takes to playing the Dark Swan on Once Upon A Time, Emily Rose had a grand ole time playing evil Mara last season on Haven. To some, she might have come off as too bitchy and possibly a little over the top with how she conveyed her evilness, but as the wicked supernatural creator of Haven’s troubles, Mara is who she is — sadistic. On top of that, Emily Rose does a good job separating Mara from Audrey and giving each a clear distinction as to who which is witch.
Actor who’s better than the show: Enrico Colantoni, The Mysteries of Laura
For a long time, Enrico Colantoni has marveled as the team leader in the brilliantly executed but far underrated (and even less watched) Canadian series, Flashpoint, as well as the titular mob boss on Person of Interest where he’s just as good being evil (depending on his situation and ultimate endgame of chess). Because of this resume (which also includes a perfectly comic turn as Mathesar in Galaxy Quest), it was very hard to watch him show up as Captain Dan Hauser in the abysmal new show, The Mysteries of Laura. His scenes with Michael Emerson on Interest are so well-crafted in their subtle intensity, it makes the scenes with Debra Messing feel downright labored, as if he was there as a favor to someone because they promised him it was only for one episode. And it’s a good thing it was, as this mediocre hit might have kept him from securing work in another property worthy of his talents.
Oddest trend of the year: Characters cutting their hair
Ah, symbolism. Much like Tris in Insurgent, we saw several characters chop off their locks in the first few weeks of the season to declare a point or signify a major change in their life. First up on Nashville, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) sheared her locks during a nervous breakdown after losing Avery (Jonathan Jackson) due to her own foolish decisions; the thought of losing a part in a television movie after showing tremendous emotion during the audition didn’t help matters. Then, over on Haven (in it’s third episode of its last season), Duke (Eric Balfour) made the rash decision to remove all of his hair due to both the pain of losing his girlfriend, Jennifer (Emma Lahana), and the fact that the culmination of troubles he and his family have collected over the years were basically eating him from the inside-out. Finally, even though it was done off-camera, both Elizabeth Keene (Megan Boone), who found out her husband Will was an evil spy last season on The Blacklist, and Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni), who received her new position as Secretary of State on Madam Secretary, cut their hair to blossom into their new lives. Also in need of attention is Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, whose new do was so drastic, it deserves a mention here even though it was a personal decision and wasn’t part of the show itself (but still allowed for a lot of jokes during the premiere). That’s a lot of missing hair for a weeks worth of television. Here’s hoping they all donated to Locks of Love.
Best recollection of a star’s previous gig: Last Man Standing
Anyone who loved Home Improvement back in the ’90s would have been pleased with the first episode of the new year on Last Man Standing. Patricia Richardson, better known as Jill Taylor (wife of Tim “The Toolman” Taylor) made a guest appearance on the show as a neighbor who recently lost her husband — a man who thought he was great with tools but did nothing but juice everything up to their ultimate destruction. It was great to see them back together again, and in their first scene together, the references to the pair’s “old life” were flying high. The writers even found a clever way to pay homage to the late great Earl Hindman, as regular guest star Jonathan Adams (neighbor Chuck) poked the top of his head over the face to dole out some advice to Tim, er, I mean Mike. Leaving most of the political stuff to the B-story gave more time for the show’s star to reminisce and riff on the show that made Tim Allen a star… most likely because as Mike said in reference to Richardson’s quip that her husband would have had a better delivery on a joke, “maybe he had better writers.”
Most Surprising Death: Ruth (Kasha Kropinski), Hell on Wheels
When dealing with the possible death of a starring character, a lot of other shows would have copped out at the last minute and found a way to keep them alive. Not Hell on Wheels. With the death of Elam Ferguson (Common) earlier in the season, newcomer John Campbell (Jake Weber) brought in a new sheriff, Sydney Snow (Jonathan Scarfe), who promptly killed Ruth’s surrogate son when he burned the church with most of the town inside. Ruth found vengeance by shooting, and inevitably killing, Snow, and although she was continually offered a pardon, she refused it at every turn, believing she was not only right in killing Snow for what he did, but that she would pay for her crime, setting up the scene at the gallows where the rope goes around her neck. But where other shows may have had her finally take the pardon at the last minute (which could very well have been where it was heading as the mask was placed on and the fear in her eyes said she was having second thoughts), before you know it — through her devastating perspective — the lever was pulled and we go to commercial. It wasn’t so much shocking as it was surprising the producers would go through with it, but Hell on Wheels has never backed down from going against the grain for its entire run.
First Show To Die Award: Manhattan Love Story
The actors were fine, the characters were okay, but in the end, there was far too much inside discussions that it started to feel extremely cloying and self-important. None of the supporting characters were all that interesting (and at times could be quite annoying), and the situations the writers put them in could be too cute or too excruciating to believe. There were some highlights, as when in the pilot, the guy started to cross items off of her “To Do in New York” list, but there wasn’t enough of this to help raise the show above a typical, ordinary, familiar romantic comedy with nothing new to say. It’s not necessarily the worst new show of the season (see Z Nation and Mulaney), but someone has to go first.
Biggest Missed Opportunity Award: Once Upon A Time
As Once Upon A Time was wrapping up their writer storyline, they sent the majority of characters to an alternate fairy tale world where evil triumphed and heroes lost. The worst thing about this two-hour look at what could have been is the fact that it was only two hours. The producers really dropped the ball on this exciting development by restricting the idea to just the season finale. There was a moment at the very beginning of the final episode when the writer places his final period to cap the new version of events. This scene would have made the perfect season finale moment, allowing for the first half of the fifth season to explore this world in more detail and really extend the situations (like the rescue of Emma (Jennifer Morrison) from the tower) that felt extremely rushed and glossed over. At that point, they could have ended the first half of the season with the Black Swan set-up and explored that storyline throughout the back half, instead of starting the new season with it. That, my friends, would have been exciting, different and a change of pace for the show. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I guess.
That’s it for today. Come back tomorrow for the final awards, which include the best milestone episodes, the best storytelling device and the most disturbing scene of the season. (Head to Part 3 now.)