Best end to a long-gestating story arc: Haven
A few seasons ago, Haven started an arc that a guardsman was going to kill Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour). It was the ignition to a full season, in which Nathan (Lucas Bryant) went undercover to find out who it might be and stop them. The arc led to several other story lines, but in the end, Duke’s mysterious killer was never found and the arc seemingly slipped through the cracks. That is, until the season finale, when Nathan was forced to kill Duke to keep Croatoan (William Shatner) from collecting all of the troubles he’d trapped inside him. It was a fitting end to a long forgotten story arc, proving to fans that the creators of Haven were doing everything they could to wrap every loose end in a nice little bow before signing off for good.
Best Previously On Segments: BrainDead
A show that lived and breathed on insanity and otherworldly silliness, Braindead was one of those shows that could put you in a good mood no matter what kind of day you were having, and aside from the fun atmosphere and compelling cast (most notably Tony Shalhoub’s quirky Red Wheatus), a lot of the credit goes to the creator’s knack of not only singing the “previously on” segments that open each episode, but always doing something different and creative so as not to become rote or mundane. For example, in one of the most amusing segments, the narrator becomes so utterly confused by what’s happening with the plot, he decides to recap an old episode of Gunsmoke instead. That ingenuity and randomness was the cherry on top of the most unique, creative and ridiculous show of the season. (And, in some ways, made me miss the equally quirky musical Galavant!)
Best Doppelgänger: Barry Allen, The Flash
After losing Katherine on the Vampire Diaries (and all of second earth on Fringe), it was awesome to see Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) jump to Earth 2 on The Flash and get to meet his much nerdier self. Earth 2 Barry was incredibly funny to watch simply because he was the complete opposite of his doppelgänger, and you could tell that Gustin was having a blast getting to play this new version of himself. Let’s just hope Barry’s decision to rewrite history doesn’t keep us from getting to head back to Earth 2 and hang out with him again.
This season’s most noticeable trend: The non-law enforcement recruitment
Four shows this season brought us, in varying degrees, people of authority or law enforcement turning to civilians to help solve cases. It’s not an original idea, as many procedurals use this device to control their narratives, but I’m not sure there’s been one season that’s had so many premiere at the same time. Minority Report gave us a pre-cog (Stark Sands) helping a detective solve crimes before they happen; Limitless provided the FBI with someone (Jake McDorman) immune to the side-effects of the mind-altering drug that allows him the ability to become the smartest person in the world; Blindspot sent an ex-Navy Seal (Jaimie Alexander), completely erased of any memory and tattooed with clues to potential crimes, into the lion’s den; and in a lesser extent, The Player had a bleeding heart cop (Philip Winchester) join a team of Vegas bookies who place bets on whether “the player” would be able to succeed in solving crimes. What happened to the days when cops actually did the job they’re paid to do without needing the help of enhanced individuals? Then, not to be outdone, everything switched mid-season. Instead of the cops recruiting non-law enforcement personal, enhanced individuals decided to just horn in on the investigations… and in the process gave us a couple of surprising new shows in Lucifer and Second Chances.
Best Series Resurrection: Nashville
Just before the networks took center stage to announce their fall 2016 lineups, ABC took the ax to many of its shows, including fan favorite Castle and upstart The Muppets. But the termination that hit a lot of super fans hard was cult favorite Nashville‘s farewell song. Luckily, CMT quickly scooped up the rights and moved forward on producing, at the very least, a fifth season. Whether this will wrap things up in a nice little bow or continue on for many more years is still to be determined. But to know that the little show that could will be getting one more chance to sing is music to many fan’s ears.
Most in need of security: Police stations
This season saw several police stations get breached early in their runs. On Arrow, Star City police station was once again attacked; In Haven, a troubled person wiped out the police station with his ability to cause earthquakes; and on Gotham, the crazy team of insane Arkham breakouts, led by the fascinating Cameron Monaghan as the faux Joker, ransacked GPD, wiping out half the force, including the captain. It seems like those who are supposed to protect and serve should begin by protecting themselves from the rabble that may infiltrate their own homes first.
High Integrity Award: Masterchef
Reality shows are in some ways scripted; or at the very least, manipulated to add to the tension. Rules can bend for a “character” that producers feel may bring more viewers to the table, so to see Masterchef stick so closely to the rules and give Andrea the boot because she was a mere three seconds late bringing her plate to the front for judging, even though she had the best plate of the night, shows that the producers refrain from setting precedent by giving anyone an exception. (Then again, only a few episodes later, Gordan Ramsey gave David a second chance after he let his pettiness get the best of him and walked out of the competition, which pretty much negates this whole thing… maybe. I don’t know. It’s your call.)
Best 90s TGIF homage: Mr. Robot
After Elliot (Rami Malek) hacked into a fellow criminal’s (Craig Robinson) website to see what his operation truly was, he got the living crap beat out of him and then thrown into a shady basement. During his recovery, his alter ego, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), transported Elliot to a world of 90s sitcoms, complete with laugh track and a cameo appearance by ALF. The homage was spot-on with every detail, which included a 4:3 aspect ration and an awesome credits sequence that made me feel nostalgic for shows like Family Matters and Perfect Strangers. The surreal experience is given a shot in the arm by making Elliot aware of the whole idea. It was a shame the segment only lasted fifteen minutes. Nonetheless, it was good while it lasted.
Best Reaction: Emma Swan, Once Upon A Time
In an episode showcasing Rumplestiltskin’s (Robert Carlyle) wife, Milah (Rachel Shelley), giving us more intel on her first meeting with Killian (aka, Hook; Colin O’Donoghue) and how she treated Rumplestiltskin before he became the dark one, the best moment came when Milah met Emma (Jennifer Morrison) for the first time. Rumplestiltskin mentions that Emma has had a relationship with both Killian and Baelfire (Michael Raymond-James), to which Milah pronounces, “So you’ve had a relationship with both my ex-lover and my son?” The look on Emma’s face was priceless.
And with that, we close out the 2015-2016 season. Come back next year for more chaotic television awards.