It’s time now to begin the specialty awards in Part 2 of this year’s Chaos awards. (Check out Part 1).
Best Multi-Character Performance: Janet (D’Arcy Carden), The Good Place
I wasn’t the biggest fan of D’Arcy Carden when The Good Place premiered; I thought the character of Janet was odd and a little off-center (to be fair, I thought the show was exactly the same – not sure what to make of it early on). But as the show matured, so did my affection for everyone involved. Carden’s place as the powerhouse performer was cemented when she hit her pinnacle best in episode 9 of season 3 titled “Janet(s)”, in which Janet pulled the entire gang into her void to keep them from being sent to the bad place. In order to keep her void from literally tearing itself to pieces, each one had to become Janet. Carden took the ball and ran with it, picking up every little nuance from each character almost to perfection, no more so than Jason-Janet. Her interpretation of the dim-bulb was amazing and hysterically accurate in movement, voice, and reaction. (Tahani-Janet was a close second). In the same episode, we also got to meet Neutral Janet, which was also a riot in and of itself. I wasn’t a fan before; I certainly am now.
Actor who’s better than the show: Paul Adelstein, I Feel Bad
I’ve been a fan of Paul Adelstein ever since his portrayal of Paul Kellerman on Prison Break. He has the ability to bring nuance and connection to his roles that allows for a sense of authoritative gravitas to whatever he’s working on. This is why he stands out so much in the comedy, I Feel Bad. The only time I ever even smiled during the two-episode premiere was when Adelstein was on screen. His timing, his expressions and his body language brought the show up a whole other level. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to keep watching the show as the rest was so unfunny and bland. I’d be fine if Adelstein remained a distinct character actor, but if he were to have his own show, he deserves much better material than this.
Most Vile Creatures: The Skeksis, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is full of vibrant, unusual creatures, but no creature created by Jim Henson’s creature shop can rival the Skeksis for pure stomach-churning disgust. Far be it for the Skeksis to just be pure evil as they use the crystal of truth to pull the essence from the Gelfling in order to remain immortal, their appearance, personalities and manners are all reprehensible in nature too. From the way they gorge on food to the way they punish those that get out of line, there is no character on television that is more vomitous than the Skeksis. To make matters worse, as the creatures deteriorate, they become even more repulsive, as evidenced most by the one that has pustules on her beak that occasionally ooze a disgusting creamy white liquid. Even more disgusting is when that liquid drips into her food and she eats it anyway. Just the thought makes me want to run to the bathroom and heave, but that is also what makes each Skeksis both unique and memorable.
Most Surprising Death: Captain Zoe Anderson (Mercedes Mason), The Rookie
Like any television season, there are going to be several major characters who perish, no more so than on shows that deal in science fiction and fantasy. The penultimate episode of The Walking Dead saw several characters, including Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and young Henry (Macsen Lintz), get their heads placed on pikes as a barrier between the Kingdom and the sadistic Whisperers, led by “Alpha” (Samantha Morton). But I have to say the most surprising had to be Captain Zoe Anderson (Mercedes Mason) on The Rookie. Usually in a police procedural like this, a supporting/lead character such as this wouldn’t be killed off so soon, and with the episode being one that showcased the appearance of IA agents hidden in the field to make sure the officers were doing their job, it felt like it could have been all an act. Yet, by the end of the episode, it was clear that she had died, leaving a gaping hole in the precinct that embraced a 45-year old rookie into their ranks. I can’t say I miss her, per se, as we never really got to know her all that well, but I never expected her to be the first character to depart from the show.
Oddest Cast Change: Molly McCook, Last Man Standing
It’s not unusual for a television show to recast a character when an actor decides to move on, something happens to them, or things just don’t work out. Occasionally, a show will simply bring in a new character (the better choice, in my opinion), but there are situations where that can’t happen. Usually, when a character has to be recast, the producers will choose someone with similar attributes to the original portrayer. When Darren was replaced on Bewitched, the actors didn’t just share the same look, they shared the same first name! When Becky was replaced on Roseanne, they chose someone with blonde hair and same height. Even the recasting of Kristen on Last Man Standing remained mostly true to the original actress. So it’s odd to see the producers choose an actress that doesn’t match any attributes (except their first name!) when forced to replace Molly Ephraim with Molly McCook as Mandy. I can overlook the hair color change; but casting an actress that is more than a foot taller makes the change really stand out above the fact that the replacement is trying way too hard to simulate the original’s effortless presence.
Best Milestone Episode: The Walking Dead
Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) final episode on The Walking Dead was the perfect homage to the character who brought us into this fantastic post-apocalyptic world. As he slowly dies from his wounds during a walker attack, Rick is haunted by memories of those he lost and essentially couldn’t help in his attempt at forming a new society against all odds. There were some very special appearances by old cast members, as well as a gut-wrenching moment when Rick chooses to sacrifice himself for the sake of his new family. Seeing Michonne (Danai Gurira) watch Rick shoot the barrel of dynamite to destroy the bridge that would keep the walkers from storming Alexandria was poignant, but no more so than witnessing Daryl (Norman Reedus) witness it happen. His look of defeat and loss was heartbreaking and matched what most fans were probably feeling at that moment… until Rick was secretly rescued by Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and taken away on a helicopter to… live another day? To cap it all off, there was a post-“death” time jump with the wild reveal of Chloe Garcia-Frizzi as the now seven-year old Judith. All-in-all, it was a perfect send-off for a true leader and a perfect transition into what would come next.
Coming Into Its Own Award: The Orville
The Orville never quite seemed balanced throughout its first season. It wanted to be a spoof on Star Trek by making fun of certain aspects of that show (and space operas in general), but it also wanted to be taken seriously as its own viable entity. The first few episodes were like a roller-coaster giving its viewers whiplash as the writers tried to bounce back and forth between these two conflicting ideas. It finally did settle into a groove toward the end, but still didn’t seem to have a good footing on what it truly wanted to be. Enter the second season, where The Orville finally found its voice. As it slowly found a strong balance between the dramatic and the surreal, it finally started to create plots and character developments that helped deliver both great drama and absurdist comedy. All of this newfound energy culminated in the two-part episode, “Identity”, which saw the betrayal and eventual redemption of Isaac (Mark Jackson), some very good crew pairings we don’t normally see, and a killer space battle that was incredibly directed with some of the best special effects this show has ever had. This was then followed by a terrific showcase for the underutilized Scott Grimes, and a two-part finale that saw what it would be like if Ed (Seth MacFarlane) never captained the Orville. It’s great that FOX picked up the show for a third season, but still a shame that it will only air on HULU.
Most Touching Moment: The Resident
Last season, The Resident came at us with a different approach to the medical drama, making a big impact in both emotion and thrills. It didn’t let up in its first episode of season 2, though it did take a step back from its intrigue and cancerous financial storylines for one brief moment to reveal one of the most touching sequences of the season. As Dr. Austin (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) operated on a premature baby’s heart (in a blackout, no less), her tiny twin brother wouldn’t stop crying. So, when the small baby finally stops crying after he touches his sister’s shoulder with his hand, knowing she’s there with him once again and that they’re both protected by one another… if you weren’t crying, you probably don’t have a heart.
Best Self-Promotion: Andrew McCarthy, The Blacklist
Although Andrew McCarthy hasn’t done a whole lot of acting over the last twenty years, he has become a rather prolific director, building his resume behind the camera on various television shows. One of his most recent gigs has been directing episodes of friend James Spader’s show, The Blacklist. On the April 19 episode, “The Third Estate,” directed by McCarthy, a woman is reading a book in a coffee shop. Eagle-eyed viewers would notice that the book was McCarthy’s own Just Fly Away. Kudos McCarthy for plugging your work in such a nice, subtle way!
Best way to keep a dead character on a show: Remy’s (Jaimie Alexander) Hallucination, Blindspot
After the death of Jane’s (Jaimie Alexander) brother Roman (Luke Mitchell) in the season 3 finale of Blindspot, it wasn’t necessarily a given that he would remain a constant presence on the show. It was sad to see him go, as Mitchell did a terrific job playing all sides of the situation that not only helped himself and his cause, but also helped the FBI take down a nefarious billionaire (David Morse). In order to keep this charismatic character around, the filmmakers set up an illness that both Roman and Jane were afflicted with, highlighted by Roman literally fighting with himself hours before he died from said illness. Once Jane’s amnesia turned off and Remy rose from the ashes, Roman started to guide her through each step of rescuing their mom and finishing what they started. That way, even in death, Roman remained a presence to be reckoned with—at least until Jane was cured. RIP for a second (and final) time, Roman.
Don’t forget to check out Part 3 of the 2018-2019 awards, including Best Homage, the Most Annoying Pattern and the season’s most noticeable trend.