Posts Tagged Television
Worst Editing: The Conners
I noticed issues in the editing on the reincarnation of Roseanne last year, but it wasn’t so atrociously obvious as it is on The Conners. Everything about the editing is horrible, but the most egregious are the transitions between scenes, which seem as if the directors don’t know where to end a scene, so they just stop and fade into the next. On top of that, there are several moments when it’s clear they cut something out with placement of characters. It might not be as bad if the show itself was consistent, but with sporadic hints of excellence sprinkled about a mediocre attempt at finding the magic that was once Roseanne in its prime, it just tends to highlight the problems even further.
Best Homage: NCIS: New Orleans Meets Fast and Furious
The only Fast and Furious movie to not star Vin Diesel was The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which starred Lucas Black, who has been hunting down criminals as NCIS Agent Christopher LaSalle for 5 years. One thing we’ve never seen from the character is the ability to drive like a street racer. So it was fun (and perhaps a little silly) to suddenly see him whip around a parking structure as if he had been drifting his entire life. To cap it all off, after catching the perp he was chasing, he smiles his crooked smile and says, “I still got it.” So, was this just an homage to LaSalle’s old racing days, or does the NCIS universe somehow fit into the Fast and Furious world? Wouldn’t that be a weird twist for everyone involved.
Worst Plot Mistake: 9-1-1
No matter how good 9-1-1 is, it’s still fallable, as evidenced by the episode in which the fire and rescue first respondents head into a situation at a bank that gets them all scrutinized by the police after several thousands of dollars are found stashed away in one of their trucks. The episode itself was fun, imaginative and fit right in with the rest of the series — with one glaring exception: a major plot point that, as far as I know, could never have happened. The point of a safety deposit box is that they cannot be opened, not even by the bank, without having both sets of keys. Part of the plan to rob the bank included the bank manager (Christian Clemenson) stealing six million in diamonds from one of the safe deposit boxes. But how was he able to get into the box without the owner’s key? And how exactly did they know what was in it? You can usually look over minor things in heightened shows like 9-1-1, but this one, I just can’t, in good conscious, let slip by. You’re on notice, 9-1-1!
The season’s most noticeable trend: Social Warrior Justice
This season saw a glut of blatant social justice warriors trying to prove a point. It’s okay to bring light to a topical subject matter, so long as it feels organic and discusses the issue, as opposed to pushing it into a story or show and forcefully shoving the message down the viewer’s throat. Madam Secretary focused two episodes on the separation of children from parents at the border, saying how it’s a moral crisis against humanity no less than two dozen times over the course of an hour. Roswell, New Mexico, started its pilot episode with a character ranting over ICE agents and continuing the storyline with the opposing side looking like lunatics; The Conners dug into the illegal immigrant debate with Becky’s baby daddy being deported in the season finale; and All American and S.W.A.T. pushed the racist white cop angle. But nowhere do we get any conversation or debate for the opposite side or viewpoint. Immigrants and blacks are good; cops and whites are bad. No gray area whatsoever. What’s really dividing America? The inability to discuss topics respectfully without the opposing side being inherently evil.
Most Annoying Pattern: Suits
I’ve been a big fan of Suits since its inception, but throughout the seventh season, I started noticing a pattern. Not in the way they tend to repeat the same story structure in each episode, but in the way the writers and the score seem to have grown into a rut. Every scene tends to begin quietly, with no score and a pair of actors in a room beginning a discussion. Halfway through, the score begins to come in as the conversation becomes heated, or the two characters clash over something. The score continues to rise as the voices rise, and as the scene comes to a close with a big revelation, the score hits its final beat and fades into silence as the cycle starts all over again. I don’t know if it’s been this way since the beginning and I only started noticing it because Mike (Patrick J. Adams) left, but once you do notice it, you can’t not notice it… and it’s become a minor hindrance on an otherwise good show.
Best representation of a coma: Mr. Mercedes
When they announced that there would be a second season of Mr. Mercedes, I was excited. The first season, which followed the novel it was based on quite well, was an outstanding adaptation with some terrific acting, storytelling and pace. I wondered if they would skip the second book in the series (which doesn’t deal with Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway)) and jump right into the third. It turns out they did, which begged another question: how would they represent Brady, who’s basically in a coma the entire time as he continues his killing spree by taking control over other people’s bodies. The producers found the perfect way to represent the coma while giving Treadaway a chance to once again shine as the insane Brady. By taking us inside the psychopath’s head and using the computers in his basement to be his eyes (both of his own, and of those he psychically takes over), helped bring this story to the screen in a powerful way.
The When Are They Going To Cross-Over Award: Magnum P.I. and Hawaii Five-0
From the jump, Magnum PI was obviously setup to be included in the same universe as Hawaii Five-0. Within the first five minutes of the first episode, Magnum is already mentioning the Five-0 task force, and a couple of characters from Five-0 pop in regurlarly (such as coroner Dr. Noelani Cunha (Kimee Balmilero)), but they have yet to pull the trigger on a full-blown crossover. It’s like being in a relationship where it’s clear both parties want to go further, but neither is brave enough to take the first step. Just get it over with already; the tension is killing us!
The Did They Plan That Award: Supernatural and Legacies
Sometimes you’re never really sure if executives at a particular station plan certain narratives to coincide with other shows (and sometimes theme weeks can get super annoying), or if they end up being a mere coincidence. In the most wild case this season, right after Supernatural delivered a stunning 300th episode, literally plucking John “Big Daddy” Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) from 2003 to 2019 after Dean (Jensen Ackles) touches a pearl that grants the bearer their heart’s desire, Lizzie Saltzman (Jenny Boyd) comes face to face with a Genie (sorry, that’s Jinni (Riann Steele)) on Legacies, wherein she goes on a wishing spree to finally rid her life of Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) to dire consequences. Both episodes ended with the resetting of the timelines, and it just seemed too coincidental not to have been planned in advance. I wish I could know for sure… then again, maybe not.
The Show Must Go On Award: Garth Brooks
If God thought he could stop country superstar Garth Brooks from performing, he had another think coming. Brooks had a live concert set for December 2, 2018 at the historic Notre Day stadium and within the first few seconds of his opening song (and probably before), rain started to fall. It continued to fall (whether hard or drizzle) throughout the entire two hour event. Did that stop Brooks from giving yet another fantastic concert to his fans worldwide? Heck no! He delivered a strong performance to a crowd of over 100,000 despite the rain that got everyone, including the band and Brooks himself, drenched. This just proves that Brooks is a consummate performer; rain or shine, the show must go on!
And so, we now must close the 2018-2019 television season. Come back next year for more wonderful chaos in the world of television!
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.
The Emmy’s air this Sunday, which means it’s that time again to present my awards of the Best (and Worst) of the 2018-2019 television season. (See previous Awards – 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)
We start as always with more traditional categories, and over the next two days will continue with additional categories for moments that resonated with me in some form or another over the past television season.
Best New Series: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
I usually like to wait as long as possible before choosing the best new series of the year, as you never know when a gem will arrive. For the last several months, New Amsterdam was holding onto the top prize, and I was about to solidify its position as the number one show of the 2019-2020 season…. Then, at the tail-end of summer, I decided to try Netflix for the first time (mainly to see the new season of Lucifer) and discovered a glorious new show: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The 1982 film has slowly turned into a cult classic, and although there are good aspects to it, it can be extremely slow and meandering, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new prequel set in the time before the evil Skeksis wiped out all of Gelfling kind. It did take some time to get used to, but by the end of the second episode, the show truly hit its stride. From then on, I was hooked. Though we know where everything will eventually end up, the wonderfully distinct characters, masterful puppetry, terrific set designs, perfect flow, a brilliant mix of practical and CG that blend so well together you don’t know where one begins and the other ends, and wonderfully crafted scripts with plenty of twists keep your interest peeked and your investment worth every minute of time.
Worst New Series: Murphy Brown
I didn’t care for the original Murphy Brown when it aired in the late-eighties/early nineties, so it’s probably no wonder why the reboot didn’t grab my attention. In a year where most comedies, such as The Conners and The Cool Kids, failed to live up to the hype and the talent involved (or get canceled way too soon; keep reading for more on that), at least those shows had a few moments of pure joy and heart. Murphy Brown seemed to me to be one long tirade of bitterness. I’m not against political comedy, but to sustain humor, you need to be more diversified and come from a place of respect, which Murphy Brown was incapable of committing to. It’s no wonder they were eventually voted off the television lineup.
Series that shouldn’t have been this good: The Purge
Based on the four-film series, which started with an intriguing premise and devolved into a routine horror show that kept getting worse with each new installment (leading to a movie that failed on almost every level), it was hard to believe that I’d be interested in a series based on the franchise. However, television, it turns out, is the best medium for The Purge because it has the time to develop the premise in much more intriguing ways. Episodic television allows the writers to explore what’s happening with each character and help us connect with how and why each of them makes their decisions before and during the purge. It’s not a perfect show, nor is it the best thing on television, but it did do what it promised and lifted the franchise to a whole new level.
Series that should have been better: Nightflyers
Nightflyers had all the makings of a stellar sci-fi space opera: an intriguing premise, some interesting technology, a killer opening sequence and George R.R. Martin as executive producer. But the show itself ended up to be as lifeless as its ghostly A.I. Starting with the characters, who all solemnly trudged along through the swamps of sadness, the show couldn’t find a rhythm to hold your interest. The characters that were intriguing, like Thale (Sam Strike) or Lommie (Maya Eshet), ended up being wasted by a series of scripts that couldn’t even make sense of its own language. By the third or fourth episode, I had to force myself to hit play in hopes that the show would somehow find its groove. It never did.
Best New Character: Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), New Amsterdam
I was sorely disappointed when it was revealed that Tom Keen had officially died on The Blacklist. Tom started the show as a spy infiltrating Elizabeth’s (Megan Boone) life and turned into one of the best characters on the show as he tried to redeem himself. A spinoff eventually failed, but that wasn’t because of Ryan Eggold, who made Tom Keen the only bright spot in an otherwise generic spy thriller. But then he showed up in New Amsterdam as a doctor who becomes the head of a public hospital while also fighting throat cancer. From his first act of firing the entire cardio department to requiring Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) to stop spending her time making television appearances, Eggold infused Dr. Max Goodwin with a brain, a heart and courage to fight a system that cares more about money than its own patients. Always moving, never wavering in his resolve, Max is a force to be reckoned with, and every moment he is on screen shines with a spirit you want to embrace for all time.
Worst New Character: Gutierrez, aka “The Gute” (Paola Lázaro), Lethal Weapon
When the powers that be decided to fire Clayne Crawford from Lethal Weapon, everyone knew the show wouldn’t be the same. But if I was to put money on who would be the worst part of a Martin Riggs-less Weapon, I would have bet on Seann William Scott. However, although Scott was definitely a step down from Crawford’s Riggs, he was able to turn on just enough charm to keep things running smoothly. What I wasn’t expecting was a new addition to the team named Gutierrez. Self-proclaimed “The Gute”, Gutierrez was neither funny or charismatic. I believe the show wanted to use this character to bring back some of that naughty rule-breaking left behind by Riggs, but whether it was the character or Paola Lázaro’s infusion of pompousness, Gutierrez just never fit in with the rest of the cast. She tried too hard to be “edgy” and never quite hit the rhythm needed for the character to truly fill another character’s beloved shoes.
Best Ensemble Cast: New Amsterdam
Beginning with Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin (see above), the cast of New Amsterdam fires on all cylinders. Tyler Labine is beautifully resonant as Dr. Iggy Frome, the head of the psychology department, who respects every patient no matter what they may say or do to him; Anupam Kher as Dr. Vijay Kapoor is funny, knowledgeable and is always there to listen no matter his own problems; Freema Agyeman as Dr. Helen Sharpe only wants what’s best for everyone, doctor and patient alike; Jacko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds is the voice of diversity; and Janet Montgomery as Dr. Lauren Bloom proves that everyone is fallible, and isn’t always willing to admit it. The show has found a few pairs it likes to keep together, but it’s for a very good reason, as each one works wonderful together. Individually each actor brings something new and fresh to their character, and together, they blend perfectly into a musical symphony that breathes new life into a saturated genre.
Worst Reboot: Roswell, New Mexico
Using basically the same premise as the original Roswell, Max Evans saves Liz after she’s shot in the Crashdown diner, exposing himself to be an alien from the 1947 crash. All of the familiar faces are here. What’s missing is the spirit that made the original show so fascinating and relatable. Julie Plec may have found magic with The Vampire Diaries and their off-shoots, however, when you take a show that worked so well with teens and update it with a pack of adults with hardly any charisma and zero chemistry, it simply made me want to grab the pilot of the original and revisit Roswell the way it was meant to be seen.
Worst Premiere Episode: The Conners
Despite the decision to fire Roseanne from her own show because of a stupid comment on social media, I wanted to give this new iteration a chance. Overall, The Conners (much like the roboot itself) was an uneven attempt at moving forward without its controversial matriarch. There were a few highlights, mostly when it came to Laurie Metcalf’s Jackie and the appearances by Johnny Galecki as Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) husband, David, but overall the show had a hard time finding its footing. And it all started with the initial episode, which picked up weeks after Roseanne’s death. From the jump, this felt odd, as we weren’t allowed to experience the immediate reactions from each character to that major life event. We hear about what each character felt, but it simply left me feeling a bit cold about the whole situation. Not to mention that a couple of episodes later, we see instances of grief (mostly by Dan (John Goodman)) that would have been better suited to appear prior to this episode, which also begs the question: was this actually the pilot? Whether it was or episodes got switched around, this particular episode set a poor precedent for the ultimate tone of the series moving forward.
Most Disappointing Cancellation: The Kids Are Alright
I wasn’t too excited about The Kids Are Alright when it premiered, but over time, the show found a rich, loving rhythm, and through that, the characters grew into their own one-by-one. From two parents who show their love by not caring about what their children are doing from one minute to the next, to kids who are always getting into trouble in one way or another, the show depicted a large family growing up in the seventies in the most honest, respectful way it knew how. All of the cultural references were subtle and the quarks of each kid, which started out grating and obnoxious, only became more endearing with each episode. It’s a shame ABC didn’t give this show a second chance; I have a feeling it could have grown into a phenomenon with a little more time and a little more love.
Check out Part 2 of our Television Awards, which includes the Best Multi-Character Twist, Most Surprising Death, and Most Vile Creatures of the 2018-2019 season.
Most Surprising Death: Nick (Frank Dillane), Fear the Walking Dead
As always, there were plenty of shocking deaths this past season: Klaus and Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals), Charlotte (Lucifer), Clayton (NCIS), Rufus (Timeless), Quentin Lance (Arrow), Roman (Blindspot), Fitz (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Mia (Humans), Alison (The Affair), poor little Ferguson (New Girl), and of course the bloodbath that is The Walking Dead (which has never been shy about killing characters. Corl. CORL!). However, The Walking Dead‘s sister show, Fear the Walking Dead, has always been more hesitant when it came to killing its core players, so it was a real shock to the system when Nick (Frank Dillane) was suddenly shot in the 3rd episode of season 4. Not only was it a complete surprise, but it was so unceremoniously produced. One moment he’s reflecting on the (at the time, possible) death of his mother (Kim Dickens) and then bang. Gone. After surviving so much — walking with walkers; a complete bridge collapse — Nick is shot by a fourteen-year-old girl (Alexa Nisenson) avenging the death of a man who all but brainwashed her. It just goes to show, you never know when your time is up, so always make the most of the time you have.
Sad to See You Go Award: Lucifer (Lucifer, Preacher, Supernatural)
It may be surprising that there were even this many representations of the King of Hell on television, but we lost not one but three Lucifer’s this season, and each one hurt just a little. First in line was Supernatural‘s Lucifer, who was obliterated by Jack (Alexander Calvert). As portrayed by the always awesome Mark Pellegrino, this version was a remarkable character — fun, goofy, sarcastic and menacing all at the same time. Then there was Preacher‘s version of Satan (Jason Douglas), who, after sending out his troops to bring Eugene (Ian Colletti) and Hitler (Noah Taylor) back to where they belong, as well as collect Tulip (Ruth Negga) to help secure Jesse’s (Dominic Cooper) soul, was shot dead at point blank range by the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), who then left Hell in the capable hands of Adolf Hitler. Finally, there was the announcement that Lucifer was canceled by FOX, and the thought of not being able to see Tom Ellis’s suave Lucifer hoof it through Los Angeles solving crimes with detective Decker (Lauren German) any longer was sad to say the least. Praise be to the heavens that Lucifer was picked up by Netflix, so at least there’s some saving grace in witnessing the ultimate villain perish multiple times in one year.
Most Promising Career Potential: Harper Grace
She may not have made the top 24 on American Idol, but Harper Grace shouldn’t worry. When she first appeared at her audition, she brought with her a charm that sold me on her original song, “Yard Sale”. What could have been a corny little ditty became a clever tune with just the right touch of heart and whimsy. Her touch at writing was good, but it wasn’t until Hollywood week that she proved her talent wasn’t a fluke, when she sang another original song, “Rest In Peace” — a creative, soulful break-up song that if I had heard it on the radio, I never would have believed it was written by a sixteen year-old ingenue. It wasn’t her time this year, but look for Harper to have a long career, if not as a singer, than as a fantastic writer.
Welcome Back Award: Michael J. Fox, Designated Survivor
Michael J. Fox has made guest appearances on several shows over the last few years, but it never felt like he was truly back in the acting game since first being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. That feeling ended with his terrific, if not brief stint on Designated Survivor. As Ethan West, the special council investigating President Kirkman’s (Kiefer Sutherland) involvement in several circumstances that may have ended his run as President, Fox was a natural fit, attacking those around him with his blunt fervor, yet doing so from a place of integrity. I’m not sure whether Fox will continue on in the series after its recent cancellation and last-hour pick-up by Netflix, but I hope he does because he brought life back to a season that was starting to feel a bit stale and worn.
Most Morbid Game: Worst Case Scenario, This Is Us
In the season 2 finale of This Is Us, Randall and his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) play a game in which they tell each other their worst fears on a topic to get their thoughts out into the open. It’s introduced as they try to cope with Déjà’s (Lyric Ross) seclusion after moving back into the home because her real mother told a court she wanted to give away all of her parental rights. Reasonable way to address your fears, no? We don’t find out how seriously morbid the game can get until Randall teaches Kevin (Justin Hartley) the game as they hunt for a missing Kate (Chrissy Metz) on the day of her wedding. After coming up with a seriously twisted idea in which Kate disappears and Toby dies from a heart-attack because of it, the facial expression on Kevin’s face is priceless. And so are the nervous laughs produced by such a morbid way of thinking. (Admit it; we all do it!)
Most Honest Critic: The auditioner’s dog, American Idol
Let this be a lesson to you: never bring your dog with you to an audition. During American Idol‘s new round of auditions, one of the contestants brought their dog into the room with them. Innocent enough, until the dog started going to the bathroom every time her owner started singing. I’m not sure how much of it was editing and how much of it was real, but the point is, it was hilarious and said everything we needed to know about the poor girl’s audition. It was, well, you fill in the blank.
Worst Special Effects: Ghost Wars
I couldn’t bear to watch more than one episode of Ghost Wars. Not because the acting wasn’t good (some of it was… some of it… meh), or the plot wasn’t somewhat intriguing (perhaps a bit of a rehash of other supernatural shows). No, the reason I couldn’t get past the first episode was the somber tone and the laughable special effects. Don’t get me wrong, some of the corporeal effects were fine, but everything else, including a bus dropping over a cliff into a fiery death made me feel like I was watching something out of the Sharknado playbook as opposed to a serious supernatural drama.
Oddest Big-Boss Battle: Beebo fights Mallus, Legends of Tomorrow
We’ve all come to love the weird and strange things that happen to the Legends of Tomorrow every week, but no one could have expected to see a giant, thirty-foot tall Beebo jump into action against the evil the Legends had been worried about all season long. In the third season finale, the team finally figures out how to fight Mallus (voiced by John Noble) and combine their elemental medals together to become one ultimate life force of joy, which ends up being the toy first introduced in an earlier episode (and also appeared on The Flash!). Watching this gargantuan, fuzzy blue bear fight and ultimately destroy Mallus was not only weird, but oddly fun and glorious, the perfect representation of what this show is — and that its not afraid to go big, no matter how off the wall it might get.
Weirdest Ingredient Choice: MasterChef
The most recent season of MasteChef got off to an interesting start when the contestants’ first mystery box challenge included ingredients representing each participant’s state. Florida got to cook with oranges; Wisconsin, cheese; Iowa, corn; Texas, steak; and California… spot prawns? As the contestants were cooking, one of the chefs was confused at why the California contestant, S.J., was cooking a Louisiana-style dish. I wasn’t. Spot prawns would have been a much better ingredient for someone from Louisiana. But from California? Anyone I know probably would have said avocados, or maybe even wine as the best ingredient to represent California. If they wanted a true Californian dish, that’s what they should have given this contestant. Weird.
Most Satisfying Conclusion: 12 Monkeys
When it was announced that the terrifically mind-bending film 12 Monkeys was going to be turned into a television series, I thought the studio execs had lost their minds. How could they possibly top such a classic piece of science-fiction? Then the show premiered, and all of my fears were laid to rest. The entire cast was a tremendous blend of personalities, matching the intricacies of the original cast while making the characters and the story their own. As the show deepened its mythology, weaving its own intricate story together, it grew more and more intriguing to the point I was disappointed to see it end. Thankfully, the producers took great care to make sure they used the final 11 episodes to perfectly untangle the web they had created. I can’t say I was totally on board with the final addition to the puzzle, but it didn’t matter. The moment James Cole (Aaron Stanford) was reunited with Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) was a terrific way to say farewell to such a perfectly executed series.
And with that, we close out the 2017-2018 television season. Come back next year for more television chaos!
Now that we’ve gotten through some traditional awards (check out Part 1), we begin the awards for specialty categories, starting with ones geared more toward the writing side of things.
Best Twist: The Exorcist
I don’t know about you, but I did not see this coming. Throughout the first five episodes of The Exorcist‘s second season, we got to know a handful of foster kids with individual personalities and troubles. One of those kids, Grace (Amélie Eve) was a shy, agoraphobic little girl afraid to step outside or meet new people. Her safety net was the love for her foster father, Andrew Kim (John Cho), as well as the potato sack she wore over her face to feel protected. At no point would I have ever thought this little girl was a figment of Andrew’s imagination. Perhaps it was the distraction the show gave us by keeping the priests’ story line separate for the first few episodes. As we all wondered when, how and why the two stories would come together, we forgot to notice that no one but Andrew ever actually communicated with Grace. The producers set this reveal up perfectly and makes you wonder… was M. Night Shyamalan somehow involved?
Most Poetic Story Arc: Niska (Emily Berrington), Humans
For three seasons, Niska, one of David Elster’s (Stephen Boxer) original sentient AIs, has been almost completely disconnected from the main story lines. Yeah, her stories occasionally weaved in and out of the overall arcs, but she was always an outsider, someone who wanted to be human, to fit in and be judged not because of what she was, but who she was. So it is very poetic that as Mia’s (Gemma Chan) journey comes to a devastating but necessary close, Niska’s journey has just begun. Once disconnected from everything, Niska has now literally become connected to everything (love those new purple eyes!), and is the key to leading Mattie (Lucy Carless) and her new hybrid offspring (who better be named Mia, or so help me…) into a brave new world.
Biggest Bombshell: The Blacklist
Ever since the first season of the series, producers of The Blacklist were adamant that Raymond Reddington (James Spader) was not Elizabeth Keen’s (Megan Boone) father. So it was a little disheartening to learn last season that, lo and behold, he actually was. There was always the lingering question as to whether Reddington somehow altered the DNA test results, and one big reason for this was the season-long mystery of what was in the duffel bag Reddington was hell bent on keeping secret. In the final moments of the season finale, we finally learned the truth — Reddington is in fact Liz’s father, however, the man we’ve come to know as Raymond Reddington is a complete fraud. It turns out the contents of the duffel bag belong to the real Raymond Reddington, so now the question is, why was he killed? And what reasons did the fake Reddington have to assume his identity? We’ll just have to wait for next season to find out.
Oddest Refocus: Kevin Can Wait
In what has to be the most blatant attempt at recapturing the magic from a previous show without rebooting that particular show, producers on Kevin Can Wait decided to dump female lead Erinn Hayes and hire Leah Remini as a full time member of the cast. How did they handle the situation? By killing Kevin’s wife without ever explaining what happened and then forcing Vanessa (Remini) into Kevin’s family as if she had been part of their lives forever. I never watched King of Queens, and there was a reason for that… I never cared for the chemistry between Kevin James and Remini; and based on this new iteration, I don’t think I ever will. Kevin Can Wait was never the best show on television, nor was it the best comedy — most of it was all rehashed and convoluted — but at least it had a spark that kept me interested. That spark fizzled with the change in focus to Kevin and Vanessa’s relationship and their new business venture. All I can say is, I’m not surprised the show was finally put out of its misery, giving Hayes the last laugh.
Most Heartbreaking Moment: This Is Us
You’d probably expect the most heartbreaking moment of the season to come from a show like This Is Us. But in a season of many heartbreaking moments, one stood out as being the most devastating, and no, it wasn’t Kate (Chrissy Metz) losing the baby. After Kevin (Justin Hartley) is injured on the set of his newest movie (and being triggered back to memories of his dad), he starts spinning out of control, leading to a deep depression where he’s all but drowning his feelings in alcohol. While doing so, he manages to ruin another relationship and have a one-night stand with an old high school friend. When he leaves this drunken fling in the middle of the night, he realizes he’s left the necklace his dad gave him behind and goes back to retrieve it. Cue the most powerful breakdown of the season. Because the woman is so angry with him for leaving, she refuses to give it back, leaving Kevin to hit rock bottom and wallow in her front lawn. Hartley did a terrific job building to this moment throughout the season, and as he sinks ever lower, screaming for someone to help him, you feel the devastation burrowing into your bones and can’t help but want to do just that.
Nice Try Award: Rise
In one of the closing moments of the final episode of Rise, Josh Radnor’s character’s son tells him that, “What you did here was amazing.” In regards to the final episode, this sentiment couldn’t ring truer. The episode that showcased the performance of the controversial play “Spring Awakening” was magnetic, heartbreaking, inspiring and full of passion. It’s a shame the rest of the series was so uninspired. Trying to capture the same dramatic magic of This Is Us, with the grit of Friday Night Lights, Rise came off as pandering to as many different groups as it could think of instead of being honest with itself. If the producers really wanted to make a mark, they would have taken a page from the play it was promoting by breaking the rules of convention. Instead it played it safe, and that is ultimately why it failed to gain the notoriety it so desperately desired.
This season’s most noticeable trend: Bad Military Dramas
With the success of TNT’s The Last Ship and History’s SIX, it was only a matter of time before the networks jumped on the bandwagon to produce their own hit military dramas. This season attempted to ignite that trend with three offerings that all felt basically the same without any clear distinction between them (which is probably why only one of them is returning). NBC kicked things off with The Brave, a contrived series that desperately tried to push a sense of tension, but failed to deliver because of its phony characters and lack of consistent story line (note to showrunners: when you set up an intriguing moment in the last minute of your first episode and then abandon that thread in the second episode with a throwaway line, it’s not a good sign that you’re ready to commit); CBS then brought us Seal Team, a bland attempt at showing us the ins-and-outs of what makes the Navy Seals tick. With drab, boring characters that had weak chemistry puttering about in a monotonous tone, I almost fell asleep waiting for something exciting to happen; and finally the CW tried to ignite a new arm for itself with Valor, a show that screamed CW all over the place, but couldn’t quite find the right balance between military intrigue and the lovers quarrel.
Best Christmas/Homage Episode: Lethal Weapon
I was quite disappointed with Lethal Weapon‘s first season Christmas episode when no one drive a car through Murtaugh’s living room. Well, the show made up for that this year, as producers finally paid homage to the film in some very fun ways. The story beats and circumstances are much different, but you could feel the vibe of that original film throughout the entire episode. Not only does Riggs drive his truck through Murtaugh’s living room, but the episode started with “Jingle Bell Rock” playing over the first scene. We got to see Riggs in a Christmas tree lot, as well as a twist on Riggs jumping off a building that not only moves the character arc forward, but makes fun of both the film and the series up to this point. To finish it off, the show also sent some love to another classic eighties cop series, Beverly Hills Cop, when Murtaugh goes into a strip club that just happens to be playing Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl.” Good job, Lethal Weapon. Let’s hope next year, you wont receive a Chaos award for the wrong reasons.
Weirdest Shout Out: Superstition
There are a lot of shows — mostly spinoffs — that make call-outs to their sister shows to not only give their worlds depth, but remind people about where they came from. Sometimes, call-outs to other shows can go a little meta, as with Supernatural‘s fun shout-out to ex-cast member Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s affinity for a barbed wire bat. What you don’t see very often (if at all) is a call-out to a show that doesn’t have any relationship to that particular show. In Superstition‘s first episode, Mario Van Peebles’ character is about to go out on a hunt for some supernatural being. After his son (Brad James) pulls the car around, Peebles opens the trunk and asks him, “You have an arsenal back here like Sam and Dean?” The reference came so out of left field, I had to rewind to make sure I heard what I heard. As far as I know, no character on the show has any relationship to the hunter brothers, and at no time were they ever connected to Supernatural, so why this reference would randomly pop up is beyond me. Does this signify that the producers of Superstition were hoping one day the worlds would collide, or was it just a lame attempt to associate itself with a much better show that this one tried to mimic to no avail? Based on the first episode, I’m guessing the latter.
Nice Recovery Award: Mr. Robot
After the incredible 1st season of Mr. Robot blew us away with its mystery of who Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) was and his relationship with Elliot (Rami Malek),the show went into a major sophomore slump, wherein I was almost ready to give up on the show. It had lost a lot of its first season edge and didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be anymore. Even the first few episodes of the third season dragged a bit as it tried to clean up its second season mess. But half-way through the season, it finally started to once again find its voice, culminating in one of its best episodes to date. As Elliot tries to stop the Black Army from executing its plan, we follow the action in what appeared to be a single shot during a hectic forty-five minutes that played so well — with great intensity and a pace that never let up — it reaffirmed why so many fans loved Mr. Robot in the first place.
Jump to the final round of awards for the 2017-2018 season, including the most surprising death, the most promising career potential and the most morbid game.
Every year I release my awards for the best of the television season. With the Emmy Awards on Monday, I will be delivering my awards in three parts over the next three days. (See previous Awards – 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013)
These aren’t your typical awards. I do have some traditional awards, but unlike the Emmys, I seek out moments that resonate in some way, whether it be ones that made me cry, made me think or just shocked me to the core. As always, these are based solely on the shows I personally watch, so if you saw a moment you think should have been included, feel free to pitch your greatest moments in the comments.
We start, of course, with some of the more traditional awards, including Best New Series, Best New Character and Best Ensemble. Onward to the Awards
Best Cross-Over: Supergirl/TheFlash/Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow
Now this is how a crossover is done. Taking the kernel of an idea, Greg Berlanti and his team developed a four-hour (well, technically three-hour) mega-episode that gave us some incredible new team-ups and fresh interactions between characters that may never talk to one another again. Though the episode of Supergirl can’t really be considered a part of the crossover (since the part that included Barry and Cisco arriving on Earth 38(!) was only part of the last two minutes, and then repeated in The Flash), the other three episodes took the crossover idea to new heights, doing its best to include everyone while building on the mythologies of each individual show. Though it could be argued that the episode of Arrow diverged a little too far out of the crossover aspect, taking too much time inside the “fake” world and not enough time showing the team attempting to get them back, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow shined bright with action, intrigue and enough comic relief to leave you in stitches. With Cisco providing Kara a way to jump back to Earth 1 whenever she needs to, and each major character having gone through some transformation by the end of the event, we could already see what the repercussions of this major battle would take on each series moving forward, setting up not only future major crossover events, but mini one’s as well.
This season’s most noticeable trend: Movie to TV Adaptations
Television adaptations of movies is hardly a new concept. But over the last few years, it seems to have grown into a normal form of inspiration, one that will churn out half a dozen new shows based on movies every year. And just like any idea, for every adaptation that builds upon its source material in a terrific way (12 Monkeys, Bates Motel), there’s one that fails to come even close to living up to its predecessor (Rush Hour, Minority Report). Unfortunately, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, what with there being around 35 adaptations currently in the pipeline, even though the statistics continue to hold true. Four new movie adaptations hit the small screen this fall and all three were executed with just the right amount of flair. Lethal Weapon was the leader of the pack, doing what Rush Hour couldn’t — teaming two great actors to build on the mythology set up by Shane Black. It doesn’t try to be the movie; it just borrows the best ideas and runs with them in a funnest, most emotional way it can. Frequency also took this route, using the first half of the film to set up the show, then diverting quite well into it’s own must-see mystery. The Exorcist was at first an adaptation in name only… until they revealed that Geena Davis’s character was actually Regan from the original film, which only added some great dimension to an already scary, riveting show. And on cable, Shooter showed its might by staying true to the essence of the film while providing some good action among the mystery and intrigue. Alas, on the other side of the spectrum we had Taken, a feeble attempt at giving us Brian Mills’s backstory; Training Day, where, aside from the late Bill Paxton, the acting was mediocre at best and the vibe was completely lacking in energy; Uncle Buck, which never found a stable voice; and The Mist, which yes, is also another adaptation of the Stephen King short story, but never manages to find any semblance of the claustrophobia of either the book or the much superior film.
Coming Into Her Own Award: Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), Scorpion
Three years ago, when Scorpion first premiered, I commented that Happy Quinn was the worst character of the new year. I’m happy to say that over the last season and a half, Jadyn Wong has finally won me over. The more the show has come into its own, the more each character has found their place on the team, and the chemistry between everyone has become so easy and relaxing. But more to the point, Happy’s story arc involving her false pregnancy, her fake marriage to Walter (Elyes Gabel), and her real marriage to Toby (Eddie Kaye Thomas), though somewhat contrived for drama’s sake, truly took Happy’s character in a new direction, one that helped her evolve into someone I could get behind.
Creepiest New Character: The Tooth Monster (Channel Zero: Candle Cove)
When he first appeared, I wasn’t sure what to make of the this thing. Then you realize the creature is made up of human teeth. And I thought the Candle Cove puppet show that mesmerized (hypnotized) the kids was the creepiest thing on this show. Nope. Then to find out this is how Mike’s (Paul Schneider) twin brother Eddie (Luca Villacis), who Mike killed when they were kids, is able to manifest himself in the real world until he can take over his brother’s body, the whole scenario is just one big weird and bizarre experience.
Characters in need of a spinoff: Castiel (Misha Collins) and Crowley (Mark Sheppard), Supernatural
Supernatural has tried to do the spin-off thing before without success (and will try again soon with their planned Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) spinoff). One reason being, Supernatural stems from the chemistry between Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles), so without them, it’s hard to watch another generic Supernatural copy. However, if there was any characters that could be viably spun-off into their own show, it would be Castiel and Crowley. I know it was only a few short episodes, and the ramifications of the recent season finale would keep it from happening, but their team-up to search for Satan throughout this past season has turned out some of the funniest moments on the show. It would be a hoot to watch them become the new Sam and Dean, and because they are already established favorites in their own right, fans would no doubt tune in to see what crazy, scary and ultimately obnoxious cases they would take on. Heck, I like the idea so much, I made a poster.
Actor who’s better than the show: Barry Watson, Date My Dad
You know an actor is good when they leave a show and the quality sharply declines. For example, when Barry Watson left 7th Heaven, the show became so much soapier, it was immediately apparent he was the glue that help the saccharine in place. After battling — and beating — Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I’ve wanted him to make a great comeback in a show worth his talents. Alas, when Watson returned to television, he’s straddled with a show that’s so over the top and pathetically lazy that you can’t help but feel for him. Whenever he’s on screen, there’s a quiet energy and lightness about him and his surroundings; whenever he’s not, everything feels forced and hits with the thud of an anvil on Wyle E. Coyote. The overall writing and acting isn’t much better, cramming messages down our throats with labored performances and setting up situations even Lifetime wouldn’t touch. Barry Watson deserves so much more.
Best Halloween Episode: Last Man Standing
Holiday episodes can either come off extremely cheesy are become instant classics, especially on a sitcom. Usually, holiday episodes for a long-running show start to get tired (see Roseanne), as all of the best jokes are utilized early in the runs and the writers don’t quite seem to know where to go with them after a time. However, in its sixth season, Tim Allen and his team of writers came up with a Halloween idea that could have went horribly wrong, but was ended up being executed perfectly. As each member of the Baxter family dressed up as someone else in the family, it was clever to see each of the characters portray another in a cool meta sort of way, giving a fresh perspective on the characters while not overdoing the parody.
Most Surprising Death: Heather Pinkney (Jillian Murray), Code Black
Aside from The Walking Dead, most shows refrain from killing off their major characters unless their a sci-fi show where no character death matters because they always bring them back to life (and why Alice’s death, though surprising, isn’t at the top of the list). So it was very surprising to see one of the main doctors on Code Black succumb to a major outbreak at Angels Memorial. In a show like this, you tend to believe that any main character will be miraculously saved by a last minute realization of a cure. But Heather Pinkney became a major casualty when the virus took her before a cure could be found. Completely shocking, yet so in tune with the overall vibe of the show. RIP Dr. Pinkney. You will be missed.
Oddest threesome: Eliot (Hale Appleman), his Fillory wife (Brittany Curran) and a one-night stand, The Magicians
It may not sound odd on paper when Fillory’s newest high King, Eliot has a threesome with both his arranged wife and some new hookup he met when returning back to Breakbill’s. Here’s the rub: Eliot can’t physically leave Fillory now that he’s high king, so his fiendish friend, Margo (Summer Bishil) helps create a doppelgänger for Eliot that can travel back to the real world, one in which Eliot can control, but only when his other body is asleep. So, when he decides to hookup with some random guy at a party at his dorm in the real world, his Fillory wife decides to have some fun at the same time. As Eliot’s consciousness jumps back and forth between bodies, the man enjoys a threesome that the other two participants are unaware of. Yeah. That just happened.
And with that, we close out the 2016-2017 season. Come back next year for more chaotic television awards.
You’ve seen some of the more prominent awards (read Part 1), now let’s move onto some of the specialty awards.
Best Twist: This Is Us
This Is Us spent the summer months advertising a new drama that revolved around four people who happened to share the same birthday. How these characters would be connected, if at all, was still unknown. As the premiered episode progressed, and we grew more invested in each character’s emotional baggage, we learned Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) were twins and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) was adopted. That in and of itself would probably have been enough to keep you interested for at least a few more episodes as the character’s grew. But it wasn’t until that last five minutes, when a firefighter joins Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), who earlier lost one of his triplets, at the baby viewing window in the hospital saying he brought in an abandoned baby, and then they cut to some random dud hangin’ out in seventies clothes and smoking inside the hospital that everything came into focus with a twist this side of Lost, — Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) are everyone’s parents!! — sealing the deal that this show was going to be must-see TV.
Best Non-Series Finale: Once Upon A Time
In what probably should have been the series finale of Once Upon A Time, everyone got their happily ever after: Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) are happily married, Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Charming (Josh Dallas) have a happy family, Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) finally finds happiness with Belle (Emilie De Ravin)…. heck, even the evil queen (Lana Parrilla) gets to run off with Robin (Sean Maguire). The end was also a nice nod to the opening scene of the series when the little girl (Alison Fernandez) who’s been tasked by her father to protect the storybook finds her way to now older Henry’s (Andrew J. West) apartment, claiming to be his daughter and saying his family needs his help. It’s a terrific close to the loop of a fantastical series. But no, even with six main departures, the show will continue with this new story line. Where it goes, how they explain why Belle and Emma aren’t around even though Hook and Rumple are still regulars, I’m not sure. But my guess is, it would have been a much happier ending the show where they started instead of trying to milk some final cash out this waning property.
Best Milestone Episode: Arrow
Arrow‘s 100th episode had a goliath task: not only did it have to appease fans of the series by delivering the right amount of nostalgia and call backs to what made the show so good from the start, but it also had to bring in elements from the super CW-Arrowverse crossover. In writing the episode so that the team members that were all originally from Arrow (including Oliver (Stephen Amell), Thea (Willa Holland), Diggle (David Ramsey), Sara (Caity Lotz) and Ray (Brandon Routh)) were abducted by the Dominators, the team behind Arrow was able to accomplish both quite nicely — although it could be argued that in relation to the crossover, the episode felt more like a distraction. For fans of Arrow, it was great seeing all of the characters from the past in what amounts to Oliver’s own Flashpoint, in which he got to see life as it would have been had he and his father were never shipwrecked. It gave us all enough callbacks to the first few seasons with quick flashes from different characters as they learned they were being manipulated, and moved the show forward at the same time it settled into the crossover and pushed toward the conclusion in Legends of Tomorrow.
Most Insane Producer: Max Landis
If you have ever seen Max Landis in an interview, no explanation is needed for the ideas that seem to generate in the man’s head. With being a co-creator and occasional writer on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and a producer on Channel Zero: Candle Cove, Max Landis brought the weirdest, creepiest, most bizarre characters to life this season — and it was mesmerizing to watch. He may seem like an odd duck, but his imagination is one magnificent, original hell. I can’t wait to see what genius he has in store for the future.
Most Sentimental Moment: Gibbs (Mark Harmon) hugging Palmer (Brian Dietzen), NCIS
Leroy Jethro Gibbs has never been the sentimental type. Yes he has shown his affection in different ways, such as kissing Abby (Pauley Perrette) on the cheek like a daughter or slapping DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly) upside the head like a son, but he’s never shown true, loving affection. This revelation came out during the episode titled, “Keep Going”, which focused on lovable Medical Assistant Jimmy Palmer (Brian Dietzen). When Palmer attempts to talk a kid who just lost his father from jumping off the ledge of a building, insights into how Jimmy sees all of his co-workers, including the harder than nails Gibbs, come to light. Palmer even goes so far as to talk about Gibbs’s wife and child, still a sore subject for Gibbs even after all this time. At one point he mentions that Gibbs has never hugged anyone, even when they sort of expected or needed one. But that’s Gibbs. So what a powerful moment it was when Palmer tries desperately to apologize for some of what he said, and Gibbs in true Gibbs fashion doesn’t say a word; he just pulls Jimmy in for one of the most sentimental hugs on television.
Best Homage: Joe (Jeremy Maguire) Modern Family
In an episode that saw little Joe trying to prove he’s just like his dad, Jay (Ed O’Niell), we also get a very subtle, blink and you miss it homage to another long-running Ed O’Neill sitcom. Sitting on the couch, watching television with his hand in his pants, little Joe just may have some Al Bundy in his blood as well.
Best Cameo Appearance: Lucille, Supernatural
Fans of Supernatural have been clambering for the return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s John Winchester ever since his final passing in season 2. Fans got a small taste this season as the actors payed homage to not only the character but the actor this season when a very special guest showed up for a quick scene. Ever since Morgan took the reigns of Negan on The Walking Dead, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padelecki and the producers of Supernatural ribbed Morgan by claiming that Big Daddy Winchester has used Negan’s most prized possession — his barbed-wire-laced bat, Lucille. On episode 15 of season 12, Lucille made her first appearance on the show, where Dean (Ackles) and Sam (Padelecki) come home after a battle carrying the bat. “Dad would have loved this thing,” Dean says. Ah, the metaness of it all. If we can’t have Morgan back on the show, this little wink was a nice surprise.
Too Soon Award: Michael Weatherly, Bull
Michael Weatherly’s departure from the still hit show, NCIS, hit a lot of fans hard. After all, what’s Gibbs without DiNozzo? I understand that actor’s sometimes need to move on. Just like any ordinary job, spending over a dozen years on the same show can become rather stale, and if you’re starting to phone in a performance, it might be best to move on. But to know that Weatherly already had a new show lined up even before the dust could settle on DiNozzo’s story was a little jarring. Had he taken a year off to revitalize his energy, I could see it; jumping right back into a hour-long procedural seems a little excessive, and didn’t allow viewers to properly say goodbye to such a beloved character. Because of this, although his new show was another winner for CBS, it was hard to distinguish Weatherly’s Bull from Weatherly’s DiNozzo, and that may have done more harm to the show than good.
Most Devastating Tribute: Nashville
If the death of Rayna James (Connie Britton) wasn’t enough, Nashville took her mourning to a whole new level. After frenemy Juliet Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) passes her tribute song over to Rayna’s daughter Maddie (Lennon Stella), the young rising star breaks down after seeing pictures of her and her mom on stage. Rayna’s husband Deacon (Charles Esten) and youngest daughter Daphne (Maisy Stella) run to her aid and immediately begin singing the rest of the haunting “Sanctuary” to a standing ovation by the hundreds of fans, relatives and friends in the audience. If you weren’t crying, you have no heart.
Come back tomorrow for the last of the 2017 television awards, including the creepiest character, the most noticeable trend and the oddest threesome. (Check out Part 3)
It’s that time again! The Emmy’s are right around the corner, so herewith are the best of the best of the 2016-2017 television season. Remember, these are NOT picks for who should win the Emmy’s — that show is so biased, I can’t watch! These are awards I give for the best and worst moments of the television season from the shows I actually watch (so no Game of Thrones or Empire moments; sorry). So please, leave your comments and choices in the comments section at your leisure. (For more fun, check out 2015-1016, 2014-2015, 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 awards.) Check out the full list of awards!