It’s time for the 4th annual My TV Awards. Anything that aired in 2010 was fair game for nomination (including the summer season of Drop Dead Diva, the NBC season 4 run of Friday Night Lights and the burned-off final Better Off Ted episodes). Out of the 4-5 nominees in each of our 35 categories, these are the ones who stood out the most to us this year.
Technical Achievements (directing, lighting, sound, cinematography)
The other shows in this category have distinct cinematic elements (Damages), supernatural beings (V), large-scale disasters (FlashForward) and/or impressive effects (The Event). But Lost had something of all of these. Over its 6 year run, Lost raised the bar for what a network serial can do technically and in doing so changed TV forever.
There’s something to be said for impeccable period costuming like what you see on Mad Men, Spartacus and The Tudors. There’s even more to be said for the impressive versatility of a costuming department like the rock solid one at Saturday Night Live. But not since Sex and the City has there been a show so ahead of the fashion curve as Gossip Girl. The costumers for the slick show aren’t meticulously recreating trends, they’re setting them themselves.
Music Composition (score)
Michael Giacchino (Lost)
This category contains some of TV’s most dramatic shows. Weepers like Brothers and Sisters and Grey’s Anatomy contain sweeping emotional scores and FlashForward used one of great scope to match it’s grandiose tone. Meanwhile the famous Snuffy Walden and his partner Bennett Salvay created a stirring score for Friday Night Lights that’s as subtle as the show itself. But there was one true superstar of TV music in 2010 and that was Michael Giacchino. The overworked composer used every tool he could think of to match the strange tone and emotional requirements of Lost. And in the end he truly made that show what it was as he varied on the theme he created to haunt our dreams with images of Lost‘s most emotional moments. His contribution to the show was never more clear than in its iconic finale, for which My TV quickly named him MVP.
Mia Michaels “Will I” (So You Think You Can Dance Canada)
Derek Hough ran Dancing with the Stars this year with back-to-back wins and excellent choreography, the best being Nicole Scherzinger’s freestyle to “A Little Less Conversation”. The usually simply choreographed Glee hit new highs when Zach Woodlee got Artie out of his wheelchair with “Safety Dance”. Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo’s “Outta Your Mind” was so great that it’s hard to think about without crying about Alex’s injury mid-So You Think You Can Dance season, and in the season when fan favourite former contestant Travis Wall really hit his choreographic stride, it was his tragic duet “How it Ends” for Kent and all-star Neil that truly stood out. They were all great, but it was on So You Think You Can Dance Canada that the best TV dance number of the year showed up. Mia Michaels’ ensemble piece to Rent‘s “Will I” was captivating, affecting and timely. And in the hands of Canada’s top 10 it was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Writing for a Drama
Jason Katims “East of Dillon” (Friday Night Lights)
It was an excellent year for dramas. Big Love put up particularly great episodes like Coleman Herbert’s “Under One Roof” and Parenthood broke out as the best new family drama since Brothers and Sisters, “Perchance to Dream” written by Becky Hartman taking the prize as the best episode of season one. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse gave Lost an epic and emotional finale with “The End”and Grey’s Anatomy reclaimed it’s former glory with a truly stunning two-part finale written by showrunner Shonda Rhimes (“Sanctuary/Death and All His Friends”). But it was when Jason Katims threw Coach Taylor into a new world with the Friday Night Lights season 4 premiere “East of Dillon” that 2010 hit its writing high.
Writing for a Comedy
Andrew Guest “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” (Community)
It was an even better year for comedy. The back half of Cougar Town‘s first season was great, Mara Brock Akil’s “Letting You Go” especially. Modern Family lived up to its hype with laugh-out-loud offerings like “Mother Tucker” (written by Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh) and Glee found the line between hilarity and emotional honesty and walked it beautifully with Brad Falchuk’s “Never Been Kissed”. But it was Community that really flew in 2010 with countless brilliant episodes including “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas (written by Dino Stamatopoulos and Dan Harmon) and this year’s winner. For it’s hilarious spin on perspective-challenging possibilities, Andrew Guest’s “Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples” takes the award for comedy writing genius.
How I Met Your Mother remains one of the best comedy’s on TV, but it’s waning. Parks and Rec is fantastic and constantly surprising but didn’t air very much in 2010. Modern Family gets all the praise it needs and United States of Tara, though great, is inconsistent. Oh, but Community. The underrated sitcom is the smartest show on the air, skewering everything we thought we knew about TV comedy.
There’s been a creative resurgence for this year’s winner. Lost put an excellent cap on their game-changing run, Parenthood started strong and Friday Night Lights and Big Love both put in seasons up to the high standards they’ve always reached. Grey’s Anatomy, on the other hand, found itself in 2010. For the first time since season 3, Shonda Rhimes’ medical drama is one of the best scripted shows on network TV. A good spring of season 6 launched into a fantastic fall of season 7 with a finale that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. It was a spectacular rebound, one easily deserving of a My TV award we think.
On ABC, The Bachelor franchise had a monumental 2010 with a Bachelor, a Bachelorette, a Bachelor Wedding and the premiere of Bachelor Pad. Bravo’s Top Chef had a mediocre season but followed it with the premiere of the superfun Top Chef: Just Desserts. FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance successfully played with the format of the American version and celebrated a superb top 20 on the Canadian version on CTV. Over on CBS, The Amazing Race had 2 great seasons with such awesome racers as the Cowboys and the Doctors. But the one-two punch of the phenomenal Heroes vs. Villains and the entertaining Nicaragua seasons put Survivor on top. With Boston Rob, Parvati, Fabio, Holly and so many others Survivor had more interesting characters in 2010 than a lot of scripted shows
The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live live or die by the politics of the moment, and unfortunately health care isn’t great comedy fodder. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Soup were as great as always but the latter’s feminine cousin The Dish, hosted by delightful childhood icon Danielle Fishel, stepped up as our new favourite.
This was a two-way race. As much as we love(d) Life Unexpected and think Nikita and The Good Guys are (were?) a lot of fun, it came down to a surprisingly hilarious new sitcom that’s a lot smarter than you think (Raising Hope) and a wonderfully heartfelt new drama that’s exactly as smart as you think. In the end we went with Parenthood because it’s brilliant ensemble cast and sharp writing quite simply make us very very happy.
2010 marked the demise of quite a few beloved shows. Scrubs went out after 9 seasons. Admittedly it’s 9th in no way resembled the other 8, but we loved it anyway. Old Christine was clever and will be missed, but not as much as My Boys, the dearly-departed TBS sitcom for the guy’s girl. The short-lived genius that was Better Off Ted was a tragic cancellation, but it’s Ugly Betty, which left us in the spring after 4 seasons, that we’ll miss the most. Of all the excellent series canceled in 2010- of which there were many (including un-nominated cultural touchstones like 24 and the original Law and Order)- Ugly Betty was the strongest presence in our TV weeks when it was on. It will be sorely missed.
Ensemble in a Comedy
Parks and Recreation
This was a tough category. There are so many talented ensembles on the air that even some of the absolute greatest (like Community) weren’t even nominated. What did make the cut was the huge cast of Ugly Betty, the tight-knit chemistry-fest that was the My Boys boys (and girls), and the two quirky families of Raising Hope and Modern Family. Park and Rec took the prize with its workplace full of quirky characters and touching optimists (especially since the late-season 2 additions of Adam Scott and Rob Lowe).
Lead Actor in a Comedy
Danny Pudi (Community)
It’s arguable whether this year’s winner really even counts as a lead actor; fellow nominee Joel McHale is the clearer choice as the star of Community. But Danny Pudi steals every scene he’s in and there have been countless episodes where McHale has taken a backseat to Pudi’s wonderful Abed. As much as we love McHale, Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory) and Zachary Levi (Chuck), Pudi takes the award with the best character in current TV comedy.
Lead Actress in a Comedy
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Courtney Cox nailed the emotional arc of Cougar Town‘s first season and Tiny Fey’s Liz Lemon will always be a comedy icon (30 Rock). Toni Collette holds down the complicated United States of Tara expertly and Brooke Elliott’s timing is impeccable (Drop Dead Diva). But Poehler’s Leslie Knope is the great surprise of current comedy- she’s as layered as she is heartfelt.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope)
This category is full of actors I quite simply love, and have for a long time. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Ian Gomez (Cougar Town) continue to be highlights of their respective series while Donald Glover’s Troy is one of the best players in the all-star tour that is Community. And John Corbett will always win in my heart for the way he keeps the quirky comedy United States of Tara grounded in humanity. But it’s the breakout comedy genius of Garret Dillahunt on the delightful surprise that is Raising Hope who wins this year.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Christa Miller (Cougar Town)
We love the Community ensemble to bits, including nominees Yvette Nicole Brown and Alison Brie. Raising Hope‘s Martha Plimpton is equally delightful and Glee‘s Jane Lynch has done an honourable job humanizing the caricature villain this year. But it’s Christa Miller’s Cougar Town character who most brings a smile to our faces. Her brilliant mix of mean-spiritedness and loyalty with blatant narcissism and a notable inferiority complex is just plain wonderful.
Ensemble in a Drama
This category features countless brilliant actors. When the cast of Lost reassembled in the church in their final episode it was never clearer how strong the bench depth of that show was. Friday Night Lights and Grey’s Anatomy feature an ever-rotating cast of newbies grounded by their reliable mainstays. And Life Unexpected featured brilliant performances from the titular Lux straight down to the sidekicks and bit players. But it’s Parenthood‘s all-star cast of talented thesps that wins this year. From Craig T Nelson’s curmudgeon-meets-hippie patriarch to the wonder that is Max Burkholder as an autistic nine-year-old, the cast of Parenthood is all professionalism and brilliance.
Lead Actor in a Drama
Matthew Fox (Lost)
Bryan Cranston and Michael C Hall rightfully dominate this category when it comes to the big name awards and Kyle Chandler consistently wins the “how does he not win every award?!”-type awards. Parenthood‘s Peter Krause has always been a favourite at My TV from the time we fell in love with Casey McCall (Sports Night) straight through Six Feet Under, The Lost Room and Dirty Sexy Money, we couldn’t be happier he’s got a new vehicle worthy of his immense awesomeness. But it was the season of Matthew Fox’s career as he anchored the final season of Lost. The sometimes inconsistent Fox hit his last moments out of the park and for those highlights and all the smaller leading man moments in between we think he deserves a shout-out.
Lead Actress in a Drama
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Our love of Ginnifer Goodwin and Big Love knows no bounds and Evangeline Lilly nailed her send off to her complex Lost character. Calista Flockhart and Ellen Pompeo had standout years as the lives of their on-screen husbands were threatened. But this year was the greatest year to honour the woman we want to honour every year- Connie Britton. Season four was a tumultuous one for Friday Night Light‘s Tammy Taylor, but it was the undramatic grace with which Britton played the tumult that was truly winning.
Supporting Actor in a Drama
Matt Ross (Big Love)
Terry O’Quinn had an insanely brilliant year and Michael B Jordan is the best thing to happen to Friday Night Lights‘ cast list since the sad day Gaius Charles left. Kerr Smith and Austin Nichols added wonderful sweetness to Life Unexpected and One Tree Hill respectively with quirky and conflicted good guy characters. Matt Ross, however, made us question why Big Love hadn’t given him more to do in all the seasons that came before. His love story was heart wrenching, his self-denial horrifying and his sanctimonious dangerous streak, well, dangerous- and it was awesome. It’s the supporting players who make that show what it is.
Supporting Actress in a Drama
AnnaLynne McCord (90210)
The super dramatic actresses in this category are sensational: Monica Potter as Kristina on Parenthood coming to terms with her son’s autism, Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights faced with life-altering decisions, Sandra Oh and Christina Yang’s PTSD, Archie Panjabi with Kalinda’s enigmatic and conflicted arc. But AnnaLynne McCord generally brings the funny on 90210, admittedly a strange choice for a winner in a drama category. But her multi-faceted rape storyline (in all it’s true and untrue manifestations) was played to perfection by the surprising talent. She wins. Trust us, she should.
Mike O’Malley (Glee)
As Kurt’s sympathetic father, Mike O’Malley, in many ways, saved Glee. He lent it the worldly perspective that allowed it to get out of its high school mentality of put-upon outsiders and into a world of nothing more or less than human beings. Titus Welliver and Benjamin Koldyke delivered game changing, conflicted performances on Lost and Big Love, Matt Damon was a delight on 30 Rock and Zach Gilford gave his best performance to date when he returned to grieve Matt’s dead father on Friday Night Lights but of all of them O’Malley did the most for his show.
Dot-Marie Jones (Glee)
Dot-Marie Jones is my favourite thing about Glee‘s new season. So while I will always love Allison Janney and greatly admire her insane turn on Lost, think Idina Menzel sang circles around Lea Michele on Glee, adore what Faith Prince brings to Drop Dead Diva and loved the breath of fresh air that was Katie Cassidy on Gossip Girl, Dot-Marie wins. Her portrayal of Coach Beiste could not be more interestingly human.
Late Night Personality/Talk or Variety Host
Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)
I love Joel McHale (The Soup), Danielle Fishel (The Dish), Jimmy Fallon (Late Night) and Seth Meyers (Saturday Night Live). I love the creative control they each have over their show, their quirky humour, their confident hosting style. But when it comes down to it there is and will always be one person in this category who is the best of the best: Jon Stewart, the reigning champ of all things fake news-related.
Jeff Probst (Survivor)
If there’s one thing I love in a host it’s snarky self-commentary. That’s a great feature of all the nominees in this category, especially uber-host Chris Harrison (The Bachelor/The Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad) who worked more this year than any of the others. Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance) and Leah Miller (So You Think You Can Dance Canada) put their spin on their shows as well. But it was Jeff Probst who once again proved his superiority in 2010, a thing never more clear than in the tricky Heroes vs. Villains reunion show or the hilariously un-PC Nicaragua tribal council that preceded Shannon’s welcome farewell.
Johnny Iuzzini (Top Chef: Just Desserts)
And speaking of snark, it’s a trademark of many of the nominees in this category. Icon Simon Cowell didn’t hold back in his final year on the American Idol panel, and Tom Colicchio is an old snarky pro judging Top Chef. Tim Gunn spoke his piece on Runway this year, lambasting Gretchen and picking on Emilio in fun ways. They’re also super helpful in their critiques, did I mention that part? Oh, and Derek Hough led two different competitors to victory on Dancing with Stars this year, that’s a bit of a big deal. But snark’s not everything and though this year’s winner has his fair share of it, he’s also really supportive, hilariously funny and just plain cool. Just Desserts‘ head judge Johnny Iuzinni is the coolest guy to ever pick up a spatula and this year’s Best Reality Judge/Coach winner.
Female Reality Star
Parvati Shallow (Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
There is only one correct answer here: Parvati. Tiffany Derry (Top Chef: DC/ All-Stars) is pretty cool, and still in the running for All-Stars. Nat Strand/ Kat Chang and Brook Roberts/Claire Champlin made history in The Amazing Race‘s 17th season (they also made it incredibly entertaining). And Holly Hoffman was the biggest surprise competitor to set foot in Nicaragua for Survivor. And none of them compare to the insane genius of Parvati Shallow. The charming, ruthless and compellingly strategic Parvati ran Heroes vs. Villains, there isn’t a reason in the world why she shouldn’t have won (which, of course, she didn’t). That moment when she gave away 2 immunity idols to save her teammates and flip the numbers (without telling Russell)- brilliant.
Male Reality Star
Seth Aaron Henderson (Project Runway)
This, on the other hand, was a tight race this year. Boston Rob has long been (and is right now, he’s still hanging on this season) one of our favourite reality stars. Matt Hoffman was the highlight of a very strange Big Brother season and Yigit Pura was wonderful sweet (sorry for the pun) on Just Desserts. But Project Runway stars Mondo Guerra and Seth Aaron Henderson were the best this year. Both talented, both endearing, both fascinating characters- this was a next to impossible decision. In the end we went with the funnier one, just because we had to decide somehow. He was also the winner of his season and (though they’re not as daring) we liked more of his looks.
Virginia and Burt (Raising Hope)
Oh how I love this category. Brooke and Julian (One Tree Hill) are the highlight of our week every single week, Eric and Tammy (Friday Night Lights) are long considered the greatest couple ever written, Kevin and Scotty (Brothers and Sisters) fit together like puzzle pieces and Julia and Joel (Parenthood) have chemistry through the roof. But it’s the funnies we’re praising this year and the nitty gritty us-against-the-world comfort level of Raising Hope‘s Virgina and Burt simply makes us smile. They’re a team. A silly, backwards, strange as all get-out, somehow functional team.
Be My Best Friend
Danny Pudi (Community)
We don’t know anything about who Danny Pudi really is but we’d give our right arms to be friends with Abed. We’d give other, less important, appendages to befriend Danielle Fishel (The Dish), Christa Miller (Cougar Town), Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) or Tina Fey (30 Rock)- all the actual people- but for the fictional brilliance of Abed we’d give pretty much anything.
Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill)
Another crowded category. Our love of Josh Jackson stretches back to the age of 9 when we fell madly in love with Charlie Conway, while our love of TJ Thyne and his Bones character Hodgins is newly-acquired. Donald Glover and Darren Criss are always winning us over with smiles and talent and stuff but it’s Austin Nichols and his fantastically quirky, earnest, awkward Julian Baker that makes us want to rush to the altar (as Julian and Brooke did recently on One Tree Hill).
Ridiculously Good-Looking Male
Darren Criss (Glee)
This category has a lot of dazzling smiles and couple insane blue-eyes-black-hair combos that make us giggly. But there’s more to good looks than smiles and colour combinations, sometimes there’s a guitar, or a pair of glasses and a lightning scar, or a blazer and a backup chorus of acapella singers. Taye Diggs (Private Practice), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), Matt Lanter (90210) and Matt Bomer (White Collar) are very very pretty, but Darren Criss (Glee) is all heart melty.
Ridiculously Good-Looking Female
Tre Armstrong (So You Think You Can Dance Canada)
Every time they introduce the judges on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, we at My TV exhale a simultaneous “ohhh” at just how beautiful Tre Armstrong is. It’s annoying, quite frankly. Parvati Shallow almost won Survivor using her good looks (among other things) while Dianna Agron (Glee), Kate Voegele (One Tree Hill) and Gillian Zinser (90210) show them off every week on their respective teen-oriented shows. But Tre Armstrong, with the hair and the clothes and the smile and the biceps… it’s just not normal.
Moment of the Year
Stop Motion Christmas (Community)
This was a tough one. Lost changed the TV game so it’s ending had to mean something. Simon Cowell changed both the music and the TV games so his leaving American Idol meant even more. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” was the moment when dramedy juggernaut Glee became more than a fad. Obama visiting The Daily Show opened new doors for how presidents can communicate. But we think it’s the essence of TV that needs to win this one. It’s a just plain good episode that said something new, entertained us and did it in a way we’ve never seen before. An episode that’s not a triumph in writing, direction, tech or performance but in all of them. So Community‘s fall finale wins. With “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” Community taught us all something new about what truly smart and innovative TV can do.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our Honorary Award for 2010: the “better than the best” award for standout achievement in any category.