Let’s just get down to it. The 8th annual My TV Awards are wrapping up. Be sure to check out the List of Nominees, the Nominee Interview Series and the Full List of Awards Winners (My Cinema & My Theatre included).
The 2014 My TV Award Winners Are…
The Mindy Project
By getting Danny and Mindy together mid-season two and putting them together long-term by season’s end, this most cheerful of auteur-driven passion projects stepped into territory relatively unexplored by the standard network rom-com. It could not be working better, particularly in the new relationship territory covered by 2014.
The black humour and perfect ensemble are the keys to this fresh and riveting anthology adaptation of the Coen brothers movie. Despite their superficial differences, a lot of the prestige dramas on cable were starting to hit overly familiar notes. Fargo took us by surprise and that’s really hard to do in this particular television landscape.
Best Reality Series
This award likely would have gone to Survivor if they only did one season a year because “Cagayan” was a triumph. But “San Juan del Sur” was so atrocious that it knocked the stalwart series down a peg. In a less competitive field, Survivor still might have prevailed, but its sillier but more complex CBS cousin just happened to offer up its greatest season in a decade so the contest, ultimately, wasn’t even close. A near-perfect cast, strong twists and fresh comps made for a legendary summer.
Best New Series
*Best Comedy/Drama nominees excluded
We’re in love with HBO’s comedy lineup, in no small part because of this wackadoo treasure about app developers in Silicon Valley. From late genius Christopher Evan Welch as a megalomaniacal investor to Zach Woods as a drippy try-hard business man (we’re so obsessed with Zach Woods in general) to Martin Starr’s deadpan Satanist, Silicon Valley has one of the most fun casts of characters on TV. Extra points for spot-on faux-Google Hooli.
Best Canceled Series
*Best Comedy/Drama nominees excluded
Angy. So Angry! The cancellation of Selfie is everything that is wrong with network television. While the cancellation of the other shows on this list hurt our hearts because they were personal favourites, Selfie is a whole other matter. It was grossly mishandled in a way that reveals a criminal inability to see the big picture. I’m sure there’s a “Building an Audience in the Digital Age” handbook somewhere that told the ABC executives that their early release strategy would work but if they’d actually watched the show, if they had any taste, any eye for quality storytelling, they would have seen that Selfie was a show that would start slow and build in momentum as the characters grew together and the off-the-charts chemistry between John Cho and Karen Gillan could really shine. A big, infuriating waste that is exactly the reason why cable is winning. For the love of god, skate to where the puck is going to be!
“Piano Man” by Anthony Morigerato (So You Think You Can Dance)
Contemporary contemporary contemporary- that’s always been the artistic bread and butter of TV’s best dance show. Then Anthony Morigerato choreographed this. A gorgeous, atmospheric, story-driven, technically demanding, fantastically musical tap duet featuring the two best tappers the show has ever had. Zack and Aaron both nailed contemporary when it came across their plate, but we’d like to see a contemporary dancer attempt this. We still can’t get over it.
No contest. Television direction is getting more sophisticated by the minute but nothing is quite as stylistically ambitious as Hannibal.
Best Writing for a Comedy
“Beach House” by Jenni Konner, Lena Dunham & Judd Apatow (Girls)
Girls may be uneven and at times even groan-inducing but when it’s good, it’s brilliant. And it’s never been as good as in this searing portrait of friendships that should have died years ago. There was a moment when we thought Lena Dunham might actually be the voice of her generation; that moment was “Beach House”.
Best Writing for a Drama
“Mizumono” by Steve Lightfoot & Bryan Fuller (Hannibal)
A thrilling finale to what might just be the most expertly crafted show on television, in an all-round sense. It was tense, it was bold, it completely shook the series to its core and sent it spinning into the steepest of cliffhangers. “Bryan Fuller is making motherfucking Television” indeed.
Best Ensemble in a Comedy
We still cringe when we think about how great this ensemble was and the fact that they were employed so very very briefly. Led by three impeccable leading men, the cast chemistry here was fantastic with everyone capable of carrying the heart of the show just as much as the big laughs.
Best Ensemble in a Drama
The bench depth in this show’s first season was insane and the world-building that facilitated was really what made the show work. The selling point was Billy Bob Thornton but it was Martin Freeman and Allison Tolman who kept us coming back. Then Key & Peele, Bob Odenkirk, Colin Hanks, Oliver Platt, Glenn Howerton, Adam Goldberg- if you’ll excuse the pun, everyone in Fargo was a person of interest.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Troy Gentile (The Goldbergs)
Barry Goldberg is nuts. He’s a pure, grade-A, big brother nincompoop with a deluded self image and severe anger issues. But, because he’s a Goldberg, he’s also a relatable character you really feel for. How they do that, we’ll never know, but we’re pretty sure it has a lot to do with Troy Gentile and his incomparable all-in performance.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black)
What we love most about Orange is the New Black is the way they deploy their supporting actresses, making them the leading lady of at least one episode and using each new season to explore those who faded to the background the previous year. The result of that in season two was the glorious development of Poussey who shone not just in her own spotlight episode but all season as she quietly struggled to define and maintain her relationship with her best friend Taystee.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Rupert Friend (Homeland)
If you had asked us in 2013 whether there was a chance Homeland could have any sort of life after Damian Lewis, we would have said absolutely not. Rupert Friend is the reason why we would have been wrong. The detail and subtlety with which he developed Peter Quinn into the show’s new leading man was nothing short of brilliant, which is why he’s the winner of the season’s most competitive category (so competitive that we not only struggled to choose between the five nominees, we’re still fretting about the brilliant actors we had to cut to shorten the list to five; we love you, Matt Czuchry!).
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Maura Tierney (The Affair)
How amazing is Maura Tierney in The Affair? She has to be just alienating enough that the audience doesn’t hate Dominic West for cheating on her (though, really, who cheats on Maura Tierney?!) but sympathetic enough that we’re really conflicted about it. She’s warm and relatable but also a little spoiled and complacent, both too trusting and suspicious, bitterness hardened and sadness softened and generally just impossibly human. An absolutely brilliant portrait of a woman in an impossible position who, for most of the season, doesn’t even know she’s there.
Best Actor in a Comedy
Peter Facinelli (Nurse Jackie)
We have a confession to make: not a single one of our staff writers watched Nurse Jackie until this season. It was actually Merritt Wever’s My TV Award-winning turn on New Girl that got us to finally tune in (one of us may or may not have binge-watched all six seasons in like 2 weeks). Oh, what we’ve been missing! Merritt’s brilliant Zoey and Anna Deavere Smith as Gloria Akalitus! Eddie! Thor! But most notably, it’s crazy to us how many seasons we let go by without including the wildly underrated Peter Facinelli in the Best Actor in a Comedy category. All the nominees in this category are killer (and all under-appreciated; not an Emmy nominee among them) but we felt it was well past time Coop got his due.
Best Actress in a Comedy
Minnie Driver (About a Boy)
Especially when it comes to comedy series, we’re suckers for punishment; we have a tendency to fall hard for things that are doomed. Jason Katims’ delightful half hour adaptation of About a Boy is no exception. After two small-order seasons, the heartfelt comedy is likely done for good but we’ll never forget the tenderness and oddball fun of Minnie Driver’s perfect performance as wacky mum Fiona. “You’re my English Patient. And I think you deserve to win all the awards”.
Best Actor in a Drama
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
We have to admit we didn’t know Jeffrey Tambor could do that. We knew he was funny- every Arrested Development fan knows he’s funny- but the emotional depth, the naturalism in a role far outside himself, the dramatic turns, we just didn’t see that coming. Somehow underestimating him made the profound achievement of Transparent all the sweeter.
Best Actress in a Drama
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
If we’re being honest, we wanted to give this to Tatiana Maslany again (it’s not a fair fight- she’s playing 5 regular characters plus a smattering of guest roles!) but we’re trying to avoid a Modern Family situation (seriously, there are So Many good comedies on TV) and are thus shying away from repeat winners, at least in back to back years. So we went with Robin Wright, if only for the sheer agony and calculation of that interview scene.
Best Guest Actor
Hunter Parrish (The Good Wife)
We love Hunter Parrish and it makes us mad that he seems to have caught a severe case of the Bradley Coopers (you know, that thing where the world sees baby blues and a perfect jaw line and immediately thinks “brainless hunk”, thereby managing to overlook a huge talent for the first decade of his career). His short but infamous run on The Good Wife won’t be remembered for his brilliantly tortured performance (the death twist was just too eclipsing), but it should be.
Best Guest Actress
Rhea Perlman (The Mindy Project)
Rhea Perlman as Mrs. Castellano might be the best piece of guest casting since Michael J. Fox first showed up on The Good Wife. Not only is she pitch-perfect comedy-wise but she fits her son Chris Messina to a tee, filling in every single blank the show may have left in its superb leading man.
Best Talk/Variety Host
Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report)
The loss of The Colbert Report is huge. Are we looking forward to getting to know the real Colbert when he takes over his new late night desk? Absolutely (he seems like a cool dude). But “Colbert” was a masterpiece of modern satire who will never be able to be replaced.
Best Reality Host/Judge
Harry Connick Jr (American Idol)
We’ll always be fond of Simon for his sheer icon status and we loved Nicki Minaj for all the wrong reasons but Harry Connick Jr. is the single greatest judge American Idol has ever had. No, we are not exaggerating. He’s funny and charming and great TV (how dreamy are those glasses?) but he’s also tough and uncompromising and, most importantly, he actually knows music. Words like “semi-tone” and “diaphragm” and “syncopation” have Finally replaced “pitchy” and you can actually see the kids improving under his guidance. The panel right now is perfectly balanced like it’s never been before but it’s Harry who is the real revelation.
Best Male Reality Star
Derrick Levasseur (Big Brother)
Four of the five nominees in this category dominated their season and went on to win the grand prize (the fifth is the intensely watchable Spencer Bledsoe who we’re sure will win Survivor at some point, if Lucy ever lets him kick the football). Of those four champion performances, only one was among the best the game’s ever been played. Just like in Big Brother, no one even came close to beating Derrick here.
Best Female Reality Star
Sharleen Joynt (The Bachelor)
We didn’t watch Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor. We didn’t like him at all on Des’ season so we just decided to skip him entirely when he was idiotically picked to be the next lead. But we watched the “Women Tell All” and fell madly in love with his feisty frontrunner Sharleen. Her fun tweets and brilliant episode recaps (she’s the only person who loved Nick Viall as much as we did) drove us back to Juan Pablo’s season where we proceeded to watch the whole thing on fast-forward, pausing just to see all the Sharleen scenes. If she wasn’t already engaged, we’d want nothing more than a Sharleen season of The Bachelorette (straight-to-camera looks and opera dates all the way).
Best Reality Team
Ricky Ubeda & Valerie Rockey (So You Think You Can Dance)
Until season 11, our pick for the best dancer ever on So You Think You Can Dance had not changed since season three (Danny Tidwell *sigh*) then came Ricky. But as much as the eventual winner was a technical marvel, he was also one of the season’s most likeable personalities, especially when he was dancing with his partner Valerie (a charming and unassuming tap dancer whose versatility skated her right into the finale).
Best TV Couple
Mindy & Danny (The Mindy Project)
Do we really need to explain this?
Moment of the Year
Clone Dance Party (Orphan Black)
A technical marvel, a perfect 5-piece character portrait, a mythology-free emotional highpoint in an action-packed season finale, a thing starring Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris. This might have been the TV moment of the decade.
The Hello Ladies Movie
We loved Hello Ladies when it aired in 2013 but we may have loved the 2014 wrap-up movie even more. Stephen Merchant’s cringeingly aspirational Stuart, Nate Torrence as his glass-half-full friend, Christine Woods as the richly relatable girl-next-door of sorts- these were people we could have happily spent years of our television lives with. In the somewhat rushed bittersweet ending you could see the beautiful slowly developed places the series was going to go, which was sad to see burned off in a mere two hours. But it was wonderful that we got to see an ending at all and an ending this lovely? Priceless.
Corey Fogelmanis (Girl Meets World)
This 15-year-old is the heart and soul of the delightful Boy Meets World sequel currently on the Disney channel teaching modern kids about the value of quirk. The fact that Minkus’ son is not a one-note joke but rather a key part of the core cast is a testament to the sympathy and balance the aptly named Corey brings to the role along with his impeccable timing and bold, outlandish comic sensibility.
Performer of the Year
The star of our Best Drama winner and a key guest star on the Best Comedy with a fun cameo in the Honorary Award winner, Allison Tolman wasn’t everywhere in 2014, she was just in all of our favourite things. Hilarious and heartfelt and relatable and endlessly charming, we hope she’s in all of our favourite things every year for quite some time.