Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Oh, Emmy, Emmy, Emmy. Why do you play with my heart every year?
Each season, there’s the promise that you will give your trophies to someone deserving, someone who has acted/directed/produced their little heart out. … only for you to dump 18 more awards on Modern Family. It’s a big plus to have Neil Patrick Harris shuffling around the stage, keeping up my spirits, but that’s not enough. I need an Emmy overhaul, starting with those blah categories that don’t speak to my experience watching television. So here’s my revamped Emmy list (warning: there may be a spoiler or two). Enjoy, and add your own in the comments:
Best Canceled Show: Happy Endings, ABC
This one is going to go down in the history books as one of the worst decisions ABC ever made. A witty comedy about young people that neatly avoids stereotypes while extolling the virtues of friendship? Goodness me, why would anyone want to air that when you could make more spinoffs of The Bachelor!
Show that Most Deserved Cancellation: How I Met Your Mother, CBS
Come. On. This show has been limping along for two seasons, waiting for someone to put it out of its misery (or at least give it a good slap). The revelation that Season 9 will take place entirely during Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend isn’t exactly giving fans any confidence that the show’s sendoff will be the amazing conclusion we’ve anticipated all these years.
Best Actress on a Bad Show: Megan Hilty, Smash, NBC
Oh Smash. So promising, so doomed. Good thing a pro like Megan Hilty was on hand to belt her heart out any time the plot’s logic flagged (or ran screaming) from the show. Hopefully this Broadway vet will get to play someone other than a scheming starlet in the near future.
Most Improved Since Pilot: The Mindy Project, Fox
With 30 Rock and The Office saying bittersweet goodbyes, it seemed that everyone was holding their breaths for Mindy Kaling’s new comedy, hoping for a little bit of Kelly Kapoor and a little bit of Liz Lemon at the same time. The first few episodes attempt to be everything to everybody, from M*A*S*H*-like hospital dramedy to Mary Tyler Moore woman-in-a-man’s-world sitcom. But as the season came to a close, the show came into its own, and went in truly original directions: Mindy dates a Christian but doesn’t convert, Danny re-connects with his wife but it doesn’t go well. I’m surprised to say it, but I’m excited to watch Season 2.
Best Death: Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), Game of Thrones, HBO
Could it be anyone else? There are major differences between Cat of the George R.R. Martin books and Cat in the HBO show. However, in the Red Wedding, we see Catelyn Stark alternate from ferocity to vulnerability and back again. That seems like the Cat I know. A deserving sendoff for a deserving actress.
Best Wedding: Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey), The Office, NBC
The Office ended its run with a not-so-awesome season overall, but the series finale was a worthy way to say goodbye to Dunder-Mifflin. Angela and Dwight’s wedding made me cry even harder than Pam and Jim’s big day – in part because of Steve Carrell’s last-minute appearance. Just like Michael said, “It’s like all my kids grew up – and married each other. It’s every parent’s dream!” Angela and Dwight have always had a place in my heart, and it was wonderful to see them happy at last.
Best Rant: Patton Oswalt, Parks and Recreation, NBC
Parks and Rec mostly slipped under the radar this year, since its close sister The Office was busy saying goodbye and making everyone tear up. If there’s one eight-minute segment you should watch from the entire series, it’s Patton Oswalt’s incredibly funny filibuster in which he describes his idea for a Star Wars/Marvel Universe movie mash-up. If this man doesn’t get an award for best guest star in the real Emmy’s, I might just disown the universe.
Least-Watchable Reality Show: Newlyweds: The First Year, Bravo
If you love The Real Housewives but feel there weren’t quite enough nasty spousal arguments, this is the show for you. If watching newly married people tear each other apart makes you kind of queasy, then you’re probably a well-adjusted human being. Congrats! Now turn off Bravo and go read a book or something.
Most-Watchable Dysfunctional Couple: The Americans, FX
Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) have been through a lot this year. Almost-dead dude in the trunk, early poisoning a young man to death, nearly getting killed by their own government, near-discovery by their FBI-agent neighbor. Have these tragedies brought them closer together? Nope! Their marriage is falling apart, their cover is becoming ever thinner, and tensions with Moscow are high. I can’t turn away from this show — it’s just so good!
Most-Watchable Human Being Alive: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO
Or you know, just give him an acting Emmy. Either way.
Nominations for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced July 18.