We are back with our second annual Summer TV Awards here at The Whiteboard! We decided to do our awards in the summer to avoid cutting most network seasons in half if we did them at year’s end like our game and music awards. We are generally looking at shows that aired during the Emmy period which runs from June 1st of 2012 to May 31st of 2013 though for a couple of shows that ran into June of this year we are including the last bits of their seasons too. Over the course of three blogs, we’ll be looking at some of our favorite characters, episodes and shows from the last year of television. Today in our first blog, we will be taking a look at some of our favorite characters and acting performances. Here they are (note these may contain some mild spoilers, so be careful if you haven’t seen the shows these recipients are from):
Favorite Returning Character
This award goes to our favorite returning regular character. The quality of the character’s storylines also play a role in this choice.
Omarey’s Pick: June Colburn, Don’t Trust The B in Apt 23: This is the second year of June and I feel like she developed even more. She is such a neat character and she is played convincingly by Dreama Walker. She is naïve girl from a small Midwestern town that has hit the big city. Although she is a little more street smart this year, there is still plenty of her trademark sweetness and obliviousness to the perils of the city and her roommate Chloe. They share a lot of fun moments and June is most definitely someone you can root for, laugh with and have an extreme crush on, all at once.
Matt’s Pick: John Cooper, Southland: I’m not the biggest fan of the way Cooper’s season arc (and now series arc) ended and I thought about not choosing him for this award because of it. But the fact that the way things ended with Coop upset me so much really just helps to emphasize how much I loved his character. There was so much to like about John Cooper’s storylines this season. His interactions with his new boot early on. Him trying to help his former training officer and mentor. The plans he was making with his ex-wife. The standout Cooper storyline for me was his interactions with new partner, Lucero, which reached its climax in the powerful and unforgettable episode, “Chaos.” Cooper has always felt like the heart of this show and he was once again the best character in this final season of Southland.
Favorite New Character
This category is for characters that were introduced for the first time this past year whether as a new character in a old show or just someone in a new show.
Matt’s Pick: Sam Hunter, Hunted: Part of Sam Hunter’s appeal was certainly her backstory. Unraveling the mysteries of her childhood tied into Hunted’s central mythology which added an extra layer to Sam’s character and fit in nicely with the show’s main plotlines. But like a lot of spy characters, the main reasons I loved her were because she was a total badass at what she does and just a lot of fun to watch. Whether she was tailing cars on a bicycle, sneaking around a hedge maze or kicking ass in an old silo, Sam’s exploits always had my eyes glued to the TV screen. Special kudos to her fight scenes which struck me with their more grounded approach compared to other spy series I’ve seen. It’s a bummer Hunted wasn’t picked up for another season, but I’m glad I’ll be able to continue seeing more of Sam in the future miniseries bearing her name on Cinemax.
Omarey’s Pick: Felicity Smoak, Arrow: Felicity was a clear choice for my favorite new character. Not only because she is brain meltingly beautiful but because she is so fun. She is a great sidekick first to Oliver Queen then later to Arrow and Diggle. She fit in the dynamic perfectly and provided quite a bit of (needed) comic relief. She is funny and smart but relatable as well and her character felt genuine. Everyone knows someone like her, an attractive but shy, slightly nerdy, computer geek that is coming out of her shell more and more. She is such a cool character that I look forward to watching for many years to come.
Favorite Guest Character
This award goes to the our favorite character in a guest role whether it be for an episode or an extended arc.
Omarey’s Pick: Capt. Jake Ballard, Scandal: Being a ‘Noel guy’ it is clear that I would welcome any opportunity to see more Scott Foley. He is a great actor. I loved his role here. It is crazy to think that anyone could play a convincing love interest for Olivia Pope, that isn’t the president. He does a good job playing the “I know you are in love with another guy but he’s not available and I’m handsome and charming” card and he does it well. He also plays a mysterious black ops officer so it is neat to see him portray that as well. There is a lot of depth to the character and how he can be lethal yet loving is pretty interesting.
Matt’s Pick: Chase, Happy Endings: Chase is a character that is largely built up off-screen, but it is done extremely well and since he makes the most of his few appearances on-screen, it ends up being a really memorable guest appearance. The casting of Mark-Paul Gosselaar in the role seems perfect. When you need to find someone to play what seems like the coolest guy around, you get Zack Morris. But some of Gosselaar’s scenes as Chase are more focused on threats towards Max for messing with his life and he seems to relish the opportunity to show his crazy side a little bit. It leads to some great moments (his final speech in particular is amazing) and just a really fantastic guest spot. I kind of wish we’d get to see more of him in the future, but at least we got a couple of appearances before the show’s untimely demise.
This goes to the male we think had the best acting performance throughout this past season.
Matt’s Pick: John Noble, Fringe: In Fringe’s final season, John Noble continued to amaze me in his role as Walter Bishop. This year may not have had a showcase episode on the level of “Peter” or found him trying to handle the typical Fringe-like task of playing multiple roles, but he still managed to impress the hell out of me. Noble managed to perfectly portray all the varying sides of Walter from crazy scientist to concerned father and nail the changes he encountered throughout the year with aplomb. His most memorable scenes of the season were his final moments on the show with his son and Astrid and they worked as well as they did in large part to Noble’s acting chops. John Noble has done excellent work over the past five years as Walter Bishop and this year was another feather in his cap.
Omarey’s Pick: Matthew Rhys, The Americans: Matthew Rhys was such a pleasant surprise as Phillip Jennings in The Americans. We are huge fans of Felicity aka Keri Russell here at the Whiteboard so both Matthew and I expected to love her in this show, and we did, just surprisingly not as much as we both enjoyed Rhys’s performance. He was wonderfully emotional and had such depth to his character. You really felt the pangs of conscience and moral dilemmas in the situations he was facing. He was also a really good father and a talented and loyal agent, even if he did not believe in the cause as fervently as his wife did. Matthew Rhys’s brilliant and realistic performance made him an easy pick for my best actor this season.
This category is for the best acting performance by a female during this past season.
Omarey’s Pick: Kerry Washington, Scandal: Kerry Washington was phenomenal in Scandal as fixer, Olivia Pope, this season. Although I am not a condemn or absolve her of being a homewrecker, this show shows that her relationship with the President is much more than that. I like the complicated nature of her life as a result of her job and her love life and Washington plays those intricacies really well. I also like how tough she is but how she is remarkably sensitive and vulnerable at times as well. It is interesting to see a strong African American female character. It is extremely rare to see that on TV, but with Kerry Washington’s portrayal here. It will not likely be that way for long. She was an easy selection for me for best actress this season.
Matt’s Pick: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black: Of all the awards, this was the biggest no-brainer for me. Tatiana Maslany’s work in Orphan Black is really something else. She plays seven different characters on the show and while it may be cliché to say, she makes them feel so unique it seems like they are all played by different actresses. Sometimes she even has to be one character pretending to be another and somehow pulls it off. She’s asked to take on different personalities from uptight soccer mom to science student with various different accents and nails them all. Tatiana is doing some special work in Orphan Black and I hope that despite being on a little known sci-fi show she gets more love as awards season continues (though I’m not sure an Emmy is on the same level as the prestigious award I’m handing out right now).
That will do it for the first part of our Summer TV Awards. Let us know who you’d pick in these categories during this past year or what you think of our choices in the comments below. Be sure to check back in next week for Part 2 of our awards which will focus on our favorite episodes and moments from this past year.