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. Our first two blogs focused on Characters, Episodes and other elements of TV shows (Check them out here and here). Part 3 is the big one though and we will be taking a look at our favorite shows of the year. Here they are (note that the descriptions may contain vague spoilers about the shows and their seasons this year):
Favorite New Show
This award goes to our favorite show that debuted in the past year.
Matt’s Pick: Ben and Kate: On paper this show didn’t sound great and the promos didn’t do much to help sell it, but I’m so glad I gave this a shot as it ended up being my favorite new show of the year. The titular Ben and Kate have this extremely believable and genuine sibling relationship that acts as a great core for the show to build around. It also does awkward humor (with Kate’s character in particular) that I’m surprised I enjoyed so much. I’m easily embarrassed for others, even TV characters, so when a show finds a way for me to like that kind of humor, they are doing something right. My favorite character was Kate’s friend BJ and her interactions with Kate’s daughter were especially memorable. Ben and Kate was a show full of laughs, but it also had a lot of heart, the kind that most comedies don’t find during their whole run let alone their first season. I wish this show would have found a bigger audience, but I’ll always love what we did get.
Omarey’s Pick: Arrow: It was a pleasant surprise this season, for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was not familiar with any of the actors in the show before except for Thea played by Willa Holland, who I knew from her role in The O.C. where she was simply known as mini-Coop. I am also more of a Marvel Comics fan than DC and I knew very little about Green Arrow going in. Lastly, the CW doesn’t offer me a lot of programming and it is the only show I currently watch on the channel. That being said this show blew me away! The acting, dialogue and action are all top notch. The characters are full, engaging and endearing. The storylines seem simplistic but have a lot more depth than it sometimes feels that they would. Also, the overarching story and arcs are really well done. I like the way the season ended I am really excited to see much more from this show.
Most Disappointing Show
This category is for the show that let us down the most this past year. We expected better and it disappointed us.
Omarey’s Pick: Revolution: Arrested Development was a very close second because of the pedestal I placed the original run on. Even though I would probably rate it a B- for its latest season, it didn’t hit those expectations, although it would have been hard for it to reach. After Arrested Development, this was an easy choice. It went from being my most anticipated show to my most disappointing show. That is a large change. The show was not only disappointing in terms of quality but it was also downright hard to enjoy at times. It was frustrating because they set up some cool things like Monroe and Miles being friends, or Malik Yoba’s Jim Hudson character, or the premise of the show being that the lights got turned out and they messed all those things and more up. In addition to that there are a ton of unlikable or just lame characters. The only people I could really get behind are Miles (and even he tested me a bit) and Giancarlo Esposito’s Captain Tom Neville. I don’t have much faith in this show turning it around in its second season (I would love to be proven wrong) but it probably won’t be around too much longer to make everyone suffer with it either.
Matt’s Pick: Homeland: Season 2 of Homeland wasn’t as bad as some of its biggest detractors would suggest. But it is pretty much the definition of disappointing. It was one of the best shows that aired during its rookie season, so being slightly above average during its second isn’t going to cut it. Great moments like the Carrie-Brody interrogation scene or even the fact that they brought in Brody so early don’t make up for stuff like Dana and Finn’s killing spree, Brody’s absurd car wash shower or any of the other ridiculous events that defined Season 2. Homeland let me down with its sophomore effort and my expectations are pretty low for the third season now. I guess at least I won’t be disappointed this time around.
Show We Will Miss the Most
This goes to the show we are sad to see go off the air and will miss the most.
Matt’s Pick: Fringe: Season 5 of Fringe wrapped things up in a satisfying way. Big mythology questions were answered and while it wasn’t at the level of the show’s brilliant first three seasons, it helped the show bounce back from the more problematic fourth. Regardless of the dip in quality for the later seasons, it was still the show I was most excited to sit down and watch each week. And it remains my all-time favorite show, so of course I will miss the hell out of it. I will miss the characters the most (Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop rank among my all-time favorites), but I also loved its brand of sci-fi dealing with twists on interesting scientific ideas and the fantastic alternate dimension concepts. And I will miss just being invested in a show this much. I spent way more time than I should have rewatching this show, speculating about what would happen next, or trying to find the hidden Observer each week. I hope another show captures me in the way Fringe did because it made the experience that much more fun.
Omarey’s Pick: Southland: This category was tough. The logical part of me wants to share this honor with Fringe which saw its curtain call this season but because we wanted to make hard choices I gave the slight edge to Southland. It is one of the best cop shows that I can remember watching. It was a procedural that threw in some long arcs and an almost documentary-like style. The show was always consistently good but a number of episodes and arcs were exemplary. The characters were all real and the events depicted on the show all felt really genuine because of it. The actors were all really great and brought their roles to life. Farewell Southland.
This award goes to our favorite comedy this past season. Both our enjoyment and it’s more objective quality are taken into consideration.
Omarey’s Pick: Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23: Last year I liked this show despite its stupid yet accurate name. This year I loved it. The show has an amazing cast that is now really locked into what the show is and who their characters are. This allows them to really make fun connections and do some absurd things which they definitely take full advantage of. Chloe is still mean but well intentioned in the end, June is still naïve, less so but still very naïve and James Van Der Beek is still hilarious. Even the side characters were awesome. There were some fun guest stars this year and some really funny premises that for some great episodes. It is a shame that it got cancelled because I think this show could have grown to be a lot of people’s favorite comedy and not just mine.
Matt’s Pick: 30 Rock: What a final season 30 Rock had. The whole thing felt like a nice goodbye for the show and more importantly, it was just an excellent season of television. 30 Rock’s seventh season saw some great storylines with Jack initially trying to tank NBC in hilarious fashion and Liz and Criss’ efforts to have a child. It also did a good job of bringing back some of the show’s most memorable guest stars. Dean Winters’ was back as Dennis Duffy. A couple of Jack’s old nemeses returned with Will Arnett reprising his role as Devon Banks and Chloe Moretz back as Kaylie Hooper. And the final season wouldn’t be complete without one last appearance by Elaine Stritch as Jack’s overbearing mother. All this helped, but the biggest reason this was the comedy of the year was that it was just really funny. It was that classic 30 Rock-style of throwing so many jokes at you, you couldn’t catch them all. It was sad to see the show go, but it had me laughing until the very end and I can’t ask for much more than that.
This category is for our favorite drama that aired last season. Both our enjoyment and its more objective quality are taken into consideration.
Matt’s Pick: Southland: It only took a couple episodes of Southland’s fifth season for me to realize I was watching something special. But it’s one thing for a season to start out amazing, it’s another for it keep that quality throughout. Every week I walked away just astounded by how good it was. I could harp on the few issues I had (Tammy is still awful and I’m not a fan of the ending with Cooper), but they seem like small gripes when the show was this good. The overarching storylines definitely helped, Cooper’s various relationships and Ben’s shift to the dark side were all strong arcs. But I think what made this such a great season is that Southland was just doing what it typically does well, just on a really high level. That unique Cops-esque look into the daily lives of the LAPD. The way it bounces between thrilling action sequences, dramatic character moments and its surprisingly great sense of humor. All through that very gritty, realistic viewpoint Southland employs. It made for the best season of television this year.
Omarey’s Pick: Suits: This show was my most surprisingly good show last year. It continues to be one of my favorite shows but it is no longer a surprise. Sharp and witty dialogue, great characters, and believable and suspenseful conflicts make this my favorite drama. The relationship with Harvey and Mike is excellent. I also love the second tier characters of Donna, Louis, and Rachel. I mean that they are second tier in terms of focus or screen time. All of the characters on the show are tremendous and endearing. I love the return of Daniel Hardman, he is amazing as an adversary and his all out war on the firm this season was a great arc. I also loved the way the season ended leaving me wanting more with the merger with the Darby firm. Not only was this season great but it set the stage for another excellent year of Suits to come, exactly what the best drama show of the year should do.
And that will do it for our Summer TV Awards. Let us know who you’d pick in these categories during this past year. But wait… there is more. With so much good (and bad) TV on this past year, we will have a little something else coming soon that focuses on some other things we loved and hated that didn’t quite fit into our awards. Thanks for checking out our Summer TV awards here at The Whiteboard.