Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The 4th Annual Awards Psychic Television Award Winners

Best Drama Series
Winner - Breaking Bad 
Runners Up - The Good Wife and Masters of Sex 
Commentary - How could I not? Breaking Bad will go down as one of the greatest television dramas of all time, ranked alongside masterpieces such as NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, The Wire, The West Wing, and The Sopranos. The last several episodes of the series, especially the already infamous Ozymandias, were pure brilliance, although I would expect nothing less from a show that has always been brilliant. There will be a hole in our televisions from the absence of Breaking Bad, and particularly after this Emmy season ends, I think we will finally feel it. It really is over, and yet I am still playing those final moments over and over again in my mind. So from your fans, thank you Breaking Bad for being the best drama series on television, we will miss you. 

Best Comedy Series
Winner - Veep
Runners Up - Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Commentary - Most people agree that this was not Veep's best season. I like to think of it as a transition season, and after watching the final two episodes, I take off my hat and nod with respect to Armando Innanuci and his team of writers and producers. I see what they were doing, and where they were going. They needed this strange transition season to give their story the jolt it needed, and I think it set it up for what will be another cringe-worthy (and I really do mean that in a good way), hilarious fourth and probably fifth season. Of course even in its transition periods, Veep is still one of the best comedies on television, with a lot of credit going to the cast, who continue to have a chemistry like no other, and are always causing my stomach to hurt with laughter. Besides Parks & Recreation, Veep is the best comedy on television. It was time I recognized that. 

Best TV Movie
Winner - The Normal Heart
Runner Up - The Trip to Bountiful
Commentary - Really, there were only two contenders, and really at the end of the day there was only one. The Trip to Bountiful was a success because of its cast, particularly the magnificent Cicely Tyson. But no other film made for television this year even really got close to The Normal Heart. Sure it is a film that has its flaws, it is a Ryan Murphy production, but it is brimming with so much passion, so much emotion, so much deserved anger, and is anchored by an incredible cast, led by jaw-dropping performances by Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, and Joe Mantello. When Ryan Murphy is passionate about something, it usually succeeds. And it is clear that Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, was a story that Murphy, deservedly so, loved. The passion he has for his subject matter is so evident in every scene, and it is what makes The Normal Heart an exemplary work of long form television. 

Best Miniseries
Winner - Fargo
Runners Up - American Horror Story: Coven and Sherlock
Commentary - Fargo has had a whole lot of luck this year, particularly when True Detective decided to submit as a Drama Series, and Sherlock decided to submit its last episode as a film (sorry I still put it in miniseries). While American Horror Story had a another great season with Coven (although not quite as good as Asylum), it was clear that a path to victory had been cleared and Fargo was the victor. And damn if it didn't deserve it. Trying to tackle anything the Coen Bros have done is risky, especially with a film so iconic as Fargo. But the creators of FX's instant classic understood that they needed to tread lightly, while honoring and respecting the original work, and the results were fantastic. Fargo was brilliantly funny, oddly dramatic and philosophical, with moments of tortured violence that jarred the viewers. Its cast was impeccable, the standouts being Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, and my personal favorite Allison Tolman, who channeled her inner Frances McDormand, and created and instantly classic television character (the way McDormand did for film). Fargo has set itself up as a potential anthology series, I can't wait to see the next chapter. 

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Winner - (TIE) Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson "True Detective"
Runner Up - Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"
Commentary - Bryan Cranston has already won an Awards Psychic Television Award, and while many readers will think I am crazy for not repeating the honor, I have a very good reason. True Detective was a masterclass television program, and much of its success is owed to the dynamic duo at the center of its absorbing mystery. Matthew McConaughey will most likely win an Emmy for his role here, but his success with his character would not have been possible without his foil, the always fantastic, and always underrated Woody Harrelson. They were truly an acting team, and to reward one, and not the other would be a grave mistake. I am looking forward to the second season of this anthology series, but I feel bad for whomever has to fill the shoes of these two fine actors, because they have set the bar so damn high. 

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - Lizzy Caplan "Masters of Sex"
Runners Up - Julianna Margulies "The Good Wife" and Robin Wright "House of Cards"
Commentary - This was a tough one, because Robin Wright and Julianna Margulies had such good seasons on their respective shows. But the new hit show this past year was Masters of Sex, an incredible exercise in science, history, subtlety (yes despite all the sex scenes), and acting prowess. At its center was the fantastic Lizzy Caplan. She showed incredible restraint, yet at the right moments exploded with emotional, and it is her story, actually all the women's stories, Caitlin Fitzgerald and Allison Janney included, that is the most compelling, the heart and soul of the show. She will most likely not win at the Emmys due to subtlety, but at least I can do my part to make sure she does not walk away unrecognized for this first fantastic season.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - Adam Scott "Parks and Recreation"
Runners Up - Louis C.K. "Louie" and Thomas Middleditch "Silicon Valley"
Commentary - It is kind of funny how things changed. When Adam Scott first came onto the scene at Parks, he was the asshole trying to shut down the town of Pawnee. Over the years though he has grown into an invaluable part of one of the best ensembles on television, and despite the lack of real competition the last couple of years, Television Academy voters continue to ignore that fact. It occurred to me as I was watching the season finale of Parks for the tenth time, that it is Scott's relationship with Poehler's beloved Leslie Knope that is the center of the show. And while Poehler has received (deservedly so), most of the praise, it is about damn time that somebody recognize Scott, and his role in this successful and wonderfully funny show. 

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - (TIE) Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair "Playing House"
Runners Up - Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep" and Amy Poehler "Parks and Recreation"
Commentary - I literally heard about Playing House for the first time the night before it was set to premiere. It seemed funny enough, and as most of the main comedies were ending or had already ended their seasons, so I was looking for something to fill the void. I am so glad that I did, because Playing House was a riotous, and heart-warming series that deserves a renewal (listen USA!!), or several for that matter. The reason the show works is because of its leading ladies, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. These two have worked on many projects before, and are clearly great friends, because their chemistry is so strong, and so illuminating. I think this is a great gem of a series that I hope people will come around to and start to watch. It deserves the viewers' time. If for no other reason, go back and check out the first season for Parham and St. Clair, two brilliantly funny women, who radiate energy, warmth, and laughter on the small screen.

Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Billy Bob Thornton "Fargo"
Runners Up - Martin Freeman "Fargo" and Mark Ruffalo "The Normal Heart"
Commentary - Mark Ruffalo had an incredibly emotional role in The Normal Heart, and Martin Freeman proved that he has incredible range as actor. But Billy Bob Thornton as the seedy, quietly, sly villain was mesmerizing, and kept my eyes glued to the screen and my pulse pounding. He could win the Emmy next month, but most likely will lose to Ruffalo's theatrics. Let's face it, he was probably just a bit subdued for the panel of voters. But despite this subtlety, in my opinion he blows the competition away. 

Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Cicely Tyson "The Trip to Bountiful"
Runners Up - Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Coven"
Commentary - The American Horror Story gals had a great season throwing barbs at one another, but neither had their best season this year, and one particular contender was just plain awesome. Cicely Tyson won a Tony for her role in The Trip to Bountiful, and she deserves to have another Emmy under her belt for the same role. She was the reason to watch The Trip to Bountiful, her magnetism and power of her performance illuminated the screen. This role also won Geraldine Page an Oscar, proving that it is a memorable and emotional character, and I think it completes the triple crown, at least in my heart.  

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Winner - Josh Charles "The Good Wife"
Runners Up - Aaron Paul "Breaking Bad" and Peter Dinklage "Game of Thrones"
Commentary - The Good Wife had an incredible season, and one of the cornerstones of its success was the arch of Josh Charles. He has always been great on the series, but this year he was allowed to explode with passion and anger, and it finally brought his character truly to life. A lot of credit goes to the writers for crafting this remarkable series of events. But it was Charles that brought it to life, and the results were fantastic. 

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - Sandra Oh "Grey's Anatomy"
Runners Up - Anna Gunn "Breaking Bad" and Melissa McBride "The Walking Dead"
Commentary - I know, I know. The Anna Gunn and Melissa McBride fans will have my head, but I am not ashamed one bit at my choice here. After the mid-seasons of doom of Grey's Anatomy, there was the hospital shooting, and renewed energy on the show. Many may not believe this, but trust me, the last couple of seasons were pretty damn fantastic. I am not sure though how Grey's will turn out though after this year without the dynamic of Christina and Meredith. Sandra Oh is one of the best and most underrated actresses working today, and this season, she got a fantastic farewell, her character coming full circle. It was amazing to watch, and also quite painful, because there will be a vast hole in next year's television lineup left from the gigantic absence of Christina Yang and the fantastic Sandra Oh.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - Jesse Tyler Ferguson "Modern Family"
Runners Up - Joe La Truglio "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and Tony Hale "Veep"
Commentary -  Every year, I am amazed at how Jesse Tyler Ferguson seems to be the one disposable Modern Family guy. He may not have the flashiest role, but he has always been such an important part of the ensemble dynamic. This year, he finally got the time to shine with the preparations for Mitch and Cam's wedding. He got to be bolder, yet still tightly wound, and we got to see much more of Ferguson's chemistry and dynamic with Stonestreet, one I wish was more fulfilled over the course of the show. I know most of you are tired of seeing Modern Family win things, and I get it. But a great performance can come from anywhere, and while the show has reaped a lot of love, Ferguson has not, and it is about time that he does. 

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - Kate McKinnon "Saturday Night Live"
Runners Up - Allison Janney "Mom" and Chelsea Peretti "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Commentary - This race was hard because Allison Janney is jaw-dropping funny, and Chelsea Peretti was absolutely ridiculous. But when I said that one of my favorite Emmy nominations this year was Kate McKinnon I was not kidding. Saturday Night Live had a rough season, but one of the constant bright spots was McKinnon. She, along with some of the hosts, was the reason I really kept watching. She was always pitch perfect with her sketches, and reminded me of some of SNL greats, particularly matching many of the great female comediennes that graced the New York set over the last several decades. She probably won't win the Emmy, most likely because of the fact that there is not enough material in any given episode, a lot like Poehler and Wiig before her, but I'm so happy the voters saw her work as worthy. 

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Mini
Winner  - Matt Bomer "The Normal Heart"
Runners Up - Colin Hanks "Fargo"
Commentary - Colin Hanks with Allison Tolman was one of the best dynamics of Fargo. But I don't know how any of us can watch The Normal Heart and not be completely amazed by Matt Bomer. Ruffalo has a lot of emotion. But Bomer's performance was simply jaw-dropping. He lit up the screen, and proved that he is truly a versatile and talented actor. I think that an Emmy will soon be sitting on his mantle.

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Allison Tolman "Fargo"
Runners Up - Kathy Bates "American Horror Story: Coven"
Commentary - There are always a few nominations I am looking most forward to every year at the Emmys, and this year, that nod was Allison Tolman. I don't know if she will win up against the likes of Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Ellen Burstyn, or Julia Roberts, but in my opinion, while the others are titans of acting, none of them quite had the emotional impact of Allison Tolman, and she managed to do it with a subtlety, nuance, and a lot of magnetism. That is an incredible feat for an actress that up until a few months ago, nobody really knew much about. I think that Fargo is just the start of what I hope will be a long and fruitful career, because if this particular series is any indication, Tolman is one to watch for.  

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Winner - Joe Morton "Scandal"
Runners Up - Beau Bridges "Masters of Sex"
Commentary - Beau Bridges gets Emmy nominations left and right, but this year he actually really deserved it for his role on Masters of Sex. But damn, was I happy when Joe Morton got in for Scandal. He was such an important part of the fireworks this season on Scandal. Morton is a veteran actor with dozens of excellent roles under his belt. I am so happy that Shonda Rhimes finally gave him a real star-making turn on one of the most entertaining shows on television. He has some stiff competition going into next month's Emmys, but he could be a dark horse contender with some really excellent material to back him up.  

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - Allison Janney "Masters of Sex"
Runners Up - Carrie Preston "The Good Wife"
Commentary - This is kind of a lumped together win for both Mom and for her mesmerizing role on the first season of Masters of Sex. Her struggles sexually, and emotionally were some of the most compelling of the series so far, which is saying something, because there was not a dull character among the group. The role itself was juicy, but Janney truly brought it to life. I have said it many times before, but I truly think Allison Janney is one of the finest working American actors. Her West Wing character C.J. Cregg was one of the greatest female characters in television history, her scene-stealing roles on the American independent film circuit, and now she has two fantastic roles that are once again capturing the hearts and minds of television viewers. 

Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - James Earl Jones "The Big Bang Theory"
Runners Up - Bob Newhart "The Big Bang Theory"
Commentary - Okay, so I'm sure there are some cool choices here I am missing, and I honestly could care less. When I think of the guest star that made me laugh the most this season, it was easily James Earl Jones. Playing a wild version of himself, he was absolutely hilarious. Throw in the cameo from Carrie Fisher, and this episode, mostly because of the talents of the great James Earl Jones, had me rolling in the floor with laughter. 

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - (TIE) Romy Rosemont "Glee" and Sarah Baker "Louie"
Runners Up - June Squibb "Glee" and Uzo Aduba "Orange is the New Black"
Commentary - This has been a great year for this category, and so I couldn't just pick one. Sarah Baker is someone I immediately recognized when I saw her, but I didn't know her name. Now I do, because her monologue at the end of her episode of Louie was one of the most brilliant scenes on television this year. Sure Louis C.K. deserves a lot of credit for the writing, but Baker truly made it her own, and yes, the world finally knows her name. But I couldn't leave this category without honoring Romy Rosemont. Glee's The Quarterback episode was chocked full of great moments celebrating and mourning the loss of a talent that left us too soon, Cory Monteith. Jane Lynch's scene was powerful, and Mike O'Malley was excellent as always, but it was Rosemont, as the grieving mother, that truly touched me. I know this is a comedy category, and there was nothing funny about her work this season, but it certainly was worthy.

Best Animated Program
Winner - Bob's Burgers
Runners Up - Archer
Commentary - Archer had another great season, and was close to becoming the only series to win three years in a row. But I think that besides Archer, the best animated series on television right now is Bob's Burgers. It is wickedly funny, feels comfortable and original at the same time, and has a wacky cast of characters that are lovable and endearing. Bob's Burgers is a winner in my heart and I do hope that Emmy voters agree this year. 

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