Vulture, AV Club, Time Magazine… all our main competitors are publishing these days lists and lists of the best shows this year on television and we are not going to be any less. Without any more delay we are honored to present to you, dear readers, the first edition of the Telethinking Awards!
It is our duty, as television gurus, to take a look back to what this year offered us and choose the best of the best, those fictions that will prevail and be cherished in the years to come. We have split up this groundbreaking award ceremony into three posts that will be periodically upload during the days left in December. The first two will be focused on the acting and technical awards while, on the last one, we will pick up the best shows of 2014. Let’s start!
Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Louis C.K. in Louie
Louie‘s fourth season will always be remembered for two things: the long shot contained in “So Did the Fat Lady”, an amazing statement on overweight and femininity and the storyline “Elevator” extended along 6 episodes and that encapsulated Louie’s love story with a Hungarian immigrant. Both of them proves the level of unpredictability this show is able to pull off week by week but also the adaptability of its leading man. A one-man-series directed, produced written and starred by Louie C.K., the everyday sad clown, the doomed common man, this year’s best performance in a comedy series.
Runners-up: Will Arnett’s voice work in Bojack Horseman and Chris Pratt/Nick Offerman/Adam Scott in this year’s amazing season of Parks and Recreation.
Best Actress in a Drama Series: Adelaide Clemens in Rectify
This was a tough one! But Clemens’ work in the second season of Sundance’s drama Rectify is simply outstanding, living proof of how sometimes less is more. Her frail yet strong Tawney is just poetry for our eyes. Her fight with Teddy and later meeting with Daniel in a hotel room in episode 9 are just two of the best pieces of acting of 2014.
Runners-up: Possessed Eva Green in Penny Dreadful, everything from Robin Wright in House of Cards, the underrated Annet Mahendru in The Americans and the usual suspects: Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife, Elizabeth Olsen in Mad Men and even Claire Danes in the resurrected Homeland.
Best Actor in a Miniseries: Martin Freeman in Fargo
Lester Nygaard, Freeman’s character, walked the same road as an all-time-favorite such as Walter White in one single episode: he started as a regular patsy and ended up murdering his wife and covering for a cop shooting in less than an hour of television. His evolution during the whole season was spectacular, even that future cocky Nygaard that we all loved to hate. Amazing work from Mr. Freeman!
Runners-up: Billy Bob Thorton’s evilness also in Fargo, Richard Jenkins’ humanism in Olive Kitteridge and a little over the top Matthew Mcconaughey in True Detective.
Best Original Soundtrack: Cliff Martinez in The Knick
Was there any doubt? The anachronistic work of Cliff Martinez in The Knick is a piece of art that echoes through time and space which we already praised a couple of weeks ago. Although the use of synthesizers may looked like a bold choice with a show set at the beginning of the XX century, these tunes, together with the use of color and light, quickly became the quality signature of The Knick. Strange and familiar, modern and, at the same, outdated.
Best Opening Sequence: True Detective
“From the dusty May sun…” It instantly became part of the imaginary of television fans. The montage of city landscapes, religious iconography and sinful scenes together with the song by The Handsome Family immediately plunged us in a morbid world of decay we did not want to leave. True Detective was perhaps the most important television achievement of the year, starting from its credit sequence, a work of art.
Runners-up: it was a good year for the underrated art of openings, Transparent made us think about those wonderful years, Halt and Catch Fire was equally geeky and energetic, Bojack Horseman made us feel we were tripping and even the newcomer Marco Polo had something to say in this contest.
Best TV Network: HBO
True Blood, Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Normal Heart, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley, Veep, Last Week with John Oliver, The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire, Olive Kitteridge, Sonic Highways, Getting On, The Comeback… many have said HBO’s golden days are over but not other network can overshadow this list of original programming, and its future looks brighter than ever with projects lead by David Fincher or Martin Scorsese.
Runners-up: Showtime had also a pretty good year with the premiere of two critically acclaimed shows, Penny Dreadful and The Affair, and with the announcement of the return one of the most important television shows of all time: Twin Peaks.
Outstanding Directing: Steven Soderbergh in The Knick
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the final shot of The Knick summarizes perfectly the great work behind the cameras by Steven Soderbergh: subtle, fun and beautiful. The first season’s high peak, “Get the Rope“, is most likely the best directed episode of the year, a tour de force that presented us with an actual riot caused by the murder of a police officer and that triggered a wave of violence against black people. The continuous shot featuring Nurse Elkins leaving the room to get medical material to attend to the injured policeman and re-entering only to meet his dead body is pure gold.
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Rick and Morty
Because one of its episodes recreated every Cronenberg nightmare, because one of its episodes was a parody of Nightmare in Elm Street and and at the same time dogs took over the Earth, because one of its episodes made fun of M. Night Shyamalan and transformed our most meaningful day into a simulation, because in one of its episodes Rick & Morty just sat on the couch to watch television from alternate realities… The animated series created by television’s enfant terrible Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland who voices both Rick and Morty is undoubtedly the most original and funny comedy of 2014.
Runners-up: Parks and Recreation sixth season and, of course, Unity Concert. Pawnee, a place you always want to come back. The always unpredictable Louie, our favorite reboot Archer Vice, the animal (and Beyoncé) puns of Bojack Horseman, the freshman You’re the Worst, and the insane Portlandia and Review.
To be continued!