Sunday, September 20, 2015

THE TV TALK BEST OF 2014-15 – RESULTS

Series – Drama
BETTER CALL SAUL
DOWNTON ABBEY
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN
MASTERS OF SEX
THE NEWSROOM

Arguably the best season since HOMELAND’s first, season four put everyone on edge, with its gripping suspense, engaging and terrifying action sequences and very powerful character stories being told alongside. It was a phenomenal season that brought back the brilliance that made it such an extraordinary series when it began.


Series – Comedy/Musical
THE BIG BANG THEORY
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
EPISODES
GRACE AND FRANKIE
MODERN FAMILY
TRANSPARENT
VEEP

Brilliant writing, excellent character development and a very fresh premise came together to form GRACE AND FRANKI—a highly underrated show. With witty dialogue and rich characters and a very comfortable and effective narrative, there is probably nothing in the show that I could find faulty.


Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role – Drama
Ruth Wilson as Alison Bailey, THE AFFAIR
Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller, BROADCHURCH
Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyons, EMPIRE
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, THE GOOD WIFE
Claire Danes as Carrie Matthison, HOMELAND
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, HOUSE OF CARDS
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, MAD MEN

As the drone queen and the seductress, who will go to any lengths to complete a mission, Claire Danes brought out the very best of her performing abilities through a fantastic fourth season of HOMELAND.


Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role – Drama
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman, BETTER CALL SAUL
David Tennant as Alec Hardy, BROADCHURCH
Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, DOWNTON ABBEY
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, HOUSE OF CARDS
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, MAD MEN
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, THE NEWSROOM
Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, TRUE DETECTIVE

Jon Hamm was consistently good on MAD MEN. But especially during the last few episodes, as Don Draper searches for himself, and looks beyond what his profession or his agency’s takeover, Hamm brings out a certain vulnerability in Don like we haven’t seen before.


Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role – Comedy/Musical
Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, THE COMEBACK
Wendy McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg, THE GOLDBERGS
Jane Fonda as Grace Hanson, GRACE AND FRANKIE
Lily Tomlin as Frankie Bergstein, GRACE AND FRANKIE
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, VEEP
Lisa Kudrow as Fiona Wallice, WEB THERAPY

Lisa Kudrow was perfect as the endearing, yet annoying Valerie Cherish. Her dealing with not being able to catch a break, and then making things work with her old showrunner, and finally getting the recognition she craved was all brought to life really well, and she stayed true to the character’s growth over time between the two seasons.


Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role – Comedy/Musical
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Andy Samberg as Jake Peralta, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc, EPISODES
Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman,TRANSPARENT
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper, TWO AND A HALF MEN

Bringing a very realistic level of comfort to his cross-dressing character was Jeffrey Tambor, who took on the transgender role and gave it just the right amount for perfect impact.


Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role – Drama
Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, DOWNTON ABBEY
Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, DOWNTON ABBEY
Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, THE GOOD WIFE
Archie Punjabi as Kalinda Sharma, THE GOOD WIFE
Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, GOTHAM
Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris, MAD MEN
January Jones as Betty Francis, MAD MEN

Hendricks was brilliant when her character is dealing with the sexism at McCann, after the takeover. The restraint in physical acting, coupled with her intense eyes conveyed volumes about her frustration. Taking that forward was her work through the collapse of Joan’s relationship, because of wanting to make a go of a solo career. Christina Hendricks was one of the best things about the last few episodes of MAD MEN.


Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role – Drama
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, BETTER CALL SAUL
Jim Carter as Charles Carson, DOWNTON ABBEY
Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, GOTHAM
Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn, HOMELAND
Michael Kelly as Douglas Stamper, HOUSE OF CARDS
John Slattery as Roger Sterling, MAD MEN
Taylor Kitsch as Paul Woodrugh, TRUE DETECTIVE

Nuance and intensity could not have been put together with more impact than Jonathan Banks did on BETTER CALL SAUL season one, especially when we learn about his past and discover his relationship with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter.


Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role – Comedy/Musical
Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Stephanie Beatriz as Rosa Diaz, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy, MODERN FAMILY
Sofia Vergara as Gloria Pritchett, MODERN FAMILY
Allison Janney as Bonnie, MOM
Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, VEEP

Allison Janney is the life of MOM. Her chemistry with all her costars is exceptional, and she does an extraordinary job of playing Bonnie. In season two especially, from being the building’s super to dealing with loss in weird ways, and stealing from a funeral, Janney did a marvelous job with her character.


Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role – Comedy/Musical
Andre Braugher as Ray Holt, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Robert Michael Morris as Mickey Deane, THE COMEBACK
Ty Burrell as Phil DunphyMODERN FAMILY
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker, MODERN FAMILY
Adam Driver as Adam Sackler, GIRLS
Sam Waterston as Sol Bergstein, GRACE AND FRANKIE

As Cameron coaches the football team, and dotes on his new husband, and tries to sing ‘Memories’ from Cats, Eric Stonestreet’s performance in the last season of MODERN FAMILY was especially good, even outdoing his work in previous seasons.


Performance By A Guest Actress – Drama
Margo Martindale as Claudia, THE AMERICANS
Nimrat Kaur as Tasneem Qureshi, HOMELAND
Marcia Gay Harden as Hannah Keating, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
Allison Janney as Margaret Scully, MASTERS OF SEX
Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing, THE NEWSROOM

Jane Fonda was excellent in the final season of THE NEWSROOM, as the woman in-charge, who was trying to save the network and be there for her people, especially in the series finale.


Performance By A Guest Actor – Drama
Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney, THE GOOD WIFE
Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning, THE GOOD WIFE
David Hyde Pierce as Frank Prady, THE GOOD WIFE
F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal, HOMELAND
Mark Moses as Dennis Boyd, HOMELAND
Beau Bridges as Barton Scully, MASTERS OF SEX

Dylan Baker was exceptional on THE GOOD WIFE season 6, especially because of how effectively he tackled the double role—of Colin Sweeny as well as the actor who is supposedly playing a character based on Sweney.


Performance By A Guest Actress – Comedy/Musical
Christine Baranski as Beverly Hofstadter, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Kyra Sedgwick as Madeline Wuntch, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Kristen Johnston as Brenda, MODERN FAMILY
Octavia Spencer as Regina, MOM
Calista Flockhart as April Keating, WEB THERAPY
Lily Tomlin as Putsy Hodge, WEB THERAPY

Christine Baranski was spectacular as Leonard’s mother in the last season of THE BIG BANG THEORY. Her emotionally stingy character’s indifference could not have been portrayed better.


Performance By A Guest Actor – Comedy/Musical
Billy Bob Thornton as Oliver Lorvis, THE BIG BANG THEORY
Seth Rogen as Seth Rogen, THE COMEBACK
Hugh Laurie as Tom James, VEEP
Jon Hamm as Jeb Masters, WEB THERAPY
Matthew Perry as Tyler Bishop, WEB THERAPY

Hugh Laurie is a good actor, whether he does drama or comedy, as he steps into characters well. On VEEP, his portrayal of Selina Meyer’s vice presidential candidate was smart, genuine and impactful. Yet, his delivery was well moderated.


Writing
THE AFFAIR
BETTER CALL SAUL
DOWNTON ABBEY
THE GOOD WIFE
GRACE AND FRANKIE
HOMELAND
MAD MEN

The narrative structure of BETTER CALL SAUL, with the storytelling taking into consideration various perspectives, and the effective portrayal of different times in the chronological timeline of the story was brilliant. The characters were developed as complete individuals, even for a viewer who may have not watched BREAKING BAD, making it quite commendable.


Cinematography
THE AFFAIR
BETTER CALL SAUL
BROADCHURCH
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
TRUE DETECTIVE

The camerawork and the usage of foreground and background, to effectively create a mood was exemplary in BETTER CALL SAUL. Visually rich from the very first scene onwards, the cinematography essentially was the voice of even the quiet moments of the show.


Production Design
THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
BETTER CALL SAUL
EMPIRE
GOTHAM
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN

The production design and art direction team of GOTHAM did a fantastic job of modifying New York City to look like the fictional Gotham City. From the post-production on the skylines and rooftops, to the creation of the GCPD precinct and Barbara’s gorgeous penthouse, to Fish Mooney’s bar and the dungeon she was kept in—everything perfectly created a world for the stories of GOTHAM to take place in.


Costume Design
THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
DOWNTON ABBEY
EMPIRE
GOTHAM
MAD MEN
MASTERS OF SEX

MAD MEN beautifully reflected the turn of the decade, as the ’60s were ending, through the costumes in the last few episodes of the series. From Peggy’s bolder colors and patterns to Joan’s more sophisticated look, and even the clothes worn by Sally, and the men, every outfit was thoughtfully put together and represented the characters well.


Make-Up And Hairstyling – Prosthetic/Non-Prosthetic
THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
DOWNTON ABBEY
GOTHAM
GREY’S ANATOMY
MAD MEN
TRANSPARENT

Spanning several years of the lives of the women in THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB, as their husbands explore outer space, the show reflected the passage of time rather well with changing hairstyles and make-up. The variation in the look of each character, while maintaining the essence of their style, was quite impressive.


Music – Score
THE GOOD WIFE
GOTHAM
HOMELAND
HOUSE OF CARDS
SCANDAL

HOMELAND’s score in the fourth season was extraordinary, perfectly complementing the rising dramatic tension in those nail-biting moments. Yet, music was used with economy. It was never over-used or over-the-top.




Music – Songs (Compilation/Original)
EMPIRE
GLEE
GREY’S ANATOMY
MAD MEN
NASHVILLE

EMPIRE had to win this one, because of the amazing music, and the choice of songs in every situation. From ‘You’re So Beautiful’ to ‘Drip Drop’, every song and performance essentially reflects the characters and forms a big part of representing the world of EMPIRE.


Titles – Opening And Closing Credits
BETTER CALL SAUL
GRACE AND FRANKIE
MASTERS OF SEX
TRANSPARENT
TRUE DETECTIVE

Just the concept of GRACE AND FRANKIE’s opening credits is incredibly effective. It’s simple, yet fresh, and very nicely executed with the animation, the editing and the music track. 

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