With the real Emmys coming next week, we fill out our ballot with less-likely, but definitely worthy nominees.
Emmy nominations are announced next Thursday and the usual suspects are all expected to pop up. Do not be surprised when Mr. Robot, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, and Better Call Saul dominate all the categories, rightfully so. They all are coming off of incredible and explosive seasons. They deserve the praise. But, what about all the other amazing shows on television? They absolutely deserve some love too, but stand almost no chance at being nominated. Our response here at Film School Rejects? The Alternate Emmys. Readers, meet the other shows you should be watching.
Best Drama Series
Outlander, The Leftovers, Jessica Jones, The Americans, UnREAL, and Hannibal
What more can be said about any of these shows that has not been said. They each delivered absolutely incredible seasons more than worthy of every good thing in the world. Jessica Jones and UnREAL hit the ground running in their first seasons and proved that the golden age of television is still alive and kicking. These past seasons of Outlander, The Leftovers, Hannibal, and The Americans once again commented the fact that they are among the best shows happening on television. Also, people, watch The Leftovers. It is incredible.
Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Sam Hueghan (Outlander), Aaron Paul (The Path)
Each one of these men show viewers different sides and attributes of humanity. Freddie Highmore reminded us how terrifying humans, even the most seemingly innocent ones, can be. Justin Theroux is all of us feeling that impossible comfort in times of crazy confusion. Matthew Rhys is every father trying to do what is best for his family, his country, and his job. Aaron Paul perfectly exemplifies what it is like to start questioning your entire life. And Sam Hueghan is our commitment to our passions, however crazy or bold they may be.
Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Carrie Coon (The Leftovers), Keri Russell (The Americans), Caitriona Balfe (Outlander), Eva Green (Penny Dreadful)
There are so many other worthy women who could also be on this list, but these are the ones that stood out most to me. Each one of these women is giving fearless and gutsy performances unparalleled to anything else on television and totally knock it out of the park. Orphan Black has Tatiana Maslany playing no less than three separate characters each episode, Carrie Coon delivers an incredibly raw and human performance in every episode of The Leftovers, we continue to bow down to Keri Russell’s flawless and electric performance on The Americans, Caitriona Balfe goes from incredible highs to incredible lows week to week on Outlander, and Eva Green… well she is just utterly unbelievable on Penny Dreadful and enough cannot be said.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Frank Langella (The Americans), Hugh Dancy (The Path), Tobias Menzies (Outlander), Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers), David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Enough cannot be said about the depths these men reached in their performances. David Tennant’s villain on Jessica Jones, even in you take away his mind control powers, is still horrifying and nightmare inducing and the personification of the reason people are afraid of their abusers. Frank Langella was a comforting grandfather figure that we all wish we had… except he works for the KGB. I would probably join any cult, (sorry, “movement”) that Hugh Dancy was the leader of because he is so charismatic and so earnest that you just cannot help but follow him. There are some villains on television who become cartoonish, then there’s Tobias Menzies on Outlander who has zero redeemable qualities; his character is just evil. Finally, Christopher Eccleston’s performance in The Leftovers is just unparalleled (for reference, look to the season two episode “No Room at the Inn”). Plus, how fun would be to see two former Doctor Whos together again?
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Constance Zimmer (UnREAL), Allison Wright (The Americans), Holly Taylor (The Americans), Ann Dowd (The Leftovers), Liv Tyler (The Leftovers)
Okay, you caught me. In my opinion, The Leftovers and The Americans are the two best shows on television, but also the two most tragically underviewed. Allison Wright’s and Holly Taylor’s storylines on this season of The Americans were hearbreaking and urgent and these ladies killed it. I could have stacked this whole category with The Leftovers ladies, but I held myself back with just Liv Tyler and Ann Dowd. They were given great material to work with and delivered knockout performances. But also a major shoutout needs to be given to Constance Zimmer on UnREAL who is equal parts Disney villain and Olenna Tyrell; just as manipulative as she is deliciously snarky.
Best Comedy Series
You’re the Worst, Broad City, Archer, Silicon Valley, Catastrophe, and Mozart in the Jungle
Most of these shows tow the thin line between comedy and drama at one point or another. But, they are overall committed to making their viewers view their hardships through a comedic lens. It should also be pointed out that these shows are much more progressive in their gender equality and representation of people of color than the drama categories. And, yes, Archer is animated, but it is also one of the most consistently funny shows on television. These six shows are refreshingly hilarious and completely relatable alternatives to the heaviness of the manipulation and politics in the drama categories.
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Chris Geere (You’re the Worst), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), Rob Delaney (Catastrophe), Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle)
Emmy voters need to remember that Silicon Valley has people in it and that Modern Family is not nearly as funny as they think it is. Instead, they should look to Fred Armisen, Rob Delaney, Chris Geere, and Gael Garcia Bernal for actual tear-inducing laugh out loud moments. These men share a cynical and hilarious outlook on humanity and will openly acknowledge their faults, as well as the faults in others. It is wonderful.
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Aya Cash (You’re the Worst), Rashida Jones (Angie Tribeca), Iliana Glazer (Broad City), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
These ladies are hysterical and honest and real in every second of their screentimes. Aya Cash gave clinical depression a funny and nuanced face. Sharon Horgan cracks me up with her take on parenthood. Rashida Jones and Iliana Glazer are as fearless as the aforementioned Eva Green, but in a totally different way; they are entirely committed to making their audience laugh, at whatever cost. And, Rachel Bloom is a self-aware singing Disney princess and I love it.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Josh Peck (Grandfathered), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Jay Duplass (Transparent), Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Personally, I think these men have created the more iconic characters than the leading men. Max Greenfield in New Girl is one of my all-time favorite comedy characters (even though I am not a huge fan of the show). Jeffrey Tambor gets a lot of the spotlight for his great work on Transparent, but it is high time for Jay Duplass to be in the limelight. Josh Peck reminded us all of his comedic greatness from the Drake and Josh days in the gone, but not forgotten Grandfathered. And Tituss Burgess gave us the gift of “Peeno Noir.”
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Kether Donohue (You’re the Worst), Michaela Watkins (Casual), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Kathryn Hahn (Transparent), Judith Light (Transparent)
Big shocker: another actor from You’re the Worst is showing up. Guys, You’re the Worst is awesome. Watch it. There is no denying that Kate McKinnon is coming off her best season yet of SNL and deserves to be recognized for it. Judith Light and Kathryn Hahn should also be recognized for their humbling and hilarious characters. And, finally, Michaela Watkins is great as a therapist in desperate need of some therapy for herself.
There you have it, folks. The Alternate Emmys. I would be ecstatic if any of these performers were rewarded with a much deserved Emmy nomination.