TV Squad Awards
Gallery: Hugh Laurie
Product placement is everywhere, inescapable. According to Dr. Jean Kilbourne, author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, Americans are exposed to approximately 3000 advertisements every single day. Kilbourne has a compelling video called Killing Us Softly that reveals how insidious advertisements are. Ads tell us that women should be thinner, quieter, nicer, want to have cleaner houses. They tell us that men are boarish, lust after women while drinking cheap beers, and order endless rounds of pizza without ever developing a gut. Advertisements not only tell us what we should buy: They tell us how we should think and feel about things and who we should be.
Unfortunately, the price of our entertainment is advertisements. Even when you go to the movies these days, before you have seen any previews, you have seen six commercials for new phones from Verizon and Sprint; and you have paid handsomely for the privilege. This TV Squad Award is amusing, but it is also a testament to how ubiquitous ads are: They have now found their way into the very scripts of some of our very best shows. The only advantage shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica have is that they mostly take place anachronistically, so advertising would stand out too ridiculously. However, sadly, other outstanding shows have succumbed. And one of the finest is TV Squad's choice to win this award.
And the Good Riddance Award goes to... Cavemen! Here to accept the award for Cavemen is... well... nobody. How awkward would that be? The Cavemen looking at me with their big crazy eyebrows. Me looking back with my big crazy beard. "Uh... here ya go... Try the shrimp." In the end, it was a close race back at TV Squad HQ. The boys from ABC just edged out the runner-up, Bionic Woman.
Out of the five nominees, AG not only got the most votes from the TV Squad staff but also our readers (getting about 50 votes more than Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?).
The show may not require a lot of brain power, but it is so physically demanding that some competitors leave the arena seriously injured.
Each week, four competitors (two women and two men) test their physical and mental strength, endurance and confidence in a series of wacky and challenging events such as the Joust, the Wall, Hang Tough and The Eliminator.
The Readers Choice Award goes to Moonlight, the vampire-themed crime-drama-romance that amassed an insane amount of fans during its short run. And it still might come back on another network, so we'll keep our collective fingers crossed on that.
The TV Squadders' pick is Journeyman. Here's why:
1. Time-traveling is cool. The idea of time-travel is always intriguing, as evidenced by other shows like Quantum Leap and Sliders. What's cool about Journeyman is that Dan Vasser, played by Kevin McKidd, is just a normal guy who could be any one of us. At first, he hates the time-traveling. It interrupts his life and causes undue stress, both at home and work. But later, when given the opportunity to make it stop, he chooses to keep time-traveling. He knows he's been chosen for a reason, and feels it's his calling to help people right the wrongs of history. Never mind that every episode made me wonder how much of history he changed by leaping into the past. I can only imagine that even the smallest of events might drastically alter the space-time continuum.
It was inevitable, really. It was the heavy favorite in the TV Squad offices, and the show has really been baffling TV fans with its uncanny ability to survive. A show hasn't survived like this since CBS' Yes, Dear, which lasted for many seasons, then was seemingly canceled, only to come back out of the ashes later with new episodes that hadn't aired yet (hell, it could still come back: the web site is still live).
While it was the clear winner in the category, that doesn't mean there wasn't any discussion. My personal choice for the award was Last Call with Carson Daly, which just seems to be a nothing show, with a lackluster host and bad guests, in a time slot that no one cares about. And his coming back early from the WGA strike didn't endear Daly to many either. But in the end we realized that even though his show is deadly, it's on at 1:35 in the morning and doesn't have the head-slapping "WTF" factor that According To Jim seems to get every season that it's renewed (full disclosure: while I think its time has passed, I find According To Jim rather harmless and better than has been advertised).
Here's what I learned: Gene Simmons... Bruce Leroy you are not. The next time I refer to something as a potential "hoot", I've given my wife permission to beat me unconscious with a shovel. A severe beating would be less painful than watching another minute of our nominee shows.
That said, I did enjoy the process of figuring out which show would "win" this award. After careful consideration of the words of my wizened TV Squad colleagues and the input of our enlightened readership, we have finally found our winner.
In the end, this turned out to be one of the closest races of all the TV Squad Awards, both utilizing our internal selection system of manatees in tanks with nominee balls and you all using your clicky devices on your computers to vote via that fancy poll at the end of my post regarding the nominees for the Adam Finley Award for excellence in animation. I'd also like to nominate the previous sentence for The Pointlessly Longest Sentence in TVS History Award. And if that seemed completely random, than it's a perfect way to introduce the most randomly hilarious show on television, and our winner, Robot Chicken. They won specifically for their half hour long Star Wars special, wherein they skewered all five of Lucas' good Star Wars movies and Episode I.
This was a very close race, both in the Readers' Choice poll and among the TV Squad team. In fact, the RC poll has been ping-ponging back and forth for the past few days, and I had to wait until the last moment to declare that winner by a slim margin of only two points! But before we get to who you, the readers chose, let's get on with the TV Squad choice: Heroes.
Heroes is one of those shows that evolved over time with respect to the special effects presented to us. The pilot episode, for example, had much to be desired. When I first commented about the pilot back two years ago, I wasn't at all impressed with what we saw. I thought the effects of showing Nathan fly looked amateurish and with crappily edited wire tricks.
Move ahead through last season of Heroes, and it's been a whole different story. We've got the impressive effects of Hiro's time time-stopping ability, Claire's regenerating wounds, the numerous powers of Peter and even the other times we've seen Nathan fly.
Among the TV Squad team, it was a race between Heroes and Battlestar Galactica. When it came down to voting, these were the only two in contention to win. The readers has roughly the same idea, putting Heroes and BSG neck-in-neck throughout the voting process. By only two points, Battlestar Galactica takes the Readers' Choice award this year. Supernatural had a very tough showing, coming in a rather close third.
This award isn't just about great special effects. There are lots of different ways a show or movie can display effects that dazzle and wow us. This is about a show that uses special effects in ways that, as closely as possible, make us believe what we're seeing could be "real" -- if what we're watching on TV were ever a reality, this is what it would look and sound like, what it would be like. For example, this is what it would look like if someone were to stop time. To pass through walls. To fly.
Congratulations to you, Heroes, for taking the first annual Most Real Unreal award. And a congrats to Battlestar Galactica for taking the Readers' Choice award this time around. As for the other shows that didn't win this time around: make us believe in your reality next year.
Punches were thrown, names were called, hearts were broken, but the TV Squad team has made its decision. Not only did Moonlight win the Readers Choice, but we decided that the fans of the show are the most scarily hardcore out of the five nominees.
This was a tough decision, with both the fans of Jericho and members of the Colbert Nation putting up a fair fight. All three groups have done considerable work for charity and have made their dedication well-known through various bizarre acts of fan-love. However, the overwhelming excitement for Moonlight has been compared to the likes of the the Beatlemania era. For a show that has lasted only one season, that's pretty darn impressive.
I experienced some of this manic fanaticism first-hand. As I have mentioned before, I attended the Moonlight panel at this year's New York Comic-Con. I spent the majority of the session in the secluded balcony seating, as I was genuinely a little freaked out by the shrieking horde below. Luckily, I had made it up there before the stars of the show, Alex O'Loughlin and Jason Dohring, appeared onstage. My eardrums would have burst otherwise, I swear. However, even that couldn't compare to the intensity of the crowd's reactions during the clips from the show itself. Words cannot describe the shrill, absolute glee that filled the room, especially when Shannyn Sossamon got a chair leg through the chest. It's stuff like this that drives the Moonlight fans crazy:
Fans have also teamed up with Red Cross in organizing dozens of blood drives across the country. Over 3,000 fans promised to donate a pint each in an effort to show their support for a possible Season Two. Even show star O'Loughlin joined in, serving as the official spokesman for the effort, as the drive followed him through various promotional appearances.
What is it about vampire-themed things that make fans extra nutty? Anne Rice's work has had incredible followings, the mediocre Twilight series has an unusually large fanbase and Sesame Street's Count has groupies lined up 'round the block. I guess ladies can't resist broody, pale men and their sharpened canines. If you need some convincing, check out some full episodes at CBS.com and reviews right here on TV Squad.
Competition for this one was pretty fierce. Michelle Ryan of Bionic Woman barely edged Spears out on the readers' choice poll, and to me she seemed like the obvious choice; there were a lot of things wrong with BW, but Ryan's stiff performance was probably the worst of what was wrong. But by an overwhelming margin, the Squadders thought Britney's casting was the worse offense.
Looking back on her appearances, I can understand the vitrol. It's not that she was awful on the show -- opinions about that are mixed. It's the whole idea and motivation behind her guest stint that most people seem to find so patently offensive.
Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for is here -- we're now ready to announce the winners of the first annual TV Squad Awards!
During our call for nominations we received hundreds of comments for potential nominees, all of which were discussed among the TV Squad team before reaching our final list for each award. Once the nominees were announced, the votes poured in for the Readers' Choice award in each category -- thousands of votes when all totaled.
We hope you enjoyed these awards as much as we have. Being as this is only the first year for these awards, there may be tweaks to be made with the categories, so don't be surprised to see some additions or subtractions next year. Let us know what you liked or didn't like. And now, without further ado, follow below for each award's winner announcement page.
As it turns out, there were four stand-out nominees; I will tell you who they are after the jump, and then you will have a chance to vote for the Reader's Choice winner (which, in this case, is actually an obnoxious loser). But I did want to mention two runners up: 30 Rock gets an honorable mention for its mention of Verizon, but it doesn't quite make the cut because of the humorous way it handles the mention, and the show's ability to poke fun at itself. The other honorable mention goes to Ugly Betty for its hour-long ad for Wicked, but it still didn't quite make the cut.
So, the nominees for the most obnoxious abuse of product placement within their episodes are ...
The list of nominees follows, along with your chance again to vote for the Reader's Choice award amongst them.
But some names did emerge, which I'll list after the jump. The Squadders will choose the winner, and you'll get a chance to select the Readers' Choice for this award in the poll at the end of the list. So, here are the four people whose casting made us wonder just what the heck people in Hollywood are thinking:
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