Unpopcult Awards 2018: The Results

poll picHappy new year, everybody! 2018’s done and so’s our poll – thanks again for all your votes, it’s time to announce the results of the Unpopcult Awards 2018. Here are your winners:

Best Show: The Good Fight

The Good Wife was a remarkable achievement, but somehow show supremos the Kings have managed to catch lightning in a bottle twice. The second season of its astonishing spin—off consistently covered politics, technology, race, gender in the smartest, fastest, sharpest way and was damn funny too. Beating hot newcomer Bodyguard into second place, Diane and co won 2018 and should be back with a third season soon.

(Previous winners for US Show: 2008 – Lost; 2009 – Mad Men; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – The Good Wife; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Scandal; 2014 – The Good Wife; 2015 – Game of Thrones; 2016 – Stranger Things; 2017 – The Handmaid’s Tale) 
(Previous winners for UK/International Show: 2010 – Spooks; 2011 – Being Human; 2012 – Sherlock; 2013 – The Almighty Johnsons; 2014 – Sherlock; 2015 – The Bridge (Bron/Broen); 2016 – Deutschland 83), 2017 – Private Eyes

Best New Show: Killing Eve

I’m probably not the best person to write about Killing Eve, since I pretty much hated it, but as far as the Unpopcult massive (and the rest of the planet) are concerned, I’m something of an outlier. Just about everybody else seemed to love this tale of female spy vs female assassin, and fair enough. The girls beat the boy (Bodyguard) into second place by some distance, so well done ladies and all the best for season two.

(Previous winners: 2011 – Game of Thrones; 2013 – The Blacklist; 2014 – True Detective; 2015 – Jane the Virgin; 2016 – Stranger Things; 2017 – The Handmaid’s Tale)

Best Actor: Sterling K Brown, This Is Us

What is there left to say about SKB? Our Best Actor three years in a row, now, for a warm, beautifully-calibrated performance that stands out even in This Is Us’s superlative cast. The more he makes us cry, the more we love him. Sob.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Zeljko Ivanek; 2009 – Hugh Laurie; 2010 – Michael Emerson; 2011 – Timothy Olyphant; 2012 – Damian Lewis; 2013 – James Spader; 2014 – Josh Charles; 2015 – Jaime Camil; 2016 – Sterling K Brown; 2017 – Sterling K Brown)

Best Actress: Christine Baranksi

Last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss just missed out on the crown this time around, but Diane Lockhart is a legend, and Christine Baranski’s performance has been one for the ages since the first time she donned a patterned jacket and chunky necklace so many years ago on The Good Wife. She RULES.

(Previous winners: 2008 – January Jones, Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Close; 2009: Hermione Norris; 2010 – Jane Lynch; 2011 – Margo Martindale; 2012 – Julianna Margulies; 2013 – Julianna Margulies; 2014 – Julianna Margulies; 2015 – Taraji P Henson; 2016 – Sarah Paulson; 2017 – Elisabeth Moss)

Best Ensemble: The Good Fight

The main cast alone would have more than deserved this, but add in the wonderful recurring cast of judges, foes and family, as well as the consistently brilliant guest stars of the week, and you have the deepest bench on tv. The Good Fight stormed to victory in this category and deservedly so – I love a lot of the other nominees, but nobody came close to Diane and co. Fantastic.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Lost, Mad Men and Battlestar Galactica; 2009 – Mad Men; 2009 – Lost; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – Southland; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Game of Thrones; 2014 – Game of Thrones; 2015 – The Good Wife; 2016 – Game of Thrones; 2017 – Game of Thrones)

Ship of the Year: Shade and Angie, Private Eyes

The nicest show on tv gives us unpopcult’s shippiest ship on the year for the third time in a row. We ❤️ Shangie forever.

(Previous winners: 2011 – Lund and Hartman; 2012 – Will and Alicia; 2013 – Jane and Lisbon; 2014 In Memoriam Award – Will and Alicia; 2016 – Shade and Angie; 2017 – Shade and Angie

In Our Dreams (Male): Richard Madden, Bodyguard

Having come second in a bunch of other categories, Bodyguard’s honour is salvaged by a win for Richard Madden who broke hearts and delighted them in equal measure this year as the damaged, determined and super-attractive David Budd. Commiserations to the other nominees, you’re all lovely, but Robb Stark is the King in the North of Unpopcult’s hearts this time around.

(Previous winners: 2009 – Richard Armitage; 2010 – Richard Armitage; 2011 – Shane West; 2012 – Simon Baker; 2013 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2014 – Michiel Huisman; 2015 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2016 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2017 – Gregory Fitoussi)

Most Annoying Storyline: Juliette and the Cult, Nashville

A strong bunch of contenders this year, but this bafflingly irritating storyline not only came close to destroying one of Nashville’s best characters but separated its best actress from the entire rest of the cast for most of its final season, destroyed her relationship yet again and locked her up in a closet in Bolivia. Or something. Whatever, it was awful and it’s over. Thank goodness.

(Previous winners: 2012 – Dana’s Hit-and-Run, Homeland; 2013 – Kalinda’s Ex, The Good Wife; 2014 – Jack being a “Good” Stalker, Stalker; 2015 – B-613, Scandal; 2016 – Everyone’s inexplicable love for Beverly, Nashville; 2017 – FLOTUS, FMILOTUS and re-framing an entirely legitimate investigation as a “witch hunt”, Designated Survivor)

Most Annoying Character: Scarlett, Nashville

It’s been a long time coming, but Scarlett, after five years of doing everyone but Jed’s head in has finally made it! I don’t want to be mean, but annoying people more than Toby, Deacon’s Dad and the rest of the desperadoes in this category is quite the feat. You go, girl! Especially now that the show has finished and I never have to see/hear you again. Woo hoo!

(Previous winners: 2008 – Mohinder Suresh, Heroes; 2009 – President Allison Taylor, 24; 2010 – Susan Delfino, Desperate Housewives; 2011 – Will Schuester, Glee; 2012 – Ellis Boyd, Smash; 2013 – Van Pelt, The Mentalist; 2014 – Damian, The Good Wife; 2015 – Francis Poldark, Poldark; 2016 – Deacon, Nashville; 2017 – Toby, This Is Us)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that for unpopcult’s 2018. As ever, thank you all for your votes, and for watching, reading and commenting with us over the past year. May your 2019 be full of fun and good times, on tv and otherwise.

Unpopcult Awards 2018

Yes, you guys, it’s that time again. Behold the ELEVENTH annual unpopcult end of year poll! Jed and I are delighted to have made it another year, although the deluge of television shows and possible ways to watch them means everyone everywhere is watching different things at different times and our viewing is getting more fragmented by the minute. We’ve amalgamated our US/UK and International categories this year but we can’t pretend to have kept up with everything that’s on, so if we’re missing out on something, let us know! As far as those which didn’t make the shortlist are concerned, honourable mentions go to the brilliant Informer (currently available on iPlayer) and Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act (Netflix) both of which I’m halfway through at the moment and are terrific, and to Private Eyes (Universal) because we adore it. Shows people kept recommending to me that I never quite got round to include the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) and The Sinner (Netflix, BBC4). And shows I thought I might review but only managed one episode (or one #stupiddoublebill) of because they just weren’t that interesting …. well, here’s looking at you, The Innocents (Netflix), Press (iPlayer) and Condor (Universal). Better luck next time.

Those are just my opinions, though, so let’s hear yours. Vote, commment and be merry! As ever, we’ll announce the results on New Year’s Day.









Unpopcult Awards 2017: The Results

poll picHappy new year, everybody!

Now the fireworks are done, and so is 2017, it’s time to announce the results of the Unpopcult Awards 2016!

Thanks, as ever, for all your votes; here are your winners:

Best US Show: The Handmaid’s Tale

The book was originally published in 1985 but the story could not have been more timely: Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian nightmare was tv at its most powerful and most plausible. Commiserations to runners-up The Good Fight and Game of Thrones, both utterly brilliant in their own right, but your winner this year is The Handmaid’s Tale – a terrifying tale of where we’ve been, where we’re at and, I don’t want to worry you but, very possibly, where we’re headed.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Lost; 2009 – Mad Men; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – The Good Wife; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Scandal; 2014 – The Good Wife; 2015 – Game of Thrones; 2016 – Stranger Things) 

Best UK/International Show: Private Eyes

We all need a break from worrying about the world now and again though, so this winner is just as timely: yes, the televisual equivalent of a cup of tea and a really lovely biscuit, Private Eyes, the nicest show on tv, returned for its sophomore season and walked off with the UK/International Show award, beating all the other nominees by some distance. Well done to Shade, Angie, Maz and co, and please come back soon. We need you.

(Previous winners: 2010 – Spooks; 2011 – Being Human; 2012 – Sherlock; 2013 – The Almighty Johnsons; 2014 – Sherlock; 2015 – The Bridge (Bron/Broen); 2016 – Deutschland 83)

Best New Show: The Handmaid’s Tale

Congratulations to double winner The Handmaid’s Tale, which managed to both fight the patriarchy and beat off its nearest challengers in the form of the equally feminist and fantastic Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight, and the surprisingly entertaining action movie spin-off about boys smashing stuff up, Lethal Weapon.

(Previous winners: 2011 – Game of Thrones; 2013 – The Blacklist; 2014 – True Detective; 2015 – Jane the Virgin; 2016 – Stranger Things)

Best Actor: Sterling K Brown, This Is Us

Last year’s winner holds onto his crown, and deservedly so. Another year, another consistently magnificent performance from unpopcult’s beloved Sterling K Brown who, in a cast and category both full of excellent performances, shone once again. His work as Randall was wonderful, and it broke our hearts too many times to count. Sniffle.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Zeljko Ivanek; 2009 – Hugh Laurie; 2010 – Michael Emerson; 2011 – Timothy Olyphant; 2012 – Damian Lewis; 2013 – James Spader; 2014 – Josh Charles; 2015 – Jaime Camil; 2016 – Sterling K Brown)

Best Actress: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

A brilliant year for female performances on tv, any one of the nominees – not to mention any one of a number of other potential nominees Jed and I had to cut from the final reckoning – would have been a worthy winner, but Elisabeth Moss’s quietly, fiercely devastating portrayal of June/Offred dominated the voting in this category, so 2017’s Unpopcult Awards deservedly belong to The Handmaid’s Tale and the woman at the centre of it.

(Previous winners: 2008 – January Jones, Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Close; 2009: Hermione Norris; 2010 – Jane Lynch; 2011 – Margo Martindale; 2012 – Julianna Margulies; 2013 – Julianna Margulies; 2014 – Julianna Margulies; 2015 – Taraji P Henson; 2016 – Sarah Paulson)

Best Ensemble: Game of Thrones

Four-time winner Game of Thrones holds onto the Unpopcult Ensemble crown yet again, after a short but monumental seventh season, bringing together an immense, astonishing cast and so many threads you need an encyclopaedia to keep up, in typically tremendous fashion, beating fellow Unpopcult favourite and an entirely different type of family drama, This Is Us, into second place by some distance. Well done to GOT, better luck next time to everyone else – especially this year, since GOT won’t be back till 2019, and you might get more of a look-in.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Lost, Mad Men and Battlestar Galactica; 2009 – Mad Men; 2009 – Lost; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – Southland; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Game of Thrones; 2014 – Game of Thrones; 2015 – The Good Wife; 2016 – Game of Thrones)

Ship of the Year: Shade and Angie, Private Eyes

Aw. Season two so far may have done everything to keep them apart, but shipping is in unpopcult’s very DNA and shipping Shade and Angie? We couldn’t stop if we tried. Lethal Weapon’s Riggs and Palmer surprised me (mainly because I don’t watch it) by coming in second, but your Ship of the Year is Shangie, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer non-couple.

(Previous winners: 2011 – Lund and Hartman; 2012 – Will and Alicia; 2013 – Jane and Lisbon; 2014 In Memoriam Award – Will and Alicia; 2016 – Shade and Angie)

In Our Dreams (Male): Gregory Fitoussi, Spin (Les Hommes de l’Ombre)

Bouquets and bisous to unpopcult’s biggest crush, Monsieur Gregory Fitoussi, who wins for the third time in a row and fourth time overall (so far). Ludo’s screentime in saison trois of Spin may have been reduced, but his hold on unpopculter’s hearts was as strong as ever, so consolatory kisses to all the other gorgeous nominees once again.

(Previous winners: 2009 – Richard Armitage; 2010 – Richard Armitage; 2011 – Shane West; 2012 – Simon Baker; 2013 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2014 – Michiel Huisman; 2015 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2016 – Gregory Fitoussi)

In Our Dreams (Female): Kerry Washington, Scandal

A very close-run category, this one, and toppling Tami Taylor takes some doing, but Olivia Pope has managed it, so congratulations to the fierce and fearless Kerry Washington for taking back this year’s ‘Dreams trophy, and commiserations to all the other amazing nominees. Every one of you is ace.

(Previous winners: 2009 – Tina Fey; 2010 – Christina Hendricks; 2011 – Audrey Fleurot; 2012 – Christina Hendricks; 2013 – Connie Britton; 2014 – Connie Britton; 2015 – Kerry Washington; 2016 – Connie Britton)

Most Annoying Storyline: FLOTUS, FMILOTUS and re-framing an entirely legitimate investigation as a “witch hunt”, Designated Survivor

Kate and the Weight, and the Gaslighting of Gunnar were the closest challengers, but for stupidity, hypocrisy and a completely tone-deaf failure to read both the room and real-life, FLOTUS and FMILOTUS stormed off with the majority of your votes. Maybe the REDACTED of REDACTED in the winter finale will help salvage the rest of season two, maybe not, but either way, this storyline, which could have been fun, instead turned out to be appallingly handled and utterly infuriating. Well done, everybody,

(Previous winners: 2012 – Dana’s Hit-and-Run, Homeland; 2013 – Kalinda’s Ex, The Good Wife; 2014 – Jack being a “Good” Stalker, Stalker; 2015 – B-613, Scandal; 2016 – Everyone’s inexplicable love for Beverly, Nashville)

Most Annoying Character: Toby, This Is Us

Saving the “best” for last, this year’s Most Annoying Character turned out to be a nail-bitingly tight race with the wretched Scarlett from Nashville and the absolutely unspeakable Elisabeth Marjorie from Spin both putting up a sterling fight. But there can only be one winner: step forward Toby, from This Is Us, you were the Worst.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Mohinder Suresh, Heroes; 2009 – President Allison Taylor, 24; 2010 – Susan Delfino, Desperate Housewives; 2011 – Will Schuester, Glee; 2012 – Ellis Boyd, Smash; 2013 – Van Pelt, The Mentalist; 2014 – Damian, The Good Wife; 2015 – Francis Poldark, Poldark; 2016 – Deacon, Nashville)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap on 2017 and unpopcult’s TENTH annual awards. Thank you all for voting, reading, commenting, and watching with us, and here’s hoping that 2018 is full of light, laughter and lots of loveliness for everyone. And plenty of tv besides.

Unpopcult Awards 2017

You GUYS. After months, nay years, of anticipation, the big day has finally arrived. The TENTH annual Unpopcult end-of-year Poll is upon us. WOO HOO!

Jed and I can’t quite believe we’re still here ten years later, but here we are, and TV viewing has changed immeasurably since we started. As usual, all first-run stuff that’s been on our TVs this year is eligible (hark at me, making this sound “official), but there’s so much out there and so many different ways to access it that we can’t pretend to have watched even half the things we wanted to or maybe should have this year. This is just a snapshot of what we have watched and what got us the most excited or annoyed. If your favourite’s not in there, let us know in the comments and maybe we’ll get to check it out in 2018. As far as this year’s nominees go, though, the Poll will be open till the turn of the year, and we’ll announce the results on 1st January as usual. So, Happy Christmas if you’re celebrating it, happy day off work if you’re not, and let the voting commence!











Unpopcult Awards 2016: The Results

poll picHappy new year, everybody!

And put your keyboards/ tablets / electronic devices of whatever configuration DOWN. The polls are closed, and it’s time to announce the results of the Unpopcult Awards 2016!

Thanks, as ever, for all your votes; here are your winners:

Best US Show: Stranger Things

Well done to new kid on the block Stranger Things for beating off stiff competition from nearest challengers Person of Interest and American Crime Story and walking off with the top prize in a year full of astounding tv. A simultaneously charming and terrifying homage to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and everything 80s you can think of, if you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t mind checking for monsters under the bed every now and again, give it a go!

(Previous winners: 2008 – Lost; 2009 – Mad Men; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – The Good Wife; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Scandal; 2014 – The Good Wife; 2015 – Game of Thrones) 

Best UK/International Show: Deutschland 83

Another winning combination of 80s themes and terrific drama, the wonderful Deutschland 83 proved unexpectedly timely in 2016 when another Cold War and a resurgence in the nuclear arms race suddenly seemed frighteningly possible once again. Unpopcult is delighted that a new series has been commissioned, and fervently hopes we’ll all be around to see it…

(Previous winners: 2010 – Spooks; 2011 – Being Human; 2012 – Sherlock; 2013 – The Almighty Johnsons; 2014 – Sherlock; 2015 – The Bridge (Bron/Broen)

Best New Show: Stranger Things

It’s a clean sweep for 80s nostalgia as Stranger Things takes the new show trophy in a field bursting with shows that seem to have been written expressly for Unpopcult (Private Eyes, you guys! Designated Survivor! And the rest!). Season 2 is already in the works, and as long as the absolutely tremendous Dustin and his buddies are there, so am I. I ain’t afraid of no Gormogon! (Disclaimer: I’m actually terrified.)

(Previous winners: 2011 – Game of Thrones; 2013 – The Blacklist; 2014 – True Detective; 2015 – Jane the Virgin)

Best Actor: Sterling K Brown, American Crime Story: The People v OJ Simpson;

What a show. What a cast. And what a performance, as the incredible Sterling K Brown brought Christopher Darden, a man doing his best in an impossible situation and unfairly mocked and maligned for it for years, to living, breathing life. The rest of the nominees did amazing work too, but in the end, when the votes were counted, Sterling stormed it, and deservedly so.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Zeljko Ivanek; 2009 – Hugh Laurie; 2010 – Michael Emerson; 2011 – Timothy Olyphant; 2012 – Damian Lewis; 2013 – James Spader; 2014 – Josh Charles; 2015 – Jaime Camil)

Best Actress: Sarah Paulson, American Crime Story: People v OJ Simpson

What more can I say? I wasn’t overly impressed with how ACS started, but Sarah Paulson was majestic from the start and, somewhere around episode 4, the show itself caught up, gradually turning into a ferociously powerful examination of the misogyny, racial tensions and celebrity culture that all came to a head in the OJ Simpson trial and continue to permeate every aspect of modern life today. In any other year, nearest challengers Lena Headey and Hayden Panettiere might have won for their brave, brilliant performances, but in this year, Sarah Paulson had to have it. Her utterly magnificent performance as Marcia Clark – a woman almost destroyed by the media, by the public, by us, for the crime of being a WOMAN doing her job – was both a revelation and a wrecking ball: just watch her crying at the courtroom table in Marcia Marcia Marcia again, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

(Previous winners: 2008 – January Jones, Kristin Chenoweth, Glenn Close; 2009: Hermione Norris; 2010 – Jane Lynch; 2011 – Margo Martindale; 2012 – Julianna Margulies; 2013 – Julianna Margulies; 2014 – Julianna Margulies; 2015 – Taraji P Henson)

Best Ensemble: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones returns to reclaim the Unpopcult Ensemble crown for the third time, wrestling it out of the hands of last year’s winner The Good Wife, for a season which saw the return of REDACTED, the reveal of REDACTED’S REDACTED and a whole lot of REDACTED and REDACTED besides. How the showrunners manage such a sprawling mass of characters across such a huge tapestry of storylines has been a mystery to me from the start, but somehow it all works – well done to them, and well done to the amazing cast for bringing the Seven Kingdoms to life, and beating ACS into second place.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Lost, Mad Men and Battlestar Galactica; 2009 – Mad Men; 2009 – Lost; 2010 – Lost; 2011 – Southland; 2012 – The Good Wife; 2013 – Game of Thrones; 2014 – Game of Thrones; 2015 – The Good Wife)

Ship of the Year: Shade and Angie, Private Eyes

Beating star-crossed musos Juliett and Avery into second place, Unpopcult fell head over heels for Shade and Angie and Private Eyes as soon as they hit our screens. Here’s to the nicest show on TV, and the most uncomplicated, relaxed ship I think we’ve ever had. Which I mean as a compliment, by the way. We love you, Shangie! Hurry up with season 2!

(Previous winners: 2011 – Lund and Hartman; 2012 – Will and Alicia; 2013 – Jane and Lisbon; 2014 In Memoriam Award – Will and Alicia)

In Our Dreams (Male): Gregory Fitoussi, Spin (Les Hommes de l’Ombre)

J’adore all the nominees, but there can be only one champion; last year’s victor and now threepeat winner, the gorgeous Gregory Fitoussi retains his hold on Unpopcult hearts thanks to his turn as the devious, duplicitous, delicious Ludo in More 4’s French political concoction Spin. I think we were supposed to hate him, but in those suits? No chance.

(Previous winners: 2009 – Richard Armitage; 2010 – Richard Armitage; 2011 – Shane West; 2012 – Simon Baker; 2013 – Gregory Fitoussi; 2014 – Michiel Huisman; 2015 – Gregory Fitoussi

In Our Dreams (Female): Connie Britton, Nashville

Another Unpopcult favourite returning to reclaim her prize, Rayna and Nashville both had their problems, but the glorious Connie Britton has never been less than fabulous, and now she has her third win to prove it. Love to all the wonderful women in this category, but Tami Taylor forever.

(Previous winners: 2009 – Tina Fey; 2010 – Christina Hendricks; 2011 – Audrey Fleurot; 2012 – Christina Hendricks; 2013 – Connie Britton; 2014 – Connie Britton; 2015 – Kerry Washington)

Most Annoying Storyline: Everyone’s inexplicable love for Beverly, Nashville

A very close race this one, with particularly tough competition from Beverly’s own niece Older Girl and no connection whatsoever Poldark. But for sheer bloody-minded “why don’t we just ignore everything we ever wrote about this character before and hope nobody notices?” audaciousness, the baffling, infuriating sanctification of Beverly Claybourne is your winner. Um…Yay?

(Previous winners: 2012 – Dana’s Hit-and-Run, Homeland; 2013 – Kalinda’s Ex, The Good Wife; 2014 – Jack being a “Good” Stalker, Stalker; 2015 – B-613, Scandal)

Most Annoying Character: Deacon, Nashville

This category is always an embarrassment of riches, and Spin’s Valentine and GOT’s Daenerys both came very close to victory. But the astonishingly annoying Deacon and his reliably, insanely stupid behaviour have triumphed, making it a double win for the insufferable Claybourne clan and giving OG something to aspire to next year. Great.

(Previous winners: 2008 – Mohinder Suresh, Heroes; 2009 – President Allison Taylor, 24; 2010 – Susan Delfino, Desperate Housewives; 2011 – Will Schuester, Glee; 2012 – Ellis Boyd, Smash; 2013 – Van Pelt, The Mentalist; 2014 – Damian, The Good Wife; 2015 – Francis Poldark, Poldark)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is it for unpopcult’s NINTH annual awards. Once again, thank you so much for voting, reading, commenting, and keeping us going – here’s to a happy 2017 with peace, prosperity and plenty of tv for all.