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.