With all of the great TV occupying our waking (and in some cases, dreaming) hours, it’ll be impossible for the Emmy Awards to hand out prizes to every deserving actor, actress, story, show, twist and turn. That’s where the Envy Awards come in: We’re here to give a big thumbs-up to the wondrous and misguided elements that would otherwise go unheralded. And now, the envelope please …
Most Misleading Series Title
“Lost in Space”
For the vast majority of Netflix’s reboot of the classic “Lost in Space” series we were not, in fact, lost in space. We were lost on a planet. Semantics matter, people.
The So Very Cold Award
OK, we get it that forcing actors to wear warm, fuzzy hats during scenes that take place in a frozen wasteland might make them harder to see or muss their perfect coifs. But at some point, verisimilitude counts: If you want us to believe your characters might die of exposure and hypothermia, we need to see folks on shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Lost in Space” with some kind of head covering. That’s one reason AMC’s “The Terror” works so well: Those Arctic-bound explorers looked truly frozen and were, for the most part, realistically clad.
Bad Day at the Beach Prize
In the show’s pilot, Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) is enjoying the day on the sand with her family — right up until the point she stabs a man with a paring knife — seemingly unprovoked. Someone needed a stronger sunscreen.
Best Use of a Stagehand
Alas, even in the below-the-line categories, someone like Weston “Wes” Bahr is likely to go overlooked for his wordless comedic moments on Netflix’s “Nailed It!” And that’s a shame: Whether he’s hiding under the judges’ table trying to sneak the trophy into the shot or rolling around cakes and mixers to the adoring catcalls of host Nicole Byer, stage manager Bahr — who has the build and hair of a metal band roadie — is one of the funniest, unsung elements of the show.
Greatest Dual Personality
This year, Ronin was a spy who really came in from the cold — twice — and delighted us both times. In “Homeland,” his Yevgeny Gromov surfaced as an agent provocateur and assassin who nonetheless had some valid political points; while on “The Americans” he continued his longtime role as Oleg Burov, this time leaving his wife and child at home in Russia for one last mission … and ended up in jail.
The When Furniture Attacks! Prize
Poor Leonard Bast (Joseph Quinn): Having taken the bad advice of the Schlegel sisters throughout the Starz miniseries and gone on a long road to ruin, he turns up at Howard’s End and is struck by Charles (Joe Bannister). He tries to right himself by grabbing a bookcase but it topples on him, and his weakened heart gives out. A truly bad end at Howard’s End.
The When Household Appliances Attack! Award
“This Is Us”
We all knew Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was going out on “This Is Us,” but we didn’t know how until a slow cooker set the whole house on fire. The makers of Crock-Pots bubbled over with irritation at being implicated (it was shown to be a 20-year-old machine that had a wonky switch, people!) and rushed to insist that their current slow cookers are very safe indeed.
Most Educational Episode Titles
There are many pleasures in “Billions,” small and large, but one of the most consistent is the moment when the obscure reference in the episode title is made both literally and metaphorically clear in the ensuing script: “Elmsley Count,” “The Third Ortolan,” “All the Wilburys” were just three of this season’s past standouts. Keep the Easter eggs coming, writers.
Outstanding Use of a Musical Instrument
We have to give credit to the object that was literally instrumental in kicking off one of the greatest bottle episodes ever: “Teddy Perkins” featured the convoluted, death-defying journey that Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) underwent to secure a free “rainbow” piano, whose keys were actually just colored over.