We gave you your nominees, you cast your votes, and the totals have been tallied. Today, we’re very proud to present the winners of our sixth annual television poll!
I know I can speak for Kim when I say that watching these races happen is one of the great joys of our lives. You already know that we already think they’re all worthy, but we don’t know how you feel until you take action. And take action you did, entering thousands of votes in the last week.
Some races were neck-and-neck until the bitter end; some had some obvious frontrunners who ran the table the whole the time. All of them included incredible work that’s added to our lives in ways big and small. Keep on reading to see who came out on top. –Sage
Best Comedy: Fleabag
Only someone with deeply poor taste could watch the second (and ostensibly final) season of Fleabag and pronounce it anything short of rapturous. While the first season leaves you with a pit in your stomach and an inevitable realization that’s still shocking under the circumstances, Season 2 is a tender farewell — the last push our heroine needs to live her life without constantly performing it for us. But what a final act to get to witness. Fleabag’s achingly romantic (not just sexual, thank you!) chemistry with the Hot Priest is at the top of the bill, but there’s so much going on below it too: a reconciliation with a frustrating, ride-or-die sister; a gentle condemnation of repressed British masculinity; Creepy Jake and his bassoon; a sultry Kristin Scott Thomas cameo; Chatty Wednesdays; the worst way to eat a sandwich I have ever seen; a monologue about hair that hits more emotional beats than most TV eulogies; and Olivia Colman having the time of her life. This is television that demands to be watched again and again and again, and it’s your comedy of the year. –Sage
Best Actress in a Comedy: Phoebe Waller Bridge, Fleabag
In addition to being the mind from which this perfect show sprang, Phoebe Waller-Bridge also gives the incredibly complex performance at the center of it. The whole conceit of the character is that Fleabag knows that we’re there — a metaphor for the way all women feel that they’re being watched and evaluated at all times — so she has to be operating on at least three levels at any given moment. First, there’s what Fleabag feels in her soul. Second, there’s what she’s showing to the person or people that she’s with, in her immediate reality. And third there’s how she’s relaying it all to us — how she’s sharing and repackaging and opening up her life to her constant companions. Phoebe manages it all without showing an ounce of effort, swinging from grief-heavy flashbacks to the cheeky way she plays with the priest — before she’s knows she’s really fucked, that is.
Her glances and eyebrow raises are legendary, but my favorite acting moment of the season takes place on that little bus stop bench, when Fleabag lays it all out there — just because she feels it, and all that love has to go somewhere. For the first time, she’s forgotten that we’re there, and somehow she communicates that without a single word. In every sense of the word, a Feelies-worthy performance. –Sage
Best Actor in a Comedy: Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek
From one showrunner/star to another, I give you the beating heart of Schitt’s Creek and the un-seater of two-time Feelie winner, National Treasure Ted Danson.
Like the rest of the Roses, David is a master class in organic character development. The magic in the writing and the performance is how the years have exposed the good, supportive, protective person he’s always been underneath his privilege, and how some of his “flaws” are secretly his superpowers. Schitt’s Creek says that you don’t have to change for the people who really love you; you just have to try be your best self. And that’s a major through line in Dan’s acting work too, especially when it comes to David and Patrick, and the huge personal step Patrick takes this year. It’s beautiful to see someone who wears every single emotion on his face realize when it’s not actually about him, and David is the exact kind of partner Patrick needs in that moment.
Still, David always be indignant, prissy, and obsessed with schadenfreude —the BFF you’d want to spill all your tea to, if he didn’t have it already — and thank god for that. –Sage
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
You benches sure do appreciate artists with complicated jobs, and we love you for it.
This far into The Good Place and it’s 100% clear to me that the show is going to keep throwing insane challenges at D’Arcy Carden either until it ends, or until they find something that she can’t handle. The former is definitely going to come first.
Janet may not be a girl or a robot, but she’s a key part of Team Cockroach, and not just for her endless library of knowledge or her fighting skills. Janet never gives up. She believes in every single one of her friends, even though she’s not programmed to have a belief system. And she’s the one who reminds them that the chaos and terrifying randomness of the universe can actually be a beautiful thing. But Janet isn’t immune to interpersonal muckups, and it’s all down to D’Arcy why we feel her hurt and confusion as keenly as we do. Somehow, she finds those emotions in Janet’s unique, batshit circumstances, and all of a sudden you’re crying.
She absolutely deserved the tour-de-force showcase that she was given this season (more on that later — spoilers!), and the Television Academy should be ashamed for letting her go unrecognized for it. But that’s what the Feelies, and your votes, are for. –Sage
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: William Jackson Harper, The Good Place
It doesn’t pain me one little bit to tell you that William Jackson Harper ran away with this category. Clearly, you were all feeling Chidi more than ever this year, which may have something to do with all the heat he’s packing underneath those sweater vests.
We thirst because we love, and I kid, because I know that WJH brings so much more than just rock-hard abs to this role. Over the course of a single season, the plot required Chidi to be won over by a lovable group of misfit test subjects then push them all away, learn the truth of existence and have an existential breakdown that makes everyone who sees it say “okay mood,” allow himself to fall in love with Eleanor — the most infuriating and familiar of those subjects — and then sacrifice his own memory and the love of his life for the good of his friends and the universe…and those are just the big moments.
William sells all of this with enough integrity to make Chidi’s bonzer trials relatable to we any-state-trashbags watching at home, especially those of us who crave order as much as our favorite Type-A lunatic does. One minute, he’s singing dementedly to a bowl of chili, the next, he’s soothing our souls with a confident and sexy “Jeremy Bearimy, baby.” And that’s why people love moral philosophy professors. –Sage
Best Drama: Good Omens
Honestly, none of the other nominees stood a chance.
It’s almost as if Good Omens was made specifically with readers of this website in mind. It’s written by Neil Gaiman, one of our all-time faves. The supporting cast is littered with objects of our affection from Jon Hamm to Nick Offerman, all of them clearly having a blast in the fantastical world that Gaiman and Terry Pritchett created. Frances McDormand is the voice of God, for fuck’s sake. (As right she should be.) We would have loved Good Omens no matter who starred as the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale, two star-crossed soulmates on a quest to stop the apocalypse. The fact that these two characters are brought to life by David Tennant and Michael Sheen to such perfection that we couldn’t bear to pit them against each other in the Best Actor race? Well, that’s just an embarrassment of riches. No wonder they only kept the series to six episodes, TBH. It’s all too much, yet never enough all at the same time. — Kim
Best Actress in a Drama: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
She faced from stiff competition from the Jodies Comer and Whittaker, but much like Gwen Verdon herself, once Michelle Williams took the lead in this race, she danced away with it easily. We’ve obviously been a fan of Michelle since her Dawson’s Creek days and we’ve always known she’s talented as fuck. (She’s not a four-time Oscar nominee for nothing.) But she still managed to knock me on my ass with her work in Fosse/Verdon. The show is tricky to begin with; it’s not told in a linear format, often jumping a decade or two in the same episode, relying on Michelle to convey age through posture and voice.
We seen Gwen at the top of her game, bright-eyed and sharp as she consents to “audition” for Damn Yankees for an unknown Bob Fosse. (Not to mention it’s for a part that’s already been guaranteed hers.) We see the birth of a creative and romantic partnership and the thrill of discovering a musical style. We see her successes minimized to build up Bob’s ego. And we see her struggle to stay relevant as she passes her prime and is replaced both in the bedroom and on stage, all while she is fighting to get her beloved Chicago on stage. It’s a stunning performance and I hope that come September she has a shiny new Emmy to go alone with her Feelie. — Kim
Best Actor(s) in a Drama: Michael Sheen and David Tennant, Good Omens
Yeah, we knew this race was a done deal once we decided not to pit the Good Omens boys against each other, instead honoring Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s work with a dual nomination. It’s fine. We’re not even sorry. (Except we’re a little sorry to David Harbour. We love you, boo. You’re our favorite Hot Dad.)
But seriously, how would we have pit Crowley and Aziraphale against each other? THEY DEAL WITH THAT ENOUGH ALREADY, OKAY? I said it before, and I’ll say it again, no matter how good the material was, it would have fallen flat had the two actors not been evenly matched. David and Michael bring their A-Game here, fully personifying their characters from David’s dick-first reptilian saunter and dramatic THOT-ness to Michael’s fussy Victorian Dandy sensibilities mixed with the most embarrassing Dad moves of all time. And their chemistry together? Off the fucking charts. If you didn’t spend most of the six episodes yelling “OMG they’re in love,” you were watching the show wrong. (No matter what kind of love you think it is, it’s definitely a love story. Neil Gaiman said so himself.) You could not have one of them without the other, and that, dear readers, is why they’re sharing this Feelie. We feel like they wouldn’t have it any other way. — Kim
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Maya Hawke, Stranger Things
This race was a nail-biter for the entire week, with Maya Hawke and Gillian Anderson changing places on a regular basis, never separated by more than five votes. But in the end, Maya triumphed by a mere two votes, and I couldn’t be happier bestowing a Feelie on the coolest new member of our Hawkins family.
My favorite thing about how Stranger Things has been able to expand their universe as the series progresses is that the additions feel like they have been with us the whole time. Have we really only been blessed with Robin for one season. I don’t mean to say she was a breath of fresh air, because it implies that the show was stale, but God, she felt that way. I think my favorite thing about Maya’s performance is that at first it seemed she would just be there to crack cynical one-liners at Steve’s expense (WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT TOO!) but within an episode, she established herself as the smartest girl in the room, fierce and unafraid to take on the bad guys.
She still offered the sarcastic, cynical one-liners too with a heavy dose of vulnerability and unexpected sweetness as her friendship with Steve blossomed. It was everything I never knew I always wanted on Stranger Things.
Maya is a Hollywood legacy (I didn’t know until AFTER I was done watching that she was Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter, which immediately made me feel stupid because just look at her! Of course she is.) and immediately proved herself as far as her ability to create a multi-dimensional character. This is just the beginning for her, and it’s clear from your votes that we can’t wait to see what’s next. — Kim
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Joe Keery, Stranger Things
Dear readers, I present Steve Harrington, former bully turned frazzled single dad of this group of misfits and all-round precious cinnamon roll. I’m so happy all of you love him just as much as we do.
While it wasn’t quite a runaway victory, with Bradley Walsh coming in a strong second place (which warms my heart), Joe Keery led this race from the word go and it’s not very hard to see why. While the emotional center of Stranger Things still remains with Mike, El, and the rest of the crew, I would strongly put forth the argument that Steve is the great big beating heart of the show. Sure, he’s excellent comic-relief, especially in the ridiculous (awesome) Scoops Ahoy! sailor uniform, and he’s often a (lovable) doofus. But he’s also a protective Mama Bear, a GIANT nerd, and truly just a big old softie masquerading as the cool guy with the best hair. And that’s all down to Joe Keery’s performance and to the Duffer Brothers for recognizing that, and just letting him fly. And the show is so much better for it.
I think what my favorite thing about Joe as an actor is how obviously generous he is with his scene partners. Season three expands on the fantastic chemistry he has with Gaten Matarazzo’s Dustin (they’re so cute together, my heart eyes truly can’t get big enough), while also giving him a new sparring partner in Maya Hawke’s Robin. He’s the kind of actor that shines because he makes his scene partners shine, and that’s just so special. All of his scenes were truly the highlight of the new season from me, from standing up to the Russians, to the truly hysterical drug trip, to that wallop of a bathroom scene that you’re gonna hear more about later. He is truly a gift to us all, protect him. — Kim
Best Shipper Moment: Everything about the Hot Priest, Fleabag
The thing about the hot priest is not that he is hot. Don’t get me wrong – he’s unbearably gorgeous. But Andrew Scott has been a fire hazard since the moment his Moriarty sauntered on screen and anyone saying otherwise is fooling themselves. The thing about the hot priest – and what makes this category the perfect place to recognize his talents – is the chemistry that radiates off both him and Fleabag. From the first moment they’re alone together, watching them interact is as physically painful as looking directly into the sun. It’s the kind of undeniable connection that makes me wonder if that whole soul mate thing isn’t such a crazy idea after all. The hot priest and Fleabag GET each other in every possible way. He is there with and for her on a molecular level and THAT is why the hot priest is hot.
Plus the whole tragically conflicted, knowingly bemused, equal parts moody and chipper, spiritually intellectual Irishman thing. — Shannon
Best Warm Fuzzy: Robin comes out to Steve, Stranger Things
I’m so glad that Stranger Things never resisted introducing new kids to the gang that stole all our hearts in the first season, lest we have been denied recently crowned Feelie winner Maya Hawke. The Duffer Bros learned in Season 2 that Joe Keery has an effervescent chemistry that shines in new character combinations, and here we are at Scoops Ahoy, with Steve and Robin, a girl he barely paid attention to in school.
The reversal of all of our expectations is so beautiful because, by this time in the season, fans are rooting hard for Steve to find the validation and happiness he’s missing. But female characters don’t exist to provide that — at least not only in the traditionally prescribed ways. Steve’s own hopes are high when he pitches himself to Robin, though, watch it back, and you’ll hear him describing a great best friend. It’s a show of trust that Robin returns and one-ups. But it’s Steve’s reaction and what comes next that takes this already heartwarming moment from good to legendary.
This is Steve’s gut reaction right here. His immediate, lizard-brain response is to wonder aloud who the hell this girl thinks she is to not like Robin back. We know that Steve’s dad sucks, and he was raised to be a certain kind of man. But time and time again, the show shows us that his instinct runs in the totally opposite direction — towards goodness and bravery and dragging some lame chick who dared to ignore someone who he thinks is amazing. You can see the tension melt out of Robin when she realizes that this is who he is and that she’s accepted. And there’s no pitying Steve, because he now has the two coolest bros in Hawkins, Indiana. I can’t wait to see what world-saving shenanigans they get into come Christmastime. –Sage
Right in the Feels Moment: Eleanor and Chidi’s Video, The Good Place
Every year when the season finale of The Good Place rolls around, I’m caught off guard. In season two, the finale had me literally say “Wait, that can’t be it!!!!!” out loud.
The season three finale had me staring at my television screen, completely bereft and wiping tears from my eyes. They really did that, didn’t they?
It was bad enough when it became clear that Chidi was going to choose to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the group, especially with how much he’d grown and how far his relationship with Eleanor had come. And then Mike Schur had to go and do that. He really went that hard. He had to go and make me believe in soulmates again as Michael gifted the pair with a video showing all the ways they had found each other, that in no matter what way he tweaked the circumstances, that these two souls were destined to love each other. As bleak as the circumstances were, it gave us all hope. It makes their journey back to each other all the more satisfying, because we know how it’s going to end. “Time means nothing. Jeremy Bearimy, baby. Just get through this, and you and I can chill out in the dot of the ‘I’ forever.”
PASS THE KLEENEX. — Kim
YAS QUEEN! Moment: “Janet(s),” The Good Place
A pox on every single member of the Television Academy that didn’t have D’Arcy Carden on their supporting actress ballot this year. No offense to the actual nominees, who are all wonderful, but it truly boggles my mind that there are eight women nominated for that award and D’Arcy is not one of them. Especially after she carried an entire episode on her shoulders, playing five different versions of herself.
Well, D’Arcy, come on over to our little party and collect your second Feelie. You deserve it, Queen.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when D’Arcy was handed the script for “Janet(s).” Did she freak out? Did she tear up at the obvious amount of faith that Mike Schur has that she could pull the episode off? Did she just say “Fuck yeah” and immediately start studying her castmates in preparation? At the end of the day, all I know is that she made it look easy when it most certainly wasn’t. I think I watched the entire episode with my jaw dropped because I wasn’t watching JUST Janet or Janet doing impersonations. It was Janet!Prime, Eleanor!Janet, Tahani!Janet, Jason!Janet, and Chidi!Janet. Really, the only thing that could improve it would have been to lock the Janets in a room with the Leda clones of Orphan Black and let the sparks fly. YAS QUEEN. — Kim
Best WTF Moment: Every Single Episode of Russian Doll
This show is impossible to adequately explain to someone who’s never seen it, defies all attempts at categorization, and may just make you sit back and shed a tear over its precise, hilarious writing and funny, tragic performances.
Natasha Lyonne is a star who doesn’t easily drop into any Hollywood boxes, and I consider this magnificent leading turn a big ol’ middle finger to all the snarky best friend roles she was ever pitched. It’s a pleasure and an eye-opening experience to spend birthday after birthday with her Nadia, who both survives everything New York City can throw at her and, well, doesn’t.
As a binge, Russian Doll keeps you on your toes — don’t let anyone spoil the end of the fourth episode for you, if you can manage it. We’re playing metaphysical detective along with Nadia, waiting for someone to drop out of the sky and reveal the meaning of all of this to us. Fortunately, it satisfies in a way that a lot of puzzle shows don’t.
Trippy and hopeful aren’t a common combination on TV these days, but Russian Doll kind of just made me feel happy to be alive — if only too see what weird shit happens to me next. –Sage
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking part in the Feelies this year, and a huge congrats to all of our winners!