Greetings, dear readers! It’s the second most wonderful time of the year, after Most Handsome Young Man season. That’s right, on this Emmy nomination eve, we proudly present for your judgment the nominees for the Ninth Annual Feelies. We’ve narrowed down the countless hours of television we’ve watched over the past twelve months and now we turn it all over to you. Our work here is done, now we can just sit back and watch. (And believe me, we do watch.)
A few caveats before we get to the nominees:
- We deemed our eligibilty period to be June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022. Shows had to have aired in their entirety during that period, which is why you will not be seeing Stranger Things Season Four, For All Mankind Season Two, or Obi-Wan Kenobi in this year’s batch of nominees.
- If you think something should be on this list, it probably should be! We are but two people with limited time to consume content in a time where content is coming out of everyone’s ears. We do our best to watch as much as possible!
- We do not accept write-in votes, but we can listen to pleas for things that might be eligible next year.
- You may vote once an hour. If you try to game the system, we’ll know!
- Voting is open until Sunday, July 17th at 5 PM Eastern Standard time.
Campaigns are not only welcomed, but encouraged! We can’t wait to see who will emerge victorious. Now let’s get to the nominees…
Only Murders in the Building
Our Flag Means Death
The Flight Attendant
What We Do in the Shadows
Sage: To me, 2022 will always be the year that a rowdy, not-entirely-professional crew of queer pirates came out of nowhere and pillaged our emotions. Our Flag Means Death is a true rom-com, with a big, beating heart and room for almost everyone (not you, Izzy) to find self-worth and redemption. Insecure closed out its celebrated five-season run by shepherding its characters through milestones both thrilling and tragic, repairing one of TV’s most complicated and meaningful friendships, and seeing Issa past the limits of its title. In Season Two of Hacks, Ava and Deborah push valiantly through the weeds of Deborah’s flagging career and the near-desolation of their own relationship, with hilarious and satisfying results. What We Do in the Shadows is firing on all cylinders in Season Three, balancing out the gloriously stupid (Nandor becoming obsessed with a Big Bang Theory slot machine, a siren who’s half-chicken seducing Colin Robinson) with the melancholic and romantic (Laszlo going to any lengths to defend Nadja’s honor, Nandor’s undead depression). Mythic Quest digs further into the lives and motivations of its deep bench of supporting characters in its sophomore effort, while continuing to offer genuinely thoughtful meditations on the intersection of art, storytelling, and technology that provides its backdrop.
Kim: We all know how hard it can be to adapt a British sitcom for American audiences, but Ghosts is pulling it off with aplomb, smartly distinguishing itself from its counterpart across the Atlantic with an equally lovable cast of characters. Abbott Elementary proves the mockumentary format is not dead, offering both wickedly smart sitcom antics and razor-sharp social commentary on the American public school system. Only Murders in the Building gave us Murder, She Wrote for the podcast generation and a mystery that kept us guessing until the very end. For all its insane scenarios, The Flight Attendant is one of the most deceptively intelligent shows on TV – not only is it one big homage to Hitchcock films, it’s an unflinching examination of the lasting effects of childhood trauma. (Comedy, amirite?) And the second season of Ted Lasso doesn’t shy away from delving deeper into the darker sides of our friends at A.F.C. Richmond even as it keeps delivering a whole lot of laughs and a whole lot of heart.
This Is Us
Kim: We’re still bitter over the loss of last year’s winner Prodigal Son, but You fills that gleefully psychotic, over the top addictive, OMG can you believe that just happened murder show sized hole in our hearts. Speaking of over the top, the move to Paramount+ emboldened Evil to just let its demonic freak flag fly and the show is all the more delightfully batshit insane for it, down to the f-bombs definitely added in post-production. The expectations were massive for the swan song of This Is Us and the show exceeded them with a masterful final season that should be taught in television textbooks. Lastly, I don’t know the last time a TV show excited me in the way that Yellowjackets does. It’s partly a Lost style mystery and mythology-laden show and partly a CW drama where the real horror is the challenging dynamics of teenage girls and it’s all very, very, very good.
Sage: Succession is a masterclass in just about everything, from acting to writing to cinematography, and Season Three went to new heights, keeping us breathlessly live-tweeting every Sunday night as it hurtled to its positively blood-curdling ending. Long live the Roys. No one here is going to argue that we’re not suffering from Marvel glut, but Loki easily made a case for its own existence, taking a beloved (and already well-explored) character to new and profound places. Meanwhile, Pachinko is a sweeping, generation-hopping family drama packed with painstakingly constructed moments and world-class performances. And Squid Game didn’t become a global phenomenon for no reason. With twists, turns, and shocking amounts of violence, the class-skewering thriller kept us all on the edge of our seats. Severance, on the other hand, offers a parable about life, work, and identity in which capitalism’s hold on us is far more insidious and quietly brutal. Anyone who’s ever had an office job can relate, and I haven’t stopped reading fan theories since I watched the pilot.
Best Actress in a Comedy
Alia Shawkat, Search Party
Charlotte Nicdao, Mythic Quest
Hailee Steinfeld, Dickinson
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso
Issa Rae, Insecure
Jean Smart, Hacks
Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant
Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Selena Gomez, Only Murders in the Building
Sage: I can’t imagine what it was like for Issa Rae to close the book on her Insecure alter-ego, but she kept her real, vulnerable, and endlessly relatable until the final shot. The whole cast is luminous, but Dickinson lives or dies on the charms and talent of Hailee Steinfeld — fortunately, she has enough of both to spare. Poppy isn’t always easy to like or trust, but Mythic Quest’s Charlotte Nicdao ensures that we’re, at the very least, always rooting for her. The range that Alia Shawkat exhibited across five seasons of Search Party is truly extraordinary. She takes Dory from lost millennial to ruthless cult leader, always retaining the manipulative apathy that’s the most terrifying part of her. No one delivers a cutting remark like Jean Smart, but that’s only half of what makes her the only possible choice to play Deborah Vance on Hacks. She never lets you forget that, underneath the caustic-ness and flowing, sequined jackets, lie countless fears, insecurities, and the defiance she wears like armor.
Kim: It’s a tall and intimidating order being cast opposite two living comedy legends but Selena Gomez more than holds her own as Mabel in Only Murders in the Building. Quinta Brunson’s plucky and idealistic Janine Teagues is the heir apparent to Leslie Knope, and we have to applaud her for creating Abbott Elementary as well. Write the kind of material you want to be in, people! Reigning Feelies Champion Hannah Waddingham proved that Season One of Ted Lasso was no fluke, finding new depths in her performance through Rebecca’s romance with Sam and the unexpected passing of her father. And finally, I am here once again to tell you that Kaley Cuoco is giving the performance of her life as Cassie in The Flight Attendant, taking it to the next level in Season Two by pulling a Tatiana Maslany and acting opposite herself at least half the time. Plus, she’s one of the most beautiful criers on television.
Best Actor in a Comedy
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
John Cena, Peacemaker
Kayvan Novak, What We Do in the Shadows
Martin Short, Only Murders in the Building
Rhys Darby & Taika Waititi, Our Flag Means Death
Steve Martin, Only Murders in the Building
Tyler James Williams, Abbott Elementary
Kim: Last year’s champion Jason Sudeikis continues to deliver on Ted Lasso, deftly mixing that “Aw, shucks” goofy charm with an achingly raw vulnerability as he navigates Ted’s journey through therapy. The 2021–2022 Feelies season was the season of IRL besties co-headlining a comedy series, which left us in a bit of a conundrum when it came to nominations for this category. In the end, we nominated Steve Martin and Martin Short individually for Only Murders in the Building because we felt that is what their rivals turned reluctant podcasting partners turned best friends Charles and Oliver would have wanted. It was the exact opposite for Our Flag Means Death’s Rhys Darby & Taika Waititi. What makes us (and them) happy is Stede and Ed sharing the nomination, now and always.
Sage: We love a grumpy boy with a soft interior, and Tyler James Williams is giving us that in spades on Abbott Elementary. Sometimes goofy, sometimes swoon-worthy, and often very sad, Gregory is on a mission to make you forget that Jim Halpert ever existed. Nobody is doing tortured himbo like Kayvan Novak on What We Do in the Shadows. If his pitch-perfect imitations of his castmates in “The Cloak of Duplication” don’t sway you, maybe Nandor’s pathetic attempts at curing his vampire malaise and finding true love will. Speaking of “pathetic,” Rob McElhenney is a pro at dismantling toxic masculinity through characters who are unhealthily wrapped up in what it means to be a man. Yet, at his core, Ian is somebody who wants and needs to connect with people, and watching him give into those impulses gives Mythic Quest so much of its poignancy. In another performance that takes direct aim at the destructiveness of unchecked machismo, John Cena is delivering on Peacemaker. In a show that has more emotional depth than all of the DCEU movies combined, John takes Chris from the villain of The Suicide Squad to an open-hearted hero confronting trauma head-on and finally making the right kind of peace, all in just one season.
Best Actress in a Drama
Carrie Coon, The Gilded Age
Christine Baranski, The Good Fight
Katja Herbers, Evil
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Melanie Lynsky, Yellowjackets
Minha Kim, Pachinko
Simone Ashley, Bridgerton
Victoria Pedretti, You
Sage: After fooling all of us (and Joe) with her buttercream icing innocence in Season Two, Victoria Pedretti gets to go full murderous mom with Love Quinn-Goldberg in Season Three. Her cool exterior, the way she turns on a dime — it’s like the best suburban Snapped episode you’ve ever seen, only more unhinged. Meanwhile, Kristen Bouchard is less “unhinged” and more “99% sure she’s possessed and kind of enjoying it” on Evil. Katja Herbers’ carefully ambiguous performance keeps us perpetually unsure how much of her mood shift is hellbeast-based and how much of it is pure, unadulterated, uninhibited Kristen. Delicious fun. It’s about time Melanie Lynskey got her due in this business, and she couldn’t have done better for a possibly career-defining character than morally gray compulsive liar Shauna on Yellowjackets. We don’t trust but we do stan. Among the many pros and legends in the cast of Pachinko, newcomer Minha Kim more than holds her own as young Sunja, a teenager and then a young woman who makes the most of the limited choices life offers her. She imbues Sunja with a quiet strength that’s almost immovable, while also letting what’s loving and fragile about her shine through.
Kim: Friends, it is absolutely criminal that Mandy Moore’s shelves aren’t collapsing under the weight of the awards she’s won for her work on This Is Us. Her performance has always been impressive, spanning sixty-ish years of Rebecca’s life, but she took it to the next level in the final season, subtly changing her posture and her voice as Rebecca’s Alzheimer’s advanced. Now that we have a joint Paramount+ account, we can finally recognize Christine Baranski’s outstanding work as Diane Lockhart on The Good Fight – few can deliver a scathing courtroom speech like she can. Bridgerton lives or dies on the strength of its romantic leads and Simone Ashley immediately made a splash as the feisty and headstrong Kate Sharma, whose romance with Anthony serves enemies to lovers realness. And honestly, there is no one better to play The Gilded Age’s social-climbing, New Monied troublemaker Bertha Russell than NFD herself, Carrie Coon. Bertha is not a woman to be trifled with and she’s not afraid of letting you know that either.
Best Actor in a Drama
Adam Scott, Severance
Brian Cox, Succession
Jeremy Strong, Succession
Jin Ha, Pachinko
Jonathan Bailey, Bridgerton
Lee Jung-jae, Squid Game
Mike Colter, Evil
Penn Badgley, You
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Tom Hiddleston, Loki
Kim: We love a hot, conflicted priest here at Head Over Feels (see also: Fleabag’s Andrew Scott), so Mike Colter is checking all our boxes on Evil. Brian Cox is the very definition of “a force of nature” as Succession’s Shakespearean patriarch Logan Roy who always remains one step ahead of all his scheming offspring. The genius of Penn Badgley on You is that, along with having the best voiceover performance on TV, he actually makes you root for the sociopathic stalker and serial killer to get away with it. Season Two of Bridgerton saw Jonathan Bailey step up as our leading man and boy, did he understand the assignment as Anthony struggles with the concept of love vs. duty. Finally, as I’ve said for the past six years, it’s been an honor to watch Sterling K. Brown work on This Is Us. His performance is so deeply complex and lived in and I will miss spending time with him on a weekly basis desperately.
Sage: All kidding about that infamous profile aside, whatever Jeremy Strong is doing on Succession, it’s working. Kendall Roy achieved peak cringe this season, which, after “L to the OG,” is really saying something. But it’s a feat how Jeremy keeps every plate spinning, from Ken’s almost inhuman inability to relate to people to the deep tragedy of his very existence. One of the best things to come out of the MCU is that certain actors have had the opportunity to grow with their characters, and, in his Disney+ series, Tom Hiddleston gives us a Loki we’ve never seen before. On that journey to self-forgiveness and self-acceptance, Tom still keeps our beloved god of mischief slippery, charming, and endlessly fun to watch. Adam Scott is always welcome back on our TV screens, and Mark on Severance couldn’t be a shaper left turn from our beloved Ben Wyatt. What Adam is doing on that show is really remarkable, because he’s essentially giving two first-rate performances that eventually blend into one. Gi-hun is our eyes and ears in Squid Game, and while the entire cast is put through the wringer, Lee Jung-jae may have the toughest job of all. Without real and relatable characters to latch onto, the show would coast by on shock value; fortunately, Gi-hun’s moral dilemma remains fascinating, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for him in Season Two. We know him primarily as a theater kid, so it’s a joy to see Jin Ha continue to break out on screen, this time as Solomon in Pachinko. His storyline may be set in the ‘80s, but it’s still the most recognizable period to a modern audience, and watching this closed-off finance bro connect with a part of himself that he’s been pushing away is one of the most moving aspects of a very moving show.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Anna Baryshnikov, Dickinson
Elizabeth Berkley, Saved by the Bell
Hannah Einbender, Hacks
Janelle James, Abbott Elementary
Josie Totah, Saved by the Bell
Juno Temple, Ted Lasso
Natasia Demetriou, What We Do in the Shadows
Rebecca Wisocky, Ghosts
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Girls5eva
Sage: Anna Baryshnikov had better be juggling dozens of offers now that Dickinson has come to an end. She’s a riot and a revelation as the plucky and determined Lavinia, whose story is given just as much weight as her famous sister’s. It does a girl good to see Ava coming into her own on Hacks, with Hannah Einbinder lightening the character’s tendency to performative wokeness with a giddy, fuck-it-all attitude that can only come from being Deborah Vance’s right-hand woman. Natasia Demetriou is consistently outdoing herself on What We Do in the Shadows, whether Nadja is seducing “the Rat Pack,” bickering with the haunted doll version of her own human soul, or simply giving a priceless look to camera. Wickie Roy, we are not worthy. Renee Elise Goldsberry is redefining diva on Girls5Eva, with impeccable, inspired delivery, enviable confidence, and all the riffs you could ever need in your rolodex.
Kim: Every workplace sitcom needs a villain, and Janelle James delivers Abbott Elementary’s best one-liners with flair as self-centered and social-media-obsessed principal Ava Coleman. As Ghosts’ Lady of the Manor Hetty Woodstone, Rebecca Wisocky perfectly balances pearl-clutching outrage with an unexpected amount of heart and open-mindedness. Season Two of Ted Lasso sees Keeley coming into her own as a business woman and last year’s champ Juno Temple captures those moments of self-doubt and those bursts of confidence perfectly. As a type-A overachiever, it’s been amazing to see Saved by the Bell give Jessie Spano her due, and Elizabeth Berkley’s performance is as note-perfect now as it was in the 90s. As for the students of SBTB, Josie Totah’s Lexi is Bayside’s version of Cher Horowitz with a sarcastic edge. We love a rich girl with a heart of gold!
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Brandon Scott Jones, Ghosts
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso
Danny Pudi, Mythic Quest
Devan Chandler Long, Ghosts
Harvey Guillen, What We Do in the Shadows
Mario Lopez, Saved by the Bell
Matt Berry, What We Do in the Shadows
Ncuti Gatwa, Sex Education
Phil Dunster, Ted Lasso
Kim: I was a Zack Morris girl growing up, but it’s hard not to root for Mario Lopez’s lovable himbo A.C. Slater in the Saved by the Bell reboot. Slater may not always get things right the first time, but he always does his best to learn for next time and that makes all the difference. Brett Goldstein navigates Roy Kent’s post-footballer career crisis with grace, sexiness, and a whole lotta of f-bombs, all while being the world’s most supportive boyfriend. It’s hard singling out members of the Ghosts ensemble because they are all so strong, but Brandon Scott Jones is a definite standout as Revolutionary War soldier Isaac, whose journey as he comes to terms with his sexuality is equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. Equally impressive on Ghosts is Devan Chandler Long – it’s got to be tough at times navigating Thorfinn’s less than solid grasp of proper grammar and syntax, but he makes it look easy and sound natural. Plus, he’s just so…large.
Sage: You want growth.gif? Look no further than Phil Dunster’s Jamie Tartt in Season Two of Ted Lasso, who lets the love and care of others transform him from selfish, party boy footballer to true team player and pure friend. Let it be known that we had Ncuti Gatwa on this list long before he was announced as our next Doctor. Eric has some huge moments in this most season of Sex Education, including connecting with his culture authentically as a queer man, and he does it all with flair and infectious joy. What We Do in the Shadow’s Guillermo de la Cruz continues to be the biggest badass on TV, thanks to Harvey Guillén. Even when he’s traveling the world in record time to bring his vampire roommates soil from their various homelands, Harvey never plays Guillermo as a sad sack, just a man on a mission — and he’s no slouch at the fight choreography either. Meanwhile, Laszlo got to shine more than just comedically this season. Matt Berry is the king of line delivery, but let’s also give it up for his more emotional moments, especially as that pertains to Laz’s love for his good lady wife and his newfound friendship with Colin Robinson. Brad may be an asshole on Mythic Quest, but he’s our asshole, dammit, and that’s in no small part due to the fact that he’s played by Danny Pudi. Fans saw a new side of him in Season Two, giving Danny the chance to add more shades to his (allegedly) soulless money guy.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Britt Lower, Severance
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Christina Ricci, Yellowjackets
Christine Baranski, The Gilded Age
Christine Lahti, Evil
Juliette Lewis, Yellowjackets
Mandip Gill, Doctor Who
Sarah Snook, Succession
Shalita Grant, You
Youn Yuh-jung, Pachinko
Sage: Helly R. may be the most intriguing character on Severance, and she’s in capable hands with Britt Lower, who pings between determined fury and abject hopelessness. I’m not sure that anyone is having more fun on TV right now than Christina Ricci as Yellowjackets’ resident oddball, Misty Quigley. Christina attacks Misty’s cool, collected madness and extreme sense of justice with glee, whether she’s holding someone hostage to the Phantom of the Opera cast recording or expertly instructing her high school besties on the best way to dispose of a dead body. Bless the Kings for writing a part like Evil’s Sheryl for a woman of a certain age and bless Christine Lahti for stepping into it with relish, sex appeal, and irresistible unpredictability. And you thought your relationship with your mother was complicated. Mommy influencer and neighborhood gatekeeper Sherry proves to be a formidable obstacle to Joe and Love disappearing into a normal life in Madre Linda. Shalita Grant is the definition of a scene stealer, and she slotted right into You just like she had always been there. Meanwhile, Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung is the heart of Pachinko, her elder Sunja providing a link between her family’s past and present. Sunja takes one bite of rice grown in her homeland, and Yuh-jung takes you on an entire wordless journey.
Kim: We may not be fans of the current era of Doctor Who but we are fans of Mandip Gill, who continues to be on a different show than everyone else, infusing Yaz with a warmth and emotional intelligence that just isn’t there on the written page. Christine Baranksi is a double nominee this year and her Agnes Van Rhijn is The Gilded Age’s answer to the Dowager Countess, always delivering the show’s best one-liners. Sarah Snook has always been sublime as Succession’s Shiv Roy, but her Icarus-like arc in Season Three made her a standout in a cast full of heavyweights. The final season of This Is Us sees Kate Pearson going through a divorce, remarrying, and stepping up as the caregiver for her mother in the span of 18 episodes and Chrissy Metz made it look easy. And boy, the casting of ’90s icon Juliette Lewis in Yellowjackets is inspired. Her damaged wild-child Natalie is the unexpected bleeding heart of the series.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us
John Turturro, Severance
Justin Hartley, This Is Us
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Matthew Macfadyen, Succession
Michael Emerson, Evil
Nicholas Braun, Succession
Owen Wilson, Loki
Park Hae-soo, Squid Game
Kim: Your 2020 Champion Matthew Macfadyen is back this year with a vengeance as Succession’s Tom Wambsgans and his performance runs the gamut this year from his prison-bound despair to that triumphant “Et tu, Brute?” moment in the finale. (More on that later!) Billy Crudup’s delightfully smarmy Cory Ellison is really one of the only reasons to watch the unhinged mess that is The Morning Show at this point; the man steals every scene he’s in. Michael Emerson could be onscreen reading the phone book and we’d nominate him for a Feelie, but lucky for us, he’s doing so much more than that as Evil’s HDIC (Hot Demon in Charge) Leland Townsend. Once again, Justin Hartley proved to be the underrated MVP of This Is Us, infusing Kevin with a settled sense of self that can only come with age, while co-star Chris Sullivan delivered a gut-wrenching performance as Kate and Toby’s marriage unraveled right before our eyes.
Sage: One of the great, unexpected privileges of this past television season was watching John Turturro’s company man Irving find himself in a soft, forbidden office romance on Severance. In a show that offers a range of awakenings, including the abrupt and violent, Irving’s is quiet and wistful and leaves us yearning to learn more about him. Roman tries like hell to make himself indispensable to his dad in this past season of Succession, but he can’t resist his baser impulses any more than Ken can resist hiring the Tiny Wu-Tang to perform at his birthday bash. Kieran Culkin is just as watchable as ever, seducing would-be Fascist world leaders, bullying his siblings, and ultimately, helplessly watching his world crash down around him. At the same time, Cousin Greg continues to weigh his options and play both sides, while Nicholas Braun’s perfectly calibrated performance leaves us wondering how much of his rise is calculated genius versus pure dumb luck. Owen Wilson plays magnificently against type in Loki as Mobius M. Mobius, a decent and trusting Time Variance Authority Agent who’s also no fool. Not only did he have us shipping it by the end of his first scene with Tom Hiddleston, he also gave us another hero to cheer on. There are no one-note characters on Squid Game, but the most intriguing of all is Park Hae-soo’s Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s one link to life outside of the game. In another actor’s hands, Sang-woo might be easier to loathe, but Hae-soo beautifully retains his humanity, to the point where we’re not quite sure what to make of him, even after the finale.
Best Limited or Anthology Series
Under the Banner of Heaven
We Own This City
The White Lotus
Sage: A slow and moody true crime drama about religious fundamentalism, violence, and patriarchy with a soulful lead performance by Andrew Garfield? Under the Banner of Heaven had me in its clutches from Jump Street, and then it had the nerve to actually be good! Like The Wire, David Simon’s new series, We Own This City, also makes you work for it, with the investigation into the corruption within Baltimore PD’s Gun Trace Task Force playing out in a non-linear fashion. It’s worth the investment, however, undoing some of the effects of so many years of copaganda with an unflinching exploration of unchecked police power and minimal oversight. And Mike White’s The White Lotus is an upstairs/downstairs dramedy for our current moment, dangling a mystery resort death in front of its audience and then keeping us coming back with its cast of monstrous, pathetic, and low-key revolting characters.
Kim: In a year full of limited series that were “inspired by actual events,” The Dropout stood out from the rest because while it tried to understand Elizabeth Holmes and her motivations, it never justified them nor did it forgive her transgressions. Schmigadoon is a love letter to the golden age of musicals and every note it hits is pitch-perfect. Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass is part gothic horror, part family drama, and part eloquent rumination on life and death and the very nature of religion and free will. It’s all incredible storytelling.
Best Leading Performance in a Limited or Anthology Series
Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout
Andrew Garfield, Under the Banner of Heaven
Cecily Strong, Schmigadoon
Colin Firth, The Staircase
Hamish Linklater, Midnight Mass
Jon Bernthal, We Own This City
Kate Siegel, Midnight Mass
Keegan-Michael Key, Schmigadoon
Kim: Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key are perfectly cast in Schmigadoon! as Josh and Melissa, the bickering couple who wind up stranded in a magical, musical village, unable to leave until they find true love. Their different, but equally neurotic energies bounce off each other so well, and if you don’t get choked up the moment Josh finally sings his heart’s song, I don’t know if we can be friends. Theatre vet Hamish Linklater delves into the role of Father Paul Hill in Midnight Mass with fervent zeal. The passion with which he delivers Father Paul’s homilies would move even the staunchest non-believer. Meanwhile, Kate Siegel imbues Erin Greene with a quiet strength that is simply stunning to watch. Her closing monologue, much like Midnight Mass as a whole, will leave you bereft and thinking about it for days afterwards.
Sage: Interpreting the private life of a public figure isn’t an easy job. Beyond the affected voice and the painfully awkward dance moves, there’s the insecure, avoidant core of Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, and Amanda Seyfried’s 360 performance is a huge part of what makes The Dropout transcend the scammer genre. Could Andrew Garfield be the first celebrity to win Most Handsome Young Man and a Feelie in the same year? He’s certainly campaigning for it with his quietly compelling work in Under the Banner of Heaven, playing a detective whose latest case clashes with his faith and threatens his family life. The Staircase has its flaws (many of them moral and ethical!), but casting Colin Firth as Michael Peterson is not one of them. Not only is the accent work impeccable, Colin captures the writer’s squirreliness, occasional cruelty, vulgarity, and arrogance, all the while maintaining the high wire act of leaving his guilt ambiguous. And finally, if I’m repulsed by a villain played by Jon Bernthal, then you know the man has done his job. His We Own This City gangster cop is a real piece of work, and Jon somehow manages to keep him human in the absence of a single redeeming quality.
Best Supporting Performance in a Limited or Anthology Series
Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus
Kristin Chenoweth, Schmigadoon
Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus
Naveen Andrews, The Dropout
Wunmi Mosaku, We Own This City
Wyatt Russell, Under the Banner of Heaven
Zach Gilford, Midnight Mass
Sage: Jennifer Coolidge is always a hoot, but she’s so funny, she’s hardly ever called in to play a character with any depth. Cheers to The White Lotus for giving her the opportunity to do more, and to Jennifer for stepping up to the plate as one of the resort’s most complex (and empathetic) guests. It’s a show with a wealth of interesting and ballsy performances, but Murray Bartlett carries The White Lotus on his back. It all falls apart if his embattled hotel manager doesn’t connect. (He does.) Wunmi Mosaku’s DOJ lawyer is one of the few beacons of competency and moral fiber in We Own This City, and she also serves as the audience’s analog as the investigation goes down. Steady and coolheaded, Nicole is nonetheless personally offended and distressed by what she learns, a needle that Wunmi threads expertly. Between Not My Captain America and Under the Banner of Heaven’s Dan Lafferty, Wyatt Russell is cornering the market on disturbingly violent white guys who think they have a divine right to do whatever the hell they want.
Kim: Boy, was it good to see Lost veteran Naveen Andrews back on our TV screens or what? His magnetic portrayal of Theranos COO Sunny Balwani may not be the glow-up that IRL Sunny deserves, but it’s definitely the one the audience does. Speaking of friends from beloved shows, Friday Light Nights’ Zach Gilford has quietly become one of TV’s most consistently working actors who always delivers. His turn as Crockett Island’s prodigal son Riley Flynn in Midnight Mass is stunning, and quite frankly, I would have been perfectly content if the entire series had just been him and Hamish Linklater talking to each other. When it came to Schmigadoon! casting, Broadway legend and Emmy Winner Kristin Chenoweth was a no-brainer. Her villainous preacher’s wife Mildred Layton brings the house down, leaving not a single piece of scenery un-chewed.
Best Shipper Moment
The Bee Scene, Bridgerton
Ed and Stede on the beach, Our Flag Means Death
Guilerrmo rescuing Nandor from a cult, What We Do in the Shadows
Kristin and David kiss, Evil
Nero and Sporus, Succession
Slater and Jessie in the parking lot, Saved by the Bell
Emily and Sue after the party, Dickinson
Yaz and the Hologram, Doctor Who
Kim: It’s so typical of Evil to have Kristin and David finally act on their long-simmering sexual tension by passionately kissing mere hours after David is finally ordained as a priest. It’s even more typical that the kiss happened after Kristin confessed her sins to David, admitting that she killed Orson LeRoux and he absolves her of her sin WITH A KISS as the screen fades to black, ending the season. Is this what it was like for our parents when The Thornbirds was airing?
There was a very loud faction on the internet that complained there wasn’t enough sex in Season Two of Bridgerton, but IDK y’all. That scene where a bee lands on Kate’s breast in the middle of an argument, triggering a post-traumatic reaction in Anthony after it stings her and leading Kate to put his bare hands on her to assure him she’s not going to die had me reaching for my smelling salts far more than any of the saucier season in the previous season. Just a bee, indeed.
It would have been so easy for Saved by the Bell to throw Jessie and Slater together for pure nostalgia’s sake, but instead, they took a more circuitous route of becoming friends first and then having them realize their feelings for each other. After kissing at the dance-a-thon, a more cautious and more emotionally intelligent Slater worries that he and Jessie are just falling into old patterns, so they agree to take a step back. But then he sees her in the parking lot and is basically like “fuck it!” and he kisses her passionately. I may never forgive Peacock for canceling SBTB, but at least we know those crazy kids are gonna give it another go.
The only good thing that came out of Doctor Who: Flux was the fact that the writers finally started acknowledging what the fans had been saying all along: that Yasmin Khan is in love with The Doctor, and The Doctor is in love with her, even if she won’t let herself admit it. While there are definitely more blatant Thasmin moments in the subsequent specials, we’re going with Yaz constantly replaying her hologram message from The Doctor because if there’s one thing we love here at Head Over Feels it’s yearning. “I’m sure I miss you.” “…I miss you too.” “I know you do.” PLEASE.
Sage: I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get through Ed and Stede’s conversation on the beach in the “Act of Grace” episode of Our Flag Means Death without screaming into my hands. But truly, what else am I supposed to do with Ed being so sure and Stede being so surprised and the two of them sitting there together, stripped of all the visual markers of their former lives, with their love theme wafting in?? It’s so tender and beautifully written, and the way that they look at each other makes me insane.
To love What We Do in the Shadows is to watch Guillermo pine away for Nandor, season after season. But “Wellness Center” actually has me hopeful that we’re finally getting somewhere. After a depressed Nandor declines to turn his bodyguard/familiar/best friend because he cares for him too much to curse him with vampirism, it’s up to Guillermo to save his master again, easily taking out an entire cult of in-denial undead to bring Nandor back home where he belongs.
Tom’s seduction of Greg on Succession has been a slow burn, and little did we know that one of his particularly unhinged speeches was actually foreshadowing. So consider a vote for this ship not only for the scene in which Tom tells Greg the story of Nero, who pushed his wife down the stairs so he could marry his castrated male servant Sporus, but also the finale, in which Tom really does metaphorically kill Shiv – and gets on one knee to offer Greg the seat next to him.
Dickinson couldn’t go off into the sunset without one more intimate scene between Emily and her muse. To a voiceover of one of her verses (“All the letters I can write/Are not as fair as this…”), she and Sue share a rare, uninterrupted and unhurried night in bed. And if that weren’t enough to get to the stans, no other song but Taylor Swift’s “Ivy” rolls in to play over the end credits.
Best Right in the Feels Moment
Rebecca on the train, This Is Us
Yelena’s loss, Hawkeye
Deborah sets Ava free, Hacks
Ed’s heartbreak, Our Flag Means Death
The Roy Siblings reunited, Succession
Ted’s therapy session, Ted Lasso
The tribute to Screech, Saved by the Bell
Riley’s monologue, Midnight Mass
Sage: Any mentor worth her salt has to know when to let go, and that’s the gift Deborah gives Ava in the season finale of Hacks. With her own comeback up and running and Ava’s career poised to take off, the legend sets her student free. Does she do it a little bit because she’s afraid to feel close to anyone again? Maybe so…and with Season Three on the way, at least we know we haven’t seen the last of this comedy duo.
The Roy siblings spend almost the entirety of the last season of Succession divided into factions: There’s Kendall, and then there’s everyone else. But in a moment of crisis, as they realize that their father is about to screw all of them over, they find common, dusty ground outside the festivities of their mother’s wedding. It’s a Renaissance painting of a scene, with a broken Ken sitting in the dirt, his brother and sister offering an awkward and rare show of comfort. And as horrible as they are to each other and in general, any inkling of camaraderie among these three sets me off instantly.
Anyone who was paying attention to the first season of Ted Lasso could tell that there was something dark and closed-off behind Ted’s approach to life. And in Season Two, that reason comes out. When Ted opens up to Dr. Sharon about his father’s hidden turmoil and tragic death, it proves that the effects of trauma look different on everyone and that Ted’s positivity and friendliness don’t come as easy to him as it may appear.
The Saved by the Bell reboot had to mark the passing of original cast member Dustin Diamond and what better way to honor him and Screech than to gather the rest of the OGs at the Maxx for a spaghetti burger delivered to the table by Screech’s robot, Kevin? The tribute included some references to classic Screech moments and a montage set to – what else? – the Miss Bayside theme song. RIP, little buddy.
Kim: Mandy Moore warned us that “The Train” was going to be rough, telling Jimmy Fallon that she threw up the first time she read the penultimate This Is Us script. She did not undersell it; “The Train” is an emotional wallop from start to finish, and a fittingly beautiful elegy for Rebecca Pearson.
Our Patreon sponsor Kortnea nominates Yelena’s confrontation with Clint in the Hawkeye series finale for Right in the Feels Moment of the Year. For all her quips and her ass-kicking, it’s easy to forget that Yelena has also suffered a deep and painful loss, blipped out of existence right after she reforged a relationship with her sister, only to come back five years later to learn that Natasha is dead and that Clint may be responsible for it. “You had so much time with her,” she tells Clint, with tears in her eyes, getting down to the real reason why she just beat the shit out of him. Where is Florence Pugh’s solo Marvel project, y’all?
The moment Stede and Ed agreed to meet at the docks under the cover of night so they could run away together, I turned to Sage and said “This is totally going to be Our Flag Means Death does An Affair to Remember, isn’t it?” Sure enough, Stede is a no-show and a devastated Ed has to take their getaway boat alone. To add insult to injury, Ed spends a good chunk of the rest of the season wearing Stede’s fucking robe and pining in the captain’s quarters before Izzy finally convinces him to revert to his old pre-Stede self. Alexa, play “Coney Island” by Taylor Swift.
Who here didn’t shed a tear when Roy Kent was the first person to embrace a stunned Jamie Tartt right after he punched his asshole father in front of the whole team? My favorite thing about this scene is that Roy doesn’t even hesitate, not for one moment, and Jamie just stands there for a while, still processing what went down, before he finally returns the embrace, tucking his face into Roy’s neck. We love men expressing empathy and it’s one of the things Ted Lasso does best.
When I sat down to watch Midnight Mass, I was not expecting to be left a despondent mess left pondering my own existence, but then Riley and Erin sat down in her house after learning that she had suffered a miscarriage and Erin asked Riley the simplest of all questions: “What do you think happens when we die?” Riley, ever the realist, delivers a stunning monologue that’s both a scientific analysis of death and a reverent celebration of the magic of the human body and all of the sudden tears are streaming down my face and I am screaming “I thought this was a horror show!” at my television.
Best YASSSSSS! Moment
Adam at the dog show, Sex Education
Anthony stands up to Edwina’s grandparents, Bridgerton
Any time Mr. Russell goes to bat for his wife, The Gilded Age
“Burn, Butcher, Burn”, The Witcher
The Widow Mary Bonnet, Our Flag Means Death
Tom betrays Shiv, Succession
Yelena and Kate’s fight, Hawkeye
The Yellowjackets reunite, Yellowjackets
Kim: “Tribulation” is Schimgadoon!’s send-up of The Music Man’s “Ya Got Trouble,” and it’s an incredibly difficult number filled with both Sondheim-esque patter and operatic movements. Kristin Chenoweth makes it look easy though. The five minute number was done in one take, and they filmed that one take three times. The version that made it to the show? Take one. Yas, Queen!
The present day storyline in Yellowjackets is building up to the girls’ 25th high school reunion, and it’s such a mood that even after dismembering Adam’s corpse earlier that day, Shauna confesses to Taissa that she’s most afraid to walk into that room and deal with all the small talk. But walk into that room she does, flanked by Taissa, Natalie, and Misty, all of them dressed to the nines and looking like the baddest bitches in town. (Spoiler alert, they are.) The whole scene is scored to The Offspring’s “Come Out and Play,” and it’s the best high school reunion entrance this side of Romy and Michele.
If there’s one thing we know about The Gilded Age’s George Russell it’s that he loves his wife, and he will absolutely eviscerate anyone who puts her down, gets in her way, or doesn’t send her an invitation to lunch. It doesn’t matter who it is, I cheered every time it happened! It shouldn’t be so hot, but it is, I’m not even sorry.
Finally, I think I’ve thought about the final minutes of the Succession season finale at least once a day every day since it aired. Tom Wambsgans and his “we should totally just STAB CAESAR!” moment y’all!!!! It’s everything to me. Shiv underestimated and belittled him one too many times, and honestly, Sarah Snook should win an Emmy for that last thirty seconds alone. The journey of realization that her face goes on when she sees Tom in the doorway! The way Tom has the balls to “comfort” her after literally destroying her! This!! This is Shakespearean level tragedy, people!!!
Sage: Adam is so stifled by his strict father and his position on the social food chain that, not only does he barely have an inkling of his own sexuality at the beginning of Sex Education, he doesn’t even know what, if anything, in life he likes and enjoys. That’s what makes his debut at the local dog show with his beloved Madam so triumphant. Madam may not take the trophy, but it’s certainly a win for Adam, who’s finally learning how to express himself to the world and people around him.
Edwina’s grandparents’ visit to Bridgerton results in Anthony learning some uncomfortable and seemingly predatory backstory to his betrothed’s search for a husband, but he puts his reaction to that aside so that he can first tell those classless, horrible bigots to their faces that they are, in fact, classless and horrible. The viscount still needs some serious therapy, but otherwise, damn – what a catch.
Season Two of The Witcher withholds Jaskier from us for far too long, imo, but I can’t argue with how he makes his entrance. The bard drops back into our story performing the most scathing breakup song the continent has ever heard – and it’s all about his ungrateful ex, Geralt. Like…if “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” was his “…Baby One More Time,” then “Burn Butcher Burn” is Jaskier’s “Stronger.” And, just like “Stronger,” it’s an instant “I’m actually too good for you” classic.
Also better off is the Widow Mary Bonnet, and god bless Our Flag Means Death for investing so much in what could have been a throwaway character. A guilt-ridden Stede returns home anticipating to find his family in a shambles, meanwhile, Mary is getting her life, totally free of the societal expectations she was subject to as a married woman. She has a book club of man-hating friends, she pursues a career she loves and can support herself with, and she’s even taken a lover who’s actually into her (hey, Doug!). We stan an independent woman and an LGBTQIA+ ally.
The Yelena and Kate fight scene from the finale of Hawkeye is tonally on-point and so fun to watch, with the two women alternating between throwing each other against walls, bickering, and complimenting each other’s moves. (“Stop making me like you!” “I’m sorry, I can’t help it.”) If more of this is on the way, then the future of the MCU is looking bright.
Best Warm Fuzzy
“Even someone good”, Loki
Colin Robinson’s 100th birthday party, What We Do in the Shadows
Dan as the #1 Thasmin shipper, Doctor Who
Geralt gets a family, The Witcher
Grogu chooses his dad, The Book of Boba Fett
Isaac comes out to Hettie, Ghosts
Issa and Molly at Molly’s Wedding, Insecure
Randall is getting a grandson, This Is Us
Sage: Loki acts as though he doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him, but he’s always defined himself by the opinions of others, whether he’s fulfilling their expectations (as he does with his dad) or defying them (see: his brother). Which is why it’s so good to hear someone finally tell him in Loki that he gets to decide who he’s going to be going forward, no matter who he chose to be before…“even someone good.” That it comes from sweet, sweet Mobius, who’s seen and is unbothered by every petty, hurtful thing that he’s done, is what helps Loki believe that it’s true.
Colin Robinson’s entire thing is that no one wants to be around him – he is literally impossible to like. Yet, in this season of What We Do in the Shadows, Laszlo decides that even Colin doesn’t deserve the fate that’s in store and reaches out to him. Their newly forged friendship runs the gamut of the season, but it reaches its pinnacle when Laz turns a visit from the vampiric delegation into a 100th birthday blow-out for the energy vampire, complete with an unexpectedly genuine and loving toast.
Hysterical that we assumed Dan would somehow get in the way of Thasmin on Doctor Who, when he turns out to be the captain of their ship and the only hope it ever had of being spoken out loud. We can argue about whether or not he oversteps, but hopefully we can all agree that his heart is in the right place as he encourages both of them to share their feelings with each other, since he just wants both of his friends to be happy. You’re the best, Dan.
Ahead of the final season of Insecure, it seemed like Molly and Issa had grown out of their friendship, possibly for good. They come back to each other gradually in Season Five, through shared experiences as small as inside jokes and as major as family health crises. And if you didn’t shed a tear at the moment they share at Molly’s wedding, which all but confirms that they are the soulmates of the show, then you’ve never lived through the fear of losing something that important.
Kim: Let’s be real: The Book of Boba Fett is at its most compelling when it’s actually a backdoor episode of The Mandalorian. It’s heart-wrenching when, after Mando isn’t allowed to see Grogu while he’s in Jedi training, he simply leaves his son a shirt of chain mail so he’ll always be protected. It’s monstrous when Luke Skywalker presents Grogu with the shirt and a lightsaber, telling him he has to make a choice. And it’s the biggest warm fuzzy of all when Grogu shows up in the middle of the final battle, proudly displaying his dad’s shirt. Love wins!
In a similar vein, so much about The Witcher has been about how Geralt is a lone wolf, but the man keeps collecting friends like it’s his job or something. Season Two sees Geralt being a dad to his child of surprise Ciri, and taking the job very seriously. Still, there’s a piece missing until Yennefer comes back into the picture. Sure, she tries to use Ciri to restore her own lost magic at first, but she comes around and cares for the girl just as much as Geralt does, and agrees to help train her. “Us three, we’ll help each other,” Geralt tells his daughter. “What is destined cannot be avoided.” “Nor should it be,” Yennefer adds. They’re a family now, and together, they will be unstoppable.
Out of all of our Ghosts, one would expect that Hetty would be the least likely person that Isaac would feel safe coming out to, given how often she stands in judgment of anything that goes against her Victorian values. But that’s exactly what Isaac does, and Hetty’s response when he apologizes for deceiving her is just…overwhelmingly good. “What you have been for the past two centuries is my dear friend,” she assures him. “And that could never be a lie.” And then they proceed to gossip about boys while I sit there and cry.
After the emotional wallop of the penultimate episode of This Is Us, the finale felt like a gentle hug that focused on both the small mundane moments that make life special, as well as the grand ole scheme of things in the circle of life. On the day of Rebecca’s funeral, Deja tells Randall that after a whole generation of women he’s finally going to have a grandson. And the way Sterling K. Brown sells this moment is magical. It’s so much joy mixed in with a moment of the deepest sadness. Life goes on. And that’s what This Is Us is all about, Charlie Brown.
Best WTF?! Moment
Cassie’s mom slaps her, The Flight Attendant
Joanna’s death, The Great
Mobius doesn’t know Loki, Loki
Roman’s dick pic, Succession
The last five minutes of the season finale, Severance
The swingers night, You
Alex and Mitch in Italy, The Morning Show
The marbles episode, Squid Game
“Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?”, Yellowjackets
Riley burns in the sun, Midnight Mass
Kim: Yellowjackets is rife with WHAT THE FUCK?! Moments that I desperately want to try and protect for those who haven’t seen the show yet. (PLEASE I AM BEGGING YOU!) However, one of the overarching mysteries of the show is not knowing who makes it out of the woods alive, so the season finale cliffhanger of Suzie’s panicked voicemail declaring “Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?” being intercut with footage of hooded figures busting into Natalie’s hotel room and kidnapping her is a fantastic reveal. Lottie is alive…and a very, very, very bad person it seems.
We know things can get messy when dealing with the Multiverse, especially when you add in time travel like Loki does, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t shook AF when Loki makes it back to what he thought was the prime timeline and sweet Mobius, his only friend, doesn’t know him.
Sharon Stone was a big get for The Flight Attendant when it came to casting Cassie’s mother and we couldn’t wait to see what would go down between them. Still, we weren’t expecting Lisa to tell Cassie that while she loves her, she doesn’t like her…and then she slaps her. The shock you see on Kaley Cuoco’s face is real – apparently Sharon was improvising!
The charm of You is that most of the show could qualify for this category, but we have to go with “Swing and a Miss,” which sees Joe and Love’s attempt at swinging with Conrads turn into a night of carnage.
Lastly, I don’t know what the hell the writers of The Morning Show were thinking when they wrote that episode. Which episode am I referring to, you might ask, as the whole second season is a special brand of unhinged? The episode where Alex flies to Italy in March 2020? The episode where Alex and Mitch scream at each other half the time and then share a slow dance where she confesses that she wishes she had his baby? The episode that bewilderingly aims to get the audience to forgive serial abuser Mitch Kessler for his misdeeds? The episode where Mitch swerves to avoid a car and flies off a cliff to his death? Yes. That episode.
Sage: It genuinely concerns me how delighted Gillian Anderson must have been when she found out how her character, Catherine’s mother Joanna, was going to go out on The Great. She’ll probably be demanding henceforth that all her roles involve being [redacted] out a window by her hedonistic son-in-law.
While we’re on the subject of degenerates, let’s talk about Roman Roy’s epic digital communication fail on Succession. I will treasure the memory of watching my entire timeline devolve into chaos at the realization that he’d accidentally sent his dick to his father – in a board meeting – instead of to intended recipient Gerri. The face journey that Roman subsequently goes on is some of Kieran’s finest work, and it’s one of those shocking, mortifying moments that will be the show’s legacy.
From start to finish, the Severance finale is a wild, stressful ride that brings an already stellar first season home. But whew, those final five minutes! As the team’s innies run out of time in their outies’ worlds, we get enough massive reveals and staggering cliffhangers to keep us theorizing until next season.
It takes a strong constitution to make it through Squid Game’s “Kkanbu,” more commonly thought of as “the marbles episode.” This is where survival starts to get personal, and characters we’ve come to know and at least moderately trust are pitted directly against one another – as in, only one in each pair will make it out of this game alive. The events of “Kkanbu” obviously reverberate through the rest of the season, but the episode is easily and utterly devastating on its own.
The best kind of horror makes you feel things other than fear and dread, and Midnight Mass has emotional resonance and cultural commentary in spades. While Father Paul’s selfishness and zealotry have led him down a dark and destructive path, someone as seemingly flawed as Riley is able to make the only ethical choice there is for someone who’s been, ahem, touched by an angel. That doesn’t make watching him do it any easier, however, and that image of his body burning in the sun as Erin screams in terror will haunt me forever.
Get those voting fingers ready! Remember, the winners are entirely determined by you. With great power comes great responsibility…