After Brothers and Sisters, we knew Rhys was a fantastic actor — but the FX drama proved what a badass spy (and a sensitive one, at that!) he can be.
Biggest Revelation, Comedy
James Wolk, The Crazy Ones
Wolk has been charming us for a while on series like Mad Men, Happy Endings, Political Animals, Shameless and the tragically short-lived Lone Star, but his womanizer playboy on Crazy Ones proves he’s got comedy chops, too.
Most Underrated Actress
Julianne Nicholson, Masters of Sex and Boardwalk Empire
Boardwalk’s Assistant U.S. Attorney and Masters‘ buttoned-up gynecologist might get lost amid the flashy subject matter of their respective series… were it not for Nicholson’s quietly powerful performances.
(Runner-up: Sarah Hyland, Modern Family)
Most Underrated Actor
Hugh Dancy, Hannibal
Watch the scenes where Dancy’s Will thinks he’s losing a long-standing tug-of-war with his mind, then tell us why the actor got no Emmy love this year (go ahead, we’ll wait).
(Runner-up: Michael Cudlitz, Southland)
Joe Morton, Scandal
For opening the season with Rowan/Eli declaring — to his own daughter!) — “I am the Hell and the high water,” and most recently regaling us with a dynamic dissertation on why the leader of the free world is but “a boy.”
Best Extended Scene Sans Dialogue
Lea Michele’s “To Make You Feel My Love,” Glee
Watching the actress take her own grief over the loss of costar and boyfriend Cory Monteith — and channel it into Rachel Berry’s memorial tribute to the late Finn Hudson during the show’s gut-wrenching “The Quarterback” — was a thing of profoundly sad beauty.
Best New Character on an Established Drama
Shaw, Person of Interest
Sarah Shahi, in first describing Team Machine’s new ally, said: "If James Bond and Sarah Connor had a kid, Shaw would kick its ass." All these months later, boy, do we believe her!
(Runner-up: Tinker Bell, Once Upon a Time)
Worst New Characters on an Established Drama
Greg and Tamara, Once Upon a Time
That these two — a whiny orphan with a vendetta against Regina and Neal’s agenda-hiding fiancee — were so rapidly dispatched with by “the Home Office” in Season 3’s premiere speaks to their utter disposability as evil-doers.
(Runner-up: Jimmy, Smash)
Best New Character on an Established Comedy
Jenny, Two and a Half Men
Yes, we collectively groaned when the CBS sitcom announced its plan to give the late Charlie Harper a long-lost lesbian daughter. But Amber Tamblyn and the writers have seized an opportunity to weave in some heart (and even heartbreak) amid the girl-crazy gal’s more prurient exploits.
Worst New Character on an Established Comedy
Daphne, How I Met Your Mother
We couldn’t wait for the show to eject Marshall’s grating tripmate from his storyline.
Samuel L. Jackson, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The ayes (or eye) have it: Nick Fury’s unannounced visit, in part to dress down Agent Coulson, was super.
Best Comedy Duo
Elizabeth and Karen, Mistresses
Penelope Anne Miller’s scorned widow — and Yunjin Kim’s doltish therapist (who bedded both Elizabeth’s late hubby, then her son!) — were a study in high camp and hilarity. Elizabeth’s murderous contempt (and attempted murder) of her rival produced some of the best bon mots of 2013, including this response to Karen’s “professional opinion” that college-student Sam was infatuated with her. "Maybe you should tell him you were screwing his father: That should break the spell."
(Runner-up: Charlotte and Cooper, Private Practice)
Best Performance By a Psycho
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Does it make us crazy that, even though her Norma is manipulative, mercurial and downright dangerous, we still can't help but kinda root for her?
Best Double Act
Natalie Dormer on Elementary and Game of Thrones
If anyone can cajole King Joffrey and screw with Sherlock Holmes, it’s the regally beautiful, wickedly shrewd Tudors alum.
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Even when the underrated HBO dramedy goes over the top, the Reno 911! alum's seen-it-all Nurse Didi somehow (miraculously!) keeps it real.
‘Friday Night Lights Coach & Tami Award’ for Performance We’ve Got to Believe Will Eventually Get Noticed by the Emmys
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
The actress delivered quantity and quality, portraying seven uniquely different and individual characters. (Runner-up: Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy )
Walter’s tearful, preemptive goodbye to son Peter will always be our favorite thing.
(Runner-up: Ryan’s re-enlistment on Parenthood)
Most Convoluted Story Arc
A “simple” plot to assassinate the president during surgery — at first only complicated by Dr. Sanders’ delay tactic — has since heaped on umtpeen new layers, involving bone marrow theft, a secret long-ago rape, faked deaths, in-fighting between mercenaries and what is at best a D-story about would-be White House running mates.
Rowan is Olivia’s dad! Funny — one second you’re thinking Olivia has just been subject to the greatest Hell imaginable, having been outed as POTUS’ mistress. And the she got into that limo.
(Runner-up: Rick proposes to Kate, Castle)
Most Moving Death Scene
Detective Carter, Person of Interest
She died as she lived — as a noble NYPD detective hell-bent on putting an end to the corrupt cop conglomerate known as HR.
(Runner-up: Tommy, Arrow)
Ickiest Death Scene
Tara, Sons of Anarchy
We sorta suspected that Tara’s days were numbered, but never imagined series creator Kurt Sutter would have Gemma put a fork in the character quite like she did. Again, and again, and….
(Runner-up: Sarah bludgeoning Ms. Suzuki to death with a stiletto, True Blood)
Worst Death Scene
Matthew, Downton Abbey
Because that truck was going like five miles an hour and a deadly, bloody head wound is worse than a lump of coal for Christmas.
Sue Ellen Remembers J.R. on Dallas
Recounting when she and J.R. first crossed paths, Sue Ellen shared, “I fell madly, passionately, hopelessly in love with the most infuriating, charming scoundrel I’ve ever known. It’s enough to drive a girl to drink.” As she went on to read aloud a note J.R. had left for her, inviting her to dinner/rekindle their flame, it was enough to drive us to weep.
Best CGI Moment
The CW series went all Technicolor on viewers, and it was Oz-some.
(Runner-up: The Undertaking rocks The Glades, Arrow)
Worst CGI Moment
“Ursula” emerges from the sea, Once Upon a Time
Something was extremely fishy about the connection between Lana Parrilla’s torso and the sea witch’s squiggly octopus-like bottom.
(Runner-up: The Shifter/Various magic stuff, The Witches of East End)
Most Horrifying Sequence
Red Wedding murders, Game of Thrones
If you’re a fan of George R. R. Martin’s books, you knew it was coming – but reading about the Stark slaughter and seeing it play out (not to mention hearing Michelle Fairley’s anguished cry) are two disturbingly different things.
Most Enjoyable Scenery-Chewing
James Spader, The Blacklist
Spader can barely contain the immense glee he’s experiencing as an actor while he (and his enigmatic, dangerous, but oh-so-charming Raymond Reddington) one-ups everyone around him. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Least Enjoyable Scenery-Chewing
Beau Bridges, The Millers
While we enjoy the veteran actor’s work in most everything else (including Showtime’s Masters of Sex), at times he’s simply too broad as Will Arnett’s father, consuming all oxygen in the room.
Most Ubiquitous Guest Star (Male)
Even though Cult disappeared from our screens, Knepper never did with a guest spot on The Blacklist and a new gig on Mob City. Look for him early next year on Arrow, too.
Most Ubiquitous Guest Star (Female)
Castle, Revolution, Dallas, Body of Proof, Touch — Wersching was everywhere in 2013.
Wackiest Plot Twist
Robin Scorpio Drake is alive! Sorry we’re not sorry, Sabrina.
Best Reality Show Judge
Kelly Rowland, The X Factor
Tough, insightful critiques without any unnecessary cruelty? Check. Hilarious zingers and GIF-worthy reaction shots? You bet. Solid mentoring skills (and actual singing talent)? Undoubtedly! Too bad the Destiny’s Child alum is stuck on the worst reality singing competition on TV.
Worst Reality Show Judge
Mariah Carey, American Idol
Oh. Em. Gee. Mere seconds ago, Mimi finally completed her last critique from Season 12 (which technically wrapped back in May)! And spoiler alert: As always, it was all “dahhhlings!” and verbosity, signifying nothing.
Best Awards-Show Moment
Neil Patrick Harris’ opening musical number at the Tony Awards
Harris' legendary routine began with a lightning fast tour of the current Broadway musical scene that seemingly included singers and dancers from every last one of 'em. Then, after "disappearing" in a magic box on stage, reappearing out in the middle of the audience, and sprinting back to the front of the theater, NPH delivered an emotional ending, reminding the assemblage "we were that kid" while mentioning all the children at home watching their TVs and singing along to the music.
Worst Awards-Show Moment
Miley Cyrus going to third base with a foam finger at the MTV Video Music Awards
Pundits will debate for decades whether the much-discussed and even-more-parodied performance was a cry for help from the singer. What won't be debated, however, was whether there were cries for help from viewers. (As Phoebe Buffay would say, "Oh, my eyes! My eyes!")