From Theme Songs to Title Cards, Here’s A Look at the Best of TV’s Most Taken For Granted Features
While some of these categories actually do exist in the real Emmy Awards, you’ll never see their winners announced during the Live telecast on Sept. 20. In honor of those stalwart constants of every episode, here’s an unofficial award show devoted entirely to them.
Rules: While any parallel awards with the actual Emmys (like the one for theme song) were taken into consideration, the only requirement for Alterna-Emmy nominees was that they be from shows currently on the air or just ended (as in eligible for this year’s award ceremonies, regardless of whether ultimately unfairly snubbed).
Let the show begin!
Best Opening Credits: Showtime’s “Shameless”
AMC’s “Mad Men‘s” is iconic and a tortured reflection of an equally tortured protagonist. HBO’s “Game of Throne‘s” will always be celebrated for its artistry, in reconstructing George R. R. Martin’s map of Westeros. Yet there’s something about the various ways the Gallagher family uses a bathroom that beautifully speaks to the chaos “Shameless” embraces–it may not be perfectly sanitary but the tone is celebratory.
Best Theme Song: Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful”
Not as radio-blasting ready as FX’s “Justified’s” Long Hard Times to Come,” by Gangstagrass, featuring T.O.N.E-z, but the way Abel Korzeniowski’s “Penny Dreadful” theme shifts from soft to haunting to predatory to victorious swell tells a story all on its own.
Honorable Mentions: Netflix’s “Peaky Blinders” (Nick Cave & the Bad Seed’s “Red Right Hand“) WGN’s “Salem” (Marilyn Manson and Tyler Bate’s “Cupid Carries A Gun“)and Starz’s “Outlander” (an adaption of the Scottish folk song, “Skye Boat Song,” by uber-talented music composer, Bear McCreary, featuring Raya Yarbrough)
Best Title Card: ABC’s “Once Upon A Time”
While not the first show to do this (and in recent seasons ABC’s “Castle” has been trying to follow suit) it’s always a special treat to catch what will appear in the title card of a “Once Upon A Time” episode. Each episode’s card changes to give a nod to that week’s featured storyline.
Best Recap Trailers: CW’s “Jane the Virgin”
The CW’s “Supernatural” has always had a special knack for pairing rock songs with friendly reminder clips of relevant happenings from past episodes. However it’s CW newcomer, “Jane the Virgin” that comes out for with win this year, for consistently coming up with new and clever ways to incorporate voiceover narrator, Anthony Mendez, into their show.
Best Background Music:
Soundtrack that Actually Exists:
FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” which got away with including popular songs by doing covers of them with different singers and the band, Forest Rangers.
Soundtrack Copyright Prevents From Existing, But Wouldn’t It Be Awesome?
TIE: SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” and FX’s “The Americans“
Best Show with Original Songs
ABC’s “Nashville,” combining multitalented singer-actors with an amazing team of songwriters for catchy tunes like “Gasoline and Matches.”
Honorable Mentions: PBS’ “Poldark” (for Demelza’s (Eleanor Tomlinson) singing of “I d’Pluck a Fair Rose for My Love“) and Cinemax’s “The Knick” (techno music and the early 20th century shouldn’t work yet the combo is remarkably striking)