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Best in Show: The Final Showdown

March 28th, 2011 by Ben Collins Editor

This is it.

We started with 32 shows and now we’re down to two. After four rounds of heated competition, you decided that either “Chuck” or “Dexter” is the best show on TV. Now it’s time to pick a winner for Hulu’s second annual Best in Show. Voting is open until we announce a winner on April 4.
Will Dexter carve out a place for himself in history, or will Chuck covertly sneak in as the best show of 2010-2011? TV expert and HitFix.com Senior Editor Alan Sepinwall is here to explain what the shakeout of the Final Four means, how this final pairing can shape TV’s future, and to which show he’s handing his final, five-percent vote for Best in Show.

Hulu: If “Dexter” wins this thing, does that make it a candidate to be an all-time great? It gets overlooked by the Greatness Hype that has pervaded “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Boardwalk Empire” discussions. Doesn’t that belong in those discussions at this point?
Alan Sepinwall:
With all due respect to the fans who have pushed it this far in the contest, I have to say no. “Dexter” is a show with a brilliant lead performance that had a great first couple of seasons (though the second season ended poorly after a great start) and has — outside of the Michael C. Hall/John Lithgow acting duel in season 4 — been largely going through the motions ever since. A fun show. Not an all-timer.

“Dexter” dominated “Glee,” a show you thought had a very good chance to win the whole contest. “Community” completely derailed all of its competition, until it faced off against “Chuck” in this round. Meanwhile, “Chuck’s” only challenge came from “Supernatural,” which arguably had the competition’s most vocal support. Should we have foreseen this final coming early on?
Given what I know A) about the passion of “Community” fans, and B) how last year’s Best in Show went (where the guest critic had a stronger vote and wasn’t a “Community” fan at the time), I have not been surprised in the least about “Community’s” success. Nor “Chuck’s,” for reasons I’ll get to below. As I’ve said, “Dexter” crushing “Glee” was by far the biggest shocker of the tournament for me, though in retrospect “Glee” losing to a show whose support we all underestimated.

“Dexter” has been heavy on guest stars this season. While this is used as a cheap trick on a lot of shows, “Dexter” seems to use them effectively and genuinely. Can shows use this season as a primer on how to work cameos effectively?
“Dexter” uses guest stars well in part because its regular characters other than Dexter (and, at times, his sister) aren’t particularly deep, and aren’t allowed to know about Dexter’s other, more interesting, life. So they have to put him up against non-regulars whenever he’s being himself. But even “Dexter” has had a spotty record with guest stars. Most of them were good this season, and Lithgow was fantastic last season, but Jimmy Smits (an actor I usually like) was a real misfire the year before.

Where are these “Chuck” superfans coming from? Did you have any idea how avid and vocal their fan base is?
Given that I was there to witness the fan campaign that helped save the show from cancellation two years ago, I’m not the least bit surprised by how much they’ve been supporting their show here. These are people who went out and bought Subway sandwiches to help keep their favorite on the air when it was most vulnerable; for this, they didn’t even have to spend money.

In a couple of years, are we going to look back at any show and say, “How could that have possibly not won Best in Show in 2011?” And are we going to be embarrassed by any show’s particularly lengthy run?
“House” (which was a strong show once upon a time but is now mostly running on fumes) took out the two shows that I’d easily consider to be the best of Best in Show: “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” I understand why it happened — many, many, many more people watch “House” than either AMC show — but I think history is going to look far more kindly and frequently on Don Draper and Walter White than on Greg House.

We want to thank you again for supplying five percentage points of brilliance to this contest. So for the very last time: Who do you see winning Best in Show?

Last comment: Jun 4th 2016 40 Comments
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  • Richard says:

    Breaking Bad is the best show on tv, probably ever. Can’t believe it lost to House. House is such a joke these days. House used to be good enough but they lost it in the psat couple years. The article said that they both have strong leads but that unlike House, the rest of Breaking bad production can carry it. House can no longer carry it, except the oiccasional good episode. I’ll admit, the second half of season 7 was much better than anything in season 6 or the first half of seven. Probably never gonna be what the show was. Loved the Amber Tamblyn character. But then they had to write her off cause of thirteen, who is by far the most annoying character the show has ever had (yes even more than the worst patient of the week you can think of). Although, even when the writing is weak, I think Hugh Laurie still does a great job and he definitely needs an emmy this year (I would submit the penultimate episode). i think he has a chance since Cranston isnt in the race this year. He better not lose to Jon Hamm or Steve Buscemi. But yes, the second half of season seven was much better than season 6 and first half of 7. but even House when it was at its best will still never live up to Breaking Bad, which nobody should be ashamed of cause its so good. Vince Gilligan is just a genuis. And i believe he is overlooked. He still has yet to win an emmy. Never been nominated for writng. That just amazes me. He was nominated for directing the pilot (lost to the House episode House’s head. Not as good but still a great episode). But he needs to be nominated for the fourth season when the show is elligible again in 2012. Needs to do an emmy sweep. Best writing/directing and best drama series. Dont care if cranston wins though. Hes won three already. If Breaking Bad never wins I will be at a loss for words.

  • Interpretation says:

    F Off = Fulcrum Off.

    Intersect On.

  • Austronaut Mike says:

    “How does Chuck win over HIMYM when they both polled 50. Oh because it is rigged. F off.”

    Dexter won over HIMYM despite the result being 50/50. So yes it is rigged, but obviously in favor of Dexter. Read the questions Alan was asked in the interviews, Hulu is apparently home to some serious Dexter fanboys.

  • Chef Ritchard says:

    How does Chuck win over HIMYM when they both polled 50. Oh because it is rigged. F off.

  • Team Chuck says:

    Unfortunately for the seemingly angry and paranoid Chuck Haters, sorry but Majority Wins, which should tell you something.. emphasis on should.

    Just grow up and learn to accept that you can’t win everything. Fact is, Chuck is owning your show and you’re frustrated.

    Now please, go back and tell Volkoff that we’re onto you.


  • sant silva says:

    Chuck without a doubt, is the worst show EVER!
    O yea and what is this hulu’s best in show crap? —It’s a poll for hulu members. And it’s between a show you can watch on hulu, and a show unwatchable on hulu.

  • Mace Moneta says:

    I think that the reason most people are surprised when Chuck wins online polls, is that it has low Nielsen ratings. However, Chuck has a huge international fan base, not counted by Nielsen. And, unlike Nielsen, Internet polls are globally accessible.

    Right now, Chuck is – by far – my favorite show on TV. It’s the only show I look forward to, and the only show I can’t miss. If you watch from the beginning of the series, you see how the characters and their relationships have developed, and you get emotionally attached to them. It’s something all TV shows try to establish, but few succeed. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Chuck are the only shows I know of with such passionate viewers.

  • Team Bartowski says:

    We’re not using bots. We’ve got the intersect on our side. Beb, you didn’t stand a chance.

  • Daniela_chuck says:

    chuck is one of the best tv shows in world and say that the chuck fuans are cheaters is a child behavior

  • Team Chuck says:

    It IS Amusing though how they have conspiracy theories on how we (Team Bartowski) are using bots.. HA HA HA!!

    If you can’t beat us, join us,.. if you don’t want to join us.. STFU.

    Intersect Bots!! ROLL OUT!!!

  • xxPammyxx says:

    It’s sad to see the hostility those show because Chuck is winning this poll, rather than their favorite show. I’ve been a loyal fan of Chuck since it’s first episode. I wrote into the network to save it from cancellation two years ago, I bought Subway sandwiches every Monday and I bought the DVD’s for each season, online. Chuck has made me look forward to Monday nights! And I’m certainly not the only superfan Chuck has. I am not a bot, but I’m sure I’ve voted at 1,000 times each week in this poll. And if the followers of Chuck on Facebook are any indication, every other loyal fan has been doing the same ~ or better. So it’s really no surprise that Chuck is about to take the title here. I’m proud to see that once again all of our loyalty and hard work has paid off!

  • Micah says:

    I ate at Subway today!!!! Go Chuck!

  • Team Bartowski says:

    Go Chuck Go!!!!!!!!!! Chuck you’re the best!!!!

  • Smoky_Owl says:

    This poll has just begun . . .

  • Aiden says:

    I’m thrilled that Chuck reached the finale, and I can absolutely see this small show taking the whole thing–not without some work, of course. But, I’m so glad it’s made its mark here on Hulu’s Best in Show. NBC needs to see that people are passionate for the show and it must be saved.

    Thanks, Sepinwall, for your input through all this! I mostly agreed with your points and opinions–especially now with Chuck taking this one. Hopefully, it at leasts gets this title if not a 5th season.

  • GrammarChecker says:

    “Chuck fans is cheaters in always will be.” = Fail.

    Consider yourself CHUCKed.

  • Greg says:

    Chuck fans is cheaters in always will be.
    Its no way in hell they should be winning by that large of number.

  • Sure says:

    You are right, because Chuck has the Intersect that is controlling the Internet.

  • Wasajdad says:

    Chuck is a piece of crap. And it hasn’t got so many fans. The thing is, as in all polls around the net, Chuck fans are using bots and all that shit to cheat the competition. In every fucking competition where it participates, it wins by ridiculous percentages. Come on, why the fuck do you allow that? Fuck this.

  • James says:

    There is another factor to pull in that you seem to have not quite noticed. A good number of the shows in the 32 have little if any real international profile and the ones that do, House, Chuck, Dexter have done very well. On twitter there are an awful lot of Italian and UK fans voting because they love the shows but have no way of influencing networks, No neilsen, no hulu, no reward TV and no website views to boost figures. So guess what they do – camp on the hulu site and vote 200 times a day.

    There is an open question about whether shows that doen’t do well at home travel better because they fit other cultures better – whether its a closer match for chuck with an english sense of humor or whether the darkness of dexter is better seen through the lens of a heavily catholic culture of italy. Or the advert format gives the show more space to breath.

  • Soul of Wit says:

    I’d be remiss in not adding Curb Your Enthusiasm and The IT Crowd to the list of best shows now airing. I tend to forget sitcoms in best lists. I hope The IT Crowd is still airing. Curb is back this Summer.

  • Soul of Wit says:

    Is the “analysis” intentionally poor? Of course, the show on broadcast television will get more votes than the show on pay cable. DVDs don’t have enough power to change that fact.

    The best shows currently airing are Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Damages and Rescue Me. Shows like Community, Glee and even Supernatural are cult shows. Their following is vocal but not as large as that for House or Chuck.

    I’ll be voting for Dexter, because it is the better show. I also watch Chuck (right here on Hulu) and will have no problem when it wins.

  • Hill says:

    Sorry to disappoint y’all! but Chuck had this all along! :p

  • Team Chuck says:

    Of course you don’t Frost, we all know that Frost doesn’t watch TV! ;) Hell it’s hard enough to get Sarah to play games!.. GOOOOoo CHUCK!!

  • Brett says:

    I love the questions Hulu posed to Alan here. I particularly like the one that posits Dexter’s place in history will be enhanced because of its performance here, as if this contest is in any way meaningful. I can only imagine Alan banging his head on his desk as he’s reading these questions.

  • Frost says:

    I don’t like either of these shows, and I believe that is a common sentiment. How honorable was this competition anyway?

  • Team Charah says:

    Hopefully the voting still counts even though it says 0% to 0%, cause I’m voting! Chuck all the way!

  • Kyle says:

    I completely disagree with the critic this year…..but then again, I disagreed with the last one too so I guess I may be a little biased. DEXTER RULES!!!

  • coreymon77 says:

    okay, now we are seemingly able to vote, but it is still 0%-0% for the results for both shows. Are the votes counting yet? What’s going on?

  • Holly says:

    Team Bartowski for the win. I’m proud of Chuck. <3 I love some of the shows Chuck has taken on– Community, you were and are a more-than-worthy contender and one of the best shows on television– but "Chuck" has such a heart to it. Keeps me voting for it. :)

  • Andre says:

    Voting results:
    Voting has ended
    Chuck 0%
    Dexter 0%

  • coreymon77 says:

    Please fix the poll, we want to be able to vote!

  • coreymon77 says:

    something is wrong with the poll. It says voting has ended has has 0%-0% for both shows and won’t let us vote.

  • Team Charah says:

    Agh! Let me vote! We must secure a win for Chuck! Why does it say 0% and 0%?

  • Team Bartowski says:

    Something is wrong with the poll.

  • Team Chuck says:

    Yeah how can we vote for the perfect show? GOOOoooooo CHUCK! & and Sarah, and Morgan, and KC, and Jeffster, and Nerd Herd, and BuyMoria…

  • Steph says:

    CHUCK FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • canadian_turtle says:

    I think there may be an issue with the voting form as it says voting has ended and lists 0% for both shows (though Chuck should at least have Alan Sepinwall’s 5%). Hope it gets fixed soon!