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?