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FYC: "Counterpart" 

Team Experience will be sharing FYCs as the Television Academy votes on Emmy nominations over the next two weeks. Here's Abe Fried-Tanzer...

Last year, Counterpart won exactly the number of Emmy Awards it was nominated for – one. Its Main Title Design victory, while deserved, is hardly indicative of its tremendous quality. Starz has struggled generally to find a footing in the non-technical categories, earning only Best Limited Series mentions in the past decade, for The Pillars of the Earth and The White Queen. Golden Globes enthusiasm for Outlander, Boss, and Blunt Talk didn’t translate to Emmy love, and so there’s little hope that Counterpart, which was cancelled back in February by Starz, will break through in the way it should this year.

Season two represented the opposite of a sophomore slump for this sci-fi political thriller. The ideas presented in season one were expanded upon and the show transformed into something completely different. What initially began as a showcase of an incredible two-handed performance from Oscar winner J.K. Simmons as the same man from two different worlds turned into so much more, with his two starring characters shying away from the spotlight as other players came into focus...

STARZ Counterpart Main Title from Imaginary Forces on Vimeo.

With so many of last year’s nominees out of contention this year, this is absolutely the time to welcome Counterpart into all categories, including Best Drama Series. Here are the other picks truly worthy of consideration:


Best Directing and Writing: “Twin Cities”
Season two’s most memorable episode explained the origins of the Crossing, the divide between two worlds that frames this show’s premise. The careful analysis of the discovery, the establishment of rules and protocols, and the events that led to the divergence of the two was nothing short of mesmerizing.


Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Samuel Roukin as Young Yanek
James Cromwell already has an Emmy for American Horror Story, but the man who plays the younger version of his prison warden should be up for accolades this year. British actor Roukin, known for the series TURN: Washington’s Spies, compellingly portrays both versions of Yanek, the accidental architect of the Crossing whose greatest achievement was coming face-to-face with himself.

Harry Lloyd as Peter Quayle

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Harry Lloyd as Peter Quayle
He may have made an impression in season one of Game of Thrones when his character, Viserys Targaryen, demanded a golden crown, but Lloyd left an indelible mark as Strategy Director Peter Quayle, whose universe spiraled out of control in season two. Lloyd was equally incredible as Quayle’s “other,” who ended up in a wholly different predicament.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Nazanin Boniadi as Clare Quayle
Boniadi, best known for roles in Homeland and How I Met Your Mother, turned her conflicted character into the most watchable part of this show, navigating motivations related to a biased education in her past and a new outlook in her present.

And, of course:

Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series: J.K. Simmons as Howard Silk
Simmons, who won an Oscar for 2014's Whiplash, should actually have the best chance of getting nominated given his profile. Unlike the Mirror Universe on Star Trek, where characters had facial hair or different uniforms to distinguish their two selves, Simmons played both Howards dressed in exactly the same clothing, yet he was able to nail every nuance to distinguish them. Everything on this show is Emmy-worthy, but I’d settle for a representative nomination for its talented star.


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Reader Comments (4)

Omg, I thought I (well, my husband and I) was the only one who watched this show! Sad but not surprised it got cancelled, and agree with everything you write here. Especially on J.K. Simmons - he's marvelous at distinguishing the two versions of Howard even without saying a word, just the way he holds his jaw and carries himself.

Overall, I liked the show a lot but feel like they could have made the two worlds a bit more visually distinctive from one another, as they did in "Fringe."

June 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Lee

....if JK Simmons yells a lot in this, I’m automatically sold

June 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

This show was great. I think of it often. And sure, Simmons would be the likeliest nominee, but I'd love to see Harry Lloyd honored (and I'm happy to see your comments on his work). I've been impressed by him ever since his memorable turns on 2 of the best episodes of Doctor Who, and he's just remarkable in this.

June 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Re: Harry Lloyd, I've often thought he and Michael Fassbender should play brothers at some point. Agree he's quite good here.

Olivia Williams is great in this, too, even if I felt like one version of her character was not as well written / developed as the other. (didn't help that that version was in a coma for half the season, of course.)

June 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Lee

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