Best of 2014: ‘Longmire,’ ‘Hannibal,’ ‘Hell on Wheels’ among Underrated Show candidates

Best of -It’s December 1, and you know what that means: Today is the official start of our annual CarterMatt Awards! We recognize what both we and the readers feel are worthy of special honors from the past 12 months, and we try to do it with as much fun and interactivity as possible.

Here is how it is going to work: Over the next 13 days, we’re going to release a new set of nominees daily, with a poll for all of you to vote. We’ll compile the results within two weeks. For example, the winners for this first category, Best Underrated Show, will be announced on Monday, December 15.

In case you ever miss a day, we’ll compile everything at the link here, and we’ll announce our own personal picks at the end of the year. This is going to be a fun month, so happy voting and thanks for another great year!

Best Underrated Show Nominees – 2014

Criteria – The nominees that we’ve chosen here are all shows with diehard followings and critical acclaim, but at the same time not ones that tend to receive wins at any major awards show. As a matter of fact, only one nominee below even received a nomination in a major category from the Emmys this past year, and it didn’t win. None of these shows are also known for having an audience of tens of millions of people.

Hannibal (NBC) – One of the best shows on network TV, but also the one that all Emmy voters seem to ignore for some inexplicable reason. It’s not a situation where none of them have the network or anything. This is a show that is supremely well-acted, will written, visually stunning, but also under-appreciated. There’s a reason that we podcasted the show all year long with Jason Prager.

Hell on Wheels (AMC) – 2014 was a good year for the TV Western, or at least two of them that continued to raise their game. While “Hell on Wheels” may have taken away from us two beloved characters this season (we’ll keep this relatively spoiler-free), they also brought us the strongest episodes that we’ve seen to date. Anson Mount raised his game, and the emotional conflicts of all of the characters became a little more present. For a historical perspective, “Hell on Wheels” was narrowly defeated last year in this category by “Supernatural.”

Longmire (Netflix) – We’re thrilled to be able to attach this show finally to someone other than A&E. We’ve spent so much time this year writing about how much we want to see the show have a new home, maybe it got occasionally lost just how good “Longmire” is. This season in particular continued to show us that you can have a story about crime-fighting that has something original to say, and represents a place and group of people who are often ignored. It takes you back to a different time, and really makes you care about these people trying to make Wyoming a better place.

Outlander (Starz) – Commercially, we’d say that Starz’s supremely successful fantasy is probably valued about where it should be. Those who watch the show love it! However, critically we don’t feel like it is getting its due as a contender. Nearly a pitch-perfect adaptation of the book series, and showcases the feeling of displacement perhaps better than any other.

Silicon Valley (HBO) – The more that you watch “Silicon Valley,” the more you realize just how brilliantly funny it is. It’s a great cast of performers who have long been worthy of this sort of break, and we personally like to refer it as “The Social Network” meets “Office Space.” It may actually be the best Mike Judge product since he and Milton made a certain brand of stapler famous.

This is where you come in: Vote for your favorites in the poll below! We’ll reveal the results for this category, as mentioned, on December 15.

Also, be sure to sign up today to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!