CarterMatt Awards 2015: ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Fargo’ compete for Surprising Moment

Fargo season 2We are living in an age of television now where many shows live and die by their big surprise moments. There is so much competition out there that many feel like the only way to be noticed is to do something that completely stuns viewers and has them talking for weeks. This is why some shows now have cliffhangers every week, or are marketed in a way that is akin to “just you wait for the next shocker to arrive” in as foreboding a voice as possible.

Today we are presenting our penultimate category of the 2015 CarterMatt Awards in Most Surprising Moment, and our focus here is looking at six moments from the past year in TV that really did stun us to the point where we had (almost) nothing to say. These come from all sorts of genres and networks, and we tried to take such elements as source material and network promotion out of the equation. One warning: There are SPOILERS ahead for all of the shows nominated.

Voting for this award will stay open until December 31 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Head over here to see all the categories and how to vote!

Past winners – Rick’s disappearance on “Castle” (2014), Carol’s banishment on “The Walking Dead” (2013).

“The Big Bang Theory,” Sheldon and Amy have “coitus” – Yes, we know that CBS ruined some of the surprise by announcing the news to the press early, but had you not known about this going into the episode, your eyes would’ve fallen out of your head. Not only did the two consummate their lengthy relationship, but they also did so only a week after getting back together! Sheldon typically moves at a glacial pace; for him, this was like choosing to pilot a fighter jet and it shocked us as much as it did Penny when she broke her wine glass in her hand after hearing Sheldon’s plans.

“Fargo,” UFO time -This has been a well-received second season of “Fargo” that was mostly grounded in reality… then there were UFOs. We got the first hints of them early on in the season, only for them to show up later in the midst of one of the series’ most-epic battles at the motel. We’re still not entirely sure why we needed some sort of giant space ship to hover over the massacre in the middle of the shoot out, but we got them nonetheless. Maybe this was meant to create a sort of out-of-this-world element to the story that turned it from a “true story” into a tall tale? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure, we didn’t see it coming.

“Game of Thrones,” Jon Snow is stabbed by Olly (and lots of other people) – Sure, we know that readers of the book series may have saw this coming, but as for everyone else, the HBO series somehow managed to stun us even two seasons removed from the Red Wedding. They lull us into this state of thinking that they couldn’t possibly want to kill off any other beloved Stark family member (hasn’t this family been through enough?), and then they go ahead and leave Jon Snow for dead. Granted. it’s possible that Jon is not truly dead, but even still the moment was stunning.

“How to Get Away with Murder,” Wes shoots Annalise – The thing about Pete Nowalk’s ABC drama is that it pushes really hard for the shock value. Thanks to that, it actually takes a lot for us to be surprised. We knew from the onset of season 2 that Annalise Keating was going to be shot, but little did we know that she was going to antagonize Wes into doing it by telling him the truth about Rebecca. Also twisted? That Annalise wanted him to shoot her, albeit in the leg to help cover up the Emily Sinclair murder. (Wes instead went for the abdomen.)

“Scorpion,” Walter and Paige kiss – We’ve become so focused over the years on procedurals choosing to wait as long as humanly possible to get two characters together, and with that, the fact that “Scorpion” focused on Walter and Paige in such a way in the season 2 premiere was incredible surprising. They told each other how they felt about each other and shared a steamy kiss after only one season of build up and even though they’ve agreed to be “professional” and leave their feelings for another time, it was surprising to see CBS just go for it so early on in the series run.

“The Walking Dead,” Glenn “dies,” but not really – Remember, sometimes “surprising” does not always mean “good.” We still consider this moment to be really terrible, but it did certain raise eyebrows. The fact that the AMC series used Glenn in particular was a shrewd move on their part, with many (comic book SPOILER ALERT) thinking that it would be later in the season with Negan that the character would be in danger. The fact that they decided not to kill Glenn off was even more shocking, because AMC is a network that isn’t normally scared to make big moves like that.

(Photo: FX)

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