updated 08/25/2014 AT 9:20 AM ET
•originally published 08/20/2014 AT 7:10 PM ET
To avoid a conflict with Sunday Night Football, NBC moved the 2014 Emmy Awards telecast up a month, to August 25. But in swerving clear of the football juggernaut, the Emmys steered right into the lane of the landmark cultural occasion of late August: the MTV VMAs, scheduled for one day prior.
It got us thinking: What if we took things to their logical conclusion and handed MTV control of the Emmys, as well?
Using categories from both the VMAs and their summertime counterpart, the MTV Movie Awards, we’ve imagined what would happen if the cable network was in charge of handing out trophies for everything that’s on TV, not just music videos.
Massive spoilers below!
Best Fight: Every fight from American Horror Story: Coven
What’s better than two women talking about something other than a man? Two women fighting about something other than a man – in particular, which one of them will reign Supreme. These witches’ marvelous bitchcraft cast a spell on us all season long, and they inspired one of the best memes of 2013.
Best Kiss: Ted and The Mother, How I Met Your Mother
After years of teasing, HIMYM finally made a full-fledged character out of the Mother in its final season, and all the anticipation built around her arrival paid off (an occurrence that was increasingly rare in the show’s later years). All of her moments with Ted were so good – why’d they have to kill her off?
Best Shirtless Performance: Adam Driver, Girls
(Credit: My New Plaid Pants)
This award will be Adam Driver’s until Girls goes off the air, or until he leaves TV entirely to take up a full-time job attending Star Wars conventions. Whichever comes first.
Best Villain: Walter White, Breaking Bad
Showrunner Vince Gilligan pitched Breaking Bad as one man’s transformation “from Mr. Chips to Scarface,” and in the AMC drama’s final season, Walter White’s villainy was finally laid bare. Whether or not the finale gave him his proper comeuppance remains an open question.
Best On-Screen Duo: Rust Cohle and Marty Hart, True Detective
No pair of mismatched partners who learn to begrudgingly accept each other were ever more mismatched than this pair of Louisiana detectives who learned to begrudgingly accept each other. One was a philosophizing nihilist prone to insane flights of rhetorical fancy, the other was a disgraced family man with deep-seated issues towards women. Together, they made an unstoppable team.
Breakthrough Performance: Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
Before her starmaking turn on Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox was best known for her desire to work for Diddy in the VH1 reality show I Want to Work for Diddy. After it, she became a world-famous advocate for transgender rights and a pioneering TIME cover star. She’s going to look great on Emmys night.
#WTF Moment: Frank Underwood, Zoe Barnes & the subway, House of Cards
Fans of the original House of Cards knew that Zoe Barnes was likely not long for this world – her British equivalent was tossed off the Houses of Parliament at the end of the BBC miniseries’ first season. But nobody could have predicted the swiftness with which the Netflix drama dispatched its intrepid reporter, who was tossed in front of a DC Metro train in the season two premiere.
Best Series with a Social Message: TIE: Orange Is the New Black and The Normal Heart
Does MTV do ties? We do ties. We couldn’t choose between HBO’s gripping examination of the nature of activism in the early days of the AIDS crisis and Netflix’s commitment to showcasing a diverse group of women’s stories so we chose them both!
Best Musical Moment: “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” Mad Men
Before Mad Men, actor Robert Morse was most famous for starring in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – if any character in the 1960s ad agency was going to burst into song, it was going to be his wise old Bert Cooper. Taking place at the end of an episode that saw Cooper’s death (while watching the moon landing), this ornate musical number was a fitting send-off for both character and actor.
Best On-Screen Transformation: Lady Mary, Downton Abbey
Downton’s first few seasons saw Lady Mary evolve from haughty heiress to loving wife, and in its fourth season she changed yet again, this time into a hardened, dead-eyed widow. Credit to Michele Dockery for showing Mary’s slow walk back towards the light – on a series that’s not afraid to turn the melodrama up to 11, her subtle transformation stole the show.
Best Cameo: Prince, New Girl
There may not have been more obvious post-Super Bowl ratings stunts, but there have definitely been many worse. The L.A. roommates’ visit to Prince’s house saw the Purple One indulge in a little light self-mockery, while still keeping his legend intact. Did you know he can talk to butterflies?
Best Pop: Oberyn Martell, Game of Thrones