Yes, let us start with an obvious list. Read about them after the jump.10. The cast of Criminal Minds
The show was virtually ignored for two seasons when Mandy Patinkin left in the summer of 2007. The cast rallied and became stronger, and the addition of Joe Mantegna has turned out to be genius. The show keeps improving, and the actors ( Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Kirsten Vangsness, and A.J. cook) are one of the best ensembles on television. Still wondering? Check out the show, Wednesdays on CBS ( CTV in Canada).
9. Robert Downey Jr.
He has been great before, but this year- with roles as Tony Stark in Iron Man and Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder, he has hit his prime. I prefer Kirk, as who else would go there- in black face? Seriously? Guts, dude. Brass ones.
8. David Cook
He was innocuous enough till he lashed out with “Billie Jean”, and suddenly, every woman I knew was in love with him. My he be a Kelly Clarkson and not a Taylor Hicks. And his version of ” Always Be My Baby” remains a highlight in the year in music.
7. Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris
Harris has always gotten praise as the horny and devious Barney Stinson. But he went and did another Harold And Kumar movie, and then teamed with Joss Whedon to create the saddest sack of a super villian in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, which is one of the best things I saw all year in any medium. Segel, on the other hand, is the heart of How I Met Your Mother, where his sweetly naive Marshall is the sane voice in the madness ( unless he’s gone crazy himself- not wearing pants to a restaraunt is up there). He also wrote and starred in the funniest film of the year , Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he was sweet and naive- and very naked.
6. The Cast Of Mad Men
The perfect time capsule of a television show, bouyed by an ensemble which is at turns charming and heartbreaking, all centered around Jon Hamm’s exquisite and devastating turn as Don Draper. Television has rarely been this transformative.
5. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com
John McCain and Barack Obama may have been running, but Silver’s website was eerily accurate all season long, as he was among the first to proclaim ( on statistical facts alone) that Obama would win. His site grew exponentially as it became clear older polling models did not work unless you know how to read them. As a result, his site was the most entertaining of the year.
4. Merly Streep and Chrisitne Baranski in Mamma Mia
We know Saint Meryl can do anything and everything. But she’s never in a hit this big ( $600 million world wide and still climbing). Her Donna was perfect. But Baranski, long famous for her boozy turn on Cybill, was the standout in a surprisingly weak film, playing a boozy cougar with a surprisingly pleasant singing voice.
3. The pro dancers on Dancing With The Stars
As a reality show, it’s cheesy, but it’s charming as well, and I cant stop watching how freakin’ fast their feet and hips move. Good, slightly naughty fun.
2. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart
In another election year, they still were funny. And one point. Most people under thirty get their news from these shows. Why? Because we know how crappy it is out there, and we want to laugh about it. It’s laugh or die, folks.
1. Tina Fey
30 Rock is so beloved by critics it seems like it’s doomed to failure, but the show keeps coming back ( back to back Emmy wins as best comedy probably didn’t hurt, nor it’s small but rabid fan base that seems to be headed by NBC chief Ben Silverman). The show is one of the funniest things in the history of TV. But there was also Baby Mama, which was to women what 40 Year Old Virgin was to men, and then there was that spot on impression of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin that was so eerie I did a double take when I first saw it. Plus, she won two Emmys this year- one for writing her show, the other for starring in ti. She’s unstoppable. I want to be her.