First, the good news.
Best Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Years of Devotion to How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs has been painful at times, as both of these hilarious but criminally under watched shows suffered from time slot shifts and near cancellation more than once. But HIMYM‘s fifth season was all but assured this year as it experienced a small uptick thanks to it’s new lead in. Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady’s superior Friends meets Seinfeld meets SciFi convention multicam sitcom has quickly become the most reliable funny show on the boob tube.
Best Comedic Performance- Male
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
The lanky actor with a slight lisp and a gift for comedic OCD reactions has been the breakout star on a solid ensemble cast. A virtual unknown before the show, he has quickly become the front man for the cast, doing more press than all the others four combined. And if anyone has seen his spots on Craig Ferguson, he is charming, funny, and Un-Sheldonlike. But nothing tops TBBT Christmas episode, in which Sheldon hugs Penny ( Kaley Cuoco)- that is physical comedy at it’s best.
Best Comedic Performance- Female
Jane Krakowski as Jenna on 30 Rock
She has always been funny ( look at her character on Ally McBeal), but this year, Jenna has been inspired, even profane ( black face? Seriously?). Jane and Tracy Morgan are making a brilliantly idiotic comic team. Jenna’s vacuous presence makes up for a more uneven season.
Best Drama Series
Okay, it’s one of the funniest shows on TV. But this spy dramedy mashup is also one of the most affecting shows I have ever had the privilege to watch. The Josh Schwartz /Chris Fedak run show has vastly improved in it’s second season ( and it’s first, strike shortened season wasn’t bad to begin with). Wildly inventive while being almost religiously devoted to geek world references ( plus a deep love of the 80s- the show adores Spies Like Us to the point of ridiculousness, but you love every minute of it). Bonus- an awesome soundtrack. Well, it is a Josh Schwartz show.
Best Dramatic Performance- Male
Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Chuck
We in the know and who loved Less than Perfect remember Levi as being comically gifted ( and a great singer- ” Luck be A Lady” was a series highlight for me). But his portrayal of the Nerd Herder with a government computer in his brain is a gentle mix of comedy and pathos. He breaks my heart as often as he makes me laugh. And now that he knows kung fu, I’m all agog. Brilliant.
Best Dramatic Performance- Female
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen, Mad Men
As the girl who walks into the mean manly man world of advertising, she delivers a subtle, heart breaking performance. She has suffered tremendously for her ambition on both a personal and a professional level, but do not mistake her for a pushover. Moss, so winning on The West Wing as Zoey Bartlett, has really grown into a spectacularly nuanced actress.
Best Series Finale- Till it wasn’t
In perfect cohesion with the rest of the series. Everyone was there. Hooch really is crazy. Beardface, Snoop Dogg Intern/Resident, Gloria, even those who have passed. A sweet sentimental moment where J.D. ( Zach Braff- still so good here) sees his future. Small cameo by Bill Lawrence himself. Then ABC ruins my deep affection for this perfect episode of a much beloved network cannon fodder show by bringing it back for a ninth season. It still is a moving show, but I can’t imagine Scrubs without J.D.
Best Series Finale That Is Actually A Finale
The Thursday night lead out for fifteen seasons, ER stopped being the big focus of NBC somewhere around the time George Clooney left. Lord knows I barely watched it in the last decade. But I tuned in all the same. And it, too, was a perfect finale. In fact, it really wasn’t a finale at all. Yes, old timer cast members came back for a visit, but it felt organic, not forced. The episode mirrored the pilot in many ways, yes, but it felt like it was true to the show as a whole. It was special because it wasn’t special.
And now the bad:
Kath and Kim ( NBC)
Just not funny. Too bad. I love Molly Shannon.
Worst ” Drama”
Knight Rider ( NBC)
This show wasn’t that good in the 80s when Hasselhoff was the MAN. Did Silverman and co. really think it would work now?
Moments from the season that should be remembered:
- Adam Lambert’s gorgeous version of ” Mad World”, Kris Allen’s stunning rendition of ” Falling Slowly”, Allison Iraheta ‘s exquisite ” Someone To Watch Over Me”, and whatever that note was that Danny Gokey let loose at the end of ” Dream On” which wasn’t even human. ( American Idol)
- An injury plagued season of Dancing With The Stars that was more entertaining than it had any right to be.
- Barney Stinson is in love with Robin Sherbatsky!
- While we’re on the topic of HIMYM, damn, they did the lamest/coolest job of hiding Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders pregnancies.
- I cannot reiterate how hilarious the hug Sheldon gave Penny in the Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory is. Just genius.
- Chuck Bass says ” I love you”. Twice.
- The entire second season of Chuck. This show is so much better than Heroes.
- House losing his mind. Kutner’s suicide. Amber. Huddy sex that wasn’t real. ( House).
- The performance of Harvey Keitel in the short but glorious run of ABC’s Life On Mars. yes, I was the person watching.
- Barack Obama elected to the office of President of the United States of America. ( every network imaginable).
- The Daily Show
- The White Stripes showing up to sing ” We Are Going To be friends” on Conan O’Brien’s last Late Night
- Jimmy Fallon not totally sucking as he took over Conan’s slot.
- Jimmy is still no match for Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show.
- The Colbert Report
- Hugh Jackman hosting the Oscars. The Theater geek in me died a glorious,rapturous death. I loved most of it.
- Gray Gardens
- Almost everything on the Food Network’s prime time sked.
So this lead me to the question of the day. What was your highlight of the 2008-2009 TV season?