Best TV shows, events of the year

John Sturgeon

With the year rapidly coming to a close, it is time to take a look back and see what delivered on the tube this year.

Best TV Event:

Super Bowl XLII

In one of the most epic sporting events of all time, the undefeated New England Patriots were upset by the wild card New York Giants by a score of 17-14 in a battle for the ages.

The game was the second most watched TV program of all time in the United States, with around 97.5 million viewers.

Largely a defensive struggle through three quarters, the game heated up when two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady led New England to a touchdown for the lead with less than three minutes remaining.

The young, erratic Eli Manning, who matured tremendously during the Giants’ playoff run, led his team down the field.

The winning touchdown came on a beautiful floating nine-yard pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress. Tom Brady, who was abused by the Giants front four all game, could not muster a comeback in the last twenty seconds.

With a great halftime show by Tom Petty and an unforgettable upset, Super Bowl XLII entertained and will be remembered by people across the globe for a long time.

Best Awards Show:


Awards shows failed miserably this year, as nobody wants to watch stars praise themselves for four hours. Ratings were down for the Grammys, Emmys and Academy Awards, showing that changes need to be made in order to entice viewers.

Even talented hosts like Jon Stewart could not save the Academy Awards from being a disaster, as too much time was spent giving awards away for categories viewers don’t care about.

Best Reality Show:

“American Idol”

Even though ratings were down 9 percent in key demographics for Season 7, “American Idol” still maintained its spot as the most-watched show on TV.

The defining reason for this is that it remains fun to watch ordinary people with singing talent turn into stars in the course of a couple months.

Seeing David Cook and David Archuleta divide the audience the way they did made for the most exciting finale in series history.

Simon Cowell proclaimed that Archuleta should win on the performance night, but Cook ended up winning the crown.

With Season 8 on the way and a new judge (Kara DioGuardi) to spice things up, “American Idol” will continue to dominate the ratings battles.

Best Late Night Talk Show:

“Late Night with Conan O’Brien”

Conan wins largely for the unpredictability his show offers. There has never been a host with so many different sides to his personality. From his exciting interviews to his hilarious and often bizarre skits, Conan will get you to laugh one way or another. It will be interesting to watch how he utilizes his skills when he gets the big promotion to “The Tonight Show” this coming June.

Best New Show:

“True Blood”

While shows like “Pushing Daisies,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Eli Stone” all elicited positive critical response and were personal favorites, none will be seen again due to the cancellation each received three weeks ago.

HBO signed on with Alan Ball, the creator of “Six Feet Under,” for his adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels.

The risk paid off, as the delightful combination of intriguing storylines, superb acting and a perfect blend of comedy and suspense turned “True Blood” into a big hit for HBO that will hopefully be around for years to come.

A good vampire story needs lots of blood, language, sex and violence. With no limitations placed on him by HBO, Ball has been able to realize his vision and has created a tremendously addicting show that was insanely fun to watch. Season 1 will hit stores this spring, and the second season will premiere this summer.

Best Comedy:

“30 Rock”

“The Office” was largely uneven in Season 4, as the writers finally put Pam and Jim together, killing one of the more entertaining arcs of the show. The king of comedies right now is Tina Fey’s excellent “30 Rock.”

The show is a spoof of what goes on behind the scenes in the production of a major network show.

Tracy Morgan is awesome playing an extension of himself as the big name movie star who becomes a part of a TV show.

When you can get laughs from facial expressions and movements like Morgan can, you are doing something right.

Fey works magic as Liz Lemon, the hard-working head writer who struggles to find love in a meaningful relationship.

Her chemistry with Alec Baldwin (the crazy network executive Jack Donaghy) is the reason why this show has won back-to-back Best Comedy Emmys.

The show has continued to bring in top-of-the-line guest stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Jerry Seinfeld in an effort to boost interest. Anyone who loves “The Office” or comedies in general should take the plunge and try out Season 1 or 2 on DVD.

Best Drama:

“Mad Men”

A gripping period piece in the 1960s created by “Sopranos” writer Matthew Weiner, Mad Men tells the tale of the fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper and the people who work there.

Chief among them is the complex Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a man with identity issues that cause problems in his marriage and in determining what exactly he wants out of life.

The natural chemistry between Hamm and his onscreen wife, played by January Jones, makes you care about what happens for their characters.

Vincent Kartheiser adds sleaziness and arrogance to the show as the prick young accounting executive Pete Campbell who always has an opinion and an agenda.

Elizabeth Moss works wonders as innocent secretary Peggy Olson, a woman with high ambition and work ethic who continually moves up the corporate ladder at Sterling Cooper.

With a wealth of interesting characters, an authentic ’60s look and unique storytelling, “Mad Men” represents TV at its best. The engrossing drama will return for a third season next summer.