Yesterday, Brad told you about how the 'Mad Men' powers that be are figuring out how to improve their chances at the Emmys. It was strange to think that a show as successful as 'Mad Men' was angling for a way to get more awards, but there is a reasoning behind the strategy. You see, even though 'Mad Men' has consistently been honored for the show and the writing and direction, the actors -- Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, etc. -- have been shut out. That's irksome. Not one Emmy for acting. Plenty of nominations, but no wins.
There are a lot more than eight wonderful stars shining in the TV pantheon for 2009, but these eight are a remarkable bunch who have been exemplary this past year. They've left us with memories that'll last long after this Festivus has ended. So, in no special order, here are the eight stars a shining from the year gone by.
1. Jane Lynch. If the Emmy doesn't already have Jane Lynch's name engraved in a statuette for Glee, it will by the time the awards are handed out. Lynch has been the perfect villain, the villain you love to hate. But if she were just a one-note nasty, it wouldn't work. Lynch has shown the other side of Sue Sylvester. Her "swing" date showed Sue in love, and her visit to her sister Jean was a soft earthquake emotion. Jane delivers week in and week out. Her star is glowing.
(S07E10) NCIS Christmas. Is that an oxymoron? No, not really, although the death of a Muslim Marine is a bit of a downer. Presumably they had to have some case for the crew to work on, but all things considered, it wasn't much of a mystery and the show could have been just as good without it.
The real crux of the episode was the surprise visit by Gibbs' father. Ralph Waite was back as Mark Harmon's dad, and you have to like the casting. He's not only a good actor, he actually looks like Harmon and has a similar taciturn quality.
On the February 1 episode (tentative date), Swisher appears at MacLaren's Bar. The episode is called "The Perfect Week" and Nick shows up at the bar, competing with Barney for the attention of the ladies. Barney, reportedly, is not thrilled that a guy with World Series swagger is on his turf.
- The end of reality television - I just want this genre to die a horrible, slow, painful death, preferably involving leeches. I recognize that there are some gems in this pile of crap, but I loathe those sorts of shows that appeal to the worst and most gossipy nature within us. Get rid of them all. Except for those on the Food Network, because that channel is cool.
- A stellar fifth year of the new Doctor Who - Admittedly, I was hesitant when they hired Matt Smith as The Doctor, who only yesterday just learned to walk. However, the brilliant Steven Moffat is behind the show and my expectations are very high. And disappointing a man with a television blog at his disposal is a bad idea, Steven.
(S05E13) "What does L.A. have in store for us today?" -- Brenda
Major crimes was back on the job with a case that was gruesome and grim at the same time. How Brenda managed to face the morning crime scene without blanching is proof that she's as tough as nails beneath that smiling, sweet Southern facade. Brenda needed to be when dealing with a triple homicide, gang rape and possible gang war. Welcome to L.A. More on the case and the kitty situation, after the jump.
(S07E10) There's something to be said about a good situation setting up a situation comedy. It didn't take much to get Charlie off and running on this episode, and after a bit of yelling and a "drop dead," we were off to the races. How it spiraled from one thing to the other is one of the best things about Two and a Half Men. That and the ever-present kick in the pants that Alan endures time and time again, even when he doesn't deserve it.
Oh, and the flashbacks were worth every commercial break. "I Had the Time of My Life" indeed. More after the jump.
(S01E11) Distractions abounded in this latest episode of Glee. Most of the characters were causing distraction or being distracted from the situation at hand, and we were back to most of the soapy aspects of the show. Teri and Quinn were both thinking about the baby, and Will and Finn remained as in the dark as ever. More on that and other complications after the jump.
Take that, Barbara Walters! Not so fast with that ascension to the upper echelon, Robin Roberts. Back off, Diane Sawyer. Oprah Winfrey has an 'in' with the First Family and that's why she's going to be visiting the Obamas for a tour of what the holidays are like at the White House. This is the first time President Obama and the First Lady are having Christmas there, and it'll be all new to them.
(S07E09) If you want to show the soft side of Jethro Gibbs, involve a kid. That would seem to be the logic behind this episode which was a bit of a reach, what with cornfields, a think tank for gifted children, government secrets, a tenuous link to gang activity, a dead Marine, and pink cupcakes ... but still interesting.
There was also the whole connection to Thanksgiving at Ducky's. Would our favorite NCIS team make it to dinner together or would they be setting out on separate paths? Would Abby master the cranberry sauce? Read more after the jump.
American Idol's Simon Cowell is the mastermind behind this production, which will also be broadcast in England on the ITV1. It'll have celebrity interviews including Simon himself, footage of Susan's hometown, her TV appearances till now, and -- naturally -- Susan singing songs from I Dreamed A Dream, the new CD.
(S07E09) How far are the writers going to take the Charlie and Chelsea relationship? Do you think they're actually going to get married? I ask because tonight's show was a glimpse of what married Charlie might be like. Funny, yes, but is a domesticated Charlie really what I want to watch? Gin rummy and snoring? Charlie being sensitive and in touch with a woman's feelings? Where has my Charlie gone?
Alan, fortunately, is in exactly the same spot where he's always been. The crapper. Remember that Emmy that Jon Cryer won for Two and a Half Men in September? He may have earned a bookend with this season's work. More on his hair care products and dating services after the jump.
There comes a time of the year when one has to count their blessings because, when truth is finally told, things could be a lot worse. This is that time. And what am I thankful for? Glad you asked.
Big LCD televisions that hang on the wall - I think that says it all. Of course, some day all the current display technologies will be abandoned in favor of the video waves that transmit directly to our brains, but until then there is the LCD (or plasma, depending on your technology choice) on the wall.
The Big Bang Theory - It's hard to believe that the creator of Two and a Half Men (a show of which I am not a fan) could create such a terrific show. I only discovered the show this past year. I'm usually not a fan of sitcoms but with all the geeky references in BBT, I find that if I could give the show a big, sloppy, wet kiss, I would.
Jeana Keough has always impressed me as the smartest, most normal and down-to-earth housewife of the bunch. She had a completely insane marriage to Matt Keough, an ex-Major League Baseball pitcher for the Oakland A's, but she worked to keep it together. Her kids were a handful.
They were all grown up and in high school or post-high school life, but Jeana was supportive and interested and tried to be a positive role model. In her finale, she was able to show her kids pursuing their lives and bringing her pride. I think Jeana's "pal" Vicki Gunvalson wishes her children were as loving to her as Jeana's are to her.
(S08E14) File this one under be careful what you wish for ... I feel like Rod Serling writing that, but there was a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to this episode of Monk. It was Monk in an alternate universe, only it looked like the same place we'd been to before. Same with Natalie. More on how things were the same, but different, after the jump.