Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This season, I'm thankful for...

In a few days, many of us will gather around a table full of high-fat, high-carb goodies, argue with our loved ones, then take about five minutes to discuss what we're thankful for.
Well, not me. I'm taking time right now to list a few things in the TV landscape I'm thankful for. After all, TV this season has given me much cause for gratitude. A few strong new shows, some great performances, and an excellent episode or two (or three. or four.)
Below is my list of some things in TV land I'll give thanks for this year.
* "The Good Wife": Confession -- I'm one of, like, eight people on earth who doesn't regularly watch "The Mentalist," "NCIS," or any of the "CSIs." CBS dramas are solid and dependable, but a bit predictable for my taste. But I love the network's freshman series "The Good Wife," about a politician's wife whose life is torn apart by a sex scandal. As scorned wife Alicia Florrick, Julianna Marguiles is sympathetic, complicated and unforgettable.
* Sue Sylvester on "Glee": Yes, this Fox musical comedy has its clumsy, pedestrian moments, but none of them come from the ever-reliable Jane Lynch as hilariously wicked cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. That's partly due to the dialogue ("You think this is hard? Try auditioning for 'Baywatch' and being told they're going in a different direction. THAT was hard!"), and partly due to Lynch's lemon-tart delivery. As a bonus, we learned in the "Wheels" episode that the prickly Sue has a bigger heart than we ever imagined. It was a risk to show this titan of a character tenderly reading to her developmentally disabled sister -- but the fact that Sue has an actual human soul makes me love her even more.
* Roger Sterling's one liners: "Don't act like a stranger. We've got tea."
"Are you kidding?" "Yes. Yes we are. Happy Birthday."
"Most interest that girl's ever had in a book depository."
And those are just from the season finale. Can you imagine what a verbal smackdown between Sue Sylvester and Roger Sterling would be like? Heaven. That's what it would be like.
* The fact that Hilary Duff's arc on "Gossip Girl" is apparently over
* The fact that Keith Carradine is being employed by as many TV shows as humanly possible
* The "Phoenix" episode of "Breaking Bad": This penultimate episode of AMC's brutal drama was one of the most affecting hours of the year as Walter White (the utterly amazing Bryan Cranston) abandoned what little soul he had left, and let his business partner's junkie girlfriend die. It was ugly, horrifying and tough to watch. It was also -- in a TV landscape now devoid of "The Sopranos," "The Shield," and "The Wire" -- arguably the most powerful TV moment of the year.
* Tim Riggins, Eric Northman, Don Draper and Sawyer: Because, let's face it -- looks do matter. The fact that these hot fellas are also fascinating characters is really just a bonus.
* Jack Donaghy's plea for directions on the subway: Because I've ridden a lot of subways, and that was spot on.
* The fact that "Dollhouse" aired at all: Look, I'm bummed we won't get a third season of Fox's smart, compelling drama. But shouldn't we be glad that Fox even gave a show like this two seasons?
* John Lithgow tearing it up on "Dexter": Whether you love this season or hate it, you've gotta admit that Lithgow is killin' it as the Trinity character. Perhaps one of the creepiest characters on TV. Ever.
* And, last but not least, I'm thankful for this. Because who wouldn't be?
Happy Thanksgiving!

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