The Best & Worst of the Bygone TV Season

And so it’s come to this. Another TV season come and gone. It seems like only yesterday that Jay Leno had a new show on at 10 p.m. and ABC was ready to BLOW YOUR MIND with “FlashForward.” But the season is over now, and it’s time to look back at the past nine months of the TV landscape and decide who came out on top and who most decidedly did not.


Mad Men: Let’s give proper credit to "Mad Men’s" spectacular third season, which ended in November with one of the finest hours of TV I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. In fact, the final four episodes from season 3 of “Mad Men” are so dazzling, I can’t form the words to give them their proper due. The AMC series will sweep the Emmys this fall and will have very much earned it. I want to be Roger Sterling in another life. No, wait. I want to be Roger Sterling in this life.

The Mentalist: Finally. Simon Baker and his luscious hair have found a worthy TV vehicle. This was the highest-rated show of the new season and proof that CBS launches new procedurals with all the skill of Steve Jobs showing a bunch of geeks a $599 computer tablet.

Charlie Sheen: He shaved his head and now looks roughly 73-years older, and he was arrested in an ugly spat with his wife. Yet Sheen will go into the next season of “Two And A Half Men” banking nearly $2 million an episode. That insane level of pay tells you just how well CBS’ Monday night block of comedies (“Men,” "HIMYM," “Big Bang Theory”) is doing. You cannot kill Charlie Sheen’s career. It’s invincible -- like Shatner’s hairpiece.

Modern Family: The best new comedy on television was a smash right out of the gate thanks to brilliant writing and pitch-perfect casting. Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell were brilliant all year long, and “Modern Family” is the most culturally relevant ABC sitcom since “Roseanne.” In fact, thanks to “Family,” the entire sitcom genre has been seemingly revitalized. There are more sitcom pilots being ordered for next year than there were for last year. And thank goodness for that. We need more sitcoms out there, provided they don’t star Geena Davis.

Glee: Jazz hands! “Glee” has now taken the place of “American Idol” place as the TV smash that helps drive the music industry. It’s almost enough to make me want to watch it. Except… they still break into song during the show, yes? Might have to stay away from that.

David Letterman: Leno got publicly humiliated and Dave got to have sordid affairs with staffers. That’s good stuff!

The NFL: More than 100 million people watched the Super Bowl this year. Yet my parents weren’t among them. WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS BE INDIFFERENT TO MY PASSIONS?!


NBC at 10 p.m.: Well of course, we have to talk about this, don’t we? This season will forever be marked by NBC’s gambit to make the 10 p.m. time slot cheap and disposable. It failed, but the silver lining of that is that Leno’s failure at 10 p.m. is proof that America won’t accept just anything thrown in front of them. They still expect networks to hire good writers and spend some money on production and give them quality TV. That’s good. And the failure of prime-time Leno means networks won’t be tempted to cut corners anytime soon. In a way, it was almost worth it. Yes, this is an NBC site. Why do you ask?

American Idol: They crowned their worst winner ever (Lee DeWyze) and sleepwalked through a season where Simon had one foot out the door, Ellen said nothing newsworthy the way Paula did and “Dancing With The Stars” finally slayed it in the ratings. Now Simon goes to “The X Factor” in the fall, and “Idol” will have little buzz going in to January 2011 because Simon’s show will have already been on. Not a good prognosis.

FlashForward: ABC tried to make this the successor to “Lost.” They, uh, didn’t quite succeed. UNLESS THOSE FLASH FORWARDS TAKE PLACE IN HEAVEN!

Law & Order: It got canceled? No! But where will I get my L&O fix now, apart from the two spinoffs and the re-runs airing on TNT at all hours of the day?

Nicolette Sheridan: She was fired and claims she was abused by Marc Cherry. Terrible year. I’m so sorry, darling. Here, let me comfort you with some wine and a free neck rub. Oh dear! My towel fell off! What an embarrassing yet now wholly erotic situation!

Yours in the comments. It’s been a wild ride, folks. We can only hope 2011 is up to the task of equaling it.

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