My best and worst of ’08 television

It’s that annual time to reflect on what worked on TV over the past year… and what didn’t. Here is my personal list.


ToastMad Men
This intricately woven tale of 1960s ad men’s work and home lives captured the imagination of an obsessively loyal fanbase. It’s also one of the few things Emmy got right, awarding the show its outstanding drama trophy. And creator Matthew Weiner has become one of our favorite people this year. See our Q&A here.

DirecTV’s deal for Friday Night Lights
A shared window plan between the satellite provider and NBC bought the critical darling another season. Those lucky few who subscribe to DirecTV have had the privilege of enjoying a season that approaches the greatness of the show’s epic first season.

Big Bang Theory
This comedy about socially awkward geniuses has emerged as a surprise hit this fall after garnering fair ratings in the strike shortened 07-08 season. Creatively the show’s never been better, with the razor sharp ensemble now firing on all cylinders and auds propelling it to season high numbers week after week. See our Q&A with star Jim Parsons here.

Desperate Housewives
Fast forwarding the ladies’ lives five years added a much needed jolt to the flagging drama. See our Q&A with creator Marc Cherry here.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

A sweet dramedy that’s too smart for the CW’s core audience. More people ought to be watching.

Worst Week
Consistently laugh-out-loud funny.

Jimmy Smits proved a suitable friend, then foil, to our favorite sociopathic hero. See our Q&A with exec producer Clyde Phillips here.

OfficeThe Office
Anyone who works in an office has got to appreciate this painfully accurate laffer.

The Biggest Loser
As reluctant as I am to include a reality show in any best of list, I have to admit, this one hits on every emotion.

“The Capture of The Green River Killer”
This Lifetime mini was an engrossing and emotional account of the 20+ years search for a serial killer with stellar performances from Tom Cavanaugh and Amy Davidson. It’s too bad the broadcast nets have given up on movies and minis.


The Emmy Awards
An embarrassment to the television community. Everyone involved should be ashamed. If you’ve blocked out how truly awful it was, read my review from that night here.

“Do Not Disturb”
Auds mercifully checked out early from this dreadful Fox comedy.

Izzy“Grey’s Anatomy”
This show has lost whatever charm it once had and now just feels desperate.

“Knight Rider”
A bad idea, executed horribly.


ER’s” final season
I’ve been a fan for most of this hospital drama’s 15 seasons but this last gasp has been a slow painful death.

“Boston Legal”
Someone needs to explain to me how this ever attracted an audience. I’ve never been so happy to see a show end its run.

Those are mine. What are yours?

For more best of lists, visit TVGuide.com’s list of best shows and best TV moments. TV.com weighs in here. Our pal Mo Ryan of the Chicago Tribune has her say here.

Did you see other lists that resonated with you?

— Kathy Lyford