The Best (And Worst) In TV

Plus: Review of Green Lantern

Well, another TV season has come and gone. There were some welcome additions (Raising Hope) and some long overdue goodbyes (Outsourced). Some great improvements (Cougar Town) and shows we said goodbye to before we ever really got to know them (Lone Star). So before the Emmy nominations are announced on July 14th, here are some of my picks for the best, and worst, of the TV season.

Best Comedy: Modern Family
It is remarkable that this show has only been on the air for two seasons. The amazing writing—“hair rings,” the school musical (“WE LOVE THE F WORD”)—and the perfect cast, makes this the most consistently funny and heartfelt show on TV. And cheers to a great season for Gloria (Sofía Vergara): “But I’m nice and I put on the sugar jacket!”
Runner-Up: Archer

Best Drama: The Good Wife
How do you classify this superlative show? It’s not really a legal or family drama, or a crime procedural for that matter. It seemed easy, in its first season, to dismiss it as an obvious rip-off of political scandals. But viewers discovered a riveting series that is constantly reinventing and shocking every week. And like Modern Family, the real secret is the cast: Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Chrstine Baranski, Archie Panjabi and Alan Cumming are flawless.
Runner-Up: Mad Men

Best New Show: Game of Thrones
Nyerds around the world let out collective gasps—of excitement and fear—when they heard George R. R. Martin’s beloved masterworks would become a series. Thank god it was HBO. The series is everything I could have hoped for.
Runner-Up: Raising Hope

Best Actor/Actress: Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
She’s stoic, caring, strong, weak, imperfect, and angry. Somehow Margulies makes it look so easy.
Runner(s)-Up: Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), Jon Hamm (Mad Men)

Worst New Show: $#*! My Dad Says
I think I got through one episode (and most of that was on fast-forward). For source material that was definitely a bit blue, network TV was not the place to make the attempt.
Runner-Up: Running Wilde

Coming Into Its Own: Parks and Recreation
I remember watching the first season and thinking, meh. There were some funny moments, but it was not one I suspected to last very long. But with the introduction of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott this season, it’s transformed into one of the funniest half-hours on any channel. It also had Snake Juice.
Runner-Up: Cougar Town

Best Episode of the Year (Of Any Show): “The Suitcase,” Mad Men
Character study at its finest. Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm talking alone in the office building. Heaven.
Runner-Up: None can compare.

Why the Hell Is This Still on the Air?”: Celebrity Apprentice
What has this country come to? And why isn’t it really called “Celebrity” Apprentice? Why do we care what Star Jones, Meat Loaf, or Gary Busey have to say about developing an advertising campaign? Prevent future Trump faux presidential campaigns, cancel a show that is only a step above Celebrity Rehab.
Runner-Up: Grey’s Anatomy

Best Shows I’m Not Watching: Justified and Breaking Bad
I know, I know! I’ll be making up for it this summer.
Runner-Up: Lights Out

Guiltiest Pleasure: RuPaul’s Drag Race
RuPaul channeling Tyra. Contestants lip-synching for their lives. Guest stars like Lily Tomlin and Rita Rudner. And more use of the word grrrl than any other hour on TV.
Runner-Up: True Blood, Walking Dead

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

When I saw the previews of Green Lantern, I was less than impressed. The special effects, the ridiculous and phony green-spandex-dressed aliens; an uncomfortable Ryan Reynolds. So perhaps it was my lowered expectations or my insatiable good mood that led me to actually like the movie. And clearly, I’m pretty much alone—at last check, it’s at 22 percent on RottenTomatoes. (That’s 13 percent lower than the horrendous Hangover 2.) Ryan Reynolds is familiarly dorky and charming (and clothed more than many audience members would have liked). Blake Lively is actually good. And Peter Sarsgaard doesn’t have much to do other than scream and wear a prosthetic forehead. Fivehead? Granted it does not compare to X-Men or Thor, two good comic book movies released within the last month, but it’s a fun, mindless way to spend 2 hours.