Sometimes it's the writing and dialogue that brings us in to TV shows. Other times, it's the actors themselves.
Dr. Gregory House: House, M.D.
Hugh Laurie imbued the anti-social House with more layers than the thickest onion. He also gave nearly every man out there an excuse to explain to their significant other why they hadn't shaved in three days: "Well, you love that Hugh Laurie scruff..."
Walter White: Breaking Bad
It's still hard to believe that Bryan Cranston, who has been a genius in showing the transformation in White from good to evil played the hapless dad on Malcolm in the Middle. His work during the last episodes of this show has been nothing short of a master class in acting. People are on the edge of their seat to see what happens with this druglord.
Tony Soprano: The Sopranos
Rest in peace, James Gandolfini. Your work as Tony Soprano was some of the best acting seen on TV. Your portrayal of the head of a Mafia cartel who juggles both business and home life was a mix of fury and pain (both personal and meting it out on others).
Omar: The Wire
One of the best characters on TV in the past decade, a thug with a strict code who also happened to lead a lifestyle that didn't mesh with his tough-guy exterior. It's a shame he went out like he did - shot in a convenience store.
Don Draper: Mad Men
Draper, a man who is not who he says he is, is played to perfection by Jon Hamm. It's a good thing Thomas Jane passed over the role. A philandering husband with no sense of loyalty would be hard to like, but the suave Madison Avenue ad man pulls it off. It's going to be interesting to see what happens to him during the final season.
Frank Pembleton: Homicide: Life On the Streets
Andre Braugher's work as Pembleton, a tortured man whose dedication to justice came at the expense of everything else was near perfect. His seething intensity in the interrogation room (aka "the box") was a sight to behold and Braugher was mesmerizing in every line he spoke. He brillantly handled his character having a stroke as well.
Dr. Mark Greene: ER
Anthony Edwards played Greene as the anti-House - a doctor who cared. He also showed how a doctor's personal life can spill over into his professional life, especially when he got attacked in the bathroom. His death from a brain tumor remains one of the saddest moments on any show.
Dana Scully: The X-Files
Gillian Anderson was much more than a pretty face to play alongside David Duchovny's Mulder. She had brains and skepticism to his almost childlike willingness to believe everything.
Dexter Morgan: Dexter
A sympathetic serial killer? Michael C. Hall is able to show someone devoid of real emotion as someone we can root for. It's too bad that this show's final season is also the same one as Breaking Bad.
Vic Mackey: The Shield
Michael Chiklis was far from The Commish when he portrayed this utterly corrupt cop that still had the tiniest shred of conscience buried inside of him despite everything. He first thought he was getting results, no matter what, but that soon spiraled into doing things like murdering a new member of your own squad and other things like that. Mackey lived life brutally.
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The good, bad and the ugly on the tube this past week:
"ER"'s familiar farewell
I don't usually criticize ER. Usually, I don't have to. But Thursday night's episode, in which Eriq La Salle said goodbye to the show, was just a bit too similar to another classic ER farewell, which cheapened La Salle's closing moments.
In 1999, when George Clooney parted ways, his character, Dr. Doug Ross, was speaking with Anthony Edwards' Dr. Mark Greene alongside the Chicago River. A few words were said and Clooney was history.
This past Thursday, just before the screen faded to black, La Salle's Dr. Peter Benton said some words to his former apprentice, Noah Wyle's Dr. John Carter, alongside...the Chicago River. Then Benton was history.
It beats riding off into the sunset, but....
WB going to the "Dogs"
What? WB cancelled Men, Women & Dogs? How could they?
Well, they did. And no, I'm none too disappointed. After all, it did come in at #111 a couple times in the Nielsens. Actually, it wouldn't hurt the Frog Network to clear out some more of its Sunday lineup.
Late night fight persists
Well, we're through with week five of the Oprah/Letterman dispute. She simply won't let him on her show. He's more than willing to have her as a guest on The Late Show, but she's resolute. It's quite amusing watching Dave adding page after page in his nightly "Oprah Log" segment--in which he jots down his thoughts on the situation--but come on already, Oprah: just for five minutes, let the man have a seat next to you.
Ironically, it would probably be Oprah's highest-rated show in months.
Compared to 2000, what ad-supported cable network posted the highest gains in viewership in both kids and adults this year? Disney? Nickelodeon? Animal Planet?
Nope: it's Cartoon Network, which masterfully altered its programming this year to cater to all demographics. If you haven't caught their Adult Swim block of mature programming on both Sunday and Thursday nights, give it a look. Very good stuff.
She's just telling it like it is.
Gillian Anderson spoke publicly this past week about her thoughts on this season of The X-Files, addressing the show's plummeting ratings. Did she defend the series that made her a star? Not a bit. Instead, she said she wants the show--not extra-terrestrials--to disappear at the end of the spring season.