I find myself getting crazy reflective as the year draws to a close. Maybe because I’m just that deep. Or maybe just because there is less new stuff to write about this time of year, so I need to fill this column with something. So today, I offer you my picks for the best of the best of the last 12 months. (FYI: I tried to limit the acting categories to one winner and one runner-up, but in some cases ties were simply unavoidable.)
Best Drama Series: Mad Men. Marital drama hasn’t been this honestly and gut-wrenchingly depicted since Tony and Carmella came thisclose to divorcing. (R.I.P. Don and Betty.) Men also gets points for delivering the most crowd-pleasing moment of the year. I’m talking about the scene in the finale where Joan triumphantly returns to her old stomping ground to save the day.
Runners-up: Big Love, Friday Night Lights, True Blood, and Breaking Bad
Best Comedy Series: Modern Family. Over the summer, I somewhat hyperbolically tweeted that the pilot was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. So naming it the funniest comedy of ’09 probably seems a little anti-climactic (but no less true).
Runners-up: The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, The Office, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, How I Met Your Mother, Nurse Jackie, and Parks and Recreation
Best Lead Actor in a Drama: House‘s Hugh Laurie, who was crazy good in the drama’s two-hour Cuckoo’s Nest takeoff. If that doesn’t net him a long-overdue Emmy, nothing will.
Runner-up (tie): Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad and Kyle Chandler/Friday Night Lights
Best Lead Actress in a Drama: Jeanne Tripplehorn/Big Love. Her performance during Barb’s excommunication was so good sources confirm to me exclusively that even God stood up and cheered.
Runner-up (tie): January Jones and Elisabeth Moss/Mad Men
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy: Amy Poehler/Parks and Recreation. Once Poehler found the flawed and funny human being inside her nutball bureaucrat, Parks and Rec became appointment viewing.
Runner-up: Edie Falco/Nurse Jackie
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy: Jim Parsons/The Big Bang Theory. He’s been called a comedy genius more times than I can count, so I think it’s time we took things to the next level. Comedy legend, anyone? Too soon? I think not.
Runner-up: Zachary Levi/Chuck
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Aaron Paul/Breaking Bad. One word: “Peekaboo.”
Runner-up: Zach Gilford/Friday Night Lights
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama (tie): Chloe Sevigny/Big Love and Katey Sagal/Sons of Anarchy. Forget Emmy. The performances these actress turned in last year screamed Oscar.
Runner-up: Deborah Ann Woll/True Blood
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Simon Helberg/The Big Bang Theory. The show is so overstuffed with geniuses it’s easy to take Helberg’s mad comedy skills for granted. Easy and dumb.
Runner-up (tie): Eric Stonestreet/Modern Family and Aziz Ansari/Parks and Recreation
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Jane Lynch/Glee. No contest here. As long as Lynch’s ball-busting dictator is raising hell at William McKinley, I’m more than happy to overlook Glee‘s weaknesses.
Runner-up: Sofia Vergara/Modern Family
Did I forget anything/anyone? Interested in sharing your own best-of list? Get thee to the comments section at once. In just a few more hours no one will care anymore!