Best TV Show: 30 Rock (5)
In its third season, 30 Rock won seven Emmys this year, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Best Actress in a Comedy Series (Tina Fey) and Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Alec Baldwin).
30 Rock has larger-than-life characters, including Jenna (Jane Krakowski), the spotlight-seeking starlet, and Jack (Baldwin), the suave executive.
The show — which recently attracted special guest stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Steve Martin — does a great job of cleverly using cameo appearances instead of making them seem like ploys to namedrop and advertise. — Candace Kaw
Downhill Show: Grey’s Anatomy (6)
What started as a popular and critically acclaimed television show in 2005 has been descending in popularity over the past three years. In its fourth season, Grey’s Anatomy seems to have imploded.
Everything that could realistically happen in a hospital has already taken place at Seattle Grace, which has led to plot twists that are getting more and more unbelievable, such as Izzy (Katherine Heigl) starting a relationship with her dead fiance. ER captures realism, Scrubs
covers the ridiculous and Grey’s Anatomy is scrabbling to find a solid direction somewhere in between. — AG
Best Cult Show: True Blood (7)
With the success of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, it’s no surprise that viewers are flocking to HBO’s vampire-themed show True Blood. The show not only looks at vampires in a whole new way, it has inspired a cult of its own.
Even a diehard anti-fan of the Twilight series and other vampire-related media will get hooked from the first episode. There is something in the show’s gritty framework that makes it seem real — regardless of the fact that the show’s characters are vampires, shapeshifters and mind readers.
Unlike the PG-13 nature of the Twilight series, True Blood is full of blood, sex and politics. It’s raunchy, original and addictive — everything a good cult series should be. — Emily Handy
Best Comeback: Saturday Night Live
The late-night sketch show found its stride again in its 34th season. After a long slump of unfunny writing and a cast of comedians who didn’t click, everything seems to be falling into place for SNL.
The introduction of Kenan Thompson, Andy Samberg, Will Forte and Bill Hader a few seasons back resulted in hilarious digital shorts and successful skits this year.
The 2008 election cycle was advantageous for the sketch show, as Tina Fey’s impression of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin shocked the political realm and got members of all parties laughing. — CK
Worst Reality Television: Paris Hilton’s My New BFF
In a battle for Paris Hilton’s camaraderie, Hollywood hopefuls live together in a house to compete for the title of her new best friend. One question may vex viewers’ minds: who would actually want to win? Early on, it is evident that the superficial heiress attracts a posse of Philistines who, like Hilton, long to make fools of themselves on national television. — AG
The Best Show No One is Watching: The IT Crowd
International Film Channel’s The IT Crowd, a comedy about an IT group working in the basement of a major corporation’s headquarters, is the funniest
thing that has been on TV in a long time — too bad no one has seen it. Much like The Office, this British sitcom offers spectacular dry humor and looks at mundane tasks in a light that makes them seem far funnier than they are. This show would be a hit with the tech crowd, if only it could make the leap to network programming. — CL
Shortest Lived Show: My Own Worst Enemy (8)
Christian Slater plays a secret agent with multiple personalities — sounds interesting enough, right? Well, put too many versions of Slater in one room and one of them is bound to make the show tank.
The pilot debuted on Oct. 13 and just one month later, NBC announced that Enemy was getting the ax. Despite being heavily advertised during the 2008 Summer Olympics, the show’s already small audience dwindled to only four million viewers for the episode before its announced cancellation.
The nine-episode season will air until Dec. 15 but offers no closure for fans that stick it out to the end. — JP