Category Archives: Lists

American Idol Top 11 Ranking!

I’ve called it two weeks in row, but frankly it was a pretty easy call and it was nice to see America make the right call two weeks in a row. Karen Rodriguez was a condescending, pandering idiot. This week established who’s got it and who is fighting to number 4 or 5; who’s the next Jordin Sparks and who’s the next Joshua Gracin. There were a lot of spot shifts this week, most notably Haley’s rise to number 5 which is sad as she’s probably gone this week. Here are the TVocrats rankings going into the Top 11!

1. Casey Abrams (Last Week #1) While his take on Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit wasn’t the best vocally, it certainly was ambitious and entertaining.

2. TIE! Lauren Alaina (Last Week #3) & Pia Toscana (Last Week #2) These two divas are fighting for the number two spot. Alaina killed it last week with Etheridge, the perfect song choice for her. And Toscana was great too, but her song just wasn’t as good. I’ll be watching these two closely this week to see who edges whom out.

4. Le Durbs (Last Week #4) He’s having more fun than anyone else and it shows in his performances. I’m not a Bon Jovi lover, but I enjoyed his take on New Jersey’s biggest star.

5. Haley Reinhart (Last Week #7) I’m warming up to her just as America is gonna give her the boot this week. I finally get her.

6. Naima Adedapo (Last Week #5) Her take on Tina’s What’s Love Got To Do With It was bad but I’ll take Adedapo’s distinct flavour over anyone elses.

7. Scotty McCreery (Last Week #6) This teen’s entering dangerous Anthony Federov/John Stevens territory for me. He needs to find some bravado.

8. Paul McDonald (Last Week #9) Elton John fits better than Ryan Adams, Now go get your James Blunt on and rise up this list, dammit!

9. Stefano Lagone (Last Week #8) I don’t understand him. At all. Not even a little bit. But the two below him were epic failures and as long as people are failing he won’t be on the bottom.

10. Jacob “Hot Mess” Lusk (Last Week #11) Why isn’t hot mess extrordinaire Jacob Lusk last? Because I remember his Vandross cover. And it’s better than anything Tickles McGiver’s ever done. He barely isn’t last, and really he should be for murdering Heart’s Alone.

11. Tickles McGiver (Last Week #10) Thia Megia is nothingness, that is to say she’s void of artistry, has no sense for arrangements, and is just vocally offensive. I have no idea why the judges chose her over that rocker chick who’d auditioned 40 times. Ugh.

Tonight is Motown night. For the millionth time. I love Motown night – at this point each artist should know their weakness and for most it’s song choice. For them, this round is integral. Idol has a gigantic motown song book and while people criticize the overuse of the theme, I love it. The beauty of motown songs is that they’re timeless, and easy to make one’s own. Can’t wait to see what El Durbs and the other top kids bring tonight.

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American Idol Top 12 Girls! Rankings!

The girls were so blah. I mean some of them were better than others but overall just very blah. I have a feeling that the top 12 will be very Y-Chromosonal. Anyway here are the top 12 girls rankings for the semifinals from worst to best:

12. Ta-Tynisa Wilson, Only Girl in the World – Randy was dead on. An epic failure as terrible as Jordan Dorsey’s OMG. Just awful. D

11. Ashton Jones, Love All Over Me – For some reason girls need more than a good voice to stand out in this competition and while that may not be fair it’s how it is and Jones just doens’t. C

10. Kendra Chantelle, Impossible – I’ve read reviews that were blown away, I liked her voice but I wished she’d chosen a better song. C

9. Karen Rodriguez, Hero – I was not blown away by this at all. I though she looked like an old maid, and it seemed as if she knows how to get votes. She also messed up the bridge – which is the best part of the song – just saying. C+

8. Rachel Zevita, Criminal – The vocals weren’t there, but I didn’t hate it nearly as much as the judges, in fact I thought the arrangement was BRILLIANT, Criminal isa great song and I loved the theatricality of it, I just wish the vocals were stronger. C+

7. Julie Zorilla, Breakaway – Nothing special but she had excellent control of her voice. Oh and she wore a ridiculous prom dress. Who dresses these idiots? B

6. Hailee Reinhart, Fallin’ – She has a sexy gravely voice but she looked like a prostitute in that dress and unfortunate song choice. B

5. Lauren Turner, Seven Day Fool – This song was HUGE in Canada, not so much in the states so I’m a little surprised to hear it. Turner was dead on vocally and was very powerful. B+

4. Naima Adedapo, Summertime – Summertime is one of those songs that’s poison on the idol stage – contestants should refrain from singing a song iconically sung by a past contestant – and Fantasia’s Summertime might have been one of the best performances ever. But if you MUST (and Adedapo must’ve) then make it your own which she absolutely did. I didn’t find it lounge-y, I found it fun and flirty. A-

3. Thia Megia, Out Here On My Own – Megia made the right decision by starting a capella and giving a performance that highlighted her wicked pipes rather than the showiness of the Idoldome. Not perfect vocally but powerful. A

2. Pia Toscana, I’ll Stand By You – One of the better ballads that’s sung a lot on Idol, it’s an easy enough song that Toscana was able to show off her control and her killer voice. That and the fact that she looks like a more accessible Minka Kelly make her a real threat. A

1. Lauren Alaina, Turn on the Radio – Randy was dead on again in saying that she’s part Kelly, part Carrie and all winner. She made it look effortless. Damn she was good. A

See Lauren Alaina Turn on the Radio!

Ta-Tynisa Wilson’s Shame


Top 5 Post Super Bowl TV Episodes!

In honour of the mighty Packers who just scored 2 fangorious touchdowns at the 45th superbowl, I give you a list of the top 5 superbowl lead out programs. The tradition of airing a prime time series post superbowl started with Lassie and over the years has been host to a number of series ranging from the scripted to, news serials to last year’s totally lame premiere of Undercover Brother. Here are the top 5 in chronological order. Will Glee make it on the list? Probably not, Glee sucks. But here’s 5 shows that didn’t.

1. The Wonder Years Pilot Superbowl XXII 1988

The pilot to this nostalgic coming of age dramedy was one of those classic episodes that could have won a short format oscar. We were thrown for a loop when the pilot turned tragic after news of Winnie’s brother’s death in Vietnam, but came around to hook us and as Kevin got his first kiss, we got ours from this gem. The world was introduced to a star in Fred Savage and the best Beatles cover of all time. It’s not available on DVD apparently due to music rights (which is always the frikkin reason) but is available for viewing on Youtube. CERTIFIED TV GOLD!

2. Friends – The One After the Superbowl (1 & 2) Superbowl XXX 1996

This episode is as polarizing as the Seinfeld finale, but I loved it. It was jam packed with guest stars and gave way for some funny character comedy. Friends’ best episodes are one that focus on the characters and their flaws and show us their hilarious histories and we got just that. Chandler reconnected with Susie (Julia Roberts), a vengeful former classmate, Phoebe dated some lame musician who can’t handle her realness (Chris Isaak), Monica and Rachel compete for the affections of Jean Claude Van Damme and Joey dates a crazy woman who believes him to be Drake Remoray, his soap characters. Yeah it felt a little strained at times, but Ross’s reunion with Marcel was real, and so was the single tear that formed. Also features the classic line “If we were in prison you would be my bitches”

3. Simpsons “Sunday Cruddy Sunday” /Family Guy “Death Has A Shadow” Superbowl XXXIII 1999

A generally decent episode of the Simpsons made good of guest star Fred Willard as Wally Kogan, the man unknowingly gets Springfielidians in a lot of Superbowl trouble and Dolly Parton my idol. Megapoints to the subplot about Vincent Price’s Egg Decoration Kit and the meta-post episode ending with John Madden and Pat Summerall. Family Guy’ premiere introduced us to Stewie, and even if your a hater, you’ve got to admit is one of recent TV’s greatest characters.

4. Alias “Phase One” Superbowl XXXVII 2003

It’s rare that a series’ greatest episode (arguably) will air in the Post Superbowl slot, its usually reserved for pilots and spectacles, but Phase One was different. A literal game changer as the focus of the series was Sydney’s quest to take down SD-6, which happens in this episode. From the beginning airplane scene with J. Ga in the really hot lingere (both colours) to the end Francie and the reveal of Alison Doren, the Evil Francie. The scene where Sydney tells Dixon that she’s a double agent is one of the strongest in a series full of strong scenes. I rewatch this episode sometimes, and while the excitement will never be the same as the first time you see it, it holds up.

Grey’s Anatomy “It’s The End of the World” Superbowl XL 2006

A controversial choice for a post sports game slot, Grey’s wasn’t as female identified at the time, but still an odd choice. The episode began with a 4 some fantasy and ended on a cliffhanger had a pre-FNL Kyle Chandler as a sexy bomb squad guy who had an interesting rapport with Meredith and a medical story about a guy with a homemade grenade in his abdomen featuring Christina Ricci as the nervous EMT with her hand on the bomb. OMG and how could I forget both Bailey and her man in dire medical trouble. The next day anyone who knew a doctor asked if CODE BLACK was real, and while the second part was the better episode, it would be nothing without it’s set up. A solid episode that beat out all the other cloying Superbowl themed sitcoms. Check out the awesome clip below.

Honorable mentions go to the Office’s episode from a few years ago which may have made the list had it not been for them wasting guest stars Jessica Alba, Jack Black and Cloris Leachman. The fire drill at the beginning however was pure genius. Check it out!


J’s Top 25 Episodes of 2010!

Part 2: The Top 10!

Top 25 Television Episodes of 2010 (Part 1 #25 – #11)

So here are the top ten, they’re a little late cause I got a little flu over the holidays. Anyway without further ado; the Top Ten. The best episodes of last year. I laughed and cried my way through these ten again recently and they still hold up on multiple watchings. The best TV always does.

1. “The Suitcase” Mad Men (S. 4 E. 7)

written by Mad Men Mastermind Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Possibly the greatest Mad Men episode of all time. If you’ve seen it than you know why. Don vs. Peggy. Their verbal play was the strongest the series has ever seen; Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss gave incredible performances. Don received a message from Stephanie – he knew it was bad news regarding Anna – so he holds Peggy hostage at work with impossible standards. Unresolved issues? Check! Drunken fight scene? Check! Nasty break up? Check. The single best episode of 2010? Check!

2. Modern Warfare” Community (S. 1 E. 23)

written by Emily Chance and directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Fast 5ive)

No episode of any comedy in 2010 was filled with as much glee and joy as Modern Warfare, everyone was on the top of their game and everyone looked like they were having fun. The campus of Greendale is turned into a post apocalyptic paint ball war zone – the last man standing gets . . . priority registration. What ensues was an action basket full of homages to Hard Boiled, Die Hard, Terminator, Predator and The Warriors among others and way more awesomely and hilarious; Jeff and Britta doing it! Even the little moments are great; Pierce taking out Starburns, Annie popping out of the trashcan, Shirley’s delivery of “I’m going home Britta” it was a perfect episode heightened by Lin’s sharp direction.

3.The End” Lost (S. 6 E. 17/18)

written by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by primary Lost director Jack Bender (he directed all the best episodes).

The episode had two timelines – the on-island endgame of Jack and troupe vs. the Man In Black and the alt-timeline story of Desmond and troupe’s quest toenlighten the rest. The first story played out as expected – Jack defeats the MIB, passes the Island torch to Hurley, saves the island (and subsequently the concept of “good”) and dies. But watching it was an experience. Watching Kate, Sawyer, Claire escape on the plane, Vincent cuddling up to a dying Jack, Hurley and Ben taking over were the moments that diehard Lost fans had waited for and they weren’t disappointed. The alt-timeline in the episode had the characters awakening and consolidating their memories giving us wicked-sad/happy reunions. In the end, The End turned out to be a very literal title and the perfect ending to a brilliant series – just try listening to that score and not tearing up…

4. “Anna Howard Shaw Day” 30 Rock (S. 4 E. 23)

written by Matt Hubbard (30’s supervising producer) and directed by Ken Whittingham.

Anna Howard Shaw day is an example of pure uncut high grade 30 Rock. Three perfect plots; Jack meeting his new love interest, right wing political commentator Avery Jessup (a note-perfect Elizabeth Banks), Jenna dealing with her stalker’s (Horatio Sanz) sudden disinterest in her and Liz scheduling oral surgery on Valentine’s day to prove she doesn’t need anyone. Liz’s anesthesia induced hallucination of her three past boyfriends (Jason Sudeikis, Dean Winters and Jon Hamm) and Jenna’s montage of stalkery are only two of the many reasons this episode rose above the rest. The scene that rolled over the end credits of Liz’s 3 exes as Jamaican nurses was the single funniest scene I’ve seen all year.

5. “Peter” Fringe (S. 2 E. 16)

Story by: J. H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner & Akiva Goldsman & Josh Singer; teleplay written by the above minus Goldsman and directed by David Straiton.

Peter is a harrowing tale of loss and consequences, it is both a brilliant stand alone episode and also one entrenched in the series’ mythology. Many amazing moments in this engrossing hour; we watched Nina lose her hand the observers talking shop. It was brutal to watch Peter die in Walter’s arms, John Noble gave one of the year’s top performances as we saw the actions he took to save the other universe’s Peter, who became his Peter, and in the process started a cross-dimensional war. Plus the retro opening credits were awesome!

6. “One Minute” Breaking Bad (S. 3 E. 7)

Written by Michelle MacLaren and Directed by Thomas Shnauz.

The best action sequence of 2010 – even when you watch it again your heart still pounds like it did the first time. The last scene of this episode alone is reason enough for it being here over other season three classics like “Fly” and “Full Measure” but add in Aaron Paul’s performance in both of his speeches to Walt, Hank and Marie in the elevator, the Cousins buying bullets from a McPoyle brother and some tough but amazing work between Gunn and Cranston and One Minute stands out far.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkImA_SXp-Q]

7. “VIP Treatment” The Good Wife (S. 2 E. 5)

Written by series creators Robert & Michelle King and directed by Michael Zinberg.

Starting on the cliffhanger of the previous episode; the announcement of 3rd candidate in the state’s attorney race Wendy Scott Carr (Anika Noni Rose) at a banquet while the LG&B partners have 4 hours to decide whether or not accept an unsympathetic client and press civil sexual and physical assault charges against a Nobel Peace Prize winner who does work with women in Africa. A showcase for Chicago backhanded politics, women’s rights, morality and overall great performances. In the typical twisty, Good Wife-ian fashion the various plots tie together in surprising ways, in a year where the Good Wife was consistent and strong, it’s us who got the VIP Treatment. (9 Hours – the most recent episode is equally as good and is worth noting.)

8. “Bully” Louie (S. 1 E. 9)

Written and Directed by Louis C.K.

Louie’s on a date, it’s going well – they’re having a good time – and before he knows it he’s got a teenage bully in his face; making Louie ask the bully not to kick his ass. It’s one of those scenes thats almost too excruciating to watch. He’s just ridiculed and completely emasculated. Later he follows the bully home and confronts his parents. What followed was both realistic and tragically funny; a portrait of lower middle class America. To top it off, the episode ends with a child version of Louie looking at his adult self in disgust. Louie’s taken us to some really horrible places (the dentist…shiver…) but none more terrifying than Bully.

9. “NS” Sons of Anarchy (S. 3 E. 13)

Written and Directed by series creator and overseer Kurt Sutter. (Co-written by Dave Erikson)

Hey Hey My My. A solid offering all around –  but the last sequence alone is enough to land this on the list. After last season – with Ethan Zoebelle getting away scot free we needed the Sons to get a win – and just as it looked like it was going to be another depressing after season – the sons pulled a fast one on us and that bitch Stahl – and we were got good. It wasn’t an especially exciting season of Sons of Anarchy, at least compared to the last one, but NS made up for a weaker season by ending it with an emotional smash.

10. “200”/”201″ South Park (S. 14 E. 5 & 6)

Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (200 only) and Directed by Trey Parker.

The 200 and 201st episodes of were a love letter to fans and a stark examination of the first amendment and censorship. Celebrities were skewered, mysteries were solved (Cartman’s father?) and many laughs were had. As good was the Coon Trilogy in the tail end of the season.


Best of 2010: Life and Death Edition

The Top Ten Most Promising Midseason Shows!

and The Five Most Devastating TV Series Cancellations.

2011 is looking pretty promising so far, both the networks and the cable channels have plenty of new stuff to stuff down our retinas – and the 10 (unranked) series below have my retinas salivating.

Bob’s Burgers – Premieres Sunday Jan 9th at 8:30 on Fox

Who: The brainchild of Loren Bouchard, creator of Home Movies and featuring the voices of H. Jon Benjamin who’s doing double duty as the star of FX’s Archer and Flight of the Concords’ wacky fan, Kristen Schaal.

What: A fox animated series not created by Groening or Macfarlane? Shocked! Sit Down, Shut Up was a massive disappointment; it’ll be interesting to see if this will break through and find an audience on FOX’s already bloated animated sunday. I’m ready for a change and Bob’s Burgers look like it might taste right.

Breaking In – Premieres Wed April 6 at 9:30 on Fox

Who: Stars Christian Slater in his third attempt (after My Own Worst Enemy and The Forgotten) at a starring network gig. It also stars Odette Yustman (You Again, Cloverfield) and Brett Harrison of dead series Reaper.

What: 3 looks like it might be the lucky number for Slater, Breaking In is about a team of geniuses that work at a high tech security fim. If it finds an audience it may just be a hit and if a post idol slot is any indication an audience it will.

The Cape – 2-Hour Premiere on Sun January 9 at 9:00, Regular slot on Mondays at 9:00 on NBC

Who: Starring David Lyons (Dr. Brenner on the final ER season), Keith David (There’s Something About Mary), genre goddess Summer Glau, Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut in X-Men 3) and James Frain (Franklin Mott on True Blood).

What: A cop is framed and left for dead, saved and trained to use his powers by a circus, he fights crime in fictional Palm City protecting it from an evil billionaire (Frain) with the codename: Chess. I initially wrote it off, but the quality looks above average and Glau doesn’t usually sign on to trash.

The Chicago Code – Premieres  Mon February 7th on Fox

Who: Created by Shawn Ryan (creator of the Shield and current Lie To Me showrunner) and starring Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, Lie To Me), Jason Clarke (Brotherhood), Matt Lauria (Luke from Friday Night Lights) and Delroy Lindo.

What: Beals plays a take no prisoners Chicago Police Chief battling bureaucracies and corruption. Beals is great in everything she does and Shawn Ryan knows how to command a police drama; I think this is a sure fire winner.

Episodes – Premieres Sun January 9 at 9:30 on Showtime

Who: This satirical Brit-com stars Matt LeBlanc (Joey!) as … himself? … … Explain?

What: Episodes is about two married British producers who come across the pond to re-imagine their hit series for Americans and land LeBlanc as their American star. The trailer looks fantastic; LeBlanc looks like he’s at his best and British stars Tamsin Grieg and Stephen Mangan appear to be worthy imports.

Game of Thrones – Premieres in April on HBO

Who: Based on George R.R. Martin’s tomes, it stars Sean Bean (Baromir in LOTR), Lena Headey (TV’s Sarah Conner), Mark Addy (star of CBS shitcom Still Standing) and Peter Dinklage.

What: An epic fantasy series done HBO style? As Liz Lemon would say “I want to go to there”

Light’s Out – Premieres Tues January 11 at 10:00 on FX

Who: Starring Holt McCallany (in what will surely be his big break) along with veteran Stacy Keach (Prison Break), Pablo Schreiber (The Wire) and Catherine Mccormack (Braveheart).

What: A series about boxing and family of the same ilk as Rescue Me and Justified. McCallany plays an aging retired heavyweight at a crossroads between entering crime as an enforcer or returning to the ring. If it’s anything like Rescue Me or Justified i’ll watch.

Luck – Premieres sometime in 2011 on HBO

Who: From Deadwood creator David Milch and starring big time movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Joan Allen along with Richard Kind (Spin City), Kevin Dunn (Shia’s father in the Transformer series), Dennis Farina (Orbach’s replacement on Law & Order), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrel in the first Harry Potter film), Kerry Condon (Rome) and Jason Gedrick (Murder One and Boomtown)

What: A gambling series that focuses on the goings on of a racetrack through the eyes of Chester “Ace” Bernstein (Hoffman)

Mr. Sunshine – Premiers Wed Feb 9 at 9:30 on ABC

Who: Created by and starring Matthew Perry along with Alison Janney and Better Off Ted alum Andrea Anders!!!

What: Perry is the manager of an arena; the series tracks him and the weird shit a arena manager has to go through… huh? This is replacing Cougar Town? ABC is showing this a lot of faith, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Young Justice – Premiers Friday January 7 on Cartoon Network

Who: Greg Weisman (creator of Gargoyles) takes the lead and it stars Jesse McCartney (Summerland) and Danika McKeller (The Wonder Years) but really it stars Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Miss Martian, Artemis and Superboy.

What: Six sidekicks team up and try to make a name for themselves. The pilot aired on Nov. 26 and it impressed me. Made with the same care as DC’s animated films (may faves are Justice League: The New Frontier and Superman/Batman Apocalypse) this series will be a window into the DCU from the eyes of it’s youngest protectors.

The Rest: Shameless starring Willian H. Macy, Olivia Munn sitcom Perfect Couples, SNL Alum Casey Wilson’sHappy Endings, Shonda Rhimes jungle medical Off The Map, Pot smoking Kathy Bates in Harry’s LawMixed Signals with David Denman (The Office’s Roy), Body of Proof with Dana Delaney, American remakes of Brits Skins and Being Human, Fairly Legal with Sarah Shahi (Life) and  Retired At 35 on TV Land.

…and the 5 most anticipated returning series!

5. Pretty Little Liars – Returning Jan 3. Trash that knows it’s trash and embraces it’s trashy ways is always welcome to me and this trash is like crack addictive.

4. Big Love – Returning Jan 16. After a rocky 4th season, the 5th and final season focuses on the Henriksons, with their polygamy in the spotlight.

3. V – Returning Jan 4. Jane Balder and Marc Singer from the original series guest star this season. Balder as a re-imagined version of her character Diana

2. Justified – Returning Feb 9. If Parks and Rec returned in the fall when it should have, this would be number one. Season 2 has Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) hunting after the Bennett family, the biggest pot growers in Kentucky. Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday on Lost) signed on as Bennetts.

1. Parks & Recreation – Returning Jan 20. Ohmigod ohmigod it’s like less than a month till Parks and Recreation returns and I. CAN. NOT. WAIT. (which is apparently worth it) Adam Scott (Party Down) and Rob Lowe join the cast.

In my ranking and listing frenzy I’ve started to commiserate upon the TV series who’s flames were extinguished to soon. 2010 was a pretty violent year in terms of cancellations – CBS was gutted losing 7 series and stalwarts like 24, Lost and Scrubs ended their runs, all in all it was a bloody year.

Here are the 5 best series, cancelled 2010, and ultimately before their time was up…

5. Terriers, cancelled by FX after its first season. This scrappy PI drama had all the moxie and none of the viewers. Donal Logue and Michael-Raymond James take on evil land developers.

4. Dollhouse, cancelled by Fox during its second season. Technically cancelled in 2009 but aired its last brilliant three episodes in 2010.

3. Rubicon, cancelled by AMC after its first season. Twisty and complex, tense and intelligent – a brilliantly underrated series.

2. Party Down, cancelled by Starz after its second season. It could have suffered the loss of cast members Adam Scott and Ryan Hansen, it survived Jane Lynch leaving. But Starz didn’t want to take that chance and gave this new classic the axe.

1. The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, cancelled by NBC after 146 episodes. Need I say anything. NBC deserves to be in 4th place for these shenanigans.

Top 10 Guest Stars of 2010

Top 10 TV Character Deaths in 2010

Top 7 Villains of 2010

Top 10 Performances of 2010

Top 5 Reality Competitors of 2010


Top 5 Reality Competitors of 2010!

 

 

 

 

Best of 2010!

The most uniting factor of the five people in this list is that when it came time to claim the win they so rightfully deserved, they were robbed. Whether it be a bitter jury, a deaf America or choking in the final, for one reason or another the five people on this list lost their respective titles. But still this isn’t a list of the best competitors who didn’t win, this is just a list of the best that just also happens to be a list of the robbed, still I can’t help but revel in the competitive glory of these five contenders.

5. Crystal Bowersox, Runner Up on American Idol (Season 9)

I don’t get the appeal of Lee DeWyze, to me he’s nothing more than a wannabe Cat Stevens. Bowersox on the other hand, was the real deal. Her voice was effortless, she took criticism like a champ (not that there ever really was any) and she was totally above the whole Hollywood thing which may have eventually lead to her downfall.

4. Angelo Sosa, Runner Up on Top Chef: DC (Season 7)

The biggest ego in the kitchen was the closest thing 2010 saw to a sure thing and then in the finale he got sick, made some curious choices (black cherry palate cleanser? Gag)… and then he lost … to Kevin Sbraga, It’s not that Kevin was a bad chef, I was constantly impressed by his originality in the kitchen (his veal tuna dish in the Best Served Cold challenge looked amazing) its just that from the way the season was going it seemed like Angelo could do no wrong; he was either in the top or won almost every challenge and he was a wicked competitor; supposedly sabotaging contestants. He might still be reality TV’s most egotistical and narcissistic personality (he’s currently kicking ass on Top Chef All Stars) but he was also one of the most talented.

3. Miles Mendenhall, 2nd Runner Up on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (Season 1)

It’s sad really; after scoping out competitors Abdi and Peregrine’s final exhibits I have to agree with the judges on this one – he sorta choked. He had the opportunity to create something wild and huge and he literally went as small as he could. 1 part tortured artist – falling asleep on his piece as part of his installation, 1 part performance artist – he was constantly criticized by his fellow contestants for putting on the brilliant tortured artist routine as a ploy, and 1 part alpha male competitor – convincing challenge teammate Jaclyn to go naked because he wanted her to. An example of perfect casting.

2. Parvati Shallow, Runner Up on Survivor Heroes vs. Villains

Her third time playing the game, the season 16 winner was up against the best of the best, and while Russell made most of the moves that lead him, Parvati and winner Sandra to the final three, he never fully had Parvati in his pocked, if he did he might not have been surprised when she presented both Jerri and Sandra with immunity idols at tribal council and saved her alliance from being decimated it was thrilling to watch… so watch it again below! Probably the best player in the history of the game.

1. Mondo Guerra, Runner Up on Project Runway (8th Cycle)

I am still in shock at his loss to stink-face Gretchen Jones. His designs were streets ahead of the competition, he was an expert pattern maker and was actually likable. Gretchen’s final collection may have been a smidge more polished but Mondo’s had character and colour and after both this season’s editing and the judges’ critiquing patterns it looked like it was Mondo’s, but the producers and the judges pulled a fast one on us. Gretchen was a fierce player and had she lost she’d have made this list for sure but not the top spot; this was the upset of the year.

For more best of 2010 check out

Top 10 Guest Stars of 2010

Top 10 TV Character Deaths in 2010

Top 7 Villains of 2010

Top 10 Performances of 2010


J’s Top 10 Performances of 2010

… and the Top 10 Worst too!

 

So the ranking continues! Today we cover the ten best performances of the year, a list exclusively saved for regular characters (and one TV movie star), who’s day job is putting on great performances as their characters. There were a lot of great performances in 2010, forming this list of ten was harder than the last few, there were so many worthy performances.

10. Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard on Lost – There was something different about Jack this season – he began dejected as his plan to change the future failed and Juliet lost her life, and over the course of the season we watched as Jack accepted his fate to become the next protector of the Island and came to realize that everything he once opposed, everything that Locke had stood for had been true; he evolved as a character and Fox evolved with him. Matthew Fox has always been a solid member of the Lost ensemble, but this year for the first time he stood out far and above.

9. Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert & Katherine Pierce on The Vampire Diaries – I can’t imagine a dual role would be easy for anyone, especially with the vastly different parts of Katherine and Elena; but Dobrev nails both of them. As Elena she’s good, she hit all her emotional marks and not succumbing to overacting. But as Katherine, Dobrev’s outstanding. I literally feel as if I’m watching another actress take on nasty villain (and Elena’s vampire ancestor) Katherine.

8. Alison Brie as Annie Edison & Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley Bennett on Community – Brown plays Shirley as possibly TV’s most confident and unapologetic (and still very likable) Christians. With a split second shift in tone Brown’s Shirley can go from sweet to sassy, her secret weapon is her dazzling array of voices. Brie is turning into one of TV funniest physical comediennes, earning her spot on the list for the chloroform scene alone. I constantly look forward to everything Annie, her new bag dance (from the Chicken Fingers episode) to the look on her face when she popped out of the trash can in the bathroom ambush scene from Modern Warfare.

7. Anna Gunn as Skyler White on Breaking Bad – Season 3 was Skyler’s season. It was an honour to watch Anna Gunn’s Skyler breaking bad. This season she went downright nasty; with three words she was able to destroy her estranged husband (I.F.T. if you know it, good, if not it’s too good to spoil) and watching her spin her improvised lie of Walt’s (Bryan Cranston) supposed gambling addiction to her sister was like watching a prodigy at work. Cranston is the best actor on TV deservedly winning 3 back-to-back Emmys and Aaron Paul ‘s performance finally got him the Emmy he deserved, but for some reason there was no love for Gunn this year. If Skyler’s meeting with Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) and her argument for purchasing the car wash showed us anything, it’s that Gunn is just getting started.

6. Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife – Panjabi is easily the breakout performance of the year. Her Kalinda is TV’s greatest enigma; watching do her job is seeing her at her best, using everything in her arsenal to get what she wants. Normally we see Kalinda on the offense, disarming with a smile or intimidating with a glare, but with the season 2 addition of nemesis Blake Calamar (Scott Porter) we get to see Kalinda cover new ground, and when Kalinda is on the defensive Panjabi is enthralling.

5. Sandra Oh as Dr. Christina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy – Who would have thought that Oh would be her best when Yang isn’t cutting? Sandra Oh’s performance of a doctor suffering from severe PTSD is one of the main agents of Grey’s creative renaissance. Whether slinging drinks in Joe’s, fishing with Derek or generally avoiding surgery Oh is always at her finest. I especially love her tense encounters with estranged best-friend Meredith.

4. Claire Danes as Temple Grandin in Temple Grandin – The last time I thought Danes was good in anything was as a regular on ABC’s 1994 series My So-Called Life. To say she’s simply good as Grandin is a severe understatement, she’s uncanny – she essentially becomes Grandin (at times throughout the film I forgot it was Danes). She’s in pretty much every scene, and commands the screen at all times even earning a much deserved Emmy. She’s flawless, embracing Grandin’s ticks and quirks, even changing the tone of her voice. On the same level of biographical portrayal as Jamie Foxx’s Ray and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote.

3. Khandi Alexander as LaDonna Batiste-Williams on Treme – Alexander stands out amongst Treme’s mega-talented ensemble. In 2010 we followed LaDonna on her 2006 (just post Katrina) quest to find the truth about her missing brother. She was a character of many faces; the sultry barkeep, the protective mother, the amicable ex-wife, the loyal daughter, and the grieving sister and Alexander was a pro at each one. I can’t see where season 2 will take LaDonna but whatever it is Alexander will nail it.

2.  Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men & Danny McBride as Kenny Powers on Eastbound & Down – Though their mediums were different Hamm and McBride offered brilliant twin portraits of loneliness, addiction, delusion and ultimately redemption. Don Draper spent his fourth season alone and depressed, hell bent on using his vices and addictions (booze, ladies, smoke, etc..) to either take away his pain or his life. Whether it’s the drunk making an ass of himself at an awards ceremony, or the father fighting for his children; Hamm was perfect, he gave 100% all the time. Powers’ second season was spent picking up the pieces of his life, deeper invested into his delusions. In Mexico, Powers confronted his father (Don Johnson) played minor league ball and even fell in love and had his heart broken. Throughout all this we got to watch him learn lessons in family and humility, and was set on the path to becoming a real human being. Kenny Powers and Learning – not exactly PB and J – but McBride was superb. Though Mad Men’s quality may have afforded Hamm the single best performance of the year (The Suitcase and Tomorrowland alone), McBride in a quarter of the time was equally as moving, dedicated and convincing.

1. The Fringe Team: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson as Olivia Dunham, Fauxlivia Dunham, Walter Bishop, Walternate Bishop, Peter Bishop and Olivia’s Peter Bishop Hallucination on Fringe – 3 people, 6 different characters – colour me impressed. The core of Fringe’s cast are the tightest team of performers on TV and together they give us the year’s finest performance. These three actors, when engaged onscreen together have the greatest chemistry and constantly make each other better. Joshua Jackson is severely underrated subtle performance was fantastic as Peter came to terms with his past and who he is. Noble was pitch perfect as the often childish, but brilliant Walter. In 2010 he started to emerge from the fog of his mind and accept responsibility for his actions. And while Noble and Jackson’s second characters were glimpses, Torv played two complete (or four if you’re this guy who’s not entirely wrong) fully realized people. Both O and Faux – livia were conflicted and complex characters, but in terms of personality, they were night and day, and like Dobrev, Anna Torv was not one but two forces to be reckoned with.

Honorable mentions go to Timothy Olyphant – Damages, Mae Whitman and Dax Shepherd – Parenthood, Chris Colfer – Glee, Campbell Scott – Damages, Iffran Khan – In Treatment, Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead, Scott Caan – Hawaii 5-O, Amy Poehler  – Parks and Recreation and the entire Modern Family cast.

The Top 10 Worst Performances of 2010


The following ten people just spent the better part of the year rubbing me the wrong way. Now even though this list is the worst performances, I don’t blame the actor entirely. It’s the crucial combination of casting, writing, directing, and acting that totals in my mind, a performance.

10. Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester on Glee. There’s nothing gleeful about Mr. Schuester; to me he’s simply  a one dimensional inspirational-teacher type. I never understand his motivations and I don’t think Morrison does him either.  He spent the first chunk of Glee mostly rapping (just the worst) and since that stopped he’s only been singing adult contemporary. To put it simply – Give me Holly Holiday over Mr. Shue any day.

9. Shane West as Michael on Nikita. Insanely miscast. West lacks that physical bravado that an action man requires – and even though his fighting skills are killer – he looks like a hobbit next to statuesque Maggie Q.

8. Lauren Velez as Captain Maria LaGuerta on Dexter. I will say I believe Velez tried her best and that it’s the way LaGuerta’s written that makes her suck so hard. I doubt even Meryl could make good with LaGuerta, the most ineffectual (non corrupt) police person in TV history.

7. Will Estes as Jamie Reagan on Blue Bloods. Jamie, the youngest of the Reagan brood also comes across as the most wooden and unrelatable of the bunch; It doesn’t help that his character is one of those Ryan Atwood martyr types.

6. Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams on Gossip Girl. A complete waste of a spot on Gossip Girl’s regular  cast (along with complete wastes of space Rufus and Jenny Humphrey). Vanessa is supposed to be the good one, free of the evils of greed, yet Vanessa continues to do the most obnoxious things and Szohr doesn’t sell it for one second.

5. Sarah Roemer as Leila Buchanan on The EVENT. I once heard the Event referred to as an acting vortex, and I can’t possibly think of a better term. The entire cast, most of whom are quite talented, slum it week after week but Roemer stands out as the worst of the bunch. She spends most of her time whining about her missing sister and waving a gun she looks like she can barely lift.

4. Parevsh Cheena as Gupta on Outsourced. I get that this character is supposed to be annoying, but Cheena makes Gupta a billion times more cloying than he has to be. He is the sole reason I stopped watching Outsourced after 2 episodes, it wasn’t the fact that it wasn’t funny, or that it was mind-numbingly stupid; it was Gupta.

3. 2. & 1.  Three Way Tie! Michael Chiklis, Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett as The Powell Family (minus Julie Benz’s Stephanie): Jim, Daphne and JJ on No Ordinary Family. The only thing out of the ordinary with the Powells is how much they – for a lack of a better word – Suck! As a family they have no chemistry, they could just as easily be strangers, and individually they’re even worse. Bennett is all face acting; big expressions and eye rolls – also the worst hair on TV. Panabaker is as believable as real teen as Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and she’s actually a teenager. And Chiklis – poor Chiklis, going from one of TV’s all time bad asses on the Shield to a eunuch like Jim. He seems just as miserable and bored as hell. Of the Powells the only one who doesn’t grate on my every nerve is Stephanie played by Julie Benz, which is ironic because as Rita on Dexter, that’s all she did.

Outraged I forgot anyone up top or included anyone on the bottom, let me know!

For more Best of 2010, be sure to check out:

J’s Top 10 Guest Stars of 2010

J’s Top 10 TV Character Deaths in 2010