The 2009 Golden Teddy Awards for Most Excellence in Television

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been busy. And this is the embarrassing Golden Teddy Award, because it shows just how much TV I watch.

Most Excellence In Happy Endings

[youtube:]Southland. The best new show of 2009, Southland was canceled not because of bad ratings but because it was too “gritty” for a 9pm time-slot, and NBC had given 10pm every day of the week to Jay Leno. (Yeah, that worked out.) Southland ended up on TNT, which is a cable channel, which means it can be as gritty as they want it to be. It’s easily one of the best cops shows I’ve ever seen. Plus, it has Ben McKenzie, who makes my knees weak. And having a complex gay cop played by the complex character actor Michael Cudlitz helps a lot.

Most Excellent Show About A Vampire


[youtube:]The Glenn Beck Program. Okay, I don’t actually watch Glenn Beck. But he’s a vampire. And an evil one. Unlike the more complex ones in…

[youtube:]True Blood. As gruesome police procedurals like CSI were to the mid-00s, vampires were to 2008 and 2009. True Blood is the only good thing to come of this trend. And while it’s not “good” in the way that, say, Mad Men or Buffy the Vampire Slayer are, since it’s not really about anything other than what it is, it’s very good at what it is: Pulp. Sex, violence, comedy, love, and utter ridiculousness. It’s really, really fun.

Most Excellence In Family Fare

[youtube:]Modern Family. It’s rather hard to take something as cliched as the family sitcom and make it relevant and new and laugh-out-loud funny, but Modern Family does it. It has the absurdity of Arrested Development and 30 Rock, but it’s actually real — these people could and do exist. More or less. And it’s not mean, unlike so many other family sitcoms have been. These people love each other, even when they’re angry. It reminds me of Roseanne in that way. Also in the ways that there are complex gay people in it.

Most Excellence In Being 30 Rock But Set At the Monsanto Corporation

[youtube:]Better Off Ted. This show is ridiculously funny, an amazingly well-made absurdist satire of the modern corporation.

Most Excellent Show That Revolves Around One Excellent Performance

[youtube:]The Good Wife. Like The Closer, a close second in this category, the lead actress and her well-written lines take a rather cliched premise, in this case a woman lawyer going back to work after being a housewife, and turns it into something that transcends the genre. Julianna Margulies is AMAZING.

Most Excellence In Starting Out Very Bad, Getting Canceled, and Getting Really Good

[youtube:]Dollhouse. The first season was so, so, so very bad, but I was determined to stick with it, since Joss Whedon has never done me wrong before. And when it came back, shockingly, for a second season, it got better. But when Fox cancelled it, it got awesome. Once there was an ending in sight, they knew what to do. And they’re doing it with all the teh-awesome-ness available. Smartly, they’ve tamped down anything having to with Eliza Dushku’s supposed acting versatility and ramped up Olivia Williams and Fran Kranz, who are both fabulous.

Most Excellence in Starting Out “Meh” And Then Getting Really Good

[youtube:]Parks & Recreation. This is Part 1 of “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.” Three of people I was friendly with in college produce, write, or star in it, and I’m jealous that they’re rich and famous. But, damn, this is a funny show. Of course, it helps to have Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari, who are comedy geniuses.

Most Excellence In Wish Fulfillment

[youtube:]Glee. The plots are absurd, but watching outcast fags and drama geeks get to be stars makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. The musical numbers are wonderful (as is the auto-tune!) and Jane Lynch is the best villain on TV.

Most Excellence In Guilty Pleasure

[youtube:]Smallville. This show also has benefited from seeing an end. It’s still not good — cheesy, badly acted low-budget silliness — but knowing the Lois (Erica Durance, who I ♥) and Clark are eventually going to end up together and stop living in Smallville gives the narrative some traction.

Most Excellence In OMG THIS IS SO BAD!!!!

[youtube:]The Beautiful Life. Honestly, I have never seen anything worse on television. Ever.

Most Excellence in Continuing Excellence

[youtube:]Mad Men. Every year, we get 13 Cheever short stories brought to life. It is the best show on cable, and one of the best things every put on TV. They have no censors, as clearly evidenced by this scene. Wow.

30 Rock. Comedy gold!

[youtube:]Lost. They know where it’s going. Still the best show on network television.

[youtube:]Damages. Evil and brilliant. And Part 2 of “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful.”

[youtube:]Breaking Bad. It’s like The Sopranos will a moral compass. In New Mexico. Without Italians.

[youtube:]Fringe. The X-Files, but less annoying. Really.