TeeVee Awards '03: Best Half-Hour Actress, Best Hour Show, Best Animated Show
There are many of us who believe that there are few strong female roles on television. It's an indictment of the television industry (and not the actresses) that from year to year, we can rarely pick up on any female performances that we really, really liked. Just this year, Nellie No-Award was the victor in our Best Hour Actress category, and let us tell you, she's a perennial contender.
However, when it comes to the Best Half-Hour Actress category, we had several more choices. In fact, our finalists came down to women who play excellent parts in one of our favorite half-hour comedies, Scrubs. As Elliot, former Roseanne fill-in Sarah Chalke provides a female counterbalance to the testosterone of J.D., Turk, and Cox. As Cox's ex-wife Jordan, Christa Miller was only a guest-star -- but in terms of impact, her recurring role carried as much force as any of the series' other cast members.
Yes, we admit it -- it doesn't hurt that both women are easy on the eyes. But perhaps there's something to the fact that we love a comedy that happens to have three (let's not forget Judy Reyes as Carla) strong female characters who can give as good as they get. As for who gets the virtual TeeVee Award statue, it's Sarah Chalke. Sorry, Christa -- blondes have more fun.
You've already heard us rave about Tony Shalhoub's performance as idiosyncratic detective Adrian Monk. That goes in spades for the Best Hour Show this year, that selfsame Monk. Perhaps betraying our love of comedy, we've chosen an hour-long show that's really a comedy. Sure, Monk is dressed in the clothes of a gentle murder-mystery show on the same level as Murder, She Wrote. And if you appreciate that sort of thing, good for you.
For us, the show's paper-thin mystery plots are nothing but an excuse to watch Adrian Monk get placed in unbearable situations, whether it's a trip to Mexico (where the phrase "don't drink the water" gets taken a bit too literally) or a visit to the circus. It's a delight to watch -- a confection, to be sure, but we don't necessarily need weight, darkness, and angst in our hourlong series. This year, we liked it light.
Yet we'll also give an honorable-mention nod to the darkness, courtesy of the least-honored of Joss Whedon's series, Angel. The fourth season of Angel, featuring an increasingly dark and nasty year-long story arc, was the series' finest hour. The final few episodes, which features Gina Torres as a beautiful (but secretly horrific) goddess come to rule the earth, not only gave the kick of a classic horror movie, but prompted some serious moral head-scratching as well. People may have been paying attention to Buffy the Vampire Slayer's valedictory, but Angel was where it was at this year, Whedon-wise.
Finally, we admit that we're fans of the animation. In fact, we have honored Futurama repeatedly in our regular Best Half-Hour Series category. But since we do indeed love the animation, we also offer a special TeeVee Award just for Best Animated Show. This year, we don't really have a lot to say. You know the shows. You know Matt Groening. We still love The Simpsons, which doesn't suck nearly as bad as it should after all these years, even though its batting average is not what it once was. And Futurama has proven to be a brilliant series in its own right, despite its mistreatment at the hands of Fox -- a point proven by its good treatment (and excellent ratings) now that it's found a new home on Cartoon Network.
And so it goes, the best and the worst of the 2002-2003 season. Let the fall season begin!
Additional contributions to this article by: Jason Snell.
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