We look back on the TV shows that made us cry, laugh, cheer and more in 2009.
2009 was the year of MasterChef Australia.
The year's biggest hit series attracted a whopping audience for its finale -- 3.74 million -- light years ahead of anything else on the box. In fact, the figure was just its average in the five metro cities, adding regionals it would have edged closer to five million viewers. It is the third highest show since OzTAM ratings began in 2001.
MasterChef Australia's positive look at its contestants defined a year in which uplifting television took us away from the recession. Similarly, we smiled with shows like Packed to the Rafters (except when it got a little bit racy), Spicks & Specks and Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation thanks mostly to the superb hosting by Shaun Micallef.
And then there were the Hey Hey it's Saturday reunions. Having Daryl Somers, Ossie Ostrich and Jackie McDonald back on the box proved a triumphant hit for Channel Nine, but it wasn't without controversy. The "Jackson Jive" Red Faces act reverberated around the world after Harry Connick Jr. took the show to task. It may have been funny in the '80s, but Hey Hey got a rude reminder it was 2009. Slight hiccups aside, middle Australia loved welcoming variety back to their living rooms, paving the way for a series of specials in 2010.
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities was another big hit, although we noticed the second season was just a tad more salacious than the first. Matthew Newton seemed to live up to the bad boy image off screen as well as on...
Sport dominated once more as the Melbourne Cup, AFL and NRL Grand Finals all eclipsed the two million mark, plus several State of Origin games.
The year saw the end of a number of shows including Prison Break, Battlestar Galactica, All Saints, Kyle XY, Dollhouse, Life on Mars, The Chaser's War on Everything, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, 9am with David & Kim, My Name is Earl, Robin Hood, The Street, Einstein Factor, Sunday Arts, Rescue Me and The Cook and the Chef.
In reality television, Penny won So You Think You Can Dance Australia, Adam Brand won Dancing with the Stars, Stan Walker won Australian Idol, Bob won The Biggest Loser, Tahnee won Australia's Next Top Model, Anthony won Project Runway Australia and Morello won The Apprentice Australia. Hands up who remembers who won homeMADE or Australia's Perfect Couple? Neither do we.
The Black Saturday bushfires dominated the news in 2009, as Australia watched in horror at our worst ever natural disaster. It even took former newsreader Brian Naylor and actor Reg Evans amongst its 173 toll. Sound Relief turned on the charity for both Victoria's fires and Queensland's floods, and Nine staged a mammoth Australia Unites telethon.
Other famous faces we lost included Don Lane, Charles "Bud" Tingwell, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Bea Arthur, David Carradine, Mollie Sugden, Karl Malden, Walter Cronkite, Ed McMahon, Patrick Swayze, Mike Leyland, Edward Woodward and Brittany Murphy.
And who remembers a giant seagull walking behind National Nine News' Peter Hitchener? Virginia Trioli caught off camera making "loopy" finger circles during an interview on ABC News Breakfast? Harold Bishop finally departed Ramsay Street (just after Andre Rieu visited it). Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) was killed off in Desperate Housewives. Susan Boyle surprised the world with her voice ... and Karl Stefanovic sure had a big night at the Logie Awards.
Don't miss 2009 Wrap: Part II