In this gargantuan Top 100 list, we go a little out of the box by looking at specific elements of television--both on-screen and off-screen--that we thought were the most memorable this year. This is the last of the installments, but check here for more!
10. Mad Men's costuming, set designMad Men isn't just watchable for its great acting performances and storylines, it's also a favorite because it simply looks so darned good. The show's 1960s office environments are nearly flawless, and the clothes in the program sell the setting even further.
9. David Letterman's year (Leno, strike, McCain)Let's just say 2008 was a decent year for David Letterman. He started off the year with great PR for paying his employees during the strike, and ended with some key interviews (and non-interviews) with presidential nominee John McCain and news that his main competitor would be involved in a new late-night experiment.
8. Hulu.comThe NBC Universal and Fox streaming-video portal officially launched in March and has been the prime example for on-demand television online. There's still plenty left to be desired for online video, but right now, Hulu has the early edge.
7. Pushing Daisies' productionGetting a vision from the brain to the small screen is no small task, but translating the world Bryan Fuller created for Pushing Daisies> onto network television was a thing of wonder. Elaborate sets, over-saturated colors, and teeny-tiny details made Pushing Daisies a feast for the eyes.
6. The guys and girls of Gossip GirlIt would be one thing to take a look at Northeastern private high schools and see the influence of Gossip Girl, but the influence that Blake, Leighton, Taylor, Ed, and Chace exhibited in 2008 went much further. The young cast was all over the place, the product of a hype-machine that sunk its teeth into the public and never let go. Now excuse me, I have to go press my plaid skirt.
5. Omar Little's farewellThe Wire gave us so many incredible characters, but none quite took a hold like the renegade stick-up artist Omar Little. This Robin Hood robbin' hoods is one of television's most intimidating and admirable characters, earning not only our respect but the respect of the future most-powerful man in the world: Omar is Barack Obama's favorite television character.
4. The importance of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along BlogThe best thing to happen for television wasn't even on television. Joss Whedon's Web-exclusive Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was made during the writers strike as a passion project on a shoestring budget; yet the product was one of the most entertaining of the year. We can only hope that others follow the same idea that bigger doesn't always mean better and that sometimes the final decisions are best left to those who actually make the show, not the networks.
3. Tina FeyDid any one single person in entertainment have a bigger year than Tina Fey? The 30 Rock creator and star visited more podiums at awards shows than the shows' hosts, and her impersonation of Sarah Palin was all the rage during the presidential election. With a book and several feature projects coming out soon, expect 2009 to be another Tina Fey year.
2. Lost 4.05: "The Constant"Network television may be taking its lumps as of late, but the best piece of the boob tube happened on ABC in 2008. The fifth episode of season four of Lost was a jaw-dropper that combined some hardcore science-fiction with a good-old-fashioned love story for an hour of compelling television. Sure to go down as one of the best in Lost lore, "The Constant" was a reminder that Lost hasn't lost its touch.
1. The expansion of HD televisionThe rush of actors to plastic surgeons and tanning beds isn't just to look good in front of the never-ending stream of paparazzi, it's because the penetration of high-definition television is at an all-time high--and we love it. A dazzling picture with enriched audio makes everything in this list look and sound that much better.
Check out more TV.com lists here, and here's to a happy 2009!