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. We'll put up 10 more each weekday through January 2nd, so be sure to check the site often. Until next year, Happy Holidays!
20. Flash forwardsLost has always been known for its flashbacks, but season four (well, technically season three) introduced a new twist for ABC's drama: the flashforward. Suddenly Lost became about the castaway's post-island life, and we decided that was awesome. The tactic even reinvigorated Desperate Housewives, which gave us a peek five years into the future of Wisteria Lane.
19. Zeljko IvanekOur favorite actor of the year has made several small appearances in shows over the past few seasons, but his turns as a pair of blood-sucking creeps really caught our eye. As a head vampire in True Blood, he sent shivers down our spine, and in his Emmy-winning performance as the ultimate evil--defense lawyer Ray Fiske in Damages--Ivanek is flawless.
18. TV's presence at Comic-ConIf you are a fan of television, there's no better place to be than the annual Comic-Con International conference in San Diego in July. The convention gets bigger and bigger each year, and television's role at Comic-Con is growing at an even faster pace. Where else can you see Damon Lindelof, Hayden Panettiere, Katee Sackhoff, and the guy who played Chewbacca over the course of a few days? Plus it's open to the public, so start putting together that Viper pilot costume and buy your tickets early.
17. The fun of Top GearI'm not a car enthusiast, but I can't get enough of BBC's Top Gear--the perfect example of what an informative show should be. With a trio of hosts who work together like magic, a group of producers who refuse to let the show go stale, and a knack for being technical without insulting our intelligence, Top Gear is the best non-fiction show on television.
16. Sheldon's nerd-tastic dialogue in Big Bang TheoryWe don't know if the technical gobbledygook that spills from Sheldon's mouth in Big Bang Theory is accurate, but we do know it's absolutely hysterical. Actor Jim Parsons has proven himself to be one of sitcom's brightest new stars, and it's because he nails his dialogue.
15. Simon BakerThe fall 2008 season has given us a grand total of one big new television star--The Mentalist's Simon Baker. The Australian actor has finally found his groove as the extra perceptive Patrick Jane, and is well on his way to becoming a household name.
14. The Taylor's family values in Friday Night LightsWatching Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor in Friday Night Lights is spectacular, and the family dynamic created in their home seems more real than real life.
13. The Daily Show/Colbert Report's election coverageThis Comedy Central faux-news tandem once again proved themselves to be the go-to source for information this past election, informing, educating, and entertaining viewers day in and day out. On-location episodes, a Daily Show interview with Barack Obama, and Colbert's run for president were just some of the highlights.
12. Bryan Cranston in his underpants in Breaking BadWe have one image from the 2008 television season burned into our brains, and it happens to be of a middle-aged man in his tighty whiteys. The pilot episode of Breaking Bad wasted no time in giving us a half-nude Walter White, and we were hooked on this gem from AMC.
11. The quality of basic cableWe find ourselves staying out of the low numbers on our television sets a lot now, opting instead to watch basic cable networks. That's where the god stuff is, as evidenced by awards shows and critics' favorites. FX, TNT, USA, TBS, and Comedy Central are churning out great original programming without the boundaries of major networks. Easily worth the $50 cable bill.
Check out more TV.com lists here, and be sure to check back tomorrow for numbers 1-10!