WINNER: MAD MEN, AMC
Last year’s Best New Cable Program is this year’s Best Program. No doubt, Matthew Weiner’s creation escaped a sophomore slump. Even The Sopranos couldn’t do that. Indeed we’d argue Mad Men season 2 was superior to its fine freshman year. While season 1 introduced us to ad exec Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his secretary Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), season 2 offered even more complexity. Heck, we learned Don was not really Don, and Peggy bore a child out of wedlock, heaven forbid! Don’s wife Betty (January Jones) emerged as far more than a beautiful blonde, even though she still feels it’s an accomplishment when men ogle her. Of course Don (or whoever he is) does much more than ogle women, leading Betty to boot him from their home. With all this bed-hopping, when do Don and Peggy find time to write ad copy? They must have — both were promoted. Oh those crazy 1960s.
Battlestar Galactica, Syfy: Few series had a more celebrated final season than Battlestar. And Syfy (Sci Fi at the time) milked it, stretching the denouement for what seemed like eternity. Yet loyalists never wavered.
Breaking Bad, AMC: Why wasn’t his family more suspicious when chem teacher Walter White disappeared for hours, even weeks, to attend to his 2nd career of cooking meth? Still, the tension in the initial eps was intense.
Californication, Showtime: Few series consistently present excellent writing the way Californication does. And while we marvel at the amount of sex and drugs Hank endures, he’s a wonderful dad and craves marriage.
Hannah Montana, Disney Channel: Sure the plots are silly, as are the jokes. And Miley Cyrus overacts consistently. Still, you can’t argue with the success of this series and its talented 16-year-old star.
In Treatment, HBO: This adaptation of an Israeli series about a therapist was great in season 1 and even better in season 2. There might be a riot if HBO passes on season 3.