CO-WINNER: BRITZ, BBC AMERICA
Yes, it’s a cliché but this 2-part, post 9/11 drama about a brother and sister who are university students and Muslims contained thrills and chills. The brother loves his new country Britain, the sister hates it, especially its anti-terrorism laws, which fuel her rage. The first night tells the siblings’ story from the brother’s perspective; the next night it’s his sister’s turn. The show’s troubling final scene, which pits the siblings against each other, stuck with us for days.
It’s not only our opinion that season 2 of this ensemble piece about 1960s Madison Ave. advertising execs was even better than its freshman year. As we go to press it’s up for 16 Emmys. Adding to Mad Men’s mystique is the fact that the pilot script languished for years before any network decided to develop it. The script helped Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner get a job on The Sopranos, though.
Lincoln Heights, ABC Family: When we viewed the earliest episodes of this series about an African-American police officer who moves his young family into a dangerous neighborhood with hopes of making a difference we worried it might lose its edge and devolve into a piece about interracial teen dating. Its subsequent two powerful seasons proved our concerns were unfounded.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager, ABC Family: It’s not a surprise that this drama about a geeky teen who becomes pregnant resonated with the high school crowd. Its excellent writing is why it’s been a hit with their parents, too.
The Tudors, Showtime: Who cares if this oft-repeated story isn’t quite historically correct? Masterpiece Theatre this is not, but it’s great storytelling and, yes, it’s good to be the king.