Tom Gliatto
December 25, 2006 12:00 PM

UGLY BETTY (ABC)

A modern fairy tale about a frumpy editorial assistant (America Ferrera) who conquers the world of fashionistas without losing her soul or hideous poncho.

AMERICAN IDOL (FOX)

Simon Cowell‘s little talent show crowned its wildest winner yet: Taylor Hicks, a good ol’ boy with Michael McDonald hair and bad dance moves.

BIG LOVE (HBO)

A satiric drama about a clean-cut guy (Bill Paxton) who’s ambitiously expanding both his retail empire and his loving polygamous family.

HEROES (NBC)

This fantasy about ordinary people getting a grip on amazing mutant powers—like X-Men dressed down with clothes from the mall—generated the excitement of a classic comic book.

DEXTER (SHOWTIME)

Michael C. Hall as a tormented serial killer who murders others of his kind—a spider who traps spiders instead of flies. Sinister, sly and ingenious, this was the best show of the year.

BLEAK HOUSE (PBS)

A breathless Masterpiece Theatre adaptation that caught all the mystery and heartbreak of Charles Dickens’s thundering classic about an endless lawsuit.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (DISNEY CHANNEL)

Pretty much what the title says, but with an addictive candied sweetness. Fave song? “Get’cha Head in the Game.” It inspired me to do just that!

30 ROCK (NBC)

Tina Fey’s sharp sitcom about a show much like her alma mater, Saturday Night Live. Alec Baldwin is perfect as a corporate suit who whispers blistering put-downs.

BLACK. WHITE. (FX)

What sounded like a gimmick—black family made up to look white and vice versa—turned out to be a prickly study of political correctness.

RACHAEL RAY (SYNDICATED)

Yeah, she’s a bit much, with her loud friendliness. But she taught me how to poach sausage and crisp the casings. I believe the word is yum-o.

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