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 TV Bites with Neena Louise

The 2005-2006 Seventh Annual TV BiteMes

by Neena Louise

Worst Actress
Emily Deschanel, "Temperance Brennan", Bones (Every time I watch Bones - which isn't often - I always know Deschanel is simply acting a part. She's just not competent enough to be believable.)

Best Actress
Jean Smart, "Martha Logan", 24 (Her delicious "is she plain crazy or is she crazy like a fox?" portrayal of the First Lady was one of the highlights of this season's 24.)

Most Overrated Female
Evangeline Lilly, "Kate Austen", Lost (Pouty-lipped platitude-spewing does not an actress make. To be fair, it's hard to tell whether she's a bad actress, or the role is just so one-dimensionally dull that it seems that way.)

Most Overlooked Female
S. Epatha Merkerson, "Anita Van Buren", Law & Order (Despite L&O starting to show its age, Merkerson's performances still make it worth watching.)

Worst Actor
David Caruso, "Horatio Caine", CSI: Miami (Caruso's portrayal of "Mr.-Intense-Yet-Caring" is embarrassingly over-emotive and eye-rollingly silly. Not to mention he seems to have been schooled in the Shatner-as-Kirk. Way. Of. Delivering. Dialogue.)

Best Actor
Hugh Laurie, "Gregory House", House (Just as we all suspected: medical specialists are selfish, uncaring schmucks. Laurie's refreshingly unapologetic portrayal of "House" is just what the doctor ordered.)

Most Overrated Male
Patrick Dempsey, "Derek Shepherd", Grey's Anatomy ("Dr. McDreamy"? I think not. More like "Dr. McDreary".)

Most Overlooked Male
Jamey Sheridan, "James Deakins", Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Now that L&O: CI has gone through some ill-advised changes of cast and characters, Sheridan's portrayal of "Deakins" completely anchors the show.)

Worst-Dressed Female
Patricia Arquette, "Allison Dubois", Medium (Can you say "frumpy"? Surely there is a way to dress her in a way that flatters her figure type without making her look like a 60-year-old in a cheap, ill-fitting polyester suit.)

Best-Dressed Female
Cheryl Ladd, "Jillian Deline", Las Vegas (Despite being on the puff-fest Love Boat in the, Las Vegas, Ladd dresses wonderfully: always stylish and not desperately trying to look like a 20-year-old.)

Worst-Dressed Male
George Eads, "Nick Stokes", CSI (Ok, not worst-dressed - worst hair style, which is just as bad, if not worse. That dorky Monkees haircut was so distractingly bad I could barely manage to follow what he was saying.)

Best-Dressed Male
Wentworth Miller, "Michael Scofield", Prison Break (Prison blues never looked so good.)

Worst TV Mom
"Betty Applewhite", Alfre Woodard, Desperate Housewives (First she locks up her mentally-challenged son in the basement. Then she tries to kill him with pill-laced ice cream. Then she locks her other son in the basement. Not exactly mother-of-the-year.)

Best TV Mom
"Mackenzie Allen", Geena Davis, Commander in Chief (I can't even imagine how one could be a good mom and run the most powerful country in the world at the same time. Davis' portrayal of such a person is totally believable. Too bad Chief is least for now.)

Worst TV Dad
"Jason Gideon", Mandy Patinkin, Criminal Minds (Is he estranged from his kid or not? And do we even care? No.)

Best TV Dad
"Alan Harper", Jon Cryer, Two and Half Men (A great blend of neuroses and caring, this is probably the best performance of Cryer's career.)

Worst TV Kid
"Amy Calloway", Jasmine Anthony, Commander in Chief (It seems all she does is look cute and pout and everybody loves her. I don't know any family where the much-younger baby of the family is anything but a spoiled brat.)

Best TV Kid
"Larry", Kyle Sullivan, The War at Home (The only thing worth watching in this stupid show, Sullivan's portrayal of a teen who refuses to be anything but himself - despite his father's obvious disapproval - is most refreshing.)

Least Likable Character on a Show
"Maureen Scotfield", Kimberly Elise, Close to Home (One minute she's the caricatured "angry black woman with something to prove", the next she's a soft-hearted human being. Most times, however, she just stares - supposedly "intensely", but it's more like "vacuously".)

Most Likable Character on a Show
"Abby Sciuto", Pauley Perrette, NCIS (, different "Abby" makes NCIS worth watching.)

Worst Drama
ER (Oh, how the mighty have fallen! This season's ER was even worse than last. Embarrassingly contrived, dull and downright stupid, it consistently gave rise to a chorus of whatEVER.)

Best Drama
Cold Case (One of the best ensemble shows on television. The blending of past and present is surprisingly seamless.)

Worst Sitcom
Modern Men (This stinkfest was shockingly bad - even more shocking was that it was from über producer Jerry Bruckheimer.)

Best Sitcom
My Name is Earl (Finally! A sitcom that throws political correctness out the window and winds up funny. Series creators take note.)

Worst SciFi
Invasion (This was never a great show, but it deteriorated into a ludicrous parody of alien invasion C-movies, and was subsequently canceled.)

Best SciFi
Surface (I guess we'll never know what happens next. Like Invasion, this too has been canceled. Is SciFi dead on network TV?)

Worst Animated Series
American Dad

Best Animated Series
The Simpsons

Worst Commercial
Subway "Dinner Theatre" ads (John Lovitz doing his tired - and channel-turningly annoying - spiel makes me anything but hungry for a Subway sub.)

Best Commercial
Oceanspray "Wheatgrass" ad (The two "regular joe" cranberry producers of Oceanspray's latest campaign are utterly charming. In this particular ad, they present the differences between wheatgrass, diet cola and diet Oceanspray that "tastes way better than your lawn...which you shouldn't eat." Cracks me up every time.)

Most Overrated Series
Lost (Enough already. I'm tired of hearing about it. I'm tired of watching show after show when nothing happens but a lot of "blah, blah". I'm tired of the "shocking" moments that are just that: moments. Get on with it, or get off!)

Most Overlooked Series
Scrubs (If NBC could bloody well decide on a time slot - and keep it - this great show might get better ratings.)

Worst Writing
Bones (Though the premise is interesting, the dialogue is unbearable, rendering this show unwatchable.)

Best Writing

Worst Host/Narrator
Matt Gallant, American Inventor (I didn't even know there was a host until the 3rd or 4th episode when I figured out that the little guy standing outside the door as contestants came out was actually the host. Could they not have given him a few more lines?)

Best Host/Narrator
Phil Keough, The Amazing Race (He seems to genuinely enjoy his job, and puts up with a lot of weird behavior from overexcited contestants without losing his cool.)

Worst Newscaster/Reporter
Julie Chen, The Early Show, CBS (Ever since she chose to lower herself by woodenly hosting the brainless jigglefest Big Brother, it's impossible to take her seriously as a journalist.)

Best Newscaster/Reporter
Bob Schieffer, CBS Evening News (I really liked the professional - and oddly comforting - Schieffer, who was temporarily filling in for the departed Dan Rather while a replacement was sought. The fact that CBS had the only evening news program that rose in the ratings proves I'm not alone in this sentiment. I'll give her a fair chance when she takes over in September, but I have my doubts about Katie Couric as an anchor choice.)

Worst News Magazine
Dateline (Why don't they just change the name to Dateline: Predator? Every time I tuned it, it was the same thing: trapping pedophiles. While, yes, it's a very good thing that they're getting some of these monsters off the street, do they really think humiliating them on national TV will stop them? It won't. It will just make them harder to catch.)

Best News Magazine
60 Minutes

Worst Reality Show Series
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (This stomach-churning shlockfest is so saccharinely sweet it makes one's teeth ache. And every episode is exactly the same: Family with some TV-worthy crisis lives in hovel. Family goes to Disneyland. Hovel is torn down. Construction crew frets about finishing on time. Family comes back to fabulous new house. Everyone squeals and cries. Ick, poo.)

Best Reality Show Series
Texas Ranch House (This inadvertently hilarious series plunked 21st century people on an authentic 1867 Texas ranch: the "owner" was completely controlled like a puppet by his nagging, snotty, bitch of a wife; the angry cook got himself fired; the obnoxious maid desperately wanted to be - and became - a cowboy; the ranch hands were starved and was all most entertaining.)

Worst Reality Game
The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition (This swung from nails-on-the-chalkboard irritating to excruciatingly dull. Whoever thought up this abomination should be fired.)

Best Reality Game
The Amazing Race 9 (Going back to its tried-and-true format, Race is forgiven for the horrific Family Edition. Almost.)

Worst Reality Villain
Shane Powers, Survivor Panama (He was such a whackjob, it was hard to think of him as "villainous". More like "really pathetic".)

Best Reality Villain
Jade, America's Next Top Model (Arrogant, delusional, defensive and rude, Jade professing how perfect she was was hilarious. A bit sad, too.)

Worst Game Show
Deal or No Deal (Freakishly enthusiastic contestants opening briefcases held by models - vaguely creepy in their clone-like appearance - has got to be on of the dumbest premises ever. The fact that it's so popular speaks volumes on the level of American intelligence.)

Best Game Show

Worst Timeslot for a Good Show
Amazing Race 9, Wednesday, 8 pm (It was better than its original Tuesdays at 10, and it was nice to have something decent on Wednesdays for a change, but 8 pm? What's wrong with the long-successful timeslot of Tuesdays at 9 pm?)

Best Timeslot for a Bad Show
The Unit, Tuesday, 9 pm (It's actually a pretty good show, but ousting Amazing Race from its long-time slot really pisses me off.)

Worst Score
American Inventor (Whoever did the sickeningly schlocky - and far too loud - score should find another job. "You Raise Me Up" playing loudly over the contestants as they were being told whether they were moving on or not was downright criminal.)

Best Score
Cold Case (Always time-appropriate and scenario-appropriate, the music manages to avoid the "ick, poo" factor quite nicely. Usually.)

Worst Theme Music
Grey's Anatomy (The supremely cheesy, retro-wannabe theme has absolutely nothing to do with the premise, the characters, the tone, or anything about the show. It must go.)

Best Theme Music
Law & Order

Worst Newcomer (that hasn't been canceled)
How I Met Your Mother (I don't get the appeal of this. Though the acting is first-rate, the rest of it, well, sucks.)

Best Newcomer (that hasn't been canceled)
Prison Break (It's easy to dismiss the absurdity of it all and just enjoy the, escape.)

Biggest Decline in Quality
CSI: Miami (It's still a huge hit and it's hard to understand why. Between David Caruso's horrid acting and the silly - at times laughably absurd - plots, this show has been relegated to the "only if there's nothing else on" category.)

Most Improved in Quality
NCIS (I dismissed this show in its first season as a cheap, subpar CSI wannabe, but now in its third season, NCIS has come into its own. Kudos to the network for giving it time to develop.)

Worst Network
NBC (It's hard to believe NBC was once King of the Ratings, isn't it?)

Best Network
WB (R.I.P.)

Biggest Stinker of the Season
The Evidence (Bad plot, bad premise, bad music, spectacularly bad acting. Just bad...really, really bad. Mercifully put out of its misery after 3 episodes.)

Trend of the Year
Shootings. Bang, bang, bang BANG! The season-enders of so many series had shootings (I counted 10 on network TV alone) that by the time I got to the last few season-enders, I just tried to guess who was going to be shot before I even watched the show. When, as expected, someone was shot (under ludicrous circumstances at times), I just groaned, rolled my eyes and occasionally laughed. Did the writers of every show get together and say "Hey, here's an original idea! Let's have someone get shot!" It was lazy and unimaginative and makes Americans appear to be the most violent people on earth.

Least Magical Moments
So You Think You Can Dance showing the same clip over and over and over again of a contestant puking. Seeing it once might have been mildly amusing, but a bazillion times? No. It was simply cheap - and completely unnecessary - exploitation.

Most Magical Moment
13-year-old Katharine Close's win at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. I don't know why it's so compelling to watch tweens stand and spell words, but the championship round (on live network TV!) was enthralling. Winning word: ursprache.
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