Next year, how about no Anna?
To use an overworked network term, 2002 is going on hiatus. So what better time to reflect on the very good and the very bad that television served up in the past year.
Best trend: Networks displaying a whole lot more patience before sending series to Cancellationville. Previously, critically acclaimed but low-rated shows such as 'Boomtown' might have been history by now. But NBC is hanging on, hoping an audience eventually will discover the crime-solving drama set in Los Angeles.
Worst trend: That E! refuses to cancel the depressing and downright weird 'Anna Nicole Show.'
Best example of a show that deserves another chance: Viewers eventually will find Fox Broadcasting's offbeat 'Andy Richter Controls the Universe.'
Worst example of a David E. Kelley show: Fox was there when Kelley's remarkable string of successes ran out. 'Girls Club,' purportedly a cross
between 'L.A. Law' and 'Ally McBeel,' was booted after only a couple of showings.
Best former Oprah pal who struck gold: 'Dr. Phil' dishes out tough love with a more telegenic touch than Laura Schlesinger displayed during her short-lived television adventure.
Worst example of a personality change: Rosie O'Donnell, once known as the Queen of Nice for the softball questions she lobbed on her afternoon talk show, mutated into the Queen of Mean upon leaving the set.
Best comeback: David
Caruso, finally, on the highly rated 'CSI: Miami.'
Worst comeback: Phil Donahue, whose little-noticed return to television on MSNBC has gone so poorly that he's now television's 'other Phil.'
Best network shuffle: NBC's acquisition of Bravo, a semi-highbrow cable network. Bravo might help NBC snap out of a cable-spinoff slump marked by microscoping ratings for MSNBC and CNBC.
Worst network potential shuffle: ABC's aborted talks with David Letterman, who would have replaced Ted Koppel and 'Nightline.' Fortunately, this idea didn't float.
Best drama series: A tie between '24' on Fox and 'The Sopranos' on HBO.
Worst drama: ABC's 'Dinotopia,' which, thankfully, has
also become extinct.
Best sitcom: 'Everybody Loves Raymond' on CBS.
Worst sitcom: 'Hidden Hills' on NBC.
Best show we loved to hate: ABC's 'The Bachelor.'
Worst show we used to love: CBS' 'Survivor.'
Best drawn-out off-screen drama Whether 'Friends' will return for another season. This week, NBC announced that it will.
Worst drawn-out off-screen drama: The Trent Lott apology tour, which took him everywhere by Fox Sports Network.
Best example of watchable shows that would be a lot more watchable if they weren't crammed with commercials: 'Behind the Music' on VH1 and 'True Hollywood Story' on E!
Worst example of a sporting event: 'Celebrity Boxing' on Fox, which featured Tonya Harding clubbing the overmatched Paula Jones.