Sallyfieldcalistaflockhart_brothers The most hilarious thing happened to me while I was on vacation. I had just left my hotel room and was completely covered in 30 sunscreen. (I’ve told you haven’t I that I have two shades, pale and sun burned, tan is not a color known to me.) I had pushed the elevator button when suddenly I remembered that

Oh did you want to know what I was going to say next?

That’s how I feel about so many TV shows these days who are abruptly having what the networks are euphemistically dubbing their "winter finales." Many story arcs are being truncated mid-sentence. Some shows still have a few episodes left to air in January while many won’t have a new episode until the strike is over.

I thought while the shows settle in for what could be a way-too-long winter’s nap, we’d take a look at where their final episodes of 2007 left them. My TiVo and I spent some quality time together this weekend but we still have a lot to catch up on, so I’m starting with ABC shows.

Brothers & Sisters: You know what struck me the other day? I actually like Calista Flockhart on this show. This may not seem like that shocking a statement but those of you who read my column during the days of Ally McBeal may remember that back then Flockhart really bugged me. And even when she started her stint as a Walker sibling, I found her fluttering and carrying on a little too familiar. But darn it all if she hasn’t won me over. I love Kitty’s relationship with Robert. And I love the Walkers. They may just be my favorite TV family since the Salingers. Not many shows can so effortlessly blend humor (the brother’s wagering on when Kitty will get married, Nora’s date getting high at her daughter’s wedding) with real palpable drama (Tommy’s affair, Justin’s drug addiction, Saul’s struggle to come out). And the show is able to do that across generations. I’ve long contended that family dramas are the hardest type of television to produce. There is nothing to easily hook each episode to — a crime to solve, patient to save, etc. This show is blossoming in its second season — delicately handling story lines like Saul’s while offering up political intrigue, romance, and mystery (what is Ken Olin doing there?). I’m not sure if they are going to have Robert win the presidential election and my guess is neither are the show’s writers. Either a win or loss offers up real dramatic possibilities. That’s good TV. I keep hoping the Walkers will discover another long lost sister named Amy.

Desperate Housewives: Well I don’t even know what to say about Gabby and Carlos any more. I’m disappointed that Victor turned into such a one-note villain (really a man with serious political aspirations would shoot someone out in the open?) And having the financial guy drop off information about a secret 10 million account in a manila folder during a tornado without even asking to see an ID? Well that’s just a lazy way of trying to move a plot point from A to B. But the rest of the episode, I really liked. I’ve been worried about Tom for awhile. Every time the network promotes the fact that someone on Wisteria Lane is going to that great suburb in the sky, I fret that it could be Tom. But I’ve decided it CAN’T be Tom. They can’t do that to Lynette — she’s suffered enough this season. I’m still happy about Dana Delaney’s Katherine and still waiting for the bigger mystery reveal. I could do without Mike’s drug addiction. As one of my friends said, I think it would be much more interesting to see Mike struggle to adapt to suburban life than struggle with pills. But all in all, I still think Desperate Housewives is having its best season since season one. The problem is it still doesn’t have the magic of season one.

Grey’s Anatomy: I think we’ve all feared that the doctors of Seattle Grace were behaving a little too much like they had spent some time at Chicago’s County General. I worry anytime something is over-promoted as the disaster of the week. But this two episode story arc really worked. For one thing, I love Dr. Hahn. She’s a fantastic addition to the cast. She’s a different type of female character (she doesn’t seem to be interested in finding supply closets or elevators) and her ambition and self-criticism makes for good TV. Also I’m delighted that they are showing more of Bailey’s personal life (even though I could have done without George as the go between). Both Lexy and Meredith were less annoying and more competent. Alex called Ava out on her behavior. George and Izzie put their romance on pause. Finally the characters on Grey’s are behaving in a believable fashion. These two episodes are the kind that could really turn the series around.

Ugly Betty: Well I’ve long said that the best love triangles happen with there are two likeable options for the character. That’s kind of what I see developing with the whole Gio/Henry/Betty situation. As much as I love the shenanigans Wilhelmina and Marc can stir up, I would love to have more of the great rapport between Amanda and Marc. That seems to be missing a little bit this season. Also we need more with Betty’s dad and the ever fabulous Justin. That actually may be the show’s problem — so many interesting characters, so little time.

Nataliezea_dirtysexymoney_240 Dirty Sexy Money: Okay I’m all in on this show. Karen seducing Simon at her father’s request. Brian as Nick’s half-brother. Patrick not being able to shake his affair with Carmelita. The plot doth thicken and we have a must-see reason to tune in every week. But what I’m really enjoying about this show is that it has dialed back its over-the-top quality. Nick’s wife doesn’t kiss Jeremy back. Tripp and Letitia behave like parents who truly care about their children. And I think William Baldwin is turning in the kind of performance that transforms careers. I don’t want to be a Darling, but I wouldn’t mind going to one of their parties.

What do you think of the winter finales of Brothers & Sisters, Grey’s, Ugly Betty, and Dirty Sexy Money? Post your comments below.

Coming Soon to a TV Gal Blog Posting Near You

I’m getting ready for my end of the year "Best of" series and I wanted to give you the schedule. There will be no new post on December 26 because I’ll be celebrating the holidays in The House That Technology Forgot. Here’s the schedule:

Monday, December 17 — 10 Best Shows of 2007

Wednesday, December 19 — 10 Best Characters of 2007

Friday, December 21 — Best Quotes of 2007

Monday, December 24 — Best of Everything Television 2007

Friday, December 28 — 10 Best Moments of 2007

Here’s where you come in. I want to hear from you about your best moments and best quotes of 2007. Email me at amytvgal@zap2it.com so I can include your suggestions in my upcoming posts.

Check this out

One of my favorite characters, the Todd on Scrubs has his own song aptly titled "The Todd Song." You can check out the song and the video at Robert Maschio’s official website www.robertmaschio.com.

Highlights for December 10-11

Ted goes on a date with his doctor on How I Met Your Mother at 8 p.m. on CBS. This appears to be the last episode of the gang we’ll have for awhile.

I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing that I don’t watch The Hills, which has its season finale Monday at 10 p.m. on MTV. On the negative side, I’m missing out on a pop-culture phenomenon and you know how I hate that. On the positive side, I still seem to know what’s happening because those kids are everywhere. And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Mila Kunis and James Franco’s spoof of Audrina and Justin Bobby at www.funnyordie.com.

Okay that’s all for today. I’m back on Wednesday with where have I seen them before (I’m traumatized by where I saw the sweet little boy from ET), thoughts on Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock, and where we left off with Bones and House. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Or want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.

Oh and for the end of my story? I realized I had brought my house keys not my hotel key with me. See not that interesting? That’s why I don’t write for TV. Talk to you on Wednesday. It’s good to be back.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal

Posted by:Amy Amatangelo