1. “America: A Tribute to Heroes” On Sept. 21, television history was made. In an unprecedented multi-network event, the entertainment industry”s elite stood together for a wide-scaled tribute to the victims of Sept. 11 in “America: A Tribute to Heroes.” After Sept. 11, the television medium literally became a “window to the world,” as heartbreaking and staggering images filled the television screen. This star-studded tribute paid homage to America”s fallen brethren in New York and Washington, and raised millions of dollars as well. Tom Hanks eloquently categorized the event as a chance for entertainers “to raise spirits as well as lots of money.” While many stars like Hanks, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Tom Cruise described their own reactions to the tragedy as well as stories of incredible courage, other stars like Jack Nicholson, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams sat ready to answer phones. The tribute also featured incredible performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. “A Tribute to Heroes” provided a lasting image of a community, one usually riddled with strife and scandal, which can come together and share a common goal and express the grief of a stunned nation. It also pulled in $150 million for the Sept. 11th Fund.
2. David Letterman After the events of Sept. 11th, New York mayor Rudy Guiliani urged everyone to go back to work. That first Monday after the attacks, David Letterman returned to the air with more wit and heart than ever. Letterman”s silly antics gave way to serious and truthful discourse about politics and moving forward. He began awkwardly, but found his rhythm by just speaking his feelings. His opening remarks echoed the grief and anger of the entire nation. His return to work signaled an attempt to return to a state of normalcy. Letterman wanted to stay at home but felt it was his duty to come back and show the world that New York and America would not be held down. Dan Rather and Regis Philbin were his guests. The most poignant moment came when Rather broke down for the second time and needed a few moments to regain his composure. This touching and important show helped to heal the wounds left by the attacks. After this first episode, Letterman paid tribute to the courageous leaders, firefighters and police officers that became heroes throughout that dark day.
3. “South Park” “Shit” was uttered 161 times. To illustrate a point, creators Stone and Parker had their characters utter a word not allowed on network TV. That and the Bin Laden episode have helped resurrect the show after a dismal previous two seasons.
4. Tenacious D on Letterman and Conan Usually when Letterman and Conan O”Brien stop with their stunts and monologues, it”s time to switch off the TV and sleep. But the D brought the house down on both shows, especially their version of “Tribute” on Letterman.
5. The World Series As much as Bob Costas was sorely missed on the broadcasting, this was the best World Series since 1991, and far more entertaining than any other sports event, especially the Super Bowl and the dull college bowl games The Yankees losing is one thing nobody should ever get sick of seeing. Seven games, two dominating teams, the way the game was meant to be. If only they would move up the broadcasts so more people could watch.
6. The Emmys Ellen DeGeneres had one great moment, speculating how upset the Taliban must be at a lesbian host surrounded by a bunch of Jews. Otherwise, she wasn”t all that funny, shamelessly promoting her new show. At least Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, and “The West Wing” won. But c”mon, “Sex and the City” as best comedy? The best part about the Emmy broadcast was their joke about updating viewers on the World Series score. So Fox trumped them and updated viewers on the Emmy results. Fox 1, ABC 0.
7. CBS is back “Survivor: Africa” inexplicably is still pulling in viewers, but CBS is finally giving viewers a reason to watch before Letterman. “Becker,” “CSI,” “Everyone Loves Raymond” and “Yes, Dear” are all pulling in surprising ratings, forcing the other networks to take them seriously.
8. Buffy: the musical Why did UPN steal the show away from the WB? Episodes like this. This season hasn”t been the best, but the show clearly stood out, especially on Tuesday nights full of new talent (“Scrubs,” “24”).
9. “Band of Brothers” and “Six Feet Under” debut on HBO HBO is, on certain days (Sundays in particular) an excuse by itself to have cable TV. “Band of Brothers” was a powerful war drama and “Six Feet Under” continues the quirky tradition of HBO original shows. Maybe the networks should pay attention and learn to develop shows as well made (“Bob Patterson,” anybody?)
10. Ross is announced as the father of Rachel”s baby on “Friends” After several seasons full of duds, the cast of “Friends” evidently decided to make this one of the funniest yet. Will NBC and the show”s cast and crew wise up and leave on a high note, or will they spoil a good season and come back for more? Jennifer Aniston deserves a best supporting actress nod this year. This plot twist could help resolve the inevitable problem of what to do with Rachel and Ross.
Compiled by Daily TV/New Media Staff