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Goodies the Tube Delivered in 2001, 12.30.01 ...

Here is one critic's list of the Top 25 best things about television this year:

1. ``Band of Brothers'' (HBO)
The best TV had to offer.

2. ``The Sopranos'' (HBO)
TV's most influential drama.

3. ``The West Wing'' (NBC)
Even when it gets preachy, it's good.

4. ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' (UPN/WB)
Hits more home runs than any series.

5. ``Gilmore Girls'' (WB)
A totally charming family comedy-drama.

6. ``Six Feet Under'' (HBO)
A wry drama with a first-rate cast.

7. ``The Simpsons''-``Malcolm In the Middle'' (Fox)
The best comedy block on TV.

8. HBO's original movies
No network has ever had a run like ``Boycott,'' ``Wit,'' ``61*,'' ``Dinner With Friends,'' ``Conspiracy'' and ``Shot In the Heart.''

9. ``Jazz'' (PBS)
What a riff.

10. ``The Late Show With David Letterman'' (CBS)
Just superb in the wake of Sept. 11.

11. ``Once and Again'' (ABC)
The most underappreciated series on TV -- by viewers and its network.

12. ``Nightline'' (ABC)
Absolutely essential viewing.

13. ``Saturday Night Live'' (NBC)
Has its best ensemble since the show's earliest days.

14. Nickelodeon
Yep, the entire schedule. No one does kids' TV better.

15. ``The Bernie Mac Show'' (Fox)
A family sitcom that actually works.

16. ``Alias'' (ABC)/``24'' (Fox)
Two slick thrillers that push the envelope in terms of format.

17. ``State of Grace'' (ABC Family)
A small comic gem about growing up.

18. ``Sex and the City'' (HBO)
Slowing down but still smart and sassy.

19. ``Everybody Loves Raymond'' (CBS)
A solid, reliable traditional sitcom.

20. ``Uprising'' (NBC)/``Anne Frank'' (ABC)
Two very different but equally compelling views of the Holocaust.

21. ``The Chris Isaak Show'' (Showtime)
A witty and fun look at rock life.

22. ``The Job'' (ABC)
Dark, gritty and wildly funny.

23. ``The O'Reilly Factor'' (Fox News)
Even what irritates you can be good TV.

24. ``Life With Judy Garland'' (ABC)
Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard were transcendent as Garland.

25. ``Friends'' (NBC)
Huge comeback at the start of this season.
Credit: The Mercury News

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