Hello, Grey's Anatomy Fans! Long time, no see. As the year winds down, I thought it would be fun to do a Best of 2010 column. In the spirit of "glass half full," I'm sticking with the best developments of the year and overlooking the worst or even the questionable. Therefore, I'm skipping right over most of season 6, which arguably had its moments but was also wildly uneven.
Instead I'll begin with the year's Best Episode, the two-part season 6 finale: "Sanctuary/Death and All His Friends." The premise was potentially disastrous -- crazed gunman on the loose in the hospital. Instead, in a wondrous turn of events, the episode was riveting, compelling, edge-of-your seat television that reminded viewers why we fell in love with this show in the first place. Taut storytelling coupled with stellar acting by the entire ensemble made this the best season finale of any show on any network. It also set things in motion for category number two: Best Return to Form.
Conventional wisdom usually asserts that the "glory days" of GA were seasons 1 and 2, but I would argue that season 7 is a prime example of a show revitalized and reborn while also taken to a whole new level. We're getting the freshness and excitement of the early years together with the benefits of an ensemble cast at the top of its game. There's also a richness and nuance that's come with character development. I love, for example, that the show is grounded by Best Icons Meredith and Derek who, after years of angst and torment, are now happily married and trying for a family. They are the show's centerpiece and its anchor. To my great surprise and pleasure, I really like happy, married them, and I hope they get their McBaby!
Another key component to the current resurgence is what I consider to be the show's Best Love Story, Cristina and Owen. Wildly passionate and epically romantic theirs is a love story for the ages: a complex portrayal of mature adults dealing with very difficult problems, but facing their challenges together. It's a grown-up love story for grown-up fans. The Owen and Cristina wedding, the year's Best Surprise, was really only surprising because I never thought head writer Shonda Rhimes would go there, so imagine my giddy delight when she did! The marriage itself makes perfect sense to me, however. This was the next logical step for a couple that wants a lifetime together.
The year's Best Breakups are made up of couples in various stages. I've never understood the Mark/Lexie pairing and saw their breakup as inevitable since they are in such different places in their lives. Of course, as I type, Mexie fans can be cautiously optimistic that there's hope for those two yet. As for Callie and Arizona? Well, you can't live in a "pink bubble" forever, at least not in Shonda's world, so they were due for some trials. Don't lose hope, though, Calzona fans. All is not lost. Alas, the same can't really be said for Izzie/Alex shippers (for whom I truly feel bad). With Katherine Heigl's Best Departure (I'm sorry, but I don't miss her at all) that couple is dead in the water.
On the upside, now that he's free of romantic entanglements, Alex Karev is turning into one heck of a doctor. Sure, his personal life is a train wreck, but Alex is currently the Best Resident, having chosen a specialty (pediatrics) in which he is excelling. Innovative in his thinking, skilled at his craft and an advocate for his patients, he is a rock star. Rock. Star. You go, Karev! In other medical news, the year's Best Twist was that Derek finally became chief ... and hated it. Thank goodness, in the year's Best Comeback, Richard got himself sober again and returned to his former position, as Derek resigned and went back to what he loves most ... surgery. And what about Cristina Yang? Will she ever return to surgery? That's still unknown since the year's Best Crisis (Cristina's PTSD) is still unfolding.
OK, now for my most controversial pick: Best Addition to the Cast. She got off to a rocky start by inappropriately crushing on McDreamy, but I'm going with April Kepner! There. I said it. I like April. I like that she's recovered from that terrible beginning and now fits in nicely with the whole ensemble. I like that she speaks her mind. I like that she's unpredictable, and I like that I don't know where her story, either professional or personal, is going. Like Meredith, I'm liking her more and more.
Finally, let's talk about friendships. Once again, I'm going to court controversy because, to me, the Best Friendships aren't always the most obvious choices. I'm a big fan of Meredith and Alex. I also love Cristina and Callie. And there's a very special place in my heart for Derek and Bailey. In each of these cases, the relationship is honest, supportive and healthy, and that's what a true friendship should be.
So is season 7 the Best Season Ever? Well, that remains to be seen, but if the second half is as strong as the first, then we're in for a treat. Grey's Anatomy returns next week with an all-new episode, "Disarm," on Thursday, Jan. 6 on ABC. I'll be back next Thursday as well with a reminder of where we left off and some fearless predictions for the rest of the season. In the meantime, sound off in the comments. Agree? Disagree? Feel the need to add your own categories? Have at it, and I'll see you next week!
(Image courtesy of ABC)