As we come to the close of another school — er, TV year — albeit one that had an unexpected and mostly unwanted long winter break, it's time to take one last look back at those classmates who made this year such a ... year.
Let's recognize the best and brightest in the way that only a medium that acts like a high school can: with Class of '08 Yearbook Honors.
Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer) of “The Office”
We knew they were made for each other from Day One, but you don't really expect anything at Dunder-Mifflin to work well, do you?
Runners-up: Look-but-don't-touch duo Ned and Chuck (Lee Pace and Anna Friel) of “Pushing Daisies.”
Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) of “Friday Night Lights”
The king and queen of Dillon, Texas, are committed to Family, Football and missing whatever's on TV on Friday. It's a small empire, but it's all theirs.
Runners-up: Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Derek Shepherd (Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey) of “Grey's Anatomy.” Now that Addison has been safely spun-off, their relationship should be less complicated and more exciting, right? Right?
Walter White (Bryan Cranston) of “Breaking Bad”
This chemistry teacher-turned-meth-maker is not quite the rebel you expect, but often that's the best kind of rebel.
Runner-up: Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) of “Lost.” Because being a rebel is easier when nobody's really sure which side you're on.
Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D., (Jim Parsons) on “The Big Bang Theory”
If the true test of a genius is how badly he handles things outside his area of expertise, physics geek Sheldon is TV's biggest genius, hands down.
Runner-up: Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel) of "Bones"
In the tough competition among the various egghead investigators on police procedurals, Bones gets extra points for handling ex-vampire David Boreanaz better than Buffy did.
Most Valuable Player
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace of “Battlestar Galactica”
With Jack Bauer off for the year, who's going to come through to save the day in the last minute (or hour, whatever)? It looks like Starbuck is either going to lead everyone on Galactica to Earth or to their doom, but, hey, she's leading!
Runner-up: The Doctor (David Tennant) of “Doctor Who”
He's been in the hero game longer than anybody (no matter how you figure it), and his current version may be his most heroic ever.
Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) of “How I Met Your Mother”
Sometimes you don't need a teacher to be a teacher's pet. When you have Barney's overwhelming desire to impress absolutely everybody, all the world's your apple.
Runner-up: Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) on “The Office.” When he dropped boss Michael Scott off for a faux-"Survivor" attempt, Dwight said, "I will even let (Michael) die. But I will never let him lose his dignity."
Ellen DeGeneres of “Ellen”
It's all about making your guests comfortable enough to say things they'll be uncomfortable about later, and Ellen just keeps getting better at it.
Runner-up: Tom Bergeron of “Dancing With the Stars” & “America's Funniest Home Videos”
Whether it's a football-in-the-groin video or a football player attempting to waltz, nothing is too awkward for Tom.
Samantha Newby (Christina Applegate) of “Samantha Who?”
This is one even Kelly Bundy could figure out, duh, since the whole premise is about a bad person turned good. Of course, that means we can rule her out for a repeat win next year.
Runner-up: Betty (America Ferrara) of “Ugly Betty,” Is it an illusion caused by the character's growth, or are the show's makeup artists using 20 percent less ugly this year?
Drama King and Queen
Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) of “House”
Any other year he'd be contending for Mr. Know It All, but this year it was all about the drama. Some of it was contrived, like his Donald Trump/Apprentice schtick early on, but by the end of the year, the drama was real — or was it?
Runner-up: Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) of “Desperate Housewives.” Yes, another new neighbor with a secret, but she helped revive the hysteria on Wisteria Lane just as things were starting to get desperately dull.
Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) of “Reaper”
Being a nice guy is one thing. Being a nice guy while working for the devil is another.
Runner-up: Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) of “30 Rock.” Because some would note that working for a TV network is not dissimilar to working for the devil.
Jimmy Kimmel of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
With comedy today dominated by the ironic, the outraged and the caricature, there isn't much room left for a good old fashioned goofball, and Kimmel is the biggest goofball ever allowed to host a network talk show.
Runner-up: Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlaine) of “Family Guy.” Fortunately, animation still welcomes the truly clownish character. Peter edges out Homer Simpson by sheer lack of sympathetic features.
Wendell Wittler is the online alias of a writer from Southern California.