12:57 pm - 12/11/2009
'Jin' leads best programs of dramatic year (Daily Yomiuri Columnist's version)
Welcome to the Tellies, the annual Televiews Awards for TV Excellence, my purely personal picks of the year's best TV.
In the TV world, 2009 will be remembered as a year when few of the dramas were worth tuning in to but nobody cared. Viewers were too busy watching gripping, real-life sagas of celebrity substance abuse and pursuing their new-found interest--politics. Suddenly, Cabinet ministers and Diet members of every political persuasion were nudging the usual "talents" out of the limelight on the top talk and variety shows. But now, with no further ado, the envelopes, please.
The year's big hit (and the one bright spot in a dreary TBS lineup) was Jin (Sundays, 9 p.m., TBS). This unusual historical science fiction drama takes home almost all the 2009 Tellies. It wins for: best drama, best dramanga (adaptation of a manga), best script, best sets, best costumes, best supporting actress--Haruka Ayase--and best supporting actor--Masaaki Uchino--for his refreshingly original portrayal of Sakamoto Ryoma. He's so good, Masaharu Fukuyama will have to work very hard to come up with a more endearing Sakamoto in NHK's 2010 Sunday night historical drama Ryoma-den starting Jan. 3.
Hiroshi Abe edged out Jin star Takao Osawa for the best actor Tellie with his outstanding performance as a bitter ex-con who transforms himself into a selfless father in this spring's Shiroi Haru. Nozomi Ohashi, who played his daughter, takes the Tellie for best child actor.
In 2008, all the best roles were written for women, but this year there were very few great females roles around.
Best actress Tellie: Izumi Inamori, who played the mother of a child who murders another child in Aishiteru--Kaiyo. Runner-up: Yuki Amami for Boss.
Best docudrama: Fuji's Jitsuroku Matsumoto Sarin Jiken Tsuma yo Haha yo.
Best mystery/detective series: Aibo (TV Asahi, 9 p.m., Wednesdays), although Rinjo was a close second.
Best comeback drama: Mito Komon (Mondays, 8 p.m., TBS) much more watchable since Matsuo Basho was added to the roster of characters.
Best performance in a continuing soap opera: Noriko Sakai for "The Saga of Nori-P."
Best Korean drama shown on Japanese TV this year: Sodonyo (The Ballad of Seo Dong) starring Cho Hyun Jae on SkyPerfect's CS Gyao channel, Fridays 9-11:25 p.m.) Had forgotten how exciting a good historical drama could be.
Best infovariety show: Wafu Sohonke (Mondays, 8 p.m., TV Tokyo).
Best variety show Tellie: Cancelled this year. George Tokoro's Waratte Koraete (Wednesdays, 7:56 p.m., NTV) almost won for its usually entertaining "Darts no Tabi" treks around the archipelago. But last week, they visited a seaside town where locals cut and served up part of a still wiggling fish and threw the other half back in the tank. The narrator told at-home viewers this was a "no-no," but why show the disturbing segment at all? No Tellie this year George.
Tellie for minimum talent used to maximum advantage, which honors the most ambitious, audacious and versatile attempts to monopolize our TV screens (won previously by Yoshio Kojima and Harumi Edo) goes to Imoto Ayako, who has made a silly grin and oversize eyebrows a lucrative business.
Best in-depth news show: Closeup Gendai, (7:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, NHK-G). Summaries of all the shows past programs are neatly archived at www.nhk.or.jp/gendai/. Occasionally, it veers off track, but Hiroko Kuniya is certainly the best English and Japanese interviewer on air, as she proved with her revealing half hour with Michael Moore on Dec. 3.
But they really need to hire a spelling mavin. They left out the "a" in Michael's name in the intro.
TBS is one step ahead for creating this historical drama hype although NHK has prepared Fukuyama Masaharu as Ryoma next year. People for sure will hard to forget this Masaaki Uchino's Sakamoto Ryoma in JIN . And yes for the best actress is from Aishiteru <3