Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

The Office Finale (BBC America)

This list generally focuses on the best new TV shows of the year rather than returning favorites. But this departed British workplace sitcom, which led the TIME TV list for 2003, was so nice I had to name it twice — first, for its two six-episode seasons last year; now, for going out in style. In a year of mediocre send-offs for shows that lasted past their prime (Friends, Frasier, Sex and the City), this two-hour finale kept its cruel, awkward humor while ending on a note of sweetness (who was heartless enough not to want star-crossed coworkers Tim and Dawn to get together?). It even offered a believable touch of redemption and hope for boss-from-hell David Brent (Ricky Gervais). NBC is working on an adaptation for next year; if they can find the American equivalent of this comedy of quiet desperation, it'll be welcome on next year's list too.