Giving thanks, even after Thanksgiving

While the holiday may have come to an end, that doesn't mean that the season of thanks has to be over. It should last as least as long as the leftovers in your fridge do. (And judging from that green Tupperware bowl at the back of the middle shelf, that could be quite some time.)

But we shouldn't just be thankful for our health, the love of others, and the fact that we live in a remarkable country. If that's all you need, then you're reading the wrong column. But for those of you who used the days off of work as an opportunity to catch up with all the "Must See TV" you taped and hadn't yet seen, then perhaps this little list of things to be thankful for is for you. When you finish, you'll feel as thankful as that turkey that got a Presidential pardon and an all-expenses paid move to a local petting zoo.

1. Smallville. A clever, sassy look at Superman's early days - and that WB teen angst thing plays well, even when you've got X-ray vision.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Syndicated twice a night on FX. Enough said.

3. The noted stage actor Victor Garber, generally woefully underappreciated, seems finally to have a role on a good show. (He plays Jennifer Garner's father on "Alias.")

4. For that matter, "Alias" itself, with one of the stupidest premises in modern television history (grad student by day - superagent by night! Puh-leez) is one of the most absorbing, fast-paced, addictive shows on television. Watch if you dare.

5. Reality TV seems to be on the wane.

6. It's still football season until January.

7. With NBC moving "Scrubs" to Thursdays at 8:30, there's no need to spend the half hour between "Friends" and "Will and Grace" awkwardly wandering around the house, trying not to admit to yourself that you're just killing time till 9 o'clock.

8. The fact that the "West Wing", rather than rendered irrelevant by the events of Sept. 11, still consists of gripping political drama with enough domestic policy issues to remind us that there's more to life than Osama.

9. With Monsters, Inc. and Harry Potter packing them in at the movie theaters, there are actually family movies out that are fun for the whole family. Unless you're a Muggle.

10. HBO is re-running The Sopranos on Sunday nights, so that anyone who didn't get a chance to see what all the fuss is about the first time can get with the program. I don't want to hear any excuses any more. Got me?

11. It's still football season until January.

12. With televised concerts by Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, 'N Sync, Madonna, and Jennifer Lopez, among others, you can impress friends and co-workers by pretending you got front-row seats to the hottest tickets in town.

13. With the new "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Law and Order: Criminal Intent", to say nothing of syndication, it won't be long until versions of "Law and Order" replace every other show on television. (I'm not sure if this is something to be thankful for as much as apprehensive about.)

14. "Once and Again" continues to provide top-notch storytelling and subtle characterization, the best on television and maybe anywhere.

15. "Emeril" can't be long for this world.

16. Have I mentioned that in December, it will still be football season, as it continues through to January?

17. Only a few weeks till the first "Lord of the Rings" movie, and a few months till the new "Star Wars" movie.

18. "Weakest Link" has begun running "theme shows". Ask not who the bell tolls for, "Weakest Link," it tolls for thee. Good-bye.

19. "It's a Wonderful Life" is showing on television, reminding us that even in these difficult times, there's a great deal to love and to cherish.

And if all that weren't enough, it's still football season until January. Best wishes for a happy holiday season.

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