In a year that brought us the writers' strike, "National Bingo Night" and Sanjaya, it might seem difficult to look back with any sort of fondness. But this is that special time to look forward in anticipation ("The Wire" returns next week!) and celebrate past moments that worked. Here's my New Year's list of things from 2007 that I'm most thankful for:

• TCM, the best thing to happen for movie lovers since the invention of popcorn.

• "The War" for choosing to spotlight Luverne, Minn., offering me the opportunity to spend some time in a great town with a great heart.

• "American Idol" for not choosing a finalist from our area, saving me from having to write 22 stories about a new "hometown hero."

• The jaw-dropping season finale of "Damages" -- and the news that it'll be back for at least two more sessions.

Jennifer Love Hewitt's Hanes commercials. If she's fat, then I'm John Goodman.

John Goodman for his role as a wacky but wise judge on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

• WCCO-TV's "inside the box" promotional ads.

• Eddie Izzard in "The Riches."

• Eddie Izzard's Charlie Chaplin impression, which he graciously did for me at an L.A. party (after a few cocktails).

• Michael C. Hall's smirk on "Dexter."

• The updated DVD set of "My So-Called Life."

• Katie Couric's "Primary Questions" on the "CBS Evening News."

• Feist's "1234" music video.

• Alanis Morrissette's "My Humps" music video.

Tom Petty's temper tantrums in the documentary "Runnin' Down a Dream."

• David Chase.

• The wardrobe for "Mad Men."

Danny Bonaduce body-slamming Jonny Fairplay during the "Fox Reality Channel Really Awards."

Jenna Fischer's beach-bonfire speech on "The Office."

• John Turturro's performance as Billy Martin in "The Bronx Is Burning."

• Ashley Tisdale's performance of "Fabulous" in "High School Musical 2."

• Michael Keaton's performance in "The Company."

• The final round of the British Open, which proved that golf can be captivating, even without Tiger what's-his-name.

• The last, and very satisfying, season of "Rome."

• Minnesota Public Radio's Kerri Miller, who just gets better every month, and Gary Eichten, the dean of interviewers.

• Dan Barreiro's rage on KFAN.

• The Bruce Springsteen channel on Sirius Satellite radio.

• Prince's Super Bowl halftime show.

• Paul Simon reuniting with Art Garfunkel and Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a PBS special.

• The Flight of the Conchords' should-be hit "The Most Beautiful Girl" ("you could be a part-time model").

• David Bowie serenading "chubby little loser" Ricky Gervais on "Extras."

• Fox yanking that O.J. Simpson interview off the schedule.

• The quick cancellation of "Anchorwoman."

• Frank Deford's "Real Sports" piece on 5-year-old golf prodigy Kyle Lograsso, who has only one eye.

• TiVo.

njustin@startribune.com • 612-673-7431