America's Next Top ModelI honestly agree this must have been a tough choice for the judges. At the top of the hour, we had two very photogenic girls and one telegenic one. Despite surviving the bottom two for four times in a row, I think Bre knew she wasn't going to make it to the second half of the episode. But for a second there, it looked like

Nicole was going to sabotage herself, with her whiny "the lights are blinding me, kinda" meltdown. It was pretty unfair that they were judged on unedited footage of the ads. Especially considering how many times Tyra's words are so obviously overdubbed, not to mention Jay's own embarrassing commercials two cycles ago. Still, Bre's photographs were never as good as Nik's and Nicole's. How sad was it when Bre took off her high heels and put on her glasses in defeat? On to part two, in which we got to meet world-renowned photographer Gilles Bensimon, and we learned that Tyra's about 6 inches taller than Nik and Nicole. Fame and glory aside, I'm wondering if being America's Next Top Model makes your beauty fade somehow: Naima and Eva looked kind of sickly and odd compared to the two finalists, who looked, to borrow a phrase, rather fierce at the show, even with the double sets of eyebrows. Tyra even did her best to shake them, offering a final heart-to-heart after they'd already had their makeup done. During the panel, did anyone else see a similarity to last cycle's final two? It was the edgy, possibly biracial girl versus the all-American sweetheart. I wish they hadn't edited out the argument that must have taken place between Miss J. and Nigel  unless Tyra settled that one with the wave of her hand. Congrats to Nicole; you can now have all the Chapstick and Red Bull you've ever wanted.   Sabrina Rojas Weiss

Veronica Mars
I was less shocked by Meg's untimely death than by Wallace's random appearance on Veronica's doorstep on New Year's Eve. Meg's death has some more interesting implications in that her baby girl survived, she hinted that she wanted Veronica to make sure her baby didn't end up with religious zealots, and after watching last week's alternate ending, we should perhaps be suspicious that foul play is involved. Actually, the biggest surprise of the night was that dreamy Deputy Leo turned out to be the one who stole the Aaron-Lilly tapes to auction them off. Yes, I know he had a good reason, and it was even sweet that he wanted so badly to help his sister with her Down syndrome, but he really did a bang-up job in helping out the defense lawyers in the Aaron Echolls case. And I know that Logan's a baddie, I really do, but I couldn't help but feel for him when he watched the sex tape, with his dad and the love of his life having some feisty Paris Hilton-style relations. I'd have wanted to delete them, too: Good thing he's rich and can afford a degausser to eliminate the offensive images. Veronica meanwhile has to settle for a refurbished laptop as a Christmas gift. But while she and her dad don't have a boatload of cash, they both try so hard to make everything so special. She got all gussied up in the fancy duds and even cooked, and he knew just how to comfort her when handing her the jury-duty papers: with some two-day-old lasagna and extra helpings of ice cream. They even have a potential slogan for the Mars family crest, inspired by his investigation and her jury job: It's not always easy doing the right thing. It might not be, but you can count on the Marses to try. Oh, and just a random little note: Did anyone else catch The Todd from Scrubs as one of the eleven jurors? He was so toned down from his normal horn-dog appearance I almost had to do a double take. Angel Cohn

Got questions for Veronica Mars' producers? Send them in here.

Alias
Sark's back! He strutted in with an American accent and an attitude to go along with it. I can't blame Rachel for being easily charmed by this wickedly wonderful bad boy I would be, too. Especially since Mr. Grace is being all business as usual. Loved Sark's dig at Sydney and Co. with his comments about how he tried to work a regular job, but he didn't like the steady gig and he preferred being freelance. Fun. I've missed the sweet-talker who managed to fill his vocab with sexual innuendo even while tied to a bomb. And who smugly inquired as to whether he and Rachel could be friends after she threatened him. Can't blame a guy for trying, even if she did take him down with her cuddling comment. We need more of this fun banter. Bring him back for more please pretty please! I was pretty impressed with today's missing gadget du jour, though the whole Prophet Five thing is not quite as compelling as the Rambaldi-related stuff. But that big Micro pulse bomb that could neatly cremate people without doing any damage to the surrounding area was pretty damn creepy. And can I just say again for the record how nice it is to have Alias back, and paired with Lost? I know it is just temporary and I'm trying not to get to comfortable with it, but it is a nice holiday treat. Oh, and did anyone else ever think they'd hear Jack Bristow utter the word "thong"?  Angel Cohn