From weddings to comebacks to historic sports moments, we've got a rundown on the stories that had everyone talking from the year that was.
Preston Burke and Cristina Yang
Things went from bad to worse for Grey's Anatomy's Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Burke (Isaiah Washington) on their wedding day. First, Mama Burke (Diahann Carroll) took Cristina's eyebrows, and then Burke threw in the towel after Cristina's freak-out before the ceremony. He left her at the church. Seriously!
Wilhelmina Slater and Bradford Meade
Everything should have been perfect for scheming Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) and media mogul Bradford (Alan Dale) when they walked down the aisle on Ugly Betty — if only she hadn't been having an affair with her bodyguard (Rick Fox) and the groom hadn't suffered a heart attack during the event.
Bob Vance and Phyllis Lapin
The Office's Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) and Bob (Bobby Ray Shafer) tied the knot back in February. But leave it to boss Michael (Steve Carell) to make a memorable toast to the happy couple, noting that their celebrity nickname would be Phlob and that Phyllis was known as Easy Rider in high school.
Lana Lang and Lex Luthor
The unlikely Smallville duo decided to marry after Lana (Kristin Kreuk) got pregnant. When she discovered that Clark (Tom Welling) has superpowers — and still loved her — she wavered. But Lex's dad threatened to kill Clark, so she and Lex (Michael Rosenbaum) got hitched. And then she left him six episodes later. Ah, love...
Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle
Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara (Jorja Fox) finally confirmed their togetherness in CSI's Season 6 finale. But on Nov. 15, a tough case put Sara over the edge and she left the crime lab — and Grissom — with a note that read: "Know that you are my one and only.... I love you. I always will. Goodbye."
Allison Cameron and Robert Chase
House's Chase (Jesse Spencer) pulled out all the stops in pursuit of Cameron (Jennifer Morrison). Yet the usually softhearted Cameron cut things off, saying she didn't want a relationship, "just sex." Ouch. (There was trouble off set, too, when the actor broke off their real-life engagement last summer.)
Gabrielle Solis and Victor Lang
Gaby (Eva Longoria) thought she'd found happiness with mayor Victor (John Slattery) on Desperate Housewives. But when she discovered — on their wedding day — that he only wanted her to secure the Latino vote, she decided Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) was the man for her. Mother Nature agreed: The tornado finished Victor off.
Cheryl and Larry David
Art mimicked life in a painfully funny way on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) left Larry (close on the heels of David's real-life split from wife Laurie). The final straw? Larry hung up on Cheryl in favor of the TiVo guy — even though Cheryl called for comfort during a turbulent flight. Nice move, Larry!
The only combat the China Beach veteran sees on Desperate Housewives is a lemon meringue pie bakeoff between her alter ego, Katherine Mayfair, and archnemesis Bree. Delany couldn't be happier about her new address on Wisteria Lane. Considering she turned down the role of Bree when the show was first cast — "It's very rare in life you get second chances," she says — she's enjoying a comeback with a cherry on top.
After being derailed from the acting track due to high-profile personal problems, the NYPD Blue star is back in the spotlight again — but this time in a good way. Delaney (no relation to Dana) has added a little red and white to her blue, winning raves for her portrayal of loyal spouse Claudia Joy Holden on Lifetime's sleeper hit Army Wives. As long as Jimmy Smits stays over on CBS' Cane, she should be safe from any breakdowns.
While most members of '80s hair-metal bands mercifully faded into oblivion, the Poison frontman resurfaced like an endless, screaming guitar solo. The voice behind such classics as "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" remade himself as a reality star, headlining VH1's Rock of Love. Twenty women competed to be his "Rock Star Girlfriend," testing if they had what it takes to live on tour buses, mingle with his famous friends and compete with groupies. Rock on, Bret!
Patricia Heaton and Kelsey Grammer
These two could have easily ridden off into the sunset, having achieved TV immortality as Debra Barone and Dr. Frasier Crane. But after a very brief hiatus, they've come right Back to You in prime time, playing a pair of love-crossed coanchors on Fox's sitcom. Many critics forecasted the series wouldn't survive because of its old-school format. Wrong. Jokes Grammer, "Reports of my death have been highly exaggerated."
When Brenneman said she had no intention of returning to TV in 2005, nobody judged her. She'd pretty much done it all, having played a cop on NYPD Blue, starred in films like Heat and ruled supreme over the hugely successful Judging Amy. Two years later she's back in Private Practice, and it's a good thing. As Dr. Violet Turner, she's the most whacked-out TV shrink we've seen since, well, Dr. Crane.
BIG REALITY MOMENTS
It doesn't matter that balladeer Jordin Sparks bested beat boxer Blake Lewis. Because when history judges American Idol 6 — and it will — only Sanjaya will stand the test of time. Possessed of little but a sweet smile and crazy hairstyles, the 17-year-old off-key warbler inexplicably mobilized an army of sobbing preteen girls.
Former BFFs Lauren and Heidi fought over sex-tape rumors and Heidi's evil fiancé, Spencer, providing juicy tabloid fodder until message boards erupted with debates about the show's authenticity. An outraged Lauren declared, "This is really my life." Sigh. We love/hate Season 3 like Spencer loves/hates Heidi.
Survivor: Fiji player Andria "Dreamz" Herd committed the most blatant backstab in the show's history. A quick refresher: Yau gave Dreamz the $60,000 Ford truck he'd won. In return, if the former street kid snagged the final immunity necklace, he would surrender it to Yau. That was the deal. But, apparently, Dreamz's word is not his bond.
So You Think You Can Dance
We always knew they could dance. But Season 3's contestants proved they could also bring it. Their moves, like Shauna Noland's spiral, Hok Konishi's quirky breaking or winner Sabra Johnson's, well, everything, forever raised the barre. No wonder the SYTYCD tour sold out in almost 49 cities!
It's been a bloody good year for Brit chef Ramsay. His book Playing With Fire lit up foodies' shelves. The third season of Hell's Kitchen continued to turn folks on to the finer side of Beef Wellington. And his new series, Kitchen Nightmares, sizzled. All this, and he still found time to open restaurants in Dublin and Prague.
BIG WATERCOOLER MOMENTS
The Sopranos' Swan Song The seminal series' last episode left us searching for meaning — and humming "Don't Stop Believin'" — for weeks.
Ellen Goes to the Dogs
DeGeneres' public breakdown over Iggy the pooch led to death threats and some disgusted fans. Ruff stuff.
Rosie vs. Elisabeth
The cohosts' heated exchange caused O'Donnell to take an early exit from The View. Bet we haven't heard the last of her.
They get rescued? We have answers — and lots more questions — thanks to the third-season finale's daring flash-forwards.
BIG SPORTS MOMENTS
Peyton's Place in History
After years of postseason flops, Manning finally fulfilled his destiny and led the Colts to a Super Bowl title.
Papelbon "Saves" the Red Sox
Relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon earned saves during three of Boston's four wins in a World Series sweep of the Colorado Rockies — its second championship in four years. The curse is officially history.
Rutgers Slays Devils
Don Imus may have made it a household name, but the Rutgers women's basketball team was taking giants down long before crossing paths with the radio blowhard. The Scarlet Knights' defining moment came in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament, a nailbiting 53-52 upset of seemingly invincible top seed Duke — a team that beat Rutgers by 40 points earlier in the season.
A Running Back Rings in the New Year
Moments after scoring the game-winning two-point conversion in an overtime Fiesta Bowl victory on January 1, Boise State running back Ian Johnson won an even bigger victory: His girlfriend, cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, said yes to his impromptu marriage proposal.
Becks' Major Kick
David Beckham's posh approach to life trumped America's general ambivalence toward soccer. His much-hyped debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy — an exhibition match in which he played just 16 minutes as a substitute — broke ESPN's ratings record for an MLS game.
For more on Christina and Burke's wedding/breakup and all the year's biggest stories, visit our Online Video Guide.
Check out the special double issue of TV Guide on newsstands now, featuring Christina Applegate on rumor patrol, the ultimate holiday TV preview and our exclusive look at the Dancing with the Stars tour! Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!
Send your comments on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org.