Top TV moments: ‘Roseanne,’ Oprah’s speech, message funerals

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a remarkably dramatic year on television, with much of it unscripted.

While prime-time series including “This Is Us” and “Atlanta” reached notable emotional and provocative highs, TV impressively fulfilled its role as witness to gripping real-life events.

We had the chance to see it all unfold: today’s barbed politics in unlikely settings; a woman essentially saying #MeToo to U.S. senators and the suitably extravagant goodbye to an American queen.

This Jan. 7, 2018 image released by NBC shows Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Winfrey's rousing call for social justice in the name of the MeToo movement drew wild cheers in the ballroom at the Golden Globes Awards in January and reverberated across the land. Pundits and Oprah-whisperers proclaimed it a first step toward a presidential run, and #oprah2020 trended. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)
OPRAH’S SPEECH Winfrey’s rousing call for social justice in the name of the MeToo movement drew wild cheers in the ballroom at the Golden Globes in January and reverberated across the land. Pundits and Oprah-whisperers proclaimed it a first step toward a presidential run, and #oprah2020 trended. It would be a true Hollywood script: an entertainment mogul challenges a reality-show host for the Oval Office. Oprah said no way; the chatter continues.(Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP) (AP/Paul Drinkwater)
This image released by NBC shows Milo Ventimiglia in a scene from "This Is Us." (Ron Batzdorff/NBC via AP)
JACK’S SACRIFICE The time-shifting series revealed in season one that Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) was destined to die young, leaving a grieving widow, his unmoored children and viewers tortured by the mystery of what did him in. In episodes airing in January and February, we learned it was a faulty slow-cooker and Jack’s boundless sense of duty. America’s tears flowed even as we turned a fearful eye toward our kitchen appliances. (Ron Batzdorff/NBC via AP) (AP)
Roseanne Barr
THE RISE AND FALL OF “ROSEANNE” Three decades after it ended, the comedy about the blue-collar Conner family and its brassy matriarch returned in March as a success for ABC and Roseanne Barr. The revival hit the sweet — or sour — spot of politics and culture today, with a polarizing star whose character mirrored her backing for President Donald Trump. The magic evaporated in May after Barr’s racist slam of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. ABC called her tweet “abhorrent” and canceled the series. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (AP/Julie Jacobson)
This image released by FX shows Donald Glover in a scene from the comedy series "Atlanta." On Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, Glover was nominated for a Golden Globe award for lead actor in a comedy series for his role in the series. The 76th Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 6.  (Curtis Baker/FX via AP)
“ATLANTA” IN WHITE Donald Glover, whose reimagination of the TV comedy challenges viewers, tested them with a truly unsettling character, Teddy Perkins, depicted in mask-like whiteface (an uncredited performance by Glover, though it remains a mystery who made Teddy’s cameo appearance at the Emmys). Was the episode in April a riff on the sad life of a Michael Jackson-like celebrity? A slap at the insulting blackface used by white entertainers past? We’re still mulling. (Curtis Baker/FX via AP) (AP/Curtis Baker)
Hannah Gadsby
GADSBY’S REVOLUTION The Australian standup was little known in America when her Netflix special “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette” arrived in June, dissecting culture and the very artform she practices. She was heralded as a major new voice and her work was labeled “transformative” and “game changing,” the kind of awe and admiration granted to enduring comedy greats such as Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Dave Chappelle. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Vincent Street polishes the casket of legendary singer Aretha Franklin at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
ARETHA’S FAREWELL The Queen of Soul’s memorial was one for the ages, with preachers, Motown and gospel legends and political and religious leaders offering speeches and songs in praise of Franklin’s life, artistry and activism on behalf of African-Americans and women. Stevie Wonder sang, and so did Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan and Shirley Caesar and Gladys Knight and Ariana Grande and … plenty of others, since the service ran eight hours. Franklin’s voice was stilled, but her spirit resonated. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (AP/Paul Sancya)
FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, people in New York walk past a Nike advertisement featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, known for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. In response to Nike's support of Kaepernick, the Rhode Island town of North Smithfield is considering asking its departments to refrain from purchasing Nike products. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
COLIN KAEPERNICK’S STAND In his “Just Do It” TV spot for Nike that marked the campaign’s 30th anniversary in September, the sidelined-by-kneeling NFL quarterback somberly challenged viewers to “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Some responded with anger, cutting or burning Nike gear and calling for boycotts. President Donald Trump slammed the company’s move, while LeBron James defended it, saying he stands for those who believe in change. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) (AP/Mark Lennihan)
In this combination photo, Christine Blasey Ford, left, and U.S. Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Americans watched on phones, laptops and any available screen as Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford spoke.  (AP Photo)
A SUPREME BATTLE In schools, at work, in coffee shops, Americans watched on phones, laptops and any available screen as U.S. Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh and sexual-misconduct accuser Christine Blasey Ford made their emotional cases in September to a Senate committee. The hearing reinforced the extraordinary power of TV to present an event as it unfolds, allowing us to judge it for ourselves before it’s filtered and packaged for consumption and “Saturday Night Live” satire. (AP Photo) (AP)
Megyn Kelly
BLACKOUT FOR KELLY Megyn Kelly argued the case for dressing up in Halloween blackface, telling her morning show viewers it was OK when she was a kid if it was an impersonation. The backlash was immediate, with critics accusing Kelly of ignoring the ugly history of white entertainers applying blackface to demean African-Americans. The former Fox News Channel host offered a tearful on-air apology, but NBC fired her in October from the 9 a.m. “Today” slot after just a year. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP) (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Charles Sykes)
The flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is carried to a hearse from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Washington, for a departure to the Washington National Cathedral for a memorial service. McCain died Aug. 25 from brain cancer at age 81. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
DEATH AND POLITICS Funeral services were for mourning and messages. At Sen. John McCain’s September memorial, daughter Meghan issued a sharp rebuke to his nemesis President Donald Trump, who was left off the invitation list. “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” she said. President George H.W. Bush’s memorial in December was kinder and gentler and Trump attended, but he was the first sitting president in 45 years not asked to eulogize a predecessor. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) (AP/Jose Luis Magana)
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This Jan. 7, 2018 image released by NBC shows Oprah Winfrey accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Winfrey's rousing call for social justice in the name of the MeToo movement drew wild cheers in the ballroom at the Golden Globes Awards in January and reverberated across the land. Pundits and Oprah-whisperers proclaimed it a first step toward a presidential run, and #oprah2020 trended. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)
This image released by NBC shows Milo Ventimiglia in a scene from "This Is Us." (Ron Batzdorff/NBC via AP)
Roseanne Barr
This image released by FX shows Donald Glover in a scene from the comedy series "Atlanta." On Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, Glover was nominated for a Golden Globe award for lead actor in a comedy series for his role in the series. The 76th Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 6.  (Curtis Baker/FX via AP)
Hannah Gadsby
Vincent Street polishes the casket of legendary singer Aretha Franklin at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, people in New York walk past a Nike advertisement featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, known for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. In response to Nike's support of Kaepernick, the Rhode Island town of North Smithfield is considering asking its departments to refrain from purchasing Nike products. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
In this combination photo, Christine Blasey Ford, left, and U.S. Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. Americans watched on phones, laptops and any available screen as Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford spoke.  (AP Photo)
Megyn Kelly
The flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is carried to a hearse from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Washington, for a departure to the Washington National Cathedral for a memorial service. McCain died Aug. 25 from brain cancer at age 81. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

 

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Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .

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