Stars: Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz, Joshua Malina, Jeff Perry

One can't be blamed for sleeping on ABC's highly addictive political soap opera Scandal. After all, it's the brainchild of Shonda Rhimes, the creator of such guy-repelling programs as Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. But this year, during Scandal's provocative second season, resistance proved futile, especially if you happened to sign onto Twitter while the show aired. The social media site was a venerable, constantly updated Scandal message board on Thursday nights.

Much of the credit goes to star Kerry Washington, whose work as political problem-fixer Olivia Pope slickly merges vulnerability (seen through her hush-hush dalliances with top-ranking government shotcallers) with imposing tenacity.