TV Fanatic Mid-Season Report Card: Grey's Anatomy

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With our favorite prime time shows on hiatus, TVF is taking a look back at some buzzed-about programs and grading their performance this fall, with a look toward the spring.

Recently, we've examined No Ordinary Family, Fringe and Chuck. Today: Grey's Anatomy.

The medical drama, which returns Thursday with "Disarm," has delivered a solid first half, but many fans have felt certain vintage Grey's elements are lacking just the same.

How do you feel? Here's one writer's take below. Share your own with us after reading ...

Derek and Meredith In Bed!

THERE THEY ARE: Meredith and Derek, seen here in a promotional photo for the upcoming January 13 episode, are always a (sometimes infrequently seen) sight for sore eyes.

Best episode: Tough a call as this is, we're going with "Adrift and at Peace," and not just because it's fresh in our memories. It was heartbreaking, emotional, well-paced, dramatic and a perfect sendoff into the new year - hopefully a harbinger of great things.

Worst episode: "These Arms of Mine." The show is too good to fall back on gimmicky attempts to be edgy. Replete with bleeped out expletives and talking-head confessionals, the faux documentary basically featured stories being told to us, not acted out.

Best character: Cristina. Some say the show became Cristina's Anatomy in 2010. Maybe so, but that means heavy doses of the incomparable Sandra Oh. Enough said.

Runner-up: Alex Karev. Six-plus seasons and he's still fun to watch. Finding a calling as in peds has given him a depth and sweetness even he can't manage to conceal.

Least-utilized character: Here's an odd choice: Meredith and Derek. We know that a huge cast in general and the lack of MerDer conflict may mean taking a back seat at times, but they're the glue. There have to be more ways to keep them involved.

Most compelling relationship: Owen and Cristina's marriage certainly went through its ups and downs, but it was fascinating to watch that happen without a third party involved. Ditto for Callie and Arizona, although it felt a bit forced at times.

Most pleasant surprise: April. She's no longer painful! Honorable mention: All things Jackson, and that the medical cases haven't been too crazy ... mostly.

Favorite BFFs: Meredith and Cristina, even if it has its ups and downs. Mark and Callie are always great for a laugh too. We miss you George and Izzie ...

Best Shonda idea: Crossovers with Private Practice. Every time, we think they're going to be cheesy, but with all that history, somehow they always work.

Worst Shonda idea: The musical episode. Please, for the love of ... no.

Quote of the season: "We are all freaks." - April. True ... just not virgins.

Hopes for 2011: More MerDer; Teddy and Henry to connect with each other, and viewers, in a powerful way; Light-hearted moments that remind us of the olden days; More MerDer; Mark and Lexie to make it work; Bailey and Eli to couple up!

Overall grade: B.

Do you agree with TV Fanatic's take? Disagree? Care to expound on anything in particular? What do you hope to see more of next year? Share your comments below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.