2014 witnessed the continuation of the death knell for network television. Oh sure, we still tuned into NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. It's just that the best programming - the Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and the True Detectives - continued to emerge from alternative TV sources. In fact, 2014 marked the year that Netflix would become a programming force with acclaimed dramas like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black becoming worldwide phenomenon.
It was the year in which many of our beloved characters bit the dust. Suddenly, no one seemed safe on prime time TV. It was also the year of the 'limited' series, a series with a distinct shelf-life and a pre-established end. Not a miniseries, but a 'limited' series. The distinction wasn't always that clear, but the quality was.
2014 was also the year of The Catch, the year we finally got to know the 'Mother', talk shows prepped for a shake-up, and the year where Homer met Peter and all animated hell broke loose. Of all the changes television saw in the last year, the following are the forteen absolute craziest that had everyone talking.
*Spoiler Alert: Lots of them!*
14 The Host Is Toast
Germany may have won it all in the end, but it was their World Cup semi-final, the obliteration of host Brazil, that stands out in most viewers’ minds. Losing 7-1 in soccer doesn’t happen too often – and surely not before a worldwide audience.
The second half was notable for all the camera shots of the despondent Brazilians in the stadium looking like their world had just collapsed. The world looked on in a mix of stunned horror and admiration as Brazil was annihilated rapidly and wholly in one of the most iconic matches in World Cup history.
13 How I Met Your Mother (and Killed Her Off)
Boy. Talk about alienating your audience. Fans of this sitcom hung in there for nine seasons in an effort to find out who the ‘Mother’ was. And then she was quickly introduced, we just about got a chance to like her, and she was promptly killed off. Say what?
12 The King Is Dead
Game of Thrones lost a great, horrible villain when it poisoned the inbred King Joffrey last spring. And at his wedding no less. The look on his face when he knew he was dying was a moment of supreme vindication.
11 The Late Show With...?
10 The Good Death
9 Mad Singing and Dancing Men
8 Lost and Not Found
It was a mystery that intrigued us all, but CNN took a lot of heat for its endless coverage of the disappearing Malaysian Flight 370. Though it offered wall-to-wall stories on the plane's fate, ultimately it also offered a lot of nothing. It was a drama without an ending, and many called into question the journalistic ethics of persistently reporting on a 'breaking news' story with no new information.
7 Dead and Still Inscrutable
The return of Sherlock Holmes after his apparent death/suicide wasn’t much of a surprise for fans of the series. It wasn’t like they would continue a show called Sherlock without an Sherlock. However, we all tuned in to see just how the detective had pulled off his disappearing act. And the answer was… Well, it wasn’t all that clear in the end.
6 Murdering Your Way to the Top
5 Blood on the Snow
Fargo didn’t get as much attention as True Detective, but maybe it should have. The eccentric FX crime show featured violence, weird accents, falling frogs, snow storm shoot-outs, and a first-rate cast headed by Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman.
4 Alright, Alright, (Better Than) Alright
True Detective was the most talked-about show of the season – and with good reason. It had a great cast (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson had never been better), an epic plot that covered three separate time periods, and a creepy, violent undertone. The best moments were the quiet ones involving Rusty Cohle (McConaughey) and his beer can statues.
3 Did You Miss Me?
It was the year of the comeback, and the year of The Comeback comeback. First Rosie O'Donnell returned to her controversial seat on The View, generating some controversy but no discernible rise in the ratings.
2 Homer Vs. Peter
1 The Catch
New York Giant Odell Beckham earned a spot in the highlight reel Hall of Fame with his fingertip snag against the Dallas Cowboys. His stretch for the ball seemed beyond human, with many football commentators immediately declaring that moment the greatest NFL catch ever. Hard to argue with that unless you can come up with a better one. Anyone?
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