The Top 30 TV Moments of 2014 Part 1: 30 to 21
Every year, we marvel at how much better television seems to get, and yet wonder if it will find up being the final year of TV's current Golden Age. Especially considering that both last year as well as 2012 were both earmarked by what may go down as the best show of all time, Breaking Bad. Well, Walter White's journey ended in 2013, but instead of signaling the end of this Golden Age, it's only blown the field wide open for the Top TV Moments of 2014.
While over the next 3 installments, you'll see a lot of the usual suspects in our list's fifth anniversary (going all the way back to our humble beginnings in 2010), but also a smattering of the fantastic crop of new shows as well some surprise appearances, all of which made 2014 one of the best years ever for the medium.
Check out moments 30 through 21 below, look for the top 20 next week, and as always let us know what you enjoyed the most this past year in the comments below!
As always, be forewarned of SPOILERS!
Edit: The Top 10 Has Arrived
30. 'HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER' TAKES THE RED PILL
Show: How I Met Your Mother S09E23 - 'Last Forever'
If we had the patience to make a worst TV moments list, the HIMYM finally would certainly top it. After nearly a decade of the insufferable question posed by its title, the show crawled to a resolution by revealing that the entire time Ted Mosby was telling his children about their mother, she had actually been dead for years, and that he was only telling them his interminable story for their approval to date their Aunt Robin, even though the entire 4th season was about her marriage to Barney. Add to that the failed experiment of the final season's one-weekend format, and you have maybe one of the limpest final seasons of any memorable show ever. But in and of itself, that and the ensuing fan backlash, certainly made the show's finale memorable.
29. GERMANY EMBARRASSES BRAZIL
Show: 2014 FIFA World Cup Semi-final
While our lists tend to stay away from sports moments, however memorable they might be, it would be hard to ignore Brazil's 7-1 semi-final embarrassment at the hands of eventual winners Germany this past summer. The world was watching, and everyone had already deemed anything but a Brazil World Cup win to be an utter failure for the host nation. And what do they do? They shit the bed in the most spectacular of fashions, leading to some hilarious jokes online, including some clever human uploading the game to porn sites.
28. ALAN ALDA EXPLODES ON 'THE BLACKLIST'
Show: The Blacklist S02E08 - The Decembrist (No. 12)
I have an odd relationship with The Blacklist. On the one hand, it's objectively pretty bad. Slow paced, meandering, boring and overly procedural only begin to describe its problems. Yet every week, James Spader chews scenery so hard that it you can't help but go back. And once even that's not enough to keep you interested, the show will do something insane and unnecessary objectionable to make sure you tune back in the next episode. The most egregious (and recent) example of this was in the show's mid-season finale, in which they write-off Alan Alda's character Alan Fitch by literally blowing him up, to the point where his entrails splatter across the glass from which Red was looking down on him.
That's one way to keep me interested.
27. JOHN TRAVOLTA INTRODUCES US TO ADELE DAZEEM
Show: 86th Academy Awards
It's almost a shame that all of Idina Menzel extraordinary talent will forever be overshadowed by John Travolta embarrassing flub at this past year's Oscars, but then you watch the clip below and thank the venerable Travolta for introducing us to Adele Dazeem:
26. WILL GARDNER'S SUDDEN DEPARTURE ON 'THE GOOD WIFE'
Show: The Good Wife S05E15 - 'Dramatics, Your Honor'
Television has a long history of sudden, dramatic character deaths, and it's all about how you handle them. Not only was Josh Charles's exit from The Good Wife this past year one of the most shocking TV deaths of 2014, but also arguably the best handled. Like Taraji P. Henson on Person Of Interest the year before, Charles' departure was the result of an actor unwilling to continue with network TV's grueling, repetitive and interminable schedule. Of course there was no malice, simply the desire to move on, but The Good Wife's writers' took it to heart, making his exit definitive and meaningful to the people Will Gardner would leave behind, making it even more shocking for a show that doesn't often display that kind of violence.
25. DUMB STARBUCKS
Show: Nathan For You S02E05 - 'Dumb Starbucks'
When it was revealed that Nathan Fielder was behind viral sensation "Dumb Starbucks" (a cafe's attempt to get around Starbucks' intellectual property using parody law), I don't think any Nathan For You fans were at all surprised, but I was certainly glad that his comedic genius had finally seen a mainstream outlet, one that got him onto the news as well as Jimmy Kimmel. And while the gag itself is pretty funny, Fielder stays true to his show's intent by taking it way too far, turning into a Heart of Darkness-esque look into how far he can take his Comedy Central character. There are maybe better episodes of Nathan For You, but none are more important than Dumb Starbucks.
24. 'THE LEGEND OF KORRA' OVERCOMES THE ODDS IN ITS FINALE
Show: The Legend of Korra S04E13 - 'The Last Stand'
By Rob Cote
The Legend of Korra was always good, but in Seasons 3 and 4 it achieved true greatness. It managed to save the best for last when in the series finale we saw Korra finally prove to herself and the world that she had overcome her PTSD – and gained compassion, too. When Kuvira’s last-ditched effort to kill her backfired, Korra threw herself in harm’s way to save her enemy, risking her life and the Avatar line to do the right thing. There were many great moments in the finale, but that’s the biggest indicator of how much Korra has grown, and an appropriate symbol for the show's offscreen battles with Nickelodeon in those final seasons.
23. 'MASTERS OF SEX' JUMPS AHEAD; BUT NOT BEFORE THE PERFECT BOTTLE EPISODE
Show: Masters Of Sex S02E07 - 'Asterion' & S02E03 - 'Fight'
The real life story of Masters and Johnson is one that eclipses the short while the first season-and-a-half of Masters of Sex deals with. And while that's the foundation that makes the show and their relationship compelling, eventually, it was clear that the show would have to leap forward fairly significantly. It did so fairly abruptly but in style in 'Asterion', moving the story forward 2 years over the episode, showing Masters & Johnson struggling to keep their new clinic open as well as their personal struggles over that time.
And while the moment wasn't unwelcome, it wasn't rash either, as Masters of Sex preceded the time jump with another perfectly executed trope, the bottle episode. Most of the season's 3rd episode, 'Fight', takes place within the hotel room in which Masters & Johnson spend the majority of their time together at this point, examining the most intimate and intricate aspects of their early relationship, ensuring that before the aforementioned time jump, there isn't a simple breadcrumb left to pick up.
Unfortunately, following the midseason time jump, the second season faltered somewhat, leaving me to wonder if these moments weren't shark-jumping in nature (speaking of tropes). We'll see when season 3 premieres next year.
22. VEE GETS HER COMEUPPANCE IN 'ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK'
Show: Orange Is The New Black S02E13 - 'We Have Manners. We're Polite.'
My disappointment with season 2 of OITNB is no secret in these parts. Netflix took its surprise 2013 hit, one that has a profound, important impact on a lot of people, be it the lesbian community, transgenders, or even women in general, and turned into a 13-episode vagina joke, possibly a victim of its own popularity and hype.
Maybe the most infuriating aspect of season 2 was its insistence on shifting the story away from individual characters and introducing a central villain for everyone to rally against, implying that the only "bad" person in this prison is Vee (Lorraine Toussaint), the one-dimensional big-bad who manipulates and bullies her way into a position of power in the prison, turning the show's central setting into a modest, estrogen-filled version of the prison from Oz. Her turn on the show was cheap and unnecessary, forcing other characters to the sideline for no reason other than to get an easy conflict and simplified storytelling across before she just abandons it all at the first chance of escape.
That being said, it was almost all worth it for the season's final moment, in which she gets her comeuppance when terminally ill Rosa, in the midst of her own attempt to flee the prison, runs her over and potentially kills her, a satisfying end to a near insufferable storyline. Seeing her body hit that van and then lifelessly hit the ground was arguably the most satisfying moment in two seasons of Orange Is The New Black
21. THE FLASH FIGHTS MULTIPLEX
Show: The Flash S01E02 - 'Fastest Man Alive'
It's rare that a show - any show - can be legitimately good in its first episodes. We've documented how it often takes upwards of a dozen episodes for a new show to find its footing. Even rarer when it's in the action or superhero genre. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Person Of Interest, two shows that you'll find higher up on this list, are perfect examples of this. But they could only dream of being as good as The Flash has been off the bat. Possibly the first example of The Flash's potential came only its second episode, where the show displayed impressive visual effects in Barry's fight with Danton Black, a man who's gained the ability to multiply himself and uses that ability to try and overcome Barry, in a scene that would not be out of place in something like The Matrix. Considering visuals are somewhere shows like this often falter, and that it's already on the lowly CW, the way the fight comes off on TV is very impressive, and an early highlight for one of 2014's breakout new shows.