The Top 30 TV Moments of 2014 Part 2: 20 to 11
Last week, we began our countdown of the top 30 TV moments of 2014. It's been a fantastic year for television and things will inevitably be left off, but we think that we've gathered a pretty good list of some of the best things that happened on TV this year, from irreverent comedy to serious drama. Today, we continue the list with entries 20 to 11.
Check those entries out below, and check back on Wednesday for the top 10!
As always, BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
30. How I Met Your Mother's terrible finale
29. Germany embarrasses Brazil at the World Cup
28. Alan Alda explodes off of The Blacklist
27. John Travolta introduces us to Adele Dazeem at the Oscars
26. Josh Charles' surprise exit on The Good Wife
25. Dumb Starbucks on Nathan For You
24. The Legend of Korra's uplifting series finale
23. Masters of Sex flashes forward following a great bottle episode
22. Vee gets her comeuppance on Orange Is The New Black
21. The Flash fights Multiplex
Edit: The Top 10 Has Arrived
While it’s great that Community will fulfill the first half of its destiny with its upcoming #sixthseason on Yahoo, I would be kind of okay with it if this past year's fifth season had been its last. After season 3's interminable behind-the-scenes drama, the gas leak year, and basically 3 separate series finales before it found a new home with Yahoo, it’s tapped me out. What's more, it took me a while to remember anything all that memorable from season 5 before I remembered Donald Glover's emotional departure. And that's not a slight on the show or how they handled it, because rewatching both 'Cooperative Polygraphy' and 'Geothermal Escapism' reminded me how well-handled it was, and quite frankly, they both go down as some of my favorite Community episodes ever.
The returning Dan Harmon made the most out of Chevy Chase’s very public departure the prior year quietly killing him off the next year. It wasn't spiteful in the slightest though, as Harmon used it to bring forth a profound effect on the remaining characters through Glover's write off. Chevy’s character Pierce decided to leave an inheritance to Troy in the form of a year-long boat trip across the world with Levar Burton, which was not only a more than valid reason for Glover's departure, but also one that had a deep impact on Abed, Troy's best friend. Through all of this, the show put forth another great bottle episode and a high-concept episode that may rival paintball and 'Pillows & Blankets' from season 3.
There are no actors leaving the show again this year, so I'm still on the fence as to whether or not season 6 can recreate that kind of magic. First, however, we'll have to figure out what the hell Yahoo Screen is supposed to be.
19. VEEP'S PRIMARY DEBATE IN ALL ITS GLORY
Show: Veep S03E08 - 'Debate'
A debate on any episode of Veep carries with it a high level of expectations all on its own. And season 3's 'Debate', in which Selina Meyer argues for an eventual Democratic nomination, definitely delivers on that front. But this is Veep, so Armando Iannucci's jaded and cynical HBO political satire need to take it just another step further. What made this endeavor glorious was three of the show's best side characters (Furlong, Cafferty and Doyle) standing on the sidelines as everything fell apart on stage and commenting on the debate as only characters from this show could.
Honorable Mention: TV swearing in its second (and arguably better) fictional president of the year after Selina stumbles into the job in the season finale.
18. THE GUILTY REMNANT IS REALLY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS STUFF
Show: The Leftovers S01E08 - 'Cairo'
By Ty Fisher
Tensions between the Guilty Remnant and Mapleton’s local police force could be described as tenuous at best, and that boiled over completely once the cult’s stoic leader, Patti (Ann Dowd), is found dead. Of course, she did it to herself, but not without some help from a crazed, restless police chief in Chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux). Following an evening which features the most dangerous hallucination yet, Garvey and Patti find themselves in an abandoned upstate New York cabin. Patti is tied to a chair while Kevin attempts to recount how they even got there in the first place. A lot of barbs are exchanged between the two, with Kevin still unable to put together why Patti’s cult is so invested in their mystery of a cause. He knows that Hell is going to wind up on his doorstep once news breaks about the man responsible for her disappearance, but decides to let her go anyway because he cannot bring himself to kill her. So naturally, she takes care of that for him and uses a glass shard to slice her own neck in the span of about two seconds. He’s horrified, and can only take one thing away from the incident—there’s no point in stopping what’s already started. They’re committed to their mission, and not much on Earth is going to stop them from achieving the unthinkable. It was also pretty startling, as well as flat-out grisly. No one watching saw it coming either. In fact, I get chills thinking about it again now.
17. ADULT SWIM FREAKS OUT ALCOHOLICS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Show: "Too Many Cooks:"
Imagine sitting at home in the middle of the night, in front of the TV. You can't sleep, maybe because you were out drinking all night, because you have problems, or you're just an insomniac. Finally, your eyelids start to get heavy and you start dozing off, and then Adult Swim puts on "Too Many Cooks" and you suddenly wonder whether you're stuck in some sort of netherworld between consciousness and sleep. Too Many Cooks is funny, but to me, it's even funnier when you consider that at least one such person was freaked out by it it at 4AM when Adult Swim decided to air it in place of an infomercial, regardless of the viral success that it became thereafter.
Enjoy having the song stuck in your head another week:
16. DENNIS REYNOLDS GETS PEPPERED WITH BULLETS
Show: Fargo S01E06 - 'Buridan's Ass'
It’s hard to argue that any member of the Fargo TV series was miscast, but Glenn Howertonwas always sort of the oddball that somehow didn’t quite stick with the rest of the show’s events. The It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia co-creator and star played Don Chumph, a dimwitted fitness trainer, who suddenly finds himself working for ruthless killer Lorne Malvo (Billy Bob Thornton). He was just not quite somebody you could ever trust when leaving a trail of dead bodies and lies behind you, as Malvo was prone to do. Anyway, he was discarded in the most ceremonial of ways and with the help of several heavily armed gunmen. Strapped to a chair against his will and placed precariously a few inches behind an automatic firearm as a clever ruse designed to mislead, the police called to the scene had no choice but to (nearly) blindly shower the room with an array of bullets. In the process, Chumph was killed just about instantly and without a split second to explain the situation. It was by far the series’ most violent (if not squirm-inducing) fatality, and sadly couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Come to think of it, he’s one of the very, very few characters on the show that could have escaped blame for all their actions.
Poor, poor Dennis.
15. SILICON VALLEY'S SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE DICK JOKE
Show: Silicon Valley S01E08 - "Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency"
We already talked about Silicon Valley in our best new shows list, and how one single dick joke took a pretty good HBO comedy about a tech startup to the next level. Once again, I don't want to discount the rest of the first season, which was also hilarious and filled with such subversive moments, but it speaks a lot to the show's determination to be different when they have a scientifically verified bit about handjobs unravel the entire plot of those eight episodes. If this doesn't make you a fan of Silicon Valley, I don't think anything will.
You can watch the clip in Youtube by clicking here.
14. JACK BAUER TAKES NO PRISONERS; LITERALLY
Show: 24: Live Another Episode 9 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
There were so many things to love about the return of 24. Trimming the fat of those extra 12 episodes forced Live Another Day to do things fast and hard, and that amplified the nature of the show, which was always reliant on giant twists and a fast pace. We’re talking about a season where Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) starts a riot to get into an embassy, fakes the president’s death via drone explosion, and beheads the mortal enemy of the last decade of his life.
But my absolutely favorite moment was when faced off with the Big Bad of the season, Margot (Michelle Fairley), who had been terrorizing London with drones in the name of her deceased radicalized husband. Jack eventually tracks her down and has her in custody, but the new and improved Jack Bauer doesn’t take orders from anyone. He refuses to take her in, knowing what she’s capable of, deciding instead to unceremoniously throw her out the window down a dozen stories next to her recently defenestrated son. We’ve known for years what Jack is capable of, but to see that moment where he finally says “fuck it” and does what he should do every time he’s faced with a dangerous terrorist is a thing of beauty.
13. FORREST MacNEIL EATS 15 PANCAKES
Show: Review S01E03 - 'Pancakes; Divorce; Pancakes'
Just like in Silicon Valley, the pancake moment from Review is something that stuck with us and made that new show memorable. Looking back on it, it's amazing that it only happened in the Comedy Central show's third episode, because it's such a perfect metaphor for the show as a whole, and Andy Daly's commitment towards making it work in a different way than you would expect. What started as a simple show about a guy reviewing life experiences turned into the Heart of Darkness of Comedy Central sitcoms, and made the most public case yet for how amazing Daly is at this sort of thing.
It's best viewed within the context of the entire show, but check out Forrest's attempt to eat 15 pancakes, and then realize how alarming of an idea that is:
12. BEST LATE NIGHT MOMENTS OF 2014: JOHN OLIVER'S DOG COURT
Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
It was a big year of change on the Late Night landscape again, from NBC putting into place their new line-up to David Letterman announcing his retirement (and subsequent replacement announcement of Stephen Colbert) and Craig Ferguson leaving CBS. Who would have thunk that the biggest impact would have been made as the result of Jason Jones interviewing an Iranian journalist? The story of how Oliver got his own HBO political satire show after he replaced Jon Stewart on The Daily Show while he filmed his movie is well-documented, but none of us could have foreseen how great Last Week Tonight wound up being.
From the 13-minute rants about important issues, to silly things like Space Geckos, Oliver and his writing staff's ingenuity and creativity seemed to know no bounds. And it reached new heights this past fall when he aired a bit about the Supreme Court, replacing all the judges with adorable dogs. Sure, Oliver covered more important things over 26 episodes this past year, and you should catch up on all of it, but it's dogs as judges, people!
11. 'LOUIE' DELIVERS A MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF 'THE FAT LADY'
Show: Louie S04E03 - 'So Did The Fat Lady'
The fourth season of Louie felt more like a series of experiments than a put-together season of a show. That’s fine, because it's a process through which we're getting to see a real-life auteur come into his own, on cable television of all places. Not all of it works, but that's okay too. Not every Woody Allen film works either. Season 4 at times was overwrought and self-indulgent. For instance, with everything Louie the character goes through, he still ends up with the hot chick he's been pining over for two season in 'Pamela'. Despite that, there are some true, raw moments of self-discovery and coming-of-age that you feel you're experiencing synchronously with Louis C.K..
One such moment comes in a case where Louie barely utters any dialog, ironically, at the end of 'And So Did The Fat Lady', a tour-de-force performance from Sarah Baker in a 7 minute single-take tracking shot (and not the only tracking shot you'll find on this list), in which her character, Vanessa, confronts Louie for his reticence towards dating her or even referring to her as a fat girl, and brings up every possible notion attached to that. It's sincere, it's raw, and the speech holds absolutely nothing back, proving how far Louie has come.
Very close honorable mention to "Into The Woods", which you can read all about in our review.
Check back on Wednesday for the top 10 TV moments of 2014!