Best Moments on TV of 2014

It was the year of the crossover like "The Simpsons"
appearing in an episode of "Family Guy"
There were a lot of great moments on television this year. One of which was the 26th season premiere of The Simpsons on FOX. It proves that even after almost three decades, it's still capable of good writing, interesting animation and great comedy. In the lead up to the 26th season premiere, the cable network FXX had a marathon of all 25 seasons, over 400 episodes. It laid the ground floor for the Simpsons World app.

But, if we're going to talk about great moments on television, let's talk about Thursday nights. CBS had NFL Football for two months. Thursday night games were usually broadcast solely on the NFL network but starting on September 11, 2014, CBS simulcast those games on all of its affiliate stations. Until then, Thursday night games were the lowest-rated, nationally televised NFL games. The CBS deal changed that, but the dramatically increased ratings were also due in part to the Ray Rice scandal.

The opening game on CBS was the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately, the Ravens had a running back on the team named Ray Rice who was in the center of a huge, domestic abuse controversy that was exploding. The CBS network, which prides itself on its news organization, had to cover it, which had both positive and negative consequences. South Park did a great spoof of this in its Season 18 premiere.

The only real competition was on ABC, affectionately referred to as TGIT, or Thank God It's Thursday. It's actually the hashtag for the three-hour block dedicated to Shondaland, or the TV shows produced by the company of Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes is the producer of Grey's Anatomy, which airs at 8PM on Thursdays, Scandal at 9PM and How to Get Away with Murder at 10PM. Because of which, she is perhaps the most powerful TV producer working right now. Any woman who can get Oscar-nominee Viola Davis to say the words, "Why is your penis on a dead girl's phone?" has got some serious mojo. The only TV producers who are perhaps more powerful are Mark Burnett, Chuck Lorre and Dick Wolf.

Speaking of Dick Wolf, the man has his own successful, three hours on two TV nights this fall too. Wolf is the producer of Chicago Fire, its spin-off Chicago PD and the long-running Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. On November 11, Wolf began a crossover, the likes of which haven't been done in years. He had a storyline that ran across all three shows and had characters from each show interacting with one another.

Other crossovers include The Simpsons and Family Guy. NCIS and its spin-off NCIS: New Orleans did a crossover on CBS. Arrow and its spin-off The Flash had a crossover on the CW. The latter show has been leading the buzz on the rise of TV shows based on comic books. Gotham on FOX is the other. The Batman prequel has found a groove to which people can dance, but the episode "Penguin's Umbrella" won a lot of folks to its side.

Even though BBC America's In the Flesh is a far better series, The Walking Dead is the show to beat on the ratings. The premiere had viewership through the roof. Comic book shows aside, diversity has been the name of the game. The Walking Dead has a very diverse cast, but Shondaland and ABC have been marching ahead of the pack, not only with black and brown faces, but also with gay characters too.

Outside of Shondaland and ABC, the web site Amazon has started producing original content. One of which is a TV series called Transparent. It's telling a way more progressive story than any other right now with the exception of Orange is the New Black. The show really puts the T in LGBT.

Coca-Cola released the "It's Beautiful" ad during the Super Bowl, which caused controversy on two fronts. The first was that it featured "America the Beautiful" being sung in different languages, which crazy traditionalists seemed to dislike. The second was that the ad also featured two gay dads. Less than a week later, Chevrolet released its "The New Us" ad for its new Chevy Traverse, which also featured two gay dads. The next month, Honey Maid released its "This is Wholesome" ad, which again featured two gay dads.

On April 29, 2013, Jason Collins, a NBA player came out as gay after having been active in the league for over a decade. He was a free agent at the time and it wasn't clear if he would actually play again until he stepped onto the court for his first game with the Brooklyn Nets on February 23rd of this year, making him the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major American sports leagues.

Michael Sam then became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. He gave a very moving and powerful speech at the ESPY Awards on July 16. He was there to accept the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

Speaking of sports, the World Cup was in 2014. One of the top games was United States versus Portugal on June 22. CBS News reported that this game was probably the most watched soccer match in U.S. history at 24.7 million on ESPN and Univision. It's just a notch above the 2010 World Cup final match between Spain and Netherlands. CBS News gives plenty of reasons why Americans watched in mass. It was an exciting game that ended in a draw (2-2), but even if you're not a soccer fan, Cristiano Ronaldo played in the match for Portugal despite his knee injury, and Ronaldo is probably the best soccer player in the world. He is certainly the highest-paid. His popularity and appeal is one of the most highest globally.

Sports have really been the one unifying thing when it comes to television programming. The landscape has become fractured otherwise. There isn't a lot that brings us all together, but here is the list of what was my favorite. Most of which probably won't unify, but I've come to accept that when it comes to my taste.

Best Moments on TV

Michael Sam kisses his boyfriend after being drafted to NFL (May 10)
Beyoncé performs at the MTV Video Music Awards (Aug. 24)
ALS Ice Bucket Challenges (Starting Aug. 18)
Ellen DeGeneres' Selfie at the Oscars (March 2)
Mass Same-Sex Wedding at the Grammy Awards (Jan. 26)
Adult Swim's Too Many Cooks goes viral (Oct. 28)

Best Drama

The Good Wife: Season 6 (CBS)
House of Cards: Season 2 (Netflix)
Homeland: Season 4 (Showtime)
Tyrant (FX)
Extant (CBS)
Looking (HBO)
Being Mary Jane (BET)
Chicago Fire: Season 3 (NBC)
The Tomorrow People (CW)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2 (ABC)
Continuum: Season 3 (SYFY)

Best Comedy

Orange is the New Black: Season 2 (Netflix)
Survivor's Remorse (Starz)
Web Therapy: Season 3 (Showtime)
The Comeback: Season 2 (HBO)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
The Mindy Project: Season 3 (FOX)
Selfie (ABC)
Baby Daddy: Season 3 (ABCF)
Mom: Season 2 (CBS)
Glee: Season 5 (FOX)

Best Reality / Variety

Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
The Colbert Report (COM)
The Talk (CBS)
Inside Amy Schumer (COM)
Hollywood Game Night (NBC)

Best TV Movie

The Normal Heart (HBO)
Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Michael Sam (OWN)
Saturday Night (Hulu)
Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive (Netflix)
Myq Kaplan: Small, Dork and Handsome (Netflix)

Best Individual Performance from Non-listed Series

Martin Freeman - Fargo
Vera Farmiga - Bates Motel: Season 2
Tom Felton - Murder in the First
Justin Therousx - The Leftovers
Jesse L. Martin - The Flash
Brent Morin - Undateable

Best Individual Episode from Non-listed Series

"In the Woods" - Louie
"Go Fund Yourself" - South Park
"Flash vs. Arrow" - The Flash
"Date Expectations" - Faking It
"Clown in the Dumps" - The Simpsons
"Penguin's Umbrella" - Gotham


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