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Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 in Pop Culture - Television

We'll be getting on with the continuation of 2014 IN POP CULTURE with a look back on the television events that shaped the year gone by.  But first things first...

Happy New Year!

Yes, 2015 is finally here, and all I have to say is this...I am hopeful that it will be a good year.  I see 2015 as being a year of great change and personal growth.  Let us see if I am right on both counts.  2015 is a nice number that is divisible by five. 

(It's also divisible by 403!  True story.)

So, anyway, while 2015 is definitely a year to look forward to, we have to close the book on 2014, and we're not quite done with that yet.

As it so happens, January 1, 2015 falls on TUBE TALK THURSDAY this year, and there was a lot of stuff happening on the small screen over 2014.  Some promising shows debuted for the first time this past year, while we bid a fond farewell to others.  We're going to take a look at some of the highlights and the lowlights of the television world filled with the obsession of a period piece, the scandal plagued cancellation of a reality show, and the fall of a sitcom king.

So, let's not waste any more time.  Just like that Semisonic song "Closing Time" from the late 1990s, every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.  That said, we'll start with television shows that ended their runs in 2014.

First things first, we should bid a fond farewell to the three talk show hosts who ended their late night chat fests in 2014.  Jay Leno, who signed off from "The Tonight Show" in February, and Stephen Colbert and Craig Ferguson in December.  Of course, we won't be saying goodbye to Colbert for long.  He will be the replacement for David Letterman when he ends his talk show career in May 2015.  All the best to everybody.

We also saw the following television sitcoms, dramas, and scripted television programs call it a day in 2014.

PSYCH (March 26)
SAM & CAT (July 14)
UNFORGETTABLE (September 14)
DALLAS (Series 2) (September 22)
FRANKLIN & BASH (October 22)
UTOPIA (October 31)
THE MILLERS (November 17)
SONS OF ANARCHY (December 9)
THE NEWSROOM (December 14)
WHITE COLLAR (December 18)

Now, a few of these shows have been on for quite some time.  For instance, "Sons of Anarchy" ran for seven seasons before ending its run a few weeks ago.  Arguably, it could be considered one of the most popular shows to ever air on non-network television.  Its audience was huge, and I can verify that I sell so many copies of Sons of Anarchy seasons that I have lost count.  It certainly is a show that I should check out.

"How I Met Your Mother" also ended this year after nine seasons, and its series finale still divides viewers today.  Needless to say, the answer to who Ted Mosby finally married was answered...but the way that it was finally explained, I half expected Ted's kids to throw their hands up in the air and say "Fooled You!"

The second attempt at bringing back "Dallas" fittingly ended in a cliffhanger, but I have to say that with Larry Hagman's death, it probably hurt the show.  Without J.R. Ewing, it would be fairly hard to make fans still care about the show.

Other show cancellations were not surprising.  "Unforgettable" was largely forgettable, "Utopia" flopped from the very beginning, and while Arsenio Hall was one of the hottest hosts of the 1990s, his charm didn't quite translate well for the 2013-2014 season.

And do NOT even get me started on "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".  As far as I am concerned, that show should have been cancelled from the very first episode.  It certainly should have been pulled from the airwaves long before the scandal surrounding "Mama June" was revealed.  Yeah, knowingly entering into a relationship with the very man who reportedly sexually abused members of your own family is probably not the greatest PR.

I mean, just ask Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi just how damaging sexual harassment and sexual assault claims are.  Both men paid the price when allegations kept adding up, and as 2015 begins, I don't see them stopping any time soon.  Interestingly enough, both Cosby and Ghomeshi have been very quiet about it. 

Not making any assumptions either way.  Just an observation.

Let's have a look at other happenings in the television world, shall we?

I'll begin with a bit of a fluff piece.  Congratulations to Derrick for playing what could be considered one of the best games of "Big Brother" ever played.  He certainly earned the prize at the end of the 90 day series.  He even bested Ariana Grande's brother!

Can you believe that one of the most talked about shows in recent history is "Downton Abbey"?  The first four seasons are already available on DVD and Blu-Ray, but did you know that it holds the Guinness World Record for being the most critically acclaimed series of 2011?  And that it is the most watched television series on PBS ever?  Who knew that those pledge drives would actually pay off?

Over in the United Kingdom, the big mystery in soap world is "Who Killed Lucy Beale"?  The twentysomething child of EastEnders' longest serving resident was found dead on the Friday before Easter, and the murder mystery has continued even today.  The big reveal of the murderer is scheduled to take place during a live episode to air on February 19, 2015 - appropriately enough on EastEnders' thirtieth anniversary.

I am still bummed that "Bones" had to kill off Dr. Lance Sweets in the tenth season premiere of the show.  He was definitely a great character and should not have been offed in such a grotesque manner.  But I suppose John Francis Daley had no choice to leave, as he had other projects on the go.  However, Sweets' girlfriend Daisy gave birth to their son, so in some ways, Sweets lives on.  And, hey, what did you all think of the 200th episode?  It was weird, but in a good way.

While "Bones" celebrated season ten, would you believe that "The Simpsons" celebrated season twenty-six?!?  I know!  26 years!  Who'd have thunk it?  But while Bart has still stayed ten years old despite the fact that he should be in his mid-thirties, the big question was "who would die in the season premiere?"  Relax though, the person who died was Krusty's father.

After a seven-year absence caused by a huge fight that she got into with Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie O'Donnell returned to "The View" in September 2014.  And, reportedly, her return has caused her to do battle with Whoopi Goldberg on several occasions since.  Why do I feel that 2015 will see Rosie leave again?

2014 seemed to be a year in which we waxed nostalgia for "Full House".  Candace Cameron Bure appeared as a contestant on "Dancing With The Stars" earlier this year, and John Stamos, Bob Saget, and Dave Coulier reunited to film a couple of Oikos yogurt commercials.  There was even talks to revive the series, though nothing concrete has been named as of yet.

But hey, congrats to "Girl Meets World", for successfully following after its parent show "Boy Meets World" rather flawlessly.  I am still waiting for a Mr. Feeney cameo though.

Oh, and one final footnote.  Sharknado 2 aired on Syfy in the summer of 2014.  Plans to make a third one are in the works for next year.  Oh the humanity!

So, let's end today's blog off with a performance from "Dancing With The Stars" winner, Alfonso Ribeiro, shall we?
The look back at 2014 comes to a close tomorrow.  Tomorrow, we will deal with the news stories that rocked our world in 2014...and bid a fond farewell to the famous faces we lost that year.

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