2014 in Review, Part 1: Best and Worst in Drama, Comedy and Reality, the Most Improved, Underrated and More!

The end of another year means a time for reflection… about which TV shows rocked our world, kept us howling and inspired strongly worded tweets of rebuke. From fantastic Fargo and a not-so-plain Jane to a dippy Dome and woefully jilted Trophy Wife.

Yet while some small-screen encounters are best left forgotten — Mixology was just a terrible, food-poisoning hallucination, right? — it’s TVLine’s job to take one last look at the good, the bad and the “Why didn’t more people watch this?!” that dominated our conversations in 2014.

PHOTOS Team TVLine Shares Its 2015 Wish List for Castle, Idol, Outlander, Good Wife, Grey’s, Selfie and More

Without further ado, here is Part 1 of our 2014 in Review — including picks for Best and Worst Drama and Comedy, Most Improved Series, Best Ensemble and Cancellation That Hurt Us the Most. (And lest we be accused of neglecting our four-legged friends, we’ve also included Best Performance by an Animal!)

Click through the gallery below to review dozens of categories — then head over to Part 2, which includes Best Kiss, Ickiest Sex Scene, Most Horrifying Sequence and more. As always, hit the comments to tell us which picks we got right and which had you crying “Blasphemy!”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. meg says:

    Wow, no Outlander love, at all?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      SPOILER ALERT: Wait for the aforementioned Part 2…. :)Mgmt.

    • Alichat says:

      I was surprised The Affair wasn’t on this list as well. At least for Most Compelling New Drama That Has Viewers Analyzing Every Small Detail or Most Polarizing New Drama. ;-)

  2. Pickle8182 says:

    Looked through the first half and stopped after I realized I hadn’t even heard of 2/3 of the shows listed – in any category, good or bad.

  3. Boiler says:

    Pickle, totally agree with your comment. Was great to see New Girl as most improved as it is definitely back on track. Hopefully Nashville gets some love next??

  4. Hazeleyes06 says:

    I think True Blood should have tied for worst series finale with How I Met Your Mother…I’m still angry over that ending!

  5. Andy says:

    “Most Undeserving of ‘Sophomore Slump’ Label – Sleepy Hollow” Really? This season’s gotten overwhelmingly negative feedback from both fans and critics alike as well as declining ratings. It is the very definition of a Sophomore slump.

    • Grey says:

      Agreed. I loved the first season but something is not right with the second. I can’t quite put my finger on it but it is definitely in a slump.

      • lechatnoir says:

        the thing that isn’t right is that they removed Caitriona from her limbo world and they upgraded the status of the mentally unstable sister. Too many competing characters and disjointed B story lines . This show will not get a 3rd season and this is making me sad.

    • Perry says:

      Agree! I tried – more so than others I know, I might add – to maintain positivity and an open mind, but after reading Goffman’s obtuse interviews post-MSF, I threw in the towel. I’m usually in agreement with TVLine’s perspective, but I can’t wrap my brain around this one. I’m wondering if they have some inside intel about a few twists in the remainder of Season 2 that might help restore the show – namely, eliminating the boring Crane family drama/useless liar Katrina and no longer sidelining Abbie and other POC. Hope that they bring back Frank (and NOT as a zombie).

      • Grey says:

        Sometimes I think it’s just gotten too convoluted with too many layers to the main story/arc. Someone here once mentioned that they should have kept Headless a mystery a little longer. I don’t know but as much as I love John Noble once his character was revealed to be Crane’s son they started to loose me. I thought, “Oh no. Really? Did you really have to go that route?” Anyway, I’m at the point in which I tune in but I find myself doing other stuff while it’s on. It’s become more background noise for me than “must see” TV. Makes me sad.

    • sam says:

      I also agree it’s undeserving of that label. A better fitting one would be “Horrible Trainwreck”.

  6. webly3 says:

    I agreed with the majority of the list. I was so excited when I saw Parenthood as the last slide. Parenthood deserves Emmy recognition. I was a bit upset when Orange Is the New Black, Orphan Black, and Shameless weren’t recognized, so here’s hoping that they are in part 2. :)

  7. Ploki says:

    Totally agree regarding Carrie Coon, that scene was heart breaking and awesomely acted! Kai on TVD is definitely one of the best new characters on tv. He’s interesting and not one dimensional. Love it!

  8. albertj15 says:

    I liked The Witches of Eastwick, but again they leave you hanging with no resalution.

  9. Amanda says:

    Totally agree with Fargo–I thought it was the best show of this year.

  10. sam1slim1 says:

    I am in love with Selfie so I definitely have to agree with you about that. I don’t think it was given a far shake, because it is a very smart, hilarious comedy.

  11. dragons3 says:

    Why does TVLine insist on continuing to use the “slideshow” format that never works properly? It’s very frustrating.

  12. Tricia says:

    Man, people just aren’t on board with Mulaney. It’s such a shame, I thought the Home Alone episode last week was great. But I guess I’m just biased since I love his stand up so much.

  13. The Flash a runner-up, lol.

  14. Dan says:

    I can agree with all 54 other picks (even the reality crap I can’t be bothered with), but… The Flash as a runner up for best new drama?? Really, man? Even with the usual CW stamp of terrible acting, cringeworthy dialogues and plotholes the size of Russia? You do realize that True Detective, The Leftovers, The Affair, Penny Dreadful, The Knick and probably a couple of much better others started this year, right?

  15. SPS says:

    I don’t understand… Why is all of the phenomenally brilliant work on Sons of Anarchy constantly ignored? Not to mention Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, Shameless, and Haven???

    • jalahyacinth says:

      This is part 1…. ;) I’d save complaining until all parts were up.

      • Angeldove says:

        The only thing about I saw about SOA was Most Anticipated Death Scene with Gemma and Jax. SOA definitely should have had more “Bests” than that! Oh, and I totally agree with Most Annoying Character/Teenager- the daughter from Madam Secretary. I thought it was just me, but I desperately want her to go back to college far, far away! And, I LOVE Scott and Stile’s bromance!!!

  16. Mel says:

    Yay for the Stana love! Couldn’t agree more.

    • BetiSA says:

      I agree! she is a GREAT actress and the most important she is an amazing person.

      • Jim says:

        Totally agree. She does so much with just a small facial expression that just sells the scene. She doesn’t need to go over the top like a lot of actors & she’s spectacular inside & out.

      • dorid says:

        Yes, Stana is an outstanding actress. Her peers and the tv gods at some point will recognize her talent.

        • lynn says:

          Agree Stana is one of the finest actresses performing these days and I believe her peers and tv Gods recognize this already! She is also very popular with the fans , so no problem there. I think MM just wants to create a stir and responses to his sight. I fully expect there to be a season 8 for Castle and perhaps more then that if the writers get their act together. Still lots of interesting cases and situations to be delved into.of course that’s if the cast wants to continue.

    • Cassie says:

      So agree with this. I hope Stana lands a great project after Castle.

    • Tolo says:

      Agree. So underrated that I was so pleasantly surprised to see her on this list.

    • TicaTica says:

      Totally agree with all of you. She’s the reason why I watch Castle. And I hope that when this show is over(hopefully not anytime soon) she will be in another tv show. Otherwise I’ll be missing her a lot.

  17. spindae2 says:

    I know Taste is something people can argue about but JTV isn’t the best comedy for sure. But again that is just me.

    • Stop says:

      Different tastes, I think it’s not only the best comedy by a mile, but the best new show of the year.

    • Grey says:

      I had to chuckle at your post a littel because “JTV” also stands for Jewelry Television (too much Christmas shopping on my brain). LOL. But I know which show you actually mean. :-)

    • Netty says:

      I agree with you, Selfie, is heaps better and funnier than JTV imo. I dont see what the fuss is about with that show

  18. Letti says:

    Revenge’s Ben as worst character: Unfortunately I might agree. I hated him first, but in the last few episodes I got a bit interested, but they definitely introduced him the wrong way. He should be loved first, then become a main character.
    Under the Dome as worst…well yeah, I stopped watching this season as well.
    But I’m glad to see some love for The 100 and Reign.

  19. DR says:

    Surely the nod for “Best 200th Episode” goes to Bones.

  20. MJ says:

    Missing Worst Finale Runner Up goes to How I Met Your Mother

  21. auntiemm says:

    I would submit that NCIS, while certainly not most improved, deserves to be included in that category.

  22. Jerri says:

    Best Improved Drama is Homeland? IMO, Homeland has gone downhill. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should’ve been the top choice in most improved considering the vast difference in quality between the first part of season one and the first part of season two.

    • Temperance says:

      Homeland wasn’t much to talk about in the first place, and it didn’t move much. SHIELD was a pretty massive improvement.

  23. Matt says:

    I will freely admit to never seeing a single episode of True Blood, but there is no way in the world that any show could have a worst finale this year than How I Met Your Dead Mother’s Replacement.

  24. wgsecretary says:

    TVLine staff,

    I’ve been disappointed with the newer format of the galleries. Now, you can see the picture on top, but there is so much space between it and the text below, that you can’t see both at the same time. I always have to scroll down to read and back up to move to the next picture. Yes, I’m nitpicking, but I am hoping it can be changed to a format that doesn’t require scrolling up and down to see the pictures and the text that goes with them. Consider it a Christmas present! :)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Please help us investigate — on what sort of device are you experiencing this display issue? —Mgmt.

      • Marcie says:

        I’m not wgsecretary but I can’t see text at all. I’m on a windows PC

        • Grey says:

          I can see the text but not the pictures and I’m on a windows PC as well. :-(

          • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

            Thanks to everyone who courteously provided feedback (and yes, browser info would be extra helpful). It will be relayed to the tech team after the holidays.

        • Alichat says:

          I think it would help Mgmt to know what browser you are experiencing this on as well. Firefox? Chrome? IE? What version of the browser as well.

      • patty says:

        She isn’t the only one. I’m using a desktop PC with a 17″ monitor & have the same problem

        • dragons3 says:

          Same here. I use a 15.6 ” laptop. This, plus the issues I already complained about with the slideshow format, make me use this site MUCH less frequently than I would otherwise. Why would I want to waste so much time here when other sites do it better?

      • The Beach says:

        I haven’t had any problems viewing the gallery: Samsung 15″ PC Win8.1 laptop using Chrome browser. What I do find a bit frustrating though is when you post it takes you all the way back to the top of comments every time. It used to take you back to where you left off.

      • jalahyacinth says:

        My phone (chrome), my computer (chrome and internet explorer), my galaxy tablet (default internet browser)

      • Temperance says:

        I have to leave IE10 and paste the link over to Firefox to view any of the galleries. The large pictures never appear.

    • abz says:

      I’ve tried to get used to the new gallery for some time now, but I just can’t. I absolutely hate having to open another link to go see the gallery. And when you close the tab and all of a sudden you want to go back and see a picture you have to reopen it, etc. It’s just so unnecessary. Sometimes I’ll just avoid looking at the gallery altogether. I liked when the gallery was on the same page as the article and comment board and you can just flip through it once you go on the page.

    • ComeOn says:

      I can’t see any pictures of the gallery when using Opera Mini when using Android phone and tablet. And can’t resize any of pages with both Opera and Firefox when using Android run products. At least it was better than before, it was asking me for my location EVERY TIME I open a new TVLine page.

  25. Bianca says:

    About time someone recognize Stana Katic´s talent. Thanks !!

  26. Stop says:

    Couldn’t agree more about all the Jane the Virgin and Gina Rodriguez love. What a total delight, girlfriend is a star.

  27. mikey says:

    What, no “Worst” award for Taxi Brooklyn???

  28. monique scott says:

    They just totally left out bones it should have been most underrated show actress emily deshanel and actor david boreanaz they never get any credit i mean come on its been on for ten years!!

    • abz says:

      Being on air for 10 years doesn’t necessarily mean a show is still good. It just means it’s still making money. I think they were right to leave Bones out. There are currently hundreds of better shows out there both writing/creative and acting wise.

  29. Amanda says:

    Interesting list. A lot of the shows mentioned I don’t watch, and a couple of your choices stood out as ones I really don’t agree with: Best season finale Supernatural???? I love that show, and this episode was one of their worst. Didn’t come close to their best-like the one where they are in the alternate universe?? LOL funny. Then most improved: I don’t think Marvel Agents of Shield ever went downhill, and in my opinion Constantine got better and better after a really iffy start. Just my opinion, just like a part of the human body I won’t mention-we all have one. Merry Christmas!

  30. Pati says:

    noooo I didn’t know Reign was in danger of being cancelled :( I love the show. Where is Outlander on this list? Best drama, best new show best everything

  31. Barbara C. Luck says:

    “Reign” best costumes? Have you seen “Outlander?”

  32. Steve F. says:

    Glad to see Agents of SHIELD get some love! (And yes to Bobbi Morse… at this point, can TPTB make Adrianne Palicki a series regular?)

    • Steve F. says:

      Also, hoping that The Walking Dead gets a few nods in Part 2 – I was going to say that “The Grove” should’ve been recognized (as well as Melissa McBride’s Carol – if there’s someone on the cast that has evolved from the first season, it would be her).

    • abz says:

      Is this show any good? I’m a big fan of the Marvel films and Whedon’s Buffy/Angel, but I’ve heard the ratings on the show fluctuate a lot. I want to check it out, but I really don’t want to start another show that might end up being cancelled so soon.

  33. isee says:

    Glad to see Bear get some love. I love that dog. Team Machine wouldn’t be the same without him.

  34. Shawn D says:

    Though my love for Sven (animated) is great; he should not get the nod from OUAT. Bear is clearly a more important character on POI. His character vitally links the “emotional” side of Reese, Finch, and Shaw. Several times with bullets flying I find myself say, “OH please don;t let Bear get shot.” Anyways, I won;t fuss too much because its Christmas if the reindeer wins.

    • abz says:

      Thought the exact same thing. The order needs to be switched. I barely recall seeing Sven in OUAT and Bear is so much more important.

  35. Jan says:

    Nice to see the love for Jane the Virgin and Playing House.

  36. I don’t watch any of those listed. I’m hoping for some Criminal Minds love in part 2, before I call blasphemy. It gets ignored, a lot. Despite it being popular, as mentioned in the article about the spin off that shouldn’t get done.

  37. Memen says:

    Not a hater but Stana is not underrated, she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. THe recognition she gets is equal to her talents. There are great actresses out there and Stana does not even compare. She’s ok but not underrated

    • Cassie says:

      that’s your opinion which it’s not “exactly”

    • S. says:

      She’s exceptional and yet if you mention her name, most people have no idea who she is. The female lead of a popular show and yet your average person would go ‘who?’ You can’t possibly be a regular viewer of Castle (unless you’re one of those folks that watches for Nathan and hates on Stana), and if you aren’t, then how are you in a position to know what she’s done to earn this designation from TVLine? They could’ve gone with Tatiana Maslany, Monica Potter, any number of dramatic actresses. Maybe you’re just wrong. Calling Stana Katic “ok” is ridiculous.

  38. Bmass87 says:

    Erm… can someone please inform me as to why HANNIBAL is noticeably absent? Especially after giving us a second season that trumped the first in nearly every way? With THAT finale?!

  39. Angie says:

    Most under rated actor Castle’s Nathan Fillion. His range from a goof ball to a father desperate to find his daughter is outstanding.

    • S. says:

      I dunno, he may not be getting awards notice, but I think a great many people from different fandoms think Nathan’s got crazy good skills. Millions of Twitter followers, etc. Harder to be considered underrated at a certain point since I think he’s pretty highly rated by many. The man can pack a Comic Con room like nobody’s business.

  40. Angela says:

    I for one am glad to see others don’t feel “Sleepy Hollow” has fallen into a sophomore slump. I’ve been starting to feel like I’m in an extreme minority of people who’ve been liking the season so far, so it’s nice to have someone backing me up on that.
    (And seriously, if I never hear the phrase, “Crane family drama” again, it’ll be too soon. Seems like everyone and their mother has to throw that phrase into their critiques somewhere at some point nowadays. We get it already. To that I say, considering one of the four horsemen is the son of the Cranes, what exactly did you expect would happen with that revelation? There was going to be drama associated with that. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.)
    Loved the choice of best series finale, too. Yes :).

  41. Anna says:

    I really do miss Trophy Wife. I still don’t get why they had to cancel a great comedy to replace it with a few bad ones… I would like to have this show back, please :(

  42. A says:

    Psych should have tied for best finale. It was so satisfing for is Psychos.

    And HIMYM got robbed for worst finale- it’s the first time I’ve never wanted to watch reruns of a show again- completely ruined the show for me

  43. A says:

    I hope Arrow wins for most insane death – cause they really deserve it

  44. kmw says:

    For once there is a list I actually agree with, at least for the most part. I do not watch SUPERNATURAL so I am sure their 200th was good but BONES was very good as well. I also agree with Stana Katic however, Emily Deschanel is also very underrated. As much I like BONES, with the exception of first 2 episodes and 200th episode, this has been a pretty weak year for them. Bones being on the air for ten years has nothing to do with why we like the work both Emily and David do. The fact that some of us have been mad about their lack of screen time together means we are still interested in Booth and Brennan as a couple and partners and that is remarkable given they have been a couple for 3 years and married for 1. Because of weak year I really do not see BONES making the second part of this list at all. Still a very good list

  45. MrScreenAddict says:

    The fact that Games Of Thrones’s Ser Pounce was not your automatic winner for Best Performance By An Animal is a travesty of international proportions. Shame on you!

  46. Susie says:

    so glad SHIELD was on there twice but i just wish Melinda May got nominated for something and NO LANA PARRILLA?! :O an outrage.

  47. Vera says:

    No How To Get Away With Murder? Please tell me it’s being wooed in part II!

  48. Michelle says:

    Counld not agree more about Stana Katic. I also hope she gets a great project after Castle.

  49. ewgynyu says:

    Fargo was incredibly boring, The Good wife is amazing, that’s the best drama ! The Big Bang Theory is the best comedy !!!