tvDownload’s 2014 Rewind: The Best Television of the Year

Best Overall Show 2014:



Game of Thrones


The Comeback

Orange is the New Black 

Orphan Black


Boardwalk Empire 

The Leftovers

Winner: Transparent. An unprecedented number of shows in 2014 made you feel awkward, sad, uncomfortable, angry or, sometimes, overjoyed in that amazing way that only television can. Transparent was the only one that did all of the above in that amazing way only real life can.
Breakout Performance


Robin Lord Taylor, Gotham

Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show

Pedro Pascal, Game of Thrones

Allison Tolman, Fargo

North West, Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Ann Dowd, The Leftovers

Mat Fraser, American Horror Story

Winner: Allison Tolman, Fargo. Sorry, North West. Call us when you get an Emmy nod for your first major role. (Or when you can serve as the heart to the darkness of a show like Fargo....or when you're not a baby)
Best Actor


Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Matthew McConaughey, True Detective

Hugh Dancy, Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen,  Hannibal

Matthew Rhys, The Americans

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Martin Freeman, Fargo/Sherlock

Adam Driver, Girls

Winner: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective. Say what you will about True Detective's ending, or its lack of diversity or, uh, many things. But you can't deny Mr. McConaughey transformed from a rom-com powder puff into a drama heavyweight in front of our eyes over eight episodes. Rust Cohle, you earned this.
Best Actress


Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Robin Wright, House of Cards Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Gaby Hoffman, Transparent

Carry Coon, The Leftovers

Winner: Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black.. If this seems like a controversial pick, it's because Ms. Maslany gets little love for her role on Orphan. But running the emotional gamut between seven different characters is a feat worthy of some recognition, and would have fallen apart in a less capable actress' hands.
Best "Uncomfortable-On-Purpose" Show of 2014


Hello Ladies


The Comeback



Winner: The Comeback . I've never wanted to personally apologize more to a character than Valerie Cherish.
Best New Show 


The Affair

How to Get Away with Murder


Black Mirror

Bojack Horseman

Broad City


Winner: Fargo.  This wins strictly for Martin Freeman's Midwest accent. Oh, and every amazing other thing that developed over these gleefully violent, surprisingly fun ten episodes.
Best Reality Show


The Bachelorette

90 Day Fiance

Top Chef

America's Next Top Model, Cycle 21 

The Real Housewives of Melbourne

Winner: America's Next Top Model, Cycle 21. Let me hand this one over to our resident reality expert Jordyn Taylor: "For the first time, a dude won, and he was really hot." Who am I to argue with that logic?
Biggest TV News 


The Walking Dead becomes most-watched scripted show on all of TV, including broadcast networks

HBO cuts the cord, announces plans for streaming-only subscription

Showtime announces the return of Twin Peaks

Amazon proves itself with Transparent

True Detective cements the “blockbuster TV” model, makes Matthew McConaughey an enormous star again

Winner: HBO cuts the cord. RIP Cable 1948-2014.
Best Exit From a TV Show

Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Robert Morse, Mad Men

Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation

Lawrence Pressman, Transparent

Winner: Robert Morse, Mad Men. When I eventually retire from the exact position I hold now forty years from now or, alternatively, when I die, I can only hope to go out with a little jazz and soft-shoe, surrounded by beautiful women.
Best Series Ender


Boardwalk Empire, 'El Dorado'

Sons of Anarchy, 'Papa's Goods'

The Newsroom 'What Kind of Day Has It Been?'

Hello, Ladies, 'Hello, Ladies: The Movie'

Californication, 'Grace'

Winner: Boardwalk Empire, 'El Dorado.' You had to know that after this long, amazingly-written ride something was coming for Nucky Thompson. Appropriately it was the ghosts of his past that eventually caught up with him (and shot him in the face.) Man, I'm going to miss Boardwalk.

(Possible because of contributions from Drew Grant, Maggie Serota, Anne Easton, Jordyn Taylor, Sean T. Collins,  Carrie Nelson, Molly Mulshine, Noam Cohen and Ricky Camilleri.)

We here at tvDownload already ran down the “worst” television had to offer in 2014, because as careful science has shown pointing the finger and laughing at things is more fun. But as the year comes to a close we have to recognize that, yes, there was a lot of really good television on our tubes in 2014. Like, a lot a lot. 

From HBO to Showtime, NBC to ABC, Netflix to (gasp) Amazon, 2014 was a hell of a year for scripted television. Let’s take a moment to look back on the Comeback comebacks, the Mad Men, the Rust Cohles and everything else in between that made this year THE year to sit down in front of a small screen and lose yourself for a while.

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