With so many new ways to watch TV and so many new channels trying out original content, it’s easy to hit TV overload. It would be frustrating, if it weren’t a sign of how much great TV there is to watch these days. In that spirit, we’ve collected a list of shows to honor for the things we liked about them, rather than a simple top 5 ranking.
Show we’ll miss the most
“The Colbert Report”
Nation, it’s hard to believe that in just a few days we’ll be saying goodbye to “Stephen Colbert” the jingoistic, America-loving right wing host of “The Colbert Report” — who’s played, of course, by comedian Stephen Colbert. Since 2005, the show’s loyal Colbert Nation has witnessed Colbert lampoon countless politicians and cable news pundits, profile many of those same politicians in his much-loved “Better Know A District” segment and lavish his beloved “Papa Bear” — talk show host Bill O’Reilly — with almost weekly praise. As Colbert leaves his “well-intentioned, poorly informed,” character behind, it will be interesting to see how quickly his fans adjust to his non-satirical persona once his new CBS late-night show debuts in 2015.
Gone too soon
For avid television watchers, it’s always disappointing when a new show is cancelled just as it seems like it’s finally hitting its stride. 2014’s biggest cancellation casualty was surely the John Cho-Karen Gillan sitcom “Selfie.” A modern-day twist on George Bernard Shaw’s ugly duckling play “Pygmalion,” the show followed a self-centered aspiring starlet (Gillan) who sees her growing social media fan base as her ticket to fame. Cho portrays the marketing exec trying to transform her into someone less self-absorbed. “Selfie” was pulled from the air in November after just six episodes. Fans did get one early holiday gifts of sorts from ABC — the remaining episodes have been put on Hulu.
Best new show
Amazon has been creating original programming for some time now, and they finally hit the jackpot with “Transparent,” from former “Six Feet Under” writer Jill Soloway. It’s a sitcom, mostly, in the sense that’s a half hour long and it’s often funny, but it’s also heartbreaking and frustrating (in a good way). The show tells the story of Maura, or as her kids know her, Mort, who comes out as a transgender woman late in life. Jeffrey Tambor is fantastic in the lead role, and Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffman do complex, compelling work as Maura’s adult kids, who are working through their own issues.
Best guest stars
“Orange is the New Black”
Maybe this one is cheating, since the Netflix drama (comedy? dramedy?) calls various cast members that you probably consider regulars “guest stars,” but we had to recognize show creator Jenji Kohan and her casting crew for their impeccable work finding little-known actresses who regularly knock it out of the park as the various inmates on the show. For instance, Laverne Cox (Sophia), Natasha Lyonne (Nichols) and Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes)? All nominated for Emmy guest star spots in 2014, and all vital parts of what makes the show so great.
Best Talk Show Guest
Emma Stone, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
We decided not to just honor best talk show this year, because when we thought about it, there was one main thing that happened on a talk show this year that we watched over and over again: Emma Stone tearing the roof off with her lip sync renditions of Blues Traveler’s “Hook” and DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.” While Fallon’s other guests have acquitted themselves well in the competition, we’re pretty sure it’s Stone’s efforts that inspired Fallon to create a spinoff show just for lip syncing.