TV in 2014: A Year in Review

Barry Quinn
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2014 has been a stellar year for television, and Vada has been there every step of the way to bring you cut-throat reviews, scathing attacks, and general nonsensical explorations. To ring in the new year we take a look back at what has graced our screens this year, and speculate on what is to come in 2015, before Broadchurch returns and takes up all of our time… Catch our highlights below.

Damon Lindelof partnered with HBO in June to produce perhaps their greatest new show since Game of Thrones itself: The LeftoversCentred upon a town dealing with the aftermath of a global rapture, which saw 2% of the worlds population simply vanish, The Leftovers explored how grief affects people differently. It was a harrowing show, with nary a happy moment, but one which was captivating nevertheless. The trimmed down season two will catch up with everybody’s favourite characters (coincidentally the interesting ones – because, lets face it, there were a lot of naff ones) in a different location, seemingly. We can’t wait.

HBO also delivered with the finale of True Bloodwhich was rather divisive. I.e., nobody was happy with its conclusion. At all. At least Lala survived, though – even if Tara was offed. I still can’t forgive them for that one. We’ll always have the sex scenes though, and the Jason-Eric sex dream. Admit it, we’ve all had one..

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Admittedly better than True Blood was Game of Thrones, which went from strength-to-strength this year. Season four saw the bastard die, Dany reign terror upon Meereen, the customary cinematic dreaded nine, Oberyn come and go, and deaths aplenty in the season finale. We can’t wait for season five. All we’ll say is this: Daznak’s Pit, and Cersei’s walk of penance. It’s going to be a very good year indeed.

Simon Blish has been watching Netflix’s House of Cardsa remake of the UK show of the same name. This political thriller stars Kevin Spacey as a Democrat on the quest for power, who constructs an elaborate plan to gain some precedence in the American government. Like all Netflix shows, it’s firstly brilliant, and secondly it’ll be premiering its new season in its entirety next year. It’s had rave reviews thus far, so season three will likely be brilliant too.

If you’re a fan of drag, and in particular RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’ll be pleased to know that it’ll be returning next year for its eighth season – though UK fans will have to wait a bit longer until it’s added to Netflix, after E4 dropped it in 2010. Jake Basford thinks we shouldn’t judge the new queens until we’ve seen them in action – do you agree?

Back on UK soil (well, technically, as the show itself is set in Australia), I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, returned in November, and with it came its weakest crop of campmates for quite some time. We were still enthralled, but less than normal. Like most reality shows, it’s made by its contestants, and if they don’t live up to our expectations everything will be a little stale. You can read our weekly commentaries for week one, week two and week three.

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Other reality shows Vada have been watching include The Great British Bake Off, and Tom Chapman wasn’t happy with its lacklustre final. The rest of the series was good, though, and Tom even managed a Nicki Minaj ‘Anaconda’ pun that made us all laugh. Big Brothermeanwhile, took over our summer, even if the wrong person won. It should have been Ashleigh. Housemate Mark Byron didn’t agree though – he thought Helen was right to win. She wasn’t, but we won’t press the matter further. Elsewhere The X-Factor returned, and was as boring as ever. Nobody will remember its winner, surely. Karl Jager grew tired of the sob stories instantly.

Sticking with the UK for now, Sam Brodier found himself exasperated with Emmerdale earlier this year. The Yorkshire-based soap’s representation of homosexuality has, unfortunately, resulted in a somewhat cliched and complicated storyline for Aaron Livesy, who has faced a number of hardships since he rocked up to the village a few years ago. Surely a more positive spin is befitting such a beloved character? Well, Sam certainly has some fanciful ideas on where Emmerdale can take the character, though we’ll let you ask him them personally. We’re sure they won’t be safe for work… Scott McMullon, meanwhile, caught up with John Partridge from Eastenders to talk everything from the London-based soap, to his new album.

Mark Rocks provided Vada with weekly reviews of American Horror Story: Freak Show until it all became too much for him. Like every other season of this anthology horror show, it suffered with too many sparsely connected characters and storylines and tried to shock rather than thrill viewers. As such Mark switched off the TV – as did viewers in America, too. Though a fifth season has been commissioned, hopefully the next season will recapture some of this shows’ greatness from yesteryear.

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Alex Mitchell lamented the loss of Lee Evans earlier this year as the comedian announced his retirement – a huge loss, we’re sure you’ll agree. Alex brought us some of his favourite moments from Evans, so be sure to catch the article and prepare to laugh.

2014 saw the induction of a new Doctor, as Peter Capaldi took on the titular role in Doctor WhoAnd what a series it was – we had a controversial inter-species lesbian kiss, a journey inside a Dalek, a new classic from the Moff in the form of ‘Listen‘, the re-reintroduction of the Cybermen, the Master becoming the Mistress, and confirmation that Clara is sticking around after all. All in all, it’s been a brilliant debut run. Roll on series nine!

Meanwhile Tara Ali Din fell in love with How to Get Away with Murder, and told us five reasons why we should watch it – though, admittedly, it’s all about Viola Davis. What a revelation that woman is! And finally Maisie Barker delivered a trio of collections, bringing us her top five scary shows for Halloween, her top five feminist characters, and her top five foreign imports. Her interest in TV is quite diverse!

And there we have it. What a year it’s been – be sure to stick with Vada throughout 2015. January will see coverage of Broadchurch, Glee and Looking, to name but a few.

About Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn is an English Language and Literature graduate and a Creative Writer MA studier. He is an aspiring creative and professional writer and is currently in the process of writing his first novel. His writing blog can be viewed here: You can follow him on Twitter at: @mrbarryquinn