Moments... Great television is all about great moments. As network and cable TV embrace serialized storytelling those moments only become more shocking, thrilling, disturbing and touching.
Shows left us forever (Fringe, Merlin, Futurama). New shows showed their promise (Under The Dome, Sleepy Hollow, The Originals). The continuing shows gave us reasons they should stick around (Supernatural, True Blood, Revolution). And The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones proved why they are among the best shows on television. In the list below, these special moments made us laugh and cry and gasp and cringe, horrified us and broke our hearts.
Counting down, here are 23 moments that stayed with us and had a big impact on their shows' stories.
23. Under the Dome – Big Jim is one sick bastard
Big Jim left a trail of bodies all summer long. In fact, it's hard to imagine why he was so shocked his son, Junior, kept Angie locked away for days in the fallout shelter. But when he murdered Dodee we knew there was no coming back for this “sick bastard.”
22. American Horror Story: Coven – Things get heady for Delphine LaLaurie
Madame Laveau cut off Delphine's head and order it burned because of her heinous crimes against slaves. Delphine can't die because she's been cursed. So Queenie tries to educate Delphine about slavery and racism by forcing her head to watch Roots. Delphine's head does not take it well.
21. Sleepy Hollow – Headless is interrogated
The good guys manage to capture the Headless Horseman. But that's not quite good enough for them. Ichabod, Abbie and the Captain decide to try and make him talk. Interrogating a headless horseman does provide some challenges, but not as many as you might think.
20. Falling Skies – Lourdes takes out the President
Just when we thought the big twist would involve the newly arrived president of the United States trying to take over, we discover that Lourdes has been compromised and is the mole. She takes him out and manages to do a great deal of damage before Tom puts two and two together.
19. The Originals – Klaus takes on Marcel's army
Things come to a head between Klaus and Marcel as Marcel's army of vampires tries to take down the Original. But the protege, with a little help from Rebekah, realizes that he and his army are no match for the master.
18. The Vampire Diaries – Human Katherine jumps off a clock tower
Becoming human has totally messed with Katherine in the most delightful ways. After accepting that too many people want her dead, and even worse, that she's dying of old age, Katherine decides to throw herself of the clock tower to go out on her own terms. Unfortunately for her, but fortunately for us, Stefan arrives just in time to catch her and save her miserable life.
17. Grimm – Nick gets zombiefied
After being turned into a zombie by some Wesen spit, Nick escapes capture only to go on a rampage that kills a man. It takes all his Scooby friends to take down the supercharged Grimm zombie, and it's not pretty.
16. Supernatural – Kevin Tran is killed by Sam/Ezekiel/Gadreel
In the ninth midseason finale, Metatron ordered Gadreel (who was masquerading as Ezekiel, who was inside Sam) to kill someone. Little did we know it was prophet Kevin Tran, who'd become family to Sam and Dean. There's no way Dean is going to forgive himself anytime soon for letting Sam get taken over by an angel, a device that's filled the show's ninth season with lots of life.
15. Under The Dome – The Dome comes down
In one of the better series premieres of the year, Under The Dome offered a shocking beginning as a dome comes down over Miller's Crossing and chops a cow in half. Worse yet, the dome is invisible, so a truck and plane smash into it.
14. Once Upon a Time – Cora gets her just desert
Just as the heartless Cora, aka the Queen of Hearts, is about to use the dagger on Mr. Gold that will steal his power, Regina sneaks up behind her mother and thrusts her mother's heart into her chest. But Regina and Cora's joy is not to last as Cora collapses and dies. Regina realizes that Mary Margaret is responsible for Cora's demise.
13. Arrow – The Glades is destroyed and Tommy dies
As the Dark Archer's plan to destroy The Glades is realized, Tommy saves Laurel but gets trapped. Oliver, as the Hood, tries to save him but fails, and Tommy dies, along with a lot of other people.
12. Orphan Black – Here come the clones
Who knew a show about clones would be so much fun? Tatiana Maslany's tour-de-force performance as all seven clones of the same woman makes any scene where there's more than one of her on screen a delight to watch. Each one of her clones comes off as a distinct person. In this scene Maslany plays three of the clones in one shot.
11. True Blood – Eric burns and meets the true death
Or does he? Well, we think Eric will be back somehow or other. But in the meantime, naked Eric is reading on a snow-filled mountain with nowhere to go when he suddenly realizes his protection from the sun is gone. Priceless.
10. Revolution – The lights get turned back on and the bombs fly
In last year's season finale, the rebels finally made it to the tower and Rachel and Aaron managed to turn the power back on around the world. Unfortunately the celebration was oh so short-lived. Patriot Randall arrived and launched bombs off to take out Atlanta and Philadelphia. And then he promptly shot himself, leaving the shocked rebels to watch as the bombs went streaking toward their targets.
9. Merlin - Merlin says goodbye to Arthur
After five years, Merlin told a dying Arthur he had magic. And then, rather than explore several episodes as Arthur deals with the shocking news, the Once and Future King dies almost immediately after accepting who Merlin is. While that was more than disappointing, the actual end where Merlin said goodbye to his old friend was very touching and worthy of a series end. Merlin discovered that he had reached his destiny and that Arthur would rise again someday.
8. Supernatural – The angels falling
As the battle for Heaven continues, Dean stops the final demon trial to save Sam's life. Metatron extracts Castiel's grace, which makes Castiel fully human and casts the angels out of Heaven. Sam, Dean and Castiel watch as thousands of angels fall from Heaven.
7. American Horror Story: Asylum – Lana rights her wrong
What to do when your son's a serial-killing monster just like dear old dad? After a lifetime of success, Lana finally comes face to face with her son and shoots him in the head.
6. Teen Wolf – Scott becomes an Alpha
With high-school English teacher Jennifer, aka the Darach, busily sacrificing virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians -- or just about everyone -- in order to take down Deucalion and his Alpha Pack, Scott calls upon his inner strength to become a True Alpha in an attempt to stop her.
5. Futurama – Fry and Leela get married
It's been a long goodbye to Futurama, which had its FOURTH SERIES FINALE. This one looks like it actually might take, but who knows? In the finale, “Meanwhile,” Fry breaks the Professor's invention that's meant to reverse time for 10 seconds. It leaves Leela and Fry trapped in time alone, but enjoying life as they marry themselves and live out the decades in a world by themselves growing old together. Of course, the Professor manages to save the day, and the happy couple decide to reverse time before the device was ever invented, to a time when they won't remember anything, and “go around again.”
4. The Walking Dead – Hershel loses his head
There were a lot of shockers in the midseason finale, but none sadder than when the Governor murdered Hershel in front of Rick, Hershel's daughters and the rest of the survivors. Yes, the Governor bit the dust too, even if it took three people to kill him, but we'll miss Hershel's gentle presence the most as The Walking Dead and its troupe go on the road when it returns in February.
3. Fringe – The good guys win
This amazing, convoluted, confounding, spectacular series came to an end and Peter said goodbye to Walter. In the end, Peter, Olivia and Etta got their happy ending, and we suspect Etta got that bath. It was a worthy ending for characters who had struggled too long to save the world and each other. But in the very last moment, what was Peter really thinking when he looked at that white tulip?
2. Doctor Who – Matt Smith regenerates into Peter Capaldi
After four years we got a chance to say goodbye to Matt Smith in a touching farewell that had the Doctor spending hundreds of years protecting a town called Christmas from all his enemies. And while the introduction of Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor was brief, it looks like Smith's bow tie will be history and the new Doctor will have to learn a thing or two. Especially about driving the TARDIS.
“Just one question,” the new Doctor asks companion Clara. “Do you happen to know how to fly this thing?”
1. Game of Thrones – One bloody, shocking wedding
For those not familiar with the books, taking out the Starks in a horrible, bloody massacre was a devastating turn of events that will be talked about FOREVER. There was even some added carnage for those who did read the books. We'll miss Robb, Catelyn and the gang. But talk about a game changer.
What was your TV favorite moment of the year?