This year may not be as exciting as 2013, which may not be topped again, thanks to huge events like the Breaking Bad finale, the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones, and the disappointing Dexter finale. However, we can look forward to the end of one show we’ve been looking forward to for year, we can be excited about the second cycle of Netflix originals House of Cards (February 14th) and Orange is the New Black, two highly anticipated series will debut, and there will be huge changes in late-night television. Here are, tentatively, the 10 Most Important Television Events of 2014.
January 12th — Arguably the most exciting, anticipated show of the year (or at the very least, the winter), True Detective debuts on HBO. The series stars two hugely popular feature film stars, Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, coming off of huge years in Hollywood. Harrelson starred in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Now You See Me, while McConaughey continued a career resurgence that began in 2012 with potentially Oscar-nominated roles in any of the three: Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyer’s Club and Mud. The series, which also stars Michelle Monaghan, utilizes multiple timelines to trace two detectives’ hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana across seventeen years. I’ve seen the first three episodes of True Detective and I can confirm that they are brilliantly acted, gripping, and that the show is immediately addictive.
February 6th — The Winter Olympics kick off on February 7th from Sochi, Russia, but the night before, a cultural event with even longer implications will take place: Jimmy Fallon — after only five years at host of Late Night — will replace Jay Leno, who will be stepping down as host of The Tonight Show after 22 years (minus the year Conan O’Brien filled the seat). Where Leno goes is still up in the air (if he does anywhere).
February 24th — Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon will be replaced by Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers over on Late Night on the 24th, vacating his seat on “Weekend Update,” which will be filled full-time now (presumably) by Cecily Strong.
March 31st — The ninth and final season of How I Met Your Mother will finally conclude on CBS. The mystery surrounding the identity of the mother, however, has been taken away. Now, the only uncertainty is in how Ted Mosby and she ultimately meet, but we’re less interested in that and more interested in simply seeing the series finally end (although, we will then have to contend with the spin-off).
April 6th — Though no official date has been set, it’s safe to assume that HBO will bring back Game of Thrones on either April 6th or March 31st. The fourth season will continue to pick up the pieces in the wake of the third season’s Red Wedding as it heads toward the fourth season’s Purple Wedding.
May — I’m not sure whether to fear this or be excited about it, but Fox is making the rare move of bring back a series that’s been off the air for three-and-a-half years. Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer will return with a 12-episode series titled 24: Live Another Day. The best news about this is that Mary Lynn Rajskub is returning.
Summer — No official date has been set for the return of Mad Men, but the final season — which like AMC’s Breaking Bad will be split into two parts — makes the final 14 episodes (the first seven of which air this year) not as highly anticipated as it once was. Many of us are nevertheless eager to see how the series pulls Don Draper out of his suspension, whether Sterling Cooper & Partners will officially open offices in Los Angeles, and whether there will be a dramatic time jump in the timeline.
Fall — It kind of smarts that — after the 50th Anniversary in Christmas, and the Christmas Episode which saw the demise of the 11th Doctor and the rise of the 12th — we now have to wait until the autumn to see Peter Capaldi’s first episode as the new Doctor, but the scheduling of Doctor Who continues to confound. (In the meantime, we can watch Peter Capaldi on the BBC’s Three Musketeers and, of course, Stephen Moffat’s Sherlock returns on January 19th.
December — Though not officially its last season, Kurt Sutter has stated on many, many occasions that Sons of Anarchy is expected to end in 2014, and if the calendar lines up the same way it did in 2013, we can expect to see most of the rest of SAMCRO killed off the show by the series finale in mid-December 2014.
TBA — No official date has been set for the premiere of Breaking Bad’s Bob Odenkirk spin-off, Better Call Saul, but we do know that it will be more funny than dark (but it will also be dark), may feature lots of courtroom scenes, and according to Vince Gilligan, it is expected to debut before the end of the year.