Once again, The Big Bang Theory (269) checked in with the new biggest sitcom season since Friends, putting it at #2 over the last eleven years. And a declining Modern Family (188) was still good enough, tying for #8 on the new list. The final season of How I Met Your Mother (180) was the show's biggest season ever, but it's in a three-way tie for #11 on the new list.
As has been usual of late, nothing on broadcast was even within fifty points of making the cut. Scandal (162) took over as the #1 broadcast drama and was a bit stronger than the #1 drama of the previous two seasons (NCIS, which topped b'cast with a 159 in 2011-12 and 2012-13)). It's now been six years since the last megahit drama on broadcast.
Cable is another story, as another mind-blowing season of The Walking Dead (351 fall, 367 spring) would've absolutely destroyed everything on the list. And while Game of Thrones (194) would've been about 20 points shy, it continues to trend sharply in the positive direction.
In a year heavy on hits, The Blacklist (151) was the biggest; it would've been on the list at #7. The Millers (140) also would've made the cut, tying Rob (another timeslot hit leading out of The Big Bang Theory) for #9. Sleepy Hollow (138) had the ratings to qualify for the top 10 last year, but the other 2013-14 newbies would've bumped it down to #12 in a new list, right between #11 Once Upon a Time (139) and #13 Two and a Half Men (137).
The axe was wielded much more than usual this year, and no newbie renewal came even close to making this list. The closest thing to a renewal reach was Brooklyn Nine-Nine (80), and even it was 11 points higher than the shows at the bottom of this list: Happy Endings and 30 Rock (69 each).
The four networks were all quite close together this year, so none of them made this list. #1 original network CBS (106) was three points behind last year's delivery, and that was only good enough for #10 last summer.
Though the CW became a bit deeper in 2013-14, nothing stood out enough to make the cut here. The Vampire Diaries (54) was just a single point behind the #10 entry (TVD's 2011-12 season), while a stunningly big season from Supernatural (53) was just another single point behind. The Originals (47) tied 90210 (47) as the third-biggest newbie in CW history.
The second half of The Big Bang Theory's season premiere (324) became the fifth-biggest scripted episode of the era. Its episode on 1/9/14 (303) would've made the list last summer but is knocked down to #11 by the other BBT ep.
Once again, The Walking Dead would've totally distorted everything if it were included. If it were included on a new list, its episodes would've taken all eight of the #3 through #10 spots on the list!! Its fall premiere (435), spring premiere (434) and spring finale (425) would've been #3, #4 and #5.
Continuing the dominance of CBS comedies on this list, The Crazy Ones (111) would've checked in at #4. Two-and-through We Are Men (101) is #11 and Almost Human (100) #12; both would've beaten the 99 from last year's #10 Eleventh Hour.
Monday remained the most crowded night on broadcast for a second straight year in 2013-14, and that's not even accounting for Monday Night Football on cable. Its 126 average would've tied for #5 (with 2008-09 Tuesday), and it was higher than the 122 average on Monday nights last year.
It was a very good year for Friday night programming in general, but at least on a scripted basis, it was more about depth than huge standouts. Hawaii Five-0 (76), Grimm (75) and Blue Bloods (74) all came up just shy of the 77 bar to make this list, while Last Man Standing (71) wasn't that far off either. Technically, the seven Friday Bones episodes (82) would've made it, though I don't know if I'd count that since it was less than a third of the full season.
The biggest Friday story of the season was on the unscripted front; Shark Tank (103) was easily the strongest Friday series in the era. Undercover Boss (80) and 20/20 (78) also contributed seasons that would've been good enough to crack the top 10 scripted list.
A great final season from How I Met Your Mother (180) put it at a comfortable number two on this list, ahead of both Lost (161) and Everybody Loves Raymond (155) and behind only Friends (300). There are tons of announced final seasons for 2014-15; the one probably most worth watching for this list is Two and a Half Men.