From the awesomely bad TV movie "Sharknado" and Miley Cyrus' twerking antics to the "Duck Dynasty" anti-gay controversy and NBC's cringe worthy "Sound of Music" live show, television brought us some of the most memorable moments of 2013.
Whether they made viewers laugh, cry, cheer, or cover their eyes, these seven TV happenings definitely got people talking, tweeting, and commenting online.
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Here are the top TV moments of the year:
"Duck Dynasty" and the Phil Robertson Anti-Gay Controversy
This year started out strong for the Robertson family when the August season four premiere of their hit A&E show "Duck Dynasty" broke records and claimed the title of most watched nonfiction cable series in history. But it went downhill this past month when the Louisiana duck hunter family patriarch, Phil Robertson, made anti-gay comments in a story for GQ magazine.
Robertson was suspended indefinitely from the reality show
after he was quoted as saying that homosexuality leads to bestiality and promiscuity. His suspension immediately ignited a firestorm of political debate, with conservatives arguing for free speech and liberals accusing him of being a homophobe. Fans of the show even launched an #IStandWithPhil movement on Twitter.
The network ultimately caved and lifted the suspension
after the Robertson family hinted that they wouldn’t continue on with the show without Phil. Filming is expected to resume in the spring.
"The Sound of Music" Flops
When NBC first announced it would air a live three-hour television production of the classic "Sound of Music," fans were skeptical whether the new show would even come close to the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews. Their anxieties escalated when Carrie Underwood was announced as the lead role of Maria and, sure enough, the production was a complete flop, at least when it came to acting.
Critics ravaged Underwood's performance, bashing her lack of emotion ("Deer in headlights have emoted more," The Associated Press railed
). Even members of the real von Trapp family weren't happy with the show.
"For everyone who thought the whole thing was wonderful and that NBC did a spectacular job, I say maybe your expectations weren't high to begin with," Francoise von Trapp, Maria von Trapp's granddaughter, wrote in a blog post after the Dec. 5 broadcast. "If they hoped to have created a new holiday classic, I think they missed their mark… Carrie Underwood as Maria? Seriously?"
Despite being panned by critics, NBC's "Sound of Music" production did gangbusters ratings.
According to Nielsen, 18.47 million viewers tuned in to the original telecast, making it the most-watched non-sports night since the 2007 Golden Globes.
Internet users tweeted themselves into a frenzy back in July when "Sharknado" premiered on the SyFy network. The awesomely bad TV movie starring "American Pie's" Tara Reid and Ian Ziering from "Beverly Hills, 90210" had quite possibly the most ridiculous plotline ever in the history of television: A massive hurricane brings tons of great white sharks to the West Coast, where a powerful tornado sucks them up and rains them down on the people of Los Angeles.
The first broadcast of "Sharknado" generated a staggering 5,000 tweets per minute
and dozens of spinoff suggestions.
SyFy confirmed in late summer that it would be making a "Sharknado 2," to be set in New York.
Cote de Pablo Leaves "NCIS"
"NCIS" diehards were shocked in July when CBS announced that Cote de Pablo, who played main character Ziva David on the military crime drama for eight years, was leaving the show.
It's not clear why the Chilean-American actress chose to leave "NCIS," but CBS execs claim they did "everything humanly possible" to try and get her to stay.
"We offered Cote a lot of money and then we offered her even more money," CBS CEO Les told reporters. "We really didn't want to lose her. We love her. ... We obviously were in discussion with the rest of the cast and the producers. Ultimately, she decided she didn't want to do the show."
Emily Wickersham (as seen on HBO's "The Sopranos" and FX's "The Bridge") joined the cast to fill the leading lady void left by de Pablo and made her debut in November. According to a TV Line poll, more than 80 percent of viewers liked Wickersham
Miley Cyrus' Twerking
Former Disney star turned nude latex-wearing singer Miley Cyrus brought us perhaps the most-watched television moment of 2013 when she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in August
It was the eight minutes that will forever define the 20-year-old's career as she first paraded around onstage in a fuzzy leotard surrounded by giant dancing teddy bears. She then stripped down to the nude latex ensemble, grinded on singer Robin Thicke, and thrust a fan's foam finger between her legs, inspiring reactions like the ones below.
Cyrus followed up her raunchy performance the following month with her music video for "Wrecking Ball," which featured her swinging naked from construction equipment and licking a sledgehammer.
Both clips have been endlessly parodied by the "Saturday Night Live" cast, and even inspired some of the season's best Halloween costumes as worn by celebrities like Paris Hilton and Hugh Hefner.
Animal Planet Hoaxes Viewers With Mermaid Documentary
A record number of viewers tuned into Animal Planet in May for the network's "documentary" on mermaids, but audiences were outraged when the short film turned out to be a hoax.
The fake documentary, "Mermaids: The New Evidence," drew in 3.6 million viewers
, many of who believed hook, line, and sinker that the facts presented were true.
Charlie Foley, the creator, writer, and producer of the "mockumentary," later said in an interview that he "wanted the story to appeal to a sense of genuine possibility, and incorporating real science and evolutionary theory and real-world scientific examples." There was reportedly a disclaimer in the credits that said the film was a fake, but that didn’t stop Twitter users from voicing their anger.
"The Bible's" Epic Ratings
The History Channel's miniseries "The Bible" may not have gotten amazing reviews, but its March premiere delivered some record-breaking ratings.
The Mark Burnett-produced show dramatized scenes from "the most debated book of all time" and debuted to 13.1 million total viewers
, according to Nielsen, making it one of the top five entertainment telecasts of the year on cable TV.
Divided into five two-hour episodes, the holy drama covered Genesis to Revelation with one overarching narrative. "The Bible" highlighted some old favorites — Noah's ark, Adam and Eve, and the Exodus — and included both the Old and New Testaments.
In July, NBC scored the exclusive rights to a "Bible" sequel
, reported to be called "A.D.: Beyond the Bible."
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