Thanks to Twitter, fans have become more engaged in the TV viewing experience. Audiences no longer sit idly by as their favorite programs shock and awe them week to week. Instead, they are quick to post their instant, 140-max character reactions. And the live tweeting experience wasn’t limited to twists and turns of Shondaland Thursdays. In fact, series across all genres and networks obsessed with hashtagging TV.
As TV goes into hiatus for the holiday season, we look back on all the highlights from 2014 (and let our thumbs rest up for next year’s crucial status updates.)
WARNING: All the spoilers!
Why: With ABC’s Thank Goodness Its Thursday line up – Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder – Shonda Rimes has redefined “shock & awe.” Each week, Scandal regularly delivers “WTF” moments followed by her protégé Peter Nowalk’s How to Get Away With Murder and its racy gay sex scenes that leaves tongues wagging and viewers cursing the show’s near impossible hashtag (#HTGAWM).
Key moment: The ‘scandalous’ death of Cyrus Beene’s husband James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky) at the hands of Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) near the end of season 3.
Who to follow: Retta
Game of Thrones
Dragons, White Walkers, incest, murderous weddings, Peter Dinklage’s superb acting, and the tease of full-frontal male nudity are just some of the many elements that make Twitter the place to be while watching HBO’s hit series. The only issue with tweeting is knowing everyone’s name – and more importantly, how to spell them. The show is not for the novice or unprepared.
Key moment: The gruesome death of the Red Viper or the show’s finale.
Who to follow: Fake George R.R. Martin
Live TV Events
Why: From award shows to the Super Bowl to NBC’s broadcast of Peter Pan Live, live events are what Twitter is made for. The networks win when their broadcasts are trending and viewers win when someone captures that unscripted moment for the infamy of the internet.
Key moment: Everything that Emma Thompson did during the 2014 Golden Globes or, more recently, Christopher Walken in PPL.
Who to follow: Michelle Collins
American Horror Story
Between Coven and Freak Show, Ryan Murphy delivered two notable (and scary) seasons of American Horror Story. While last season was all chatter about the Supreme, this season it has been focused primarily on Twisty the Clown – one of the show’s scariest villains ever. Seriously, every tweet was a choice between reacting live or covering your eyes in fright.
Key moment: Twisty’s first appearance at the lake.
Who to follow: Ryan Murphy
Pretty Little Liars
ABC Family’s hit series about pretty young things that get up to nothing but trouble has turned into one of Twitter’s guiltiest pleasures. The show is not just for tweens. It’s for everyone who loves a good thrill, an unexpected twist, and dispensing theories as to who is A. It’s Aria, right?!
Key moment: The death of Mona, PPL’s original Team A member who started it all.
Who to follow: The show’s cast
The Walking Dead
Now in its 5th season, The Walking Dead has turned into a buzzy live-viewing experience with everyone reacting to all the pivotal zombie attacks and character deaths. And that’s primarily why many tune in – to see who will (unexpectedly) bite the dust. Though, to its credit, some people still watch for the overall narrative about a group of strangers forced to come together in order to survive the zombie apocalypse.
Key moment: The new, turbo-charged Carol played by Melissa McBride anytime she goes into commando mode.
Who to follow: Chris Hardwick
When it first debuted, the AMC series didn’t seem like it was going to be a crucial show to live tweet, but over the years, it has become one to watch on TV and online. Thanks to its unexpected developments in the past few seasons – the lawn mower scene and the recent theory that Megan Draper is Sharon Tate – fans have not let up on predictions and witty quips.
Key moment: Bert Cooper’s musical send off.
Who to follow: Tom & Lorenzo