What Else Was On: May 2014

Conchita Wurst / Austria (Eurovision MiniPop: Ben Morris)
Conchita Wurst / Austria (Eurovision MiniPop: Ben Morris)

Singing! Signing! Designing! Computing! and nerds, Nerds, NERDS all up on our TVs in May of this year.

Eurovision Song Contest — Eurovision inched ever closer to the American mainstream this year thanks to worldwide coverage and celebration of this year’s winner, Austria’s Conchita Wurst. We could (and already have) gone on and on about how deserving “Rise Like a Phoenix” is as this year’s winner, but also about how fantastic this year’s Contest from Denmark was. Take an afternoon and watch the playlist from the Finals. Oh, and this:

American Dream Builders — Now that the Great Recession is behind us, NBC thought it was the perfect time to boldly go into rebuilding the housing bubble and not learn from any of the mistakes from just a few years ago. Enter this competition featuring a dozen interior designers, exterior designers, architects, and aspiring reality show contestants as they completely renovated houses all so Nate Berkus could shout “WELCOME HOME!” We did watch the finale (the right person won), but we’re still pretty sure whatever prize was up for grabs was never mentioned.

Halt and Catch Fire — AMC is still trying to find it’s next Mad MenBreaking BadWalking Dead, especially since only one of those three will still be around this time next year. How about the story of the development of personal computing in the 1980s? AMC loves their period pieces. Unfortunately, they also love making them spectacularly boring. That must be a network goal though: the show was renewed for a second season.

Jeopardy! — This game show celebrated its 30th year in the best possible way. First, their supersized Battle of the Decades Tournament was a phenomenal who’s who of Jeopardy! prowess, pitting champions from the ’80s, ’90s, and the ’00s against each other in a five-week extravaganza spread throughout the season. The finalists were Roger Craig, who holds the record for largest one-day total; Ken Jennings, who was on the show a few times; and eventual winner Brad Rutter, who added an extra million dollars of padding to his all-time game show winnings total.

The show also produced two new runners-up to KenJen’s all-time winning streak record. Arthur Chu went on an 11-game streak, which became controversial because…Internet? Chu used the Forrest Bounce technique to fish for Daily Doubles that, while annoying, is a strategy that has been around for almost the entire run of the current series. However, that streak was outdone by Julia Collins, who went on to win 20 games and symbolized a strong season for women on the show.1 However, both juggernauts fell to Ben Ingram in this year’s Tournament of Champions. Who knew this show had so much DRAMA?

  1. Which hopefully drove Trebek nuts.  

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