Grab a hankie. We had enough goodbyes this year to reduce even the toughest pop culture fan to tears. After nine years, Stephen Colbert is retiring his bloviating, conservative TV-pundit alter ego — along with his search for truthiness. (Colbert the man will go on to succeed David Letterman at the Late Show.) Boardwalk Empire‘s Nucky Thompson headed to the big speakeasy in the sky, and the bikers from Sons of Anarchy rolled off into the small-screen sunset. Meanwhile, How I Met Your Mother and True Blood went out in grand (and, in the latter’s case, Grand Guignol) style, with fan-enraging final seasons. Plus, the bell has already tolled for a handful of fall shows: A to Z, Manhattan Love Story, and Bad Judge. We hardly knew ye.
Of course, the hardest farewells were for the entertainers who left us in real life. 2014 was tragically full of surprising heartbreaks with the sudden deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, and Mike Nichols. We also lost the last grande dame of Hollywood’s golden era when Lauren Bacall died in August. And, it must be said, red carpets will never be quite the same without the searing wit of Joan Rivers.