By James Hibberd
Updated September 10, 2013 at 04:48 AM EDT

WINNER: Under the Dome. CBS broke the summer curse with this Stephen King thriller series that has broadcasters re-thinking post-season programming. Now will somebody please order a new series version of The Stand?

LOSER: Time Warner Cable customers. The contract stand-off between CBS and TWC left viewers wondering if a dome had been lowered over their cable box. We can’t wait until fall when we can start making Hostages jokes.

WINNER: Orange is the New Black: Netflix’s dramedy from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan was streamed more times its first week than the ultra-hyped Arrested Development return. At last, a show so binge-worthy that it makes you want to spend your summer in a women’s prison.

LOSER: NBC Survival Shows. There was the “real” one (Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls) and the fake one (Siberia). Both failed to find a sizable audience. Maybe they can send out a search party?

WINNER: Sharks! Syfy’s fish-flinging horror-comedy Sharknado stirred up a gale force of 5,000 tweets per minute and repeat airings improbably got more popular; meanwhile Discovery caught record ratings for the 26th edition of Shark Week by airing straight-faced documentaries that were totally fiction, like one about biologists on the hunt for the extinct megladon. Lesson: Fake sharks > real ones.

LOSER: Kris Jenner. You know a talk show is in trouble when the possible appearance of a 2-month old is the only reason anybody was watching. Now what?

WINNER: Breaking Bad: The final return of Walter White doubled last year’s premiere to an impressive 5.9 million viewers. For once, critics, online fandom, and Nielsen ratings all agree on something: Heisenberg!

LOSER: Whodunnit. Whowatchedit?

WINNER: Duck Dynasty. Quack-quack! Who’s there? 13.8 million viewers! A&E’s stealth sitcom proves once again that a likable and loving family is always fashionable (even if fatigues are not).


WINNER AND LOSER: Big Brother. Ratings were up for cycle 15. But when interest is spiking in the wake of obnoxious racist contestants, it’s like winning the Indy 500 by blowing up the other cars.