How Grey`s Anatomy Won This Season—and Became the Most


How Grey`s Anatomy Won This Season—and Became the Most
How Grey's Anatomy Won This Season—and Became the Most Powerful Show
on TV
by BILLY NILLES | Thu, May 19, 2016 9:51 PM
I'm about to make an argument that you and a handful of TV critics
may initially scoff at. And I'm OK with that because I know I'm right
—and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to convince you I am as well. Are
you ready for it? OK, here goes: As it prepares to close out its
landmark 12th season tonight, Grey's Anatomy has cemented its
place as one of TV's most powerful shows.
You'd be hard pressed to find another series that, in its 12th year,
has managed to remain in the zeitgeist the way Shonda Rhimes'
creations has. Not only is Grey's Anatomy well on its way to being
ABC's top-rated series for the 2015-2016 TV season—a rather
remarkable feat on its own—but it has found a way to keep us
obsessing over its every twist and turn after over a decade on the
air. Of the two series currently on the air that are older than Grey's
(Law & Order: SVU and NCIS), while both are ratings forces in their
own right, they only really get the entire nation talking with a cast
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That's not to say that Grey's Anatomy hasn't benefited from the
departure of cast members in the past. Last year's decision to kill off
McDreamy in light of Patrick Dempsey's exit from the series after
11 years dominated the conversation at the close of the 2014-2015
TV season. But it's what the show did after that loss that truly
cemented its position of power.
While much handwringing went on in the press over whether the
show could survive the loss of Dempsey, Rhimes and her leading
lady Ellen Pompeo knew what we soon would, and set out to prove
that no one character was too big to take down the cultural
institution they'd built. (Well, maybe except for Pompeo's Meredith,
but we'll likely never have to worry about that doomsday scenario.)
With a sprawling cast of characters and their varied relationships
creating plenty of drama around her, a renewed focus on Meredith
Grey explored what life after loss is like. We've remained riveted as
we've watched Mer find a new family (with sister-in-law Amelia
[Caterina Scorscone] and half-sister Maggie [Kelly McCreary])
while also opening herself to the possibility of new love, finally
sparking with Martin Henderson's Riggs in last week's penultimate
episode like we all thought she would when he was added to the
cast. And while the ghost of Derek certainly looms large in
Meredith's life, Dempsey has hardly been missed.
His departure isn't the first time the series had to rebound from the
exit of a series regular—when a show's been on for over a decade,
you're bound to lose a few here and there—but time and again,
Rhimes and Co. have found a way to pivot the show, incorporate the
loss in a way that dramatically enriched the narrative moving
forward, and just kept on trucking.
R e a d
Who Won Grey's Anatomy's Brutal Custody
As it heads into its 13th season, Grey's Anatomy finds itself in
rarefied company. The list of shows that have managed to live as
long or longer than the ABC hit is monumentally small, totaling
around six, with many of those shows leaving the air with but a
whimper. You don't believe me? Look no further than last year's CSI
sign-off after 15 seasons—and the world's collective shrug in
response—for proof.
Grey's, however, shows no signs of slowing down. Where once-redhot shows like fellow Shondaland properties Scandal and How to
Get Away With Murder have begun to trend down year-over-year
in the coveted 18-49 demo, Grey's is holding steady—which, in this
day and age, is the new up.
When the dust settles on this Golden Age of TV, shows like Breaking
Bad and The Sopranos will certainly remain the crowning artistic
achievements, but none will be able come to close to the sustained
cultural significance and longevity of Grey's Anatomy. And for that
alone, Shonda Rhimes deserves her crown as reigning Queen of TV.
Do you agree that Grey's Anatomy has proven itself to be one of
TV's most powerful shows? Sound off in the comments below.
Grey's Anatomy's 12th season finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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TAGS/ Grey's Anatomy , Ellen Pompeo , Shonda Rhimes , Watch With Kristin , TV , Top Stories
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