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Your favorite television episodes of all time
  • Only including hour-long shows on the main list. Some half-hour comedies get honorable mentions.

    10 - Dr. Who, “Blink” (Season Three, Episode 10)

    09 - Battlestar Galactica, “Exodus” (Season Three, Episodes Three/Four)

    08 - Friday Night Lights, “Pilot” (Season One, Episode One)

    07 - The Wire, “Old Cases” (Season One, Episode Four)

    06 - Twin Peaks, “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer” (Season One, Episode Three)

    05 - Breaking Bad, “Crawl Space” (Season Four, Episode 11)

    04 - The Sopranos, “College” (Season One, Episode Five)

    03 - Firefly, “Objects in Space” (Season One, Episode 14)

    02 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Body” (Season 4, Episode 16)

    01 - Homicide: Life on the Street, “Three Men and Adena” (Season One, Episode Five)

    Honorable mentions:

    Freaks and Geeks, “The Garage Door” (Season One, Episode 12)
    Louie, “Duckling” (Season Two, Episode 11)
    Futurama, “Jurassic Bark” (Season Four, Episode Seven)
    Veronica Mars, “An Echolls Family Christmas” (Season One, Episode 10)
    The Simpsons, “Lisa’s Substitute” (Season Two, Episode 19)
    Seinfeld, “The Contest” (Season Four, Episode 11)
    King of the Hill, “Bobby Goes Nuts” (Season Six, Episode One)
    How I Met Your Mother, “Slap Bet” (Season Two, Episode Nine)
    Justified, “Bloody Harlan” (Season Two, Episode 13)
    The Larry Sanders Show, “Hank’s Night in the Sun” (Season Three, Episode Six)

    Other episodes of shows on the list that could have just as easily made the final list:

    Battlestar Galactica, “33” (Season One, Episode One), “Lay Down Your Burdens” (Season Two, Episodes 19/20)
    The Wire, “Middle Ground” (Season Three, Episode 11), “Final Grades” (Season Four, Episode 13)
    Twin Peaks, “Arbitrary Law” (Season Two, Episode Nine)
    Breaking Bad, “Fly” (Season Three, Episode Ten), “Say My Name” (Season Five, Episode 7)
    The Sopranos, ”Pine Barrens” (Season Three, Episode 11)

  • Oh man this is such a good idea for a thread and now my brain is in panic mode as I’m tryin’ to think

  • It’s tempting to just say I agree with 5, 8-10, and most likely 2 (“33”). I’d have to think about which FNL and Wire episodes I’d pick - The Wire especially I have real idea about individual episodes - but likely something from each. And I’d bump up the Freaks and Geeks, and pick a different episode, maybe “Looks and Books” or “Discos and Dragons”. Basically, I’m the same as jeb, only shorter.

  • I’ll pick DaVinci’s Inquest’s “It’s Backwards Day” as my first non-jeb choice. I don’t know for sure about the second, but right this very minute my brain is pushing for My So-Called Life’s “The Zit”.

  • Ha, I’ve been thinking about this since I saw your FB post. Off the top of my head, in rough order:

    1. The Twilight Zone - “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?”
    2. The Simpsons - “Last Exit to Springfield”
    3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - “The Body”
    4. The X-Files - “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”
    5. The Wire - “Final Grades”
    6. Breaking Bad - “Four Days Out”
    7. Firefly - “Out of Gas”
    8. Veronica Mars - “An Echolls Family Christmas”
    9. Friday Night Lights - “The Son”
    10. Star Trek: The Next Generation - “Chain of Command: Part 2”

    Honorable mentions: Miracles - Hand of God, Profit - Pilot, Twin Peaks - Pilot

    Though there are a ton of things I’m forgetting, I’m sure. “Jurassic Bark” is an excellent call, for instance, and something I wouldn’t immediately think of.

    Also, I feel like I should have a Gilmore Girls episode, but so much of that show bleeds together for me. Maybe the dance marathon one? Or the multiple Thanksgivings one? I’d have to re-watch them.

    It’s tough to avoid the Important TV trap, too. “Clyde Bruckman,” “The Body,” and “The Son” made the biggest impressions on me when I look back on those series, but maybe “Bad Blood,” “Something Blue,” and “Mud Bowl” were more enjoyable hours of my life? I don’t know.

  • Also, in b4 Sorkin

  • Ooh, great call on “An Echolls Family Christmas”

    My list could probably use a Simpsons episode too.

  • I can’t think of specific episodes, but my favourite TV programmes at various points in my life would have been:

    Grange Hill
    Hill Street Blues
    The Tube
    Brass Eye
    The Wire
    The Trip

  • the episode of black books where they write a children’s book

  • Fawlty Towers - The Corpse & The Kipper

  • Arlo said: I’ll pick DaVinci’s Inquest’s “It’s Backwards Day” as my first non-jeb choice.

    I still really need to watch that show!

  • My final, edited list above.

    • TNG - “Family”
    • The IT Crowd - “The Work Outing”
    • Red Dwarf - “Quarantine”
    • DS9 - “The Visitor”

    I dunno this is hard, like how do you pick a favorite episode of the Wire? Maybe the one where Frank Sobotka gets it, maybe the one where it’s Hampsterdam at night and it’s all nightmarish and shit, I dunno

  • 10 - Dr. Who, “Blink” (Season Three, Episode 10)

    good one

  • JimTheBeerGuy said: I dunno this is hard, like how do you pick a favorite episode of the Wire? Maybe the one where Frank Sobotka gets it, maybe the one where it’s Hampsterdam at night and it’s all nightmarish and shit, I dunno

    It’s totally hard! I think that’s why I enjoyed it coming up with it so much. And I had a really, really hard time picking just one episode for my favorite shows, too!

  • off the top of my head right now: the two part “Louie” where he goes on the date with Parker Posey, Freaks and Geeks - “The Garage Door”, The Simpsons’ “Monorail” episode, The Wire- “Final Grades” (Season 4 finale), Sports Night - “The Sword of Orion” or “Eli’s Coming”, The IT Crowd - “The Final Countdown”…that’s all I got at the moment.

  • Hey Brian! That’s a good list. Glad to see you over here. You should stick around.

  • I was thinking about including Sports Night as well, but in the end other things won out. I would probably go with “Eli’s Coming,” but it’s been a while since I’ve watched through the series.

  • I thought about “Game On” or “Two Cathedrals” but then I was like, “Nah, fuck Aaron Sorkin”

  • Sports Night was awesome, regardless of anything after.

  • Arlo spittin’ absolute truth right there doggs.

  • It’s

    1. Twin Peaks - “Zen, Or the Skill to Catch a Killer” (s1e3) Simply the best hour of television ever made. Thrilling to this day, and hasn’t lost any of its mystery or terror in the twenty some years since it aired.

    2. The X-Files - “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (s3e4) I easy could fill this list with season 3 X-Files episodes. “D.P.O.”, “2Shy”, War of the Coprophages”, “Pusher”, “Quagmire”, & “Paper Clip” are among the best. Season 6 too, but I’ll stop before it gets out of hand.

    3. Northern Exposure - “Northern Lights” (s4e18) This show is like a dream of a past life where I learned things it wasn’t possible to learn in the world that I know.

    4. Breaking Bad - “One Minute” (s3e7) Hank.

    5. Fringe - “White Tulip” (s2e18) This show is probably the most underrated on television in a decade. I guess it didn’t really get its gear until the second season when the budget was slashed and people stopped being interested. When it’s over people are going to watch it and wonder how they missed it. This episode encapsulates everything that is makes it great and is a rare M.O.T.W. that hits all the emotional notes that powers the exceptional serial episodes.

    6. Deadwood - “The Whores Can Come” (s2e11) Justified is my lil sister’s Deadwood.

    7. Lost - Flashes Before Your Eyes (s3e8) Desmond’s story is the one that kept me coming back to this show. Could also have listed “The Constant” and “Through the Looking Glass”

    8. Battlestar Galactica - “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2” (s2e20) Baltar.

    9. The Return of Sherlock Holmes - “The Empty House” (s1e1) Jeremy Brett IS Sherlock Holmes

    10. Mad Men - “Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency” (s3e5) This show is hilarious. Not just this episode. The whole show.

    not that hard! I skipped Star Trek, TNG, & DS9 because, you know, all of it.

  • NICK! BRASSEYE! I loved what I’ve seen of that show. I can’t pinpoint a specific episode from any of my favorite shows throughout the years.

  • The paedophilia episode of Brass Eye was probably its zenith, in terms of outraging a nation that didn’t get the joke, and who sincerely believed it was all the twisted brain-wrong of a one-off man-mental.

    I also wish to add to my list the March 1979 episode of Coronation Street in which a lorry crashed into the Rovers Return pub, leaving Alf Roberts in a coma and the infant Tracy Barlow apparently dead beneath a pile of rubble.

  • Holy shit, I just read some of the Wikipedia description of that episode of Brass Eye and my mind was boggled. That’s really something.

  • Yes, “Paedogeddon!”. It really is amazing. I’m not sure which was the crowning achievement of that episode, Phil Collins proclaiming ‘It’s Nonce Sense”, or DJ Neil Fox warning his audience that paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than with people.

    Full story here, as per Biggins bogglement.

  • If I were to watch only that episode, would I be able to follow it? It sounds like the episodes are all self-contained, yeah?

  • Brass Eye? Absolutely.

  • Ah, grabbed the whole series anyway. Only seven episodes and it sounds fun.

  • Yeah, you don’t need context at all. Paedogeddon is pretty bogglingly creeptastic.

  • the “prince of space” episode of mystery science theater

  • Oh man I’m halfways through Paedogeddon, this is amazing. Need to watch more Brasseye—the only bit I really remember is “if time is a drug, then Big Ben is a giant needle injecting it into the sky”. Context be damned, there never was any.