Best. Episode. Ever.

Even the best television shows have episodes that are real stinkers — clunky junkers that don’t really feel right. But, for every shitpile episode, you also get those episodes that are truly gilded — they sit high atop a hill overlooking all of the Empire, serving as a gleaming example to what television can truly aspire.

Some episodes, you love more than others.

It’s like children. You have more than one kid, you end up liking one more than the other. I mean, c’mon. Don’t lie. It’s just between you and me. I won’t tell Suzy that you think Jimbo is your favorite and that’s why he gets one extra scoop of ice cream every night. I’ll keep that on the down-low.

What are some of the best episodes?

The Lost pilot. The Gilmore Girls “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They.” (Yes, I watched and loved that show, shut up. At first it was a requirement to get in good with my wife, but as it turns out, it was one of the whip-crackinest smartest shows out there.) Sopranos, “Pine Barrens.” Buffy, “The Body.” The Wire has almost too many — “Late Editions,” “Corner Boys,” “Hamsterdam.” Hell, Mad Men may have just had its best episode a month ago: “The Suitcase.”

Hell, if you have 20 minutes, watch my favorite episode of Archer: “Skytanic.” (“My vulva is smoother than a veal cutlet!”)

So what about you, Pikachu?

Favorite episodes ever. Across various shows. Emblematic. Unforgettable.

I await your input.

(Oh, and at the top is a scene from the best episode of Community ever — an episode that embodies what’s best about absurd television sitcoms. That Paintball episode is buh-rilliant.)

26 comments

  • Buffy, “Hush”, “The Body”, “Chosen”.

    Lost, “The Moth”, “Through the Looking Glass”, “The End”.

    Supernatural, “Yellow Fever”, “Changing Channels”, “Mystery Spot”, “Swan Song”.

    Grey’s Anatomy, “Sanctuary & Death and All His Friends”.

    Stargate: SG-1, “Window of Opportunity”, “Unending”.

    Star Trek: TNG, Too many to list, but notables include “Schisms”, “Best of Both Worlds”, “Descent”, “Unification”, “Tapestry”, and “All Good Things…”

    Pretty much every episode so far of Stargate Universe.

    BSG. Razor miniseries. “Crossroads, Part 1″, “Crossroads, Part 2″. “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “Blood on the Scales”.

    Smallville Season 10 has really hit the ground running. All three episodes thus far this season are worth recommending.

    Fringe, “There’s More Than One of Everything”.

    Lots more I can’t think of, because I’m still waiting for the caffeine to kick in.

  • I too was a loyal viewer of the Gilmore Girls. Like you, my wife got me hooked and the smart, funny writing reeled me in.

    You want a favorite episode of any tv show? That’s easy.

    Many years ago, I was watching a new medical drama in it’s first season called E.R. I didn’t miss an episode that first season. Near the end of that season, there was an episode called “Love’s Labor Lost.” After it was over, I just turned the tv off and stared at the empty screen for nearly 15-20 minutes. I’m sure I cried. I had just witnessed some of the most powerful television I’d ever seen. I didn’t stay with E.R. For it’s entire run, but that episode still burns in my brain. I can call it up and view the key moments. If you haven’t seen it, find it and watch it. I’m not sure if, as viewers, we’re too jaded for it to have the same impact it had when it aired, but the entire thing is incredibly well done. The pacing is a masterpiece.

  • A man watching Gilmore Girls is very forgivable… a writer watching Gilmore Girls is almost compulsory I’d say. If only for the fact that it’s an education in how to fit 100 pages of screenplay into a 48 minute time-slot. I hear the West Wing is similar in that regard.

    The Body still to this day chills me. Season 5 of Buffy was by far the best of them.

    The Pilot of Firefly.

    The First 4 Episodes of Deadwood.

    The Several Episodes at the End of Season 2 of Firefly where they Raid the Shadow Depository. They were transitional episodes for me. Then there’s Terra Firma in Season 4 Where Chrichton actually returns to Earth with some of his alien friends. It’s the only example I’ve ever seen where a story series actually resolves the core plot goal entirely without killing the show. The show had transcended that goal, and by fulfilling it they proved it.

    I wish I could say that there was an episode of Carnivale that stood out for me, but I don’t think there is. Carnivale was amazing in the way you put together the puzzle. The Shield was amazing for individual scenes, but to me it always just got strung together.

    Dammit! There’s gotta be more, but I can’t think of them. The farscape stuff is biggest for me.

  • The Venture Brothers- Victor Echo November
    Ahh,I don’t need another one of those “we’re not so different” speeches, I get that a lot.
    Also, Technotronic.

  • A few comments:

    1. I’m brushing this opinion your way Chuck… WOOO! ….. My favourite episode of Archer was “Job Offer”.
    2. That snippet of “The Community” had me laughing my ass off… definitely gotta check that series out.
    3. You missed some awesome mentions: Arrested Development, Better Off Ted, Farscape, The IT Crowd (British Version), and there were some amazing episodes in Spaced http://tinyurl.com/33ya6bf ….

  • :( Don’t make me chose my favorite episode of Farscape. I can’t choose just one! I can’t! The entire series was a masterpiece with each episode perfectly in place. (And the same goes for Carnivale. Nothing wrong with either of these shows except that they were cut far too short.)

    Supernatural (which I’m angry with again) – “In My Time of Dying” & “What Is and What Should Never Be”

    South Park – “Scott Tenorman Must Die”

    The Riches – “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” (because Eddie Izzard on drugs? Yes!)

    Futurama – “The Sting” & “The Why of Fry”

    And that’s all I can think of at the moment. We’re not too huge on TV in my home. It’s mostly on for background noise.

  • @Helmsman–you got four seasons of Firefly?!? GIMME! *grabby hands*

    *cough* sorry.

    “Out of Gas,” Firefly. Time flows in reverse (in the script) and it’s masterful.

    The final episode of ST:NG, “All Good Things.” Some cite the Borg as the best and it’s excellent, but I thought the wrapping up of the series was exceptionally well done. It doesn’t hurt that I thought Q one of the best things to ever happen to any show ever, and John de Lancie made me so happy playing him.

  • Firefly – The Pilot, “Shindig”, “Out of Gas”, “Trash”, “The Message” and “Objects In Space”.

    Star Trek TNG – “Cause and Effect”, “Tapestry”, “I, Borg” and “All Good Things…”

    Star Trek DS9 – “Emissary”, “Duet”, “In The Pale Moonlight”, “Little Green Men”, “Trials and Tribble-ations” and “Far Beyond The Stars”.

  • Also, if you don’t find yourself about to bawl like a little girl at the end of the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark” you may not have a soul.

  • In no particular order:

    South Park – “About Last Night,” “Scott Tenorman Must Die.” “STMD” has an awesome twist ending.

    The Simpsons – “Homer the Heretic,” “22 Short Films on Springfield,” “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo”

    Futurama – “Jurassic Bark,” “The Why of Fry,” “A Head In The Polls,” “War Is The H-Word,” “Godfellas”

    The X Files – “Bad Blood,” “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”

    ST:TNG – “Darmok,” “The Best of Both Worlds”

    The season 1 finales of both Carnivale and Sleeper Cell

    I could probably go on, but I’m not sure what other shows to include. :-p

  • The Sopranos: The Pine Barrens (This is difficult. College is arguably the best, since IMO, it’s where Tony really comes into his own. And my favorite acting in the series comes from Big Girls Don’t Cry, when Chris takes an acting class and the character goes just about every possible place a character can. Michael Imperioli is a fucking outstanding and moving actor.)
    Psych: Tuesday the 17th (Again. Solid show. Lots of great episodes. This one really summed up what Psych is about. 80s references. Slapstick. Clever dialogue. Amazing cast chemistry. Wonderful stuff.)
    Burn Notice: The Pilot (While the show really took off later in the series, this episode was fucking tight. It sold me like pretty much nothing else.)
    Roseanne: Homeward Bound (The episode where the family finds out DJ has started masturbating. Some of the most memorable material in a comedy ever, and right around the time the show’s quality peaked.)
    Daria: Arts and Crass (Another iconic episode that really brought the show together and exemplified everything I felt it was about.)

    This is five episodes, but a single arc in rapid succession. Literally my favorite piece of television, hands-down; Torchwood: Children of Earth

  • I said I’d be back. I’m back. Ahem.

    30 Rock – “Ludichristmas,” “The Funcooker”

    Firefly – Really, it’s hard to pick just one. “Out of Gas” was phenomenal, although “Jaynestown” is definitely a favorite.

    Archer – “Honeypot,” “Skytanic” is indeed amazing.

    LOST – I really wanted to sit down and pick a favorite episode, but it’s just too damn hard. All of these are phenomenal. “What Kate Did,” “Through the Looking Glass,” “The Man from Talahassee,” “Deus ex Machina” all stand out.

    Dexter – “The Getaway,” hands down, is my favorite episode. Just oh my gosh.

    Weeds – “You Can’t Miss the Bear,” “He Taught Me How to Drive-By,” “The Whole Blah Damn Thing.”

    And there’s that.

  • Battlestar Galactica: The boxing episode. I think it’s called “Unfinished business”. Whew.

    Doctor Who: “The Girl in the Fireplace”.
    Also, the last 2-part episode of season 2. Tears galore.

  • No-one’s mention “Blink” from Dr. Who yet? For shame.

    Large chunks of The West Wing could be nominated, like “Two Cathedrals”. Martin Sheen ranting in Latin for two minutes? Brilliant.

    And, for sheer unintentional comedy, the plane crash episode of Emmerdale Farm.

  • 21 Jump Street, Season 3, Episode 16 “High High”
    The scene were Penhall is called out for aping a performance and then transcends the line to true acting is very powerful.

    M*A*S*H, Season 3, Episode 24 “Abysinnia, Henry”
    M*A*S*H*, Season 4, Episode 1 “Welcome to Korea”
    M*A*S*H*, Finale “Goodbye, Farewell, Amen”

  • There can be only one. It’s not from Highlander.

    “Cheers” was, in my opinion, the pinnacle of television. An amazing cast, excellent direction/production, and the best damn writing I can remember. Some will argue with me…but they would be wrong.

    The best of the best was an episode called “Bar Wars VI: This time It’s for Real”.

    I can’t do it justice so I’ll let it speak for itself.

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dgXnPj4PJQ
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKVuign3q9E&feature=related
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxnzoB7MU_0&feature=related

  • My all time most hell-yeah-call-me-sexy TV show would be THE WIRE, but i would struggle to pick a fave out of them. Something toward the end of season four, probably, when the kids lives were really getting messed up.

    Firefly was my most sexy until i saw THE WIRE. And folks have already mentioned the best ones. The pilot was underapreciated for a long time, but it’s aged so well. Love the way we see Mal lose faith but still keep going. Jaynestown is comedy gold.

    Buffy has some obvious stand out’s, and they’ve been mentioned. Hush. The Body. I’d throw in a comedy vote for The Zeppo. One that really hit me hard, and i don’t remember the title, was the one where Giles ‘betrayed’ Buffy for some watcher council test. Not a lot else happened in the episode, but the tension, the writing and the conflict between two characters who had trusted each other so much….loved it.

    Seinfeld, The Contest, case closed.

    I’m also a huge fan of a show called The Sandbaggers. Wow that show had some powerful episodes. Good dialogue, moral choices, political machinations. The double dealing of the episode ‘the special relationship’ is still a landmark for me.

  • The episode in the first series of Angel where Buffy guest-starred and Angel became human for a day beats any other Buffy or Angel episode. Shame I can’t remember what it’s called…

  • My favourite episode of The Wire is “All Prologue”.

    That’s the one where D’Angelo explains his life and then has his assignation in the library and Omar represents in court. Also, it’s in Series 2, which I always thought to be as good as series 4 (they share equal honours as my faves), with the whole plotline about the tragic fall of the Sobotka boys. I know a lot of people don’t rate that, but I guess the whole union thing strikes a chord with me.

    I would also like to shoot one out of leftfield and suggest the Better Off Ted episode “Racial Sensitivity”. Holy God, I laughed.

  • How I Met Your Mother: Drumroll, Please
    Doctor Who: Blink
    Strange Luck: Last Chance (a very hit and miss show but this episode was unfeasibly perfect)
    X-Files: Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose
    Due South: The Gift of the Wheelman / Victoria’s Secret 1&2 (Paul Haggis, nuff said)
    Angel: City of / Not Fade Away (they saved the best for last and, um, first)
    Buffy: let’s just save time and say the Joss episodes
    ST TNG: Darmok
    ST DS9: In the Pale Moonlight / The Visitor
    The West Wing: Noel (the pre-teaser sequence is the best ever – two people in a room, marking out the limits of the drama – it’s a litle three minute masterpiece)
    The Shield: Possible kill screen / Family Meeting (the finest series finale ever, just staggeringly good)

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