TV Shows' Best Episodes
623 8.2 8.71. Community (2009)
"Modern Warfare." It's a laugh riot, and pokes hilarious fun at or parodies movies like "28 Days Later," "Die Hard" and "Warriors." Plus Joel McHale in really tight underpants. Yum.
Edited to add: Season 2 has me rethinking this one! There were so many great episodes this year: the zombie Halloween one, the Christmas eppy, the one with the pen, the faux clip show, and now the second annual Paintball episode...it's an embarrasment of riches. I may change my answer here after I see part two of the finale.
1509 7.8 8.72. Doctor Who (2005)
Don't Blink. Blink and you die. I love Doctor Who, but the doctor-and-companion-lite episode "Blink" might be the best hour of any show, ever. Watch it and see if you don't agree.
536 7.3 7.43. Torchwood (2006)
I was going to pick something from "Children of Earth," but by the end of that mini-series I wanted to kill myself, so I chose the slightly cheerier "Exit Wounds." Even though this is the episode where we lose two major characters, there is a strong current of love and loss running through this episode. It is gut-wrenching, but so beautiful, too. Great acting by the whole cast.
148 8 7.84. Spooks (2002)
In "Taking Care of Our Own," the second episode of the first series, you learn that this show is totally willing to go for it when it comes to violence. In one of the tensest standoff scenes I have ever seen, the viewer discovers that no one is safe, and that this show is superior to all other spy adventures shows ever.
1267 7.1 7.95. Angel (1999)
"Smile Time" (the one with the puppets) was quite a wonderful eppy. I even have a puppet Angel doll. (It's in the box, I don't play with it.) But this one was so funny and clever ("I don't have puppet cancer!") while still tugging the heartstrings that I had to select it as the best.
432 6.2 76. Everwood (2002)
It's hard to single out one best episode in this uniformly great series, but I will settle on "Foreverwood," the finale of the unjustly cancelled show. Wrapping up all the plotlines in a sweet, romantic bow, Everwood gave its fans one perfect last show.
1877 7.1 8.57. Mr. Bean (1990)
"Merry Christmas Mr. Bean" is a tremendous holiday treat, complete with Daleks, carolers, presents for Teddy and a decidedly non-disappointing bang from a Christmas cracker.
226 7 7.78. NewsRadio (1995)
It's hard to pick a favorite child or a favorite NewsRadio episode. NewsRadio is such a great show, with great writing, superior physical humor and a cast that was always firing on all cylinders, so that every episode is a gem. However, I have to give some love to "Office Feud," which features the woefully underused Catherine (Khandi Alexander) getting the best of Bill for his sponsorship of Rocket Fuel malt liquor. It's crizappy!
68 8 7.99. Cracker (1993)
"To Be a Somebody" portrayed the wrenching death of a favorite character, Christopher Eccleston's DCI Billborough. It was surprising and upsetting and made me a lifelong fan of Eccleston's, inadvertently setting me up to become a fan of the new Dr. Who. Thanks!
187 7.2 8.110. The Kids in the Hall (1988)
As this is a sketch comedy show, the best would have to be a compilation that included the Cops, Buddy, 30 Helens, Gavin, Simon and Hecubus, the Do Re Mi song, AND the sublime Chicken Lady Blind Date sketch, featuring the absolutely hysterical straight man work of Dave Foley.
397 7.9 8.711. Black Adder the Third (1987)
"Sense and Senility" is so funny, I nearly forgot I was watching a play and had all the actors arrested. The scenes of Edmund torturing the actors get funnier every time. Macbeth!
437 7.8 8.812. Black Adder II (1986)
"Bells" introduces us to the scene- and bride-stealing Lord Flashheart, and teaches us that Mr. Bean notwithstanding, Rowan Atkinson is dead sexy with a goatee. Woof!
684 7.9 8.913. Fawlty Towers (1975)
"The Germans" is a tour-de-force performance for Cleese, who as Basil, laid low with a head injury, gets to utter these lines to some poor German guests in his hotel.
Basil: "Why is she crying?"
Guest: "You keep mentioning the war."
Basil: "Well, you started it!"
Guest: "We did not start it!"
Basil: "Yes you did, you invaded Poland!"
You have to watch it...it's a scream.
413 7.9 8.814. Black Adder Goes Forth (1989)
Blackadder is an extremely funny series, with a ton of clever put downs, snappy one-liners and hysterically comic situations. So how is it that this terribly funny show could make me weep? Watch "Goodbyee" and see if you don't mist up towards the end. One thing this show always got right was the extremely apt observations of how awful the war was.
974 8.2 8.915. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969)
Best Monty Python? How to choose? Okay, for me it's the 'spam' episode. (Episode 25, which I remember as 'Viking Diner.') I just love the non-stop silliness of those Vikings singing 'Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam...lovely spam, wonderful spam!' Also features the naughty and funny 'Hungarian phrasebook' sketch. My nipples explode with delight!
303 8.1 8.516. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988)
It might not be the best, but "Teenagers from Outer Space" just narrowly edges out "Girls' Town" and "I Accuse My Parents" as the best of the 50s teen dramas that are spoofed by Tom, Crow and Joel/Mike. Somehow the goofy teen antics make for better riffing than the depressingly awful movies like "Manos." At least for me, anyway. Though I do love "Girl in Lovers' Lane," which though a total downer of a movie, lets us know that WE DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT THE ENDING THEY GIVE US. Genius.
126 7.3 7.917. Better Off Ted (2009)
Okay, this show was awesome, and everyone who had a Nielsen box and didn't watch should be ashamed. Funniest? Hard to pinpoint but 'Racial Insensitivity' was so funny on about a hundred different levels. Find it and watch it and see if you agree!
24 7.5 7.618. Andy Richter Controls the Universe (2002)
Another show that died too young (seriously, how awful is it that this show can't get 24 episodes but 'Two and a Half Men' will live forever?) "Twins" highlights the work of the divine Paget Brewster.
187 7.7 8.419. Jeeves and Wooster (1990)
Love that cow creamer episode! This show is delightfully daffy, and the two leads are played to perfection by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.
4161 7.7 8.320. Lost (2004)
I can't tell you how much I loved "The Constant." I'm a sucker for time travel, which would have been cool enough, but the addition of the Des/Penny love story made it an episode to cherish.
780 8.1 8.921. Freaks and Geeks (1999)
In "Beers and Weirs," this terrific show takes the played-out concept of 'parents go away/kid throws a party that gets out of hand' into a unique and interesting direction. Unexpected and refreshing, like the show, which nailed down the true and actual teenage experience like no other show I've ever seen.
3030 7.5 8.722. Futurama (1999)
I never thought I could get invested in a romance between cartoon characters, but in "Time Keeps on Slipping," the lovelorn Fry makes the ultimate romantic gesture to the mostly indifferent Leela - and it gets swallowed up by the Space/Time continuum. Damn.
2307 7.8 8.523. Supernatural (2005)
In between apocalyptic battles, fighting gory monsters and taking on demons and devils, Supernatural manages to come up with at least one downright hysterically funny episode each season. I nearly chose last season's "Changing Channels," where the boys are trapped in teevee land (and featuring Sam as both a McDreamy-esque doctor and doing a pitch perfect impression of CSI Miami's Horatio) until I remembered Season 4's "Monster Movie." Shot in black and white and opening with the classic Warner Bros. horror movie title card, this show saw a town being overrun by classic monster movie baddies. Seeing Dean fight off Dracula was such a stitch. The writing on this show is really excellent.
2713 7.1 824. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
"Hush." So creepy. So cool to have an episode with almost no dialog. I really miss this show.
193 6.7 825. The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993)
What a delightfully subversive kids' show! This is one the kids will love, but is particularly great for adults too, with smart and funny writing. One other great thing about this show is the music, with an indie lover's who's who of great acts, including Stephen Merrit, The Apples in Stereo and Mark Mulcahy's Miracle Legion.
In "A Hard Day's Pete," Little Pete, hardly a music lover, stumbles upon a garage band (Polaris, an offshoot of Miracle Legion) playing a tune that he falls in love with. But when he goes back to the garage, the band is gone, as if they were never there. As Big Pete says, "Pete finally had to face the truth: The only place the song existed in the world was in his own head. And if he didn’t do something soon, it would be lost forever." Little Pete's quest to recapture or recreate the song is a real winner.
128 6.8 7.926. Home Movies (1999)
My favorite 'Adult Swim' animated comedy, this show follows the adventures of junior filmaker Brendon, his friends Jason and Melissa, and the wholly inappropriate Coach McGuirk.
The most laugh-out-loud moment of the whole series comes during "Shore Leave," when Melissa, coerced into joining the nefarious Fairy Princess League, sets their Hq ablaze by microwaving a can of hairspray. She even does the slo-mo walking away from the blaze thing. It's inspired.
257 7.6 827. Life (2007)
This brilliant but unappreciated jewel of a cop drama starred the sublime Damian Lewis, and featured a number of cool mysteries, but the tour-de-force performance of Lewis as Charlie Crews, a zen-cool, unjustly convicted ex-felon now back on the police force, was outstanding. The last episode, "One" featured Crews looking for kidnapped partner Reese (an excellent Sarah Shahi) in a story that was truly awesome. I laughed, cried, gasped, and just marveled at how good a TV show could be.
120 7.8 8.228. Party Down (2009)
"Steve Gutenberg's Birthday Party' is the high-point of this very, very funny show. You might expect the hipsters of the Party Down crew to make fun of 'the Gute,' but he is very much in on the joke, and indeed has the last laugh. In addition to the Henry/Casey romance moving forward again, we get a great scene where Roman's sci-fi scene gets a reading and a rewrite, which really highlights some great acting, especially from Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott. Ron calling his AA sponsor and the subsequent hijinks are also a great B-story. This show is surprising and original. No wonder no one watched it.
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