Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best of the best of the best?

As we get close to the the post-Thanksgiving, pre-New Year's rerun dead zone, I'm starting to do work on both my Best of 2009 list (which will be a bear, because so many good new shows debuted this year, at the same time that a lot of veteran contenders were still great), and also on a Best of the Decade package that I'm guessing will comprise multiple lists, spanning not only genre (drama/comedy/reality/etc), but also covering things like Best Season, Best Episode, possibly Best One-Season Wonder, maybe Best Import, etc. Some more thoughts on that - and my request for input - coming up after the jump...

Not sure yet. Still trying to suss it all out. But the goal is to spread the wealth as much as I can, because the '00s were a great decade for TV, so no show will appear on more than one list.

I more or less know what most of the series contenders are - and if you've been reading me for a while, you can figure some obvious ones out, like "The Wire," "The Sopranos," "Freaks & Geeks," "Arrested Development," etc. - and just have to figure out how to divvy them up. But the lists for best season (of a show that overall isn't great enough to qualify for a best series list) or best episode (ibid) may require more thought. The best seasons of "Buffy," for instance, were in the '90s, but "Once More With Feeling" (pictured above) or "The Body" might earn a spot on the episodes list. ("Hush," alas, was the final episode aired in 1999, or it would be the pick.)

So I'm curious: if you leave out the obvious contenders listed above (and shows like "The Office" and "BSG"), what are either some great episodes or great seasons from shows that you think merit end-of-decade recognition?


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Adam Kowalsky said...

"Company Man" episode of Heroes

robhemphill said...

Noticed that Friday Night Lights wasn't mentioned anywhere...

Razorback said...

CHUCK season 2 was pretty great with the episode "Chuck Versus The Colonel" being one of the best episodes ever created by human beings on the planet Earth.

Vmarshmellow said...

Best season- Veronica Mars season 1. Perfection.

Anonymous said...

"The Constant," if Lost doesn't make your shows list.

robhemphill said...

Also Lost and Firefly...

Anonymous said...

second that "Company Man" nod. Decent season (only decent one, actually), but that episode was something else.

I know a lot of people are big How I Met Your Mother fans, but I really don't see it as particularly great all around, so I'll say "Slap Bet", which is exquisite.

Garrett said...

Best episode: Sports Night, "The Cut Man Cometh" — yes, it suffered from the dating plan nonsense, but the A-story might be the funniest thing they ever did.

James said...

Season 1 of Rescue Me, or Rescue Me's fifth season episode Torch.

Season 5 of 24.

South Park's two-part Cartoon Wars.

Company Man episode of Heroes.

ZB said...

Definitely, Lost Season 1, it's Pilot, Walkabout and The Constant.

Also The Shield Season 5.

MikeNJD said...

Lost: Pilot, Walkabout, The Constant, Through the Looking Glass (Season 3 Finale).

Greg said...

I think if you do a list for tv movies, Homicide: The Movie should make an appearance.

Also, where does a series like Planet Earth fit in?

Anonymous said...

The finale of Journeyman, such as it was, topped off a really great season that was criminally under appreciated. It also book ended the series time paradox nonsense, while leaving plenty of room for one of the better marriages portrayed on television.

Greg said...

Also- 24 definitely deserves mention for season 1 and possibly season 5.

fuzzydunlop said...

I'd probably throw Entourage season 1, FNL season 1, 24 season 1, and West Wing season 1 in my best seasons list because those series wouldn't make my overall top 10.

Best episodes: Carnivale series finale; John from Cincinnati - Day Five; Rescue Me - Inches; the Day Man/Nightman episode of It's Always Sunny; and the Extras Christmas special.

barefootjim said...

Of shows you didn't mention in your post, I still love "Deadwood" best of all, but I assume that's one of the obvious ones.

I'll second the "FNL" love and "Chuck", but the first season of "Veronica Mars" was as good as anything on broadcast television this decade.

I'll also give a shout-out for "West Wing," which started off incredibly strong before losing its way for a couple of seasons, and yet finished incredibly strong by reinventing itself as a prescient look at our election process.

From other countries: "Slings and Arrows," Paul Gross & Mark McKinney's poignant & hilarious look at working stage actors and the UK "Life on Mars."

Finally, if only there had been a second season of "The Middleman" . . . .

Adam said...

Scott Tenorman Must Die.

Rome's "Caesarion," "The Spoils" or the season one-ender when (spoiler!) Brutus leads a plot to kill Caesar.

Is this for scripted shows only?

Stephen said...

I'd like to think that Friday Night Lights is being included in the best overall series category, so it wouldn't need to be mentioned in the seasons/episodes lists.

I agree with the first season of Veronica Mars as a best season contender, also Kings (though I'm not sure that shows with only one season count.)

For a single episode I'd include Smile Time from Angel, maybe the Studio 60 pilot, the Always Sunny episode introducing the Nightman. Damn it's tough to choose single episodes from shows that you don't think will be included on any other list. I don't envy you Alan (actually of course I do).

inessentials said...

"Shows with teen leads that adults should like too"

Friday Night Lights
Veronica Mars
Gilmore Girls
The O.C.

"Under-appreciated seasons of great shows"

The Wire, season 5
The O.C., season 4
The O.C., season 2
Veronica Mars, season 3
The West Wing, season 7
Buffy, season 7

"Never got a chance but shoulda"

Andy Barker, PI
The Middleman

"Most overrated"

The Sopranos
Sex and the City
The Closer

Unknown said...

Gilmore Girls' first season is often ignored.

Anonymous said...

For best episode: Dollhouse - Epitaph One; Parks & Recreation - I'd vote for either The Stakeout or Practice Date; Glee - Pilot (for starting the phenomenon and because no other episode has quite lived up to it yet)

For best season: Veronica Mars Season 1; Alias Season 1; Deadwood Season 1. All great series, but all have dud seasons and were at their best at the start.

Friday Night Lights should certainly be on the list - maybe Season 1?

Big Love tends to have uneven seasons, but there are some gem episodes that could work. Same for Dexter.

Breaking Bad for best series.

Kent said...

One season wonders: Wonderfalls, Firefly, The Middleman (Vampire Puppet Lamentation... what is it about puppets that makes for great TV? I already put down Smile Time from Angel as one of the best episodes of the decade) and Andy Barker: P.I.

As for best seasons, the first season of Lost is the best season of TV probably ever. I'm also one of the people that loved Angel season four with it's insane serial storyline. Chuck and Burn Notice seasons 2 were fantastic. The Office season 2 was impossibly even. Buffy season 5 was the last great one. Then there was Doctor Who season two.

ZB said...

Oh... And another one that I forgot... The Brig (Lost).

Kent said...

Oh hell... yes, the first two seasons of Veronica Mars were scrumptulescent.

zehava said...

How about you use this time to recap the Wire Season 3 instead of regurgitating the same "Decade End" lists that everyone else is doing? :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Is this for scripted shows only?

Probably, but if you can talk me into a season or episode of a reality show that wouldn't already be on the regular reality list (i.e., Amazing Race, Survivor, et al), I'll listen.

JD said...

Dexter season 1, maybe Alias season 2 (or at least the episodes "The Telling" and "Phase One").

If it´s too soon for Breaking Bad in "Best show", the season 2 is a shoo-in, right?

Bobman said...

The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

Jack said...

Carnivale. Or at least Damascus, NE the episode where the s*it hit the fan and blew the whole show right open.

The Constant as the single greatest episode of the decade.

Dan said...

Lost's excellent first season has left a lasting impression on the TV landscape, imo. Since '04, serialized mysteries cut up into "chapters" like an in-development book, or large ensembles, have almost become the norm.

LA said...

Best eye candy for straight women and gay men: True Blood

Amy said...


Dawson Creek finale for emotional impact.

I agree with Company Man of Heroes, though I have long since stopped watching show.

Season three finale Mad Men

Season one finale Fringe.

Premier of Middlemen

Episode two season one Gavin and Stacy



Too many West Wings to pick

Premier ? Finale ? of The Shield

Scrubs musical

Any episode of Chappelle show

JD said...

I forgot... Sleeper Cell season 1.

Adam said...

There are so many Amazing Race seasons (esp. 2-3-4) and three Survivor seasons (the first, the Tom/Ian, and the Danni seasons) that immediately come to mind, but for more obscure ones I'd suggest:

Top Model 2 -- the Shandi season. Stacked with talent.

Hard Knocks w/Ravens -- a reality job search that actually counted for something.

Project Greenlight 1 -- Balis!

Joe Millionaire 1 and either Joe Schmo season -- reality shows that were in on their own jokes.

Project Runway 1 or 2.

LA said...

Most Satisfying Series Finale: Six Feet Under

NumberSix said...

Best Animated Series: Simpsons, Family Guy, The Venture Bros., Frisky Dingo, South Park, Samurai Champloo (Watanabe's followup to Cowboy Bebop), Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League

Best Imports: UK Life on Mars, Peep Show, Samurai Champloo , Doctor Who, Slings and Arrows

Christopher said...

Pushing Daisies... perhaps Oh Oh it's Magic? Or, just Pie-lette? Or Comfort Food?

Gilmore Girls as well.

srpad said...

For one Season wonders I would suggest:
Kitchen Confidential
Clone High
Any Richter Controls the Universe

Some Episodes I did not see mentioned:

My Lunch from Scrubs (hell, Scrubs needs to be on your Series list since it premeired in 2001)

My Bed Bath and Beyond from Scrubs (I think I have that title wrong; its the Pizza and JD-Elliot flame out episode)

Do i have to mention Slap Bet from HIMYM?

Casino Night from The Office

To pick a good episode from a bad show: the Slow Donnie episode from Just Shoot Me (or was that in the '90s?).

There were a couple of stand out episodes of The Practice in the 2000s but specifics aren't coming to mind.

Those are a few of the "obscure" ones I can think of off the top of my head.

BTW you mention Freaks and Geeks. Didn't that come out in 1999?

jblount said...

i know imports is basically gonna = british and not that i'd in any way argue for it over the office or planet earth but ninja warrior and iron chef (not completely sure iron chef started showing in the us this decade but whatever) are really great, dependable tv and it would also be a way to deanglicise the list somewhat.

Anonymous said...

The "best episode" thing is something I've thought about on and off for years, because some more uneven shows have had some real high points to take away from the negative.

I'll second the Sports Night cut man comment.

For uneven shows that might not make a top 10 list I'll add:
Scrubs - My Bed, Banter and Beyond and/or My Old Lady

Six Feet Under - That's My Dog (plenty of people disagree with; but as polarizing at is its so memorable)

Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Mac bangs Dennis' mom

Curb Your Enthusiasm (easily in my top 10 list but I think it also counts as uneven) - Krayzee Eyes Killa or The Survivor

There are probably others within Big Love or Dexter but those are harder to pick.

Sopranos pick? If you put a gun to my head and forced me to pick a FAVORITE I'd probably say Long Term Parking.

Mad Men? I wouldn't know where to start. I've yet to have an episode not work for me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

BTW you mention Freaks and Geeks. Didn't that come out in 1999?

A handful of episodes aired in late '99, but most of them aired in 2000. As with Sopranos and West Wing (and maybe a few others), I made the choice that if the bulk of the series - or, at least, the bulk of the great portion of the series - aired after 1/1/2000, it qualified.

But as mentioned in the original post, Buffy won't count because she was already out of high school (and thus done with the series' best seasons by far) by the time the decade began.

Alan Sepinwall said...

How about you use this time to recap the Wire Season 3 instead of regurgitating the same "Decade End" lists that everyone else is doing?

I don't think you have a realistic sense of how long those Wire reviews take, compared to how long this project will.

Alex Mullane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Otto Man said...

"Rosemary's Baby," 30 Rock

"Charlie Goes America All Over Everyone's Asses," It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Alex Mullane said...

Man, that whole "each show only gets on one list" thing is a toughie.

In terms of comedy...

I'd assume Scrubs would be on your top comedies all round, but if you were just after one episode it would have to be the Brendan Fraser episode (Where it turns out he was dead the whole ep). It's been a while, but I remember it being truly outstanding, and very affecting for a zany comedy show.

Best comedy episode for me was the episode of Arrested Development season 3 where they had just found out they'd been cancelled and go fundraising to "save the bluths". An absolute master-class in meta-humour. "We could try the Housing Building Organisation?" "No... I don't think HBO's gonna want to help us either". Genius.

South Park "Imaginationland" has to be up there for a mention too.

belinda said...

Other than the obvious ones (like Mad Men, or Breaking Bad, or The Wire, or FNL season one, or BSG, etc...), how about these:-
(not sure if UK shows are qualified, but here they are anyway)

Six Feet Under
Queer as Folk (UK)
Dead Like Me
Skins (UK)
Life on Mars (UK)
Doctor Who (UK)
The Comeback
Spaced (UK)
Veronica Mars
Party Down

And maybe these?

The OC
Big Love
Prison Break (season 1)
Gilmore Girls
Flight of the Conchords
Pushing Daisies
The Mighty Boosh (UK)
CSI (the miniature killer arc in particular)
Entourage (namely the Ari gets fired episode)
Ugly Betty (hey, season 1 was pretty fun)
The Middleman

Huh. I think I need to unnetflix myself.

maryploppins said...

For best seasons, consider Alias season 1 or 2. It started sucking in season 3 and just went downhill from there, but the first two seasons were great IMO.

I also hope Gilmore Girls makes one of the lists. OH and Felcity season 2 ... not sure if that would count though, cause I think only half of it was in 2000.

I'm a huge Chuck fan too but I know it's only been on 2 seasons ... one of those seasons could make the "best seasons" list though. I'd choose season 2.

Unknown said...

Include in any of the lists: Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars, Wonderfalls, Sons of Anarchy and Extras.

JerseyOrange said...

I don't the think the series as a whole deserves to be on a list with the likes of The Wire,The Sopranos, Mad Men and Arrested Development, but the "Three Stories" episode of House is among the best hours of TV I've ever seen.

maryploppins said...

Oh sorry just remembered one more - Dexter season 1 or 2. It wasn't as good in season 3, and I'm still catching up on that whole season and then season 4 (just started watching the series on DVD recently because I don't get Showtime). But season 1 or 2 could make a "Best Seasons" list.

Alex Mullane said...

In terms of British imports, I'm not sure which of these shows are popular in the US or which are even shown/known.

But Doctor Who is the obvious one, and particularly the episode "Blink".

If you're after the best season (or is it more mini-series?), then Torchwood's "Children of Earth" saga was one of the best things on British telly this decade.

There was a drama called Criminal Justice that was excellent too.

Peep Show and The Thick Of It for best comedies, though I'm not sure they're popular enough over there.

In terms of imports that aren't British, there's a French crime drama called "Spirals" that is brilliant, and especially recommended for fans of The Wire.

Chris said...

Best episode for me? (of a show not likely to make a top show of the oughts?):

Alias, season 2, super bowl episode. Aside from the kickass opening, the show just demolished the entire premise of the show. That took balls. I remember watching it, flabbergasted at how quickly SD-6 was just taken down and waiting for Sydney to wake up. Not to mention the end with the beginning of double-Francie. Killer hour of television.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, please try to stick to specific episodes or seasons. I already know all the contenders for the best series categories.

Dave Sandell said...

Lost, Chuck, FNL. You know all of those.

I'd also like to nominate The Venture Bros. - "Tag Sale, You're It" is probably the gold standard for that show.

(Last week's episode was one of the funniest, most brilliant episodes they've done. This show doesn't get enough play from critics.)

kimshum said...

Best season:
Veronica Mars season 1
Life season 1 (abbreviated due to the writer's strike, but maybe better for it).
Rome season 1
House season 1
The West Wing season 7

Best One Season Wonder:

Best Import:
Life on Mars UK

Best Episode:
House Three Stories, House vs. God, or No Reason
The OC pilot
Sports Night The Cut Man Cometh

And I'm going to pitch a Best Miniseries/Movie category. Despite the decline of network participation, HBO made some fantastic pieces. Many of them were overhyped (like John Adams, imo), but there were some gems, too. Most especially Generation Kill, which should be required watching for anyone considering the topic of the (latest) Iraq war.

Fun stuff. Are you going to do a Hall of Shame type thing or is that too negative? Or too numerous to name? Because if you were, I'd vote for the new Cupid's inclusion in that category. The original was brilliant (if a bit sappy); the remake was dire. Hell, there are probably enough crappy remakes to make its own category: Worst Broadcast Network Idea: Remaking Old Shows. Cupid, Knight Rider, Melrose Place, 90210, Bionic Woman the list goes on. Though cable seems to have done okay with BSG, so there is that...

Unknown said...

BSG: Exodus, Part 2

Steve Wirzba said...

I'm going to throw this out there, because this seems as good a time as any. Alan, have you ever heard of or watched a show called Frisky Dingo? It's an Adult Swim animated show that ran 2 seasons a couple years ago. Now I don't know what your opinion is of adult cartoons like Aqua Teen or Robot Chicken or any of those, or if you even give them the time of day, but I must say that the first season of Frisky Dingo is some phenomenal television that has been criminally under-praised. Unlike most Adult Swim shows which, while being funny, are fairly random and lacking in any depth, and often best appreciated while under the influence of turkish tobacco, Frisky Dingo was rich and layered, and built upon itself over the 13 episodes. The plot twisted and turned in diabolical and interconnected ways, almost like a Seinfeld or Curb ep on heroine, and the depth and breadth of humor was rich. Like other truly great comedies, it pulled of silly, understated, witty, sharp irony and situational humor wonderfully.

If animated comedy is of no interest to you, I don't expect you to list great animated shows of the '00s, but as a genre it has absolutely exploded in the last 10 years. And even if animated stuff isn't your thing, I would recommend checking out Frisky Dingo season one. You won't regret it.

Amy said...

I like your focus on excellent episodes or seasons, but why not take the next step, too:

What about narrative arcs in series, such as the slap bet in How I Met Your Mother.

Scenes that make you cry, such as Tyra narrating draft 2.0 of her college application letter in FNL. Or fabulous pairings such as Tami and Coach Taylor....

Or other examples of shining moments in writing or acting. It's tough, since the resonance depends on the context, but it sounds like most of your readers are on the same page as you for best series already, and so probably get the context. It's a list not to introduce series' to new viewers, but for devoted viewers to chew on.

Alex Mullane said...

Ooh, ooh! Another import springs to mind.

Afterlife, the supernatural drama starring Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp.

Dammit, this is gonna be one of those threads I keep popping back into when things spring to mind.

Anonymous said...

Curb Your Enthusiasm - "The Grand Opening" Cheryl getting out of the car in the car wash. Funniest moment of the '00s!!

Skins "Cassie"

Season 1 of Project Runway. Wendy Pepper defined the 'villain that goes too far in competition.'

Season 2 of "Six Feet Under"

And I submit an un-vote for "Company Man." A maybe-not-so-terrible episode of a terrible show shouldn't get recognition.

Anonymous said...

I second "Scrubs" the Brendan Fraser episode

ogqozo said...

Now I don't wanna be a fascist or something, but when you see someone post about the best series of the decade and not include "The Wire", how can you count their opinion in? I mean, come on...

As for my opinion. Best season of the decade - The Wire 4. Best episode? Let's say the last episode of the series.

What else? Well, I'd like to mark out "Six Feet Under" finale, "Lost" first season & finales of 1, 2 and 3, "Mad Men" seasons 2 & 3 and the second season of "Breaking Bad".

robhemphill said...

Dr. Who, S2 E13: Doomsday. The departure of Rose was extremely well done...

Unknown said...

I'm in the middle of re-watching Oz, so I'm not sure which of the eligible seasons to choose. But I remember absolutely loving the last two (Seasons 5 and 6). Also, as has been mentioned, the final episode and season of The Shield need to be considered, if the show does not make one of the overall lists.

NumberSix said...

Steve Wirzba, I only left Frisky Dingo off my list because I thought it was too obscure. It definitely was an amazing show.

If I had to nominate a season, I would go with season 2 - Killface in an AME church wearing a Mike Vick jersey a week after Vick's conviction is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Single ep - season 1 "Emergency Room English" or "Flowers for Nearl"

signed - the villabouts of the wherein Kelly

avwalker said...

Six Feet Under - The Series Finale (forget the episode name... Everything Ends?)

LOST - Through The Looking Glass

Ben Scripps said...

I'll leave another vote for the season three finale of 'Mad Men', but follow with one I've not seen mentioned yet: "S.O.B.'s" from 'Arrested Development'.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for meta humor.

Anonymous said...

I think most of my fav shows will be covered on here, Lost, Sopranos, Curb, Wire, but I want to give mention to two shows in particular.

1) West Wing...if the series doesn't make best overall, then I hope you single out the Two Cathedrals episode in Season 2, that was probably the best hour of television ever, IMO obviously.

2) I can't for the life of me remember the episode name, but I always enjoyed Oz and loved the episode when Cyril was going to be executed (the first time). That was a powerful episode IMO. Wish I could find the name of it.

Oh and I'd like to nominate Season 5 of 24. My favorite and a far cry from where the show is now.

JoelW said...

I agree with the obvious selections, so I'm just going to list less obvious things that I think deserve consideration:

Entourage Season 1 is definitely a season that is viewed less highly than it would otherwise be because of the terrible things that came later.

The best episodes of Always Sunny deserve consideration, despite the unevenness of the series as a whole.

It would be hard to think about this decade without South Park's best. Brian and Stewie's road trip episodes of Family Guy are that show at it's best, having enough plot to make sense of the gags.

Friday Night Lights definitely deserves consideration. As for a specific episode, it's quite honestly hard to do better than the finale of Season 1, if only for Coach Taylor's speech and then the "devil town" montage at the end.

In the "Never Got a Chance" category, Kitchen Confidential always stood out for me. Look at that cast: Bradley Cooper, John Cho, Frank Langella(!), John Francis Daley. I was very annoyed when that show got canceled.

Anonymous said...

a list for Best Series Finale would rule, and I'm guessing The Shield weould take top spot.

Band of Brothers should be one of your obvious ones, too.

I just discovered an amazing British import in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. Critically acclaimed but cancelled due to bad ratings, it's nevertheless one of the funniest things I've seen since the The Office (UK). Adult Swim aired the six episodes in the US, I think.

Are you considering TV documentaries like "When The Levees Broke" or the 30 For 30 series on ESPN?

Anonymous said...

Lost "The Constant"
Dr. Who "Blink"
Gilmores Girls - first 3 seasons
NCIS - "Power Down"

Alex Mullane said...

@ Ben I did call the S.O.B's episode, but couldn't remember the name of it, which is quite poor since I even used the phrase "Save our Bluth's" in my comment, haha! Glad to see I'm not the only one who's a sucker for the meta!

Anonymous said...

One imoprt that never gets much play in this blog is Spooks (MI-5 in the US). A much more realistic look at a post 9/11 world than say, 24.

g-rat said...

Daniel Radcliffe - Extras. The entire cast kills in this episode, the guest stars are all amazing, and Stephen Merchant, specifically with his freakishly tall height confronting the midget, was dynamite. The perfectly executed condom flying on Dame Diana Rigg's head is something you will never see again on television.

Anonymous said...

Assuming HIMYM doesn't make the overall list (which it probably shouldn't), "Slap Bet" is an obvious pick, or you could go with all of Season 2.

If Flight of the Conchords doesn't make it, then either "Sally" or "Unnatural Love" are contenders.

I love Undeclared but if it doesn't make the cut then "Truth or Dare" or the fraternity two-parter should.

Patrick Stewart episode of Extras, maybe. I haven't seen those in a while and that's the only one I can remember much from so I'm just going to go with it.

Anonymous said...

I hate to leave a post recommendating a classic episode and not be able to list the episode title, but I nominate the episode of Extras where Andy walks in on Darren playing with himself in his office. That was the one with the pen that had the naked girl on it. Just classic.

Brandon Nowalk said...

I'd like to second (or third?) the pleas for The Thick of It, a hysterical satire of political bureaucracy. It's my second favorite comedy of the decade behind Arrested Development.

Anonymous said...

Oops - forgot some

Best episode:

Better off Ted - Racial Sensitivity (not sure if that's the title)

Big Love - "The Happiest Girl"

Gilmore Girls - "Rory's Birthday Parties"

IMHO for a Buffy ep I would pick "Once More with Feeling" over "The Body"

Best season:

Six Feet Under Season 1 or 2

Undeclared (one-season-wonder)

RD said...

A lot of people mention LOST, but I think that'd be in the "best series" category. It has to be.

But, seasons that were very good.

Breaking Bad Season 2
Friday Night Lights Season 1
The OC Season 1
Prison Break Season 1
24 Season 5
Dexter Season 2
Greys Anatomy Season 1

And how about a few Friends episodes? Speficially
"The One With the Rumour" (that had Brad Pitt guest star) and
"The One Where the Stripper Cries"

Anonymous said...

Josh Whedon's "Firefly" You can see the mark it has left. Jane now in Chuck (NBC) , Mal now in Castle (ABC), Walsh, Bits in Dollhouse and V (ABC/FOX. Innara "V".

Unknown said...

flight of the chonchords --> season 1 episode 5 sally returns

how i met your mother the slap bet episode

and for british import any episode of ROME will do!!!

Eric said...

You're probably not going to pick Reality Series episodes, but if you do, I'd have to suggest the ep. of Amazing Race All-Stars where Rob threw the meat-eating Roadblock and got several other teams to join him. Still among the most brilliant strategic decisions ever on a reality show.

How about "best TV-related website (other than"? I'd nominate TWOP (pre-Bravo) and the Slapsgiving countdown.

Anonymous said...

To clarify Firefly Episode: "Out of Gas"

Other Show

NCIS Episode "Call of Silence" is the defining episode of the show for me.

Samantha said...

The West Wing - In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Parts I and II.

I didn't know TV could be that good. And this was back in 2000, before Lost, before Friday Night Lights.

Bitsy said...

Giles: "Anya, Tara, she needs back up."

frabjous said...

I have to second the recommendation of Slings & Arrows for the Best Import list. Hysterically funny and compelling dramatically, a great cast, and over the course of three seasons, told a self-contained story on top of the three season-specific arcs.

UnwantedTouching said...

Alan: I hope there's room for a look at "most underrated." And I don't mean just underrated by the public at large, but by the critics too...for example, "The Wire" is severely underappreciated by the viewing public in general, but is very appreciated by the critics and discerning TV watchers (much like "Arrested Development"). I was thinking of great TV shows that didn't even attract much attention from the critics. In this category, I would nominate "Brotherhood" on Showtime, with its lush depiction of a Rhode Island political family with blue collar roots.

You could also do a "most interesting/noble failures" list - HBO's "K Street" comes to mind along with NBC's "Kings?"

As far as "best import" I know it's not everyone's taste, but "Da Ali G Show" gave us Bruno and Borat long before they made it to the big screen.

Reality, as much as TV auteurs seem to hate it, deserves some consideration. The infamous Susan Hawk "rats and snakes" speech from Survivor I think helped kicked off reality for the decade to come.

How is "Freaks and Geeks" not mentioned anywhere here?

Daniel Novakovic said...

I second Spaced (UK). Best. Show. Ever. And it also gave us Shaun Of The Dead.

NumberSix said...

"Freaks and Geeks" was listed by Alan in the intro as one of his obvious (don't list here) shows.

And while I also LOVE "Spaced", the first season aired in the fall of 1999, making only the second season eligible.

belinda said...

Oops, my bad. Sorry! So, again, my not obvious list, with the season/ep in question:-

Best seasons?
Queer as Folk (UK) (the season)
Deadwood (season..1)
Skins (UK) (season 1 or 2)
Life on Mars (UK) (season...2)
The Comeback (the season)
Spaced (UK) (season 1 or 2)
Veronica Mars (season 1)

Best seasons or eps?
Six Feet Under (series finale episode, or season...2?)
Doctor Who (UK) (the S4 finale arc was pretty nice, "doomsday", or "blink")
Damages (season 1 finale, or season 1)
Extras (The xmas special ep, or season 2)

Best eps?
Scrubs (episode: "My Best Friend's Mistake" in season 1)
Dead Like Me (episode: Pilot, or "Vacations")
Party Down ("Celebrate Ricky Sargulesh", or the season finale ep)
Angel ("you're welcome" or the series finale ep.)
Big Love ("Come ye Saints")
Gilmore Girls ("Friday Night's Alright For Fighting" - just for that scene with the Gilmore smackdown at dinner)
Flight of the Conchords ("Sally" "Bret gives up the Dream" "Unnatural Love")
Pushing Daisies ("Pilot", "Comfort Food")
The Mighty Boosh (UK)("The legend of Old Gregg", "Tundra")
CSI ("Lab Rats", or other miniature killer arc eps)
Entourage (namely only that Ari gets fired episode in season 2 )
Wonderfalls ("Safety Canary")
Ugly Betty ("Don't ask, Don't tell")
The Middleman (pilot, "The Flying Fish Zombification")
Prison Break ("odd man out")

Anonymous said...

Season Four of "Angel."

"Slap Bet."

The episode where Penny gives Sheldon the Christmas gift.

The episode of "Big Love" where the family goes on the road, after Sarah's pregnancy was revealed.

Seasons one, two, or three of "Once and Again," which I think was a 2000s show all the way?

The wedding episode of "The Office," provided it's not a best show pick.

The "Our Mrs. Reynolds" episode of Firefly.

Definitely the Buffy musical.

One of the New Caprica or the other battlestar (can't remember the name) episodes of BSG, provided it's not a best show.

Andrew said...

For individual episodes that deserve note, even if the shows aren't going to make the list (largely cribbed from the AV Club's list)
-House, "Three Stories"
-Heroes, "Company Man"
-Angel, "Smile Time"
-Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Sweet Dee’s Dating A Retarded Person” (the original nightman/dayman episode)
-South Park, "Imaginationland," "Make Love, not Warquest," "Trapped in the Closet", or "You Got F'd in the A"

For new series that may not make the cut for the overall list (but could go for individual seasons):
-Better Off Ted, “Racial Sensitivity”
-Party Down, “Celebrate Rick Sargulesh”
-Chuck, "Chuck vs. the Colonel"
-Parks & Recreation "Ron and Tammy"

Nicole said...

I'm going to stick with imports because my US favourites have been mentioned... along with Slings & Arrows, a great Canadian production that took years to actually air on Canadian TV.

I second nominations for The Thick of It. I just watched that recently and Peter Capaldi is fantastic. He was in the Fires of Pompeii (DW) episode, but is so different from that character.

Two great Canadian satires: The Newsroom and Made in Canada (or the Industry).

The last Prime Suspect series was also quite good, especially Helen Mirren. I also recommend Trial and Retribution. It makes Law and Order pale in comparison.

I would have suggested the original UK Touching Evil, but that was pre-2000. However, Robson Green was also in Wire in the Blood, and the early seasons are quite good.

And if you include mini-series, you must include the North & South mini-series based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel (not the version with Patrick Swayze). Richard Armitage gave Colin Firth's Darcy a run for his money in that one.

Pamela Jaye said...

Actually, one of my favorite eps of HIMYM is Spoiler Alert. (the one with the breaking glass, the crunchy eating, Ted's correcting, Marshall singing his password for the bar exam results, and, apparently, Josh Radnor's actual girlfriend)

Season 4 of Ally McBeal, which featured Robert Downey Jr was in this decade (or at least, in a year that began with 200, if one is being picky)

Scrubs existed entirely in this decade, and, unlike Inside Schwartz, Herman's Head, and & STAT, was a hospital comedy with fantasy sequences and voiceover.

When you get to biggest losers, i can remind you how UPN & the writers killed Star Trek: Enterprise (you didn't think I'd blame Scott, did you?)

Has there ever been a show like House? (medical mystery? it's like a Cherry Ames novel, but the mstery is in the medical, and it's far more sophisticated) have there been more medical dramas on at the same time?

does Tivo get a special mention?

there has been weird stuff: Picking Daisies, Eli Stone, Viva someone, Glee Stupid stuff (just reminded my Tom Bergeron in his book, of the Emmys hosted by reality hosts. Ick.)

The West Wing was mostly in this decade.

I still have a couple or 3 Gilmore Girls Seasons to go.

and yes, the first season on Veronica Mars was so complex that the fans created a for people to play catch up - and I needed it after mid-season hiatus. best website ever. everything you needed to know (listed as "stuff we learned" - by ep. no spoilers, they set up the site so that you could pick the last ep you saw and see everything you should know, and no more. very creative site be a bunch of people from TWOP boards who had never met in person.

and as noted elsewhere, my love for Journeyman was due to "leaving plenty of room for one of the better marriages portrayed on television."

belinda said...

Spaced season 2 it is! (since s1 was in 1999).
And scratch Queer As Folk(UK)off which was in 1999.

Justin said...

Luck of the Fryish (2001) is my favorite Futurama episode - hilarious, and with well-earned emotions that avoid being maudlin (see: Jurassic Bark).

There are several mind-blowingly awesome episodes in Venture Bros.' second season, including Fallen Arches, Assassinanny 911 and Showdown at Cremation Creek Parts 1 and 2.

I love Blink, but the Human Nature two-parter is so friggin' good...

I seem to remember the Andy Richter Controls the Universe episode guest-starring Conan being hilarious.

You could probably make a separate list just for British shows. The Office, Spaced, Who, Jekyll...

Lafhert said...

I didn't take the time to read through all the comments, but one show I think was an early casualty of the networks' bid to cut a good series short before it could live is 'Touching Evil', with Burn Notice' Jeffrey Donovan.

Pure delight, and a tragedy it didn't last more than a season.

Pamela Jaye said...

and if you aren't NOT mentioning non-primetime, non-network, Ken Jennings 74 game Jeopardy streak was good.

Adam said...

Ditto on Ken Jennings as "needs to be mentioned somewhere."

As for this:

You're probably not going to pick Reality Series episodes, but if you do, I'd have to suggest the ep. of Amazing Race All-Stars where Rob threw the meat-eating Roadblock and got several other teams to join him. Still among the most brilliant strategic decisions ever on a reality show.

It was, but that was during his first season, not the All-Stars. Miss Alli's recap, and yeah, it was brilliant. (Not as brilliant as how they played Survivor All-Stars, but still.)

Jeff B. said...

Alias Season 2 - specifically the Superbowl episode.

The Joe Schmo Show Season 1 - wow did they ever cast the right Schmo for that!

Jill said...

An odd assortment of suggestions:

I echo the call for Carnivale: 'Damascus', 'Babylon' or 'New Canaan'

Firefly: "Out of Gas" or "Our Dear Mrs. Reynolds"

I may have been one of the only people who really, really liked the show 'Titus' (which had it's problems, but mined some great dark territory)- "The Breakup" from Season 1 and "The Last Noelle" from season 2 were great, particularly "The Last Noelle", which dealt with issues I've never seen handled on TV before.

"Touching Evil" with Jeffrey Donovan (2004), is a one-season wonder to me.

Season 1 of Damages is pretty darn perfect in my estimation.

Lost: 'Pilot', 'The Constant', 'Greatest Hits' and 'The Shape of Things to Come'

I know it's the red-headed stepchild of the Jossverse, but Angel deserves a nod: 'A Hole in the World', 'Smile Time', 'Home', 'Lineage' and 'Not Fade Away' in particular. Actually, I think Season 5 of Angel should be in contention- but I may be alone on this.

Better Off Ted: Racial Sensitivity

Supernatural: 'The Monster at the End of this Book', 'In My Time of Dying', 'Nightshifter', 'Mystery Spot', 'Jus in Bello' and Season 4 as a darn near perfect season. (Mo Ryan is with me on this....does that make my fangirl-ness less creepy sounding?)

Alan: are you accepting suggestions for Arrested Development episodes, or should we just assume that it's on your Best Series list?

Now I know what my brain will be chewing on the rest of the evening. :)

shara says said...

Wow, good question and good comments!

Suggestions for best episode list:
Buffy (and I'll note that my 2 favorite seasons, 5 and 7, were both in the 2000s): Checkpoint, The Body, Once More With Feeling, Dirty Girls, Chosen
Angel: Hellbound, Hole in the World, Smile Time, Not Fade Away
Heroes: Company Man
Lost: The Constant
Doctor Who: Blink or Doomsday
Chuck: Chuck vs The Ring
Firefly: Out of Gas
Bones: Aliens in a Spaceship ***In my opinion, this is one of the greatest TV episodes of all time.***
Supernatural: In My Time of Dying, Tall Tales, The Kids are Alright, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Monster at the End of this Book
Leverage: The Second David Job
Dollhouse: Epitaph One
True Blood: New World in My View (aka The Smiting of Sam Merlotte)
House: Broken
Psych: American Duos, An Evening With Mr. Yang, Shawn Takes A Shot In The Dark
Lie to Me: Honey

Suggestions for best season list:
Veronica Mars, Season 1
Firefly (well, best one-season wonder)
Doctor Who, Season 2
Torchwood, Season 3 (Children of Earth)
Supernatural, Season 2
Sons of Anarchy, Season 2
Chuck, Season 2
Prison Break, Season 1
Friday Night Lights, Season 1
Angel, Season 5
Buffy, Season 7 (Alan, I know you said that Buffy post-1999 doesn't count, but seasons 5 and 7 were my favorites of the whole run, and I think that season 7, especially, is highly under-rated so I'm going ahead with mentioning it).
Middleman, Season 1 (one-season wonder)

If we're talking imports: Doctor Who, Torchwood, Robin Hood

Susan said...

I'm mainly seconding suggestions already mentioned, but in the interest of building support:

Dexter, Season 1 (one of the tighest, best plotted arcs of television I've ever seen)

West Wing, Season 2 (or if that doesn't all fall in 2000, then Two Cathedrals. Also, In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Parts 1 and 2)

Mad Men, Season 3 finale

Mad Men, Season 1

Six Feet Under series finale

House, "Three Stories"

Lost, "Le Fleur" (Not everyone's top pick, but it changed the game in a very emotional way, making us love the Sawyer-Juliet pairing in just one episode, establishing what had happened in three years on the island, etc.)

SportsNight, "The CutMan Cometh" (I just rewatched it - still hysterical) or "Sally" (which is I believe where "you're wearing my shirt, Gordon" comes from)

Anonymous said...

24- season 1

24- season 1 episode 24

New concept, great show. The last 5 minutes of season one was the most shocking minutes of television to that point.

Jill said...

Best Import:
Spaced (UK)

Best Import Miniseries:
State of Play (UK)

Another one-season wonder:

Joel E said...

It's amazing to me how many people think Sports Night is from this decade. Power of discovering a show after the fact on DVD, perhaps?

For best series, I'd have to nominate Dead Wood, The Wire, Battlestar Gallactica, and Lost (although it's dangerous to pick since we haven't seen the final season yet). Best sitcoms include Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and possibly 30 Rock.

Best single hour of television for the decade, HANDS DOWN, The Body from Buffy season 5.

Best Seasons:
- Season 4 of the Wire.
- Season 1 of Deadwood.
- West Wing's first and second seasons are it's best and some of the best TV ever.
- Buffy is originally a 90's show, but season 5 is it's strongest.

Best Mini-series: Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, John Adams.

Best flash in the pans: Firefly, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Pushing Daisies, The Tick.

Best Imports: The Office and Spaced, since most Americans didn't see it until well into the 90s.

christy said...

Best episode of a series that may or may not show up on a best series list would definitely be Big Love's "Come Ye Saints," for both 2009 and the decade.

I know Alan's not a Weeds person but I thought seasons one and two were awesome and would nominate season two as a best season of series that probably wouldn't be considered "best."

On the non-scripted side, Project Runway and ANTM are the greatest two reality shows of all time, obviously. But I think Project Runway's season 2 reunion show deserves a special award of some kind. Another interesting episode selection from the non-scripted category would be the one when Ken Jennings finally lost on Jeopardy!

fred said...

I will simply give you what I think are the best series ever made, and as they pretty much all took place in this decade (save for a few eps in 1999)

-> Wonderfalls

I think I remember reading you didn't like this show very much, though never tried it fully (i.e. only the few that aired), am I right?

Anyhow, you HAVE to get the DVDs and watch the full 13-episode season, it is simply one of the best series ever, filled with amazing actors all around, great script both smart & hilarious, an absolute must-see.

Please Alan, get those DVDs and watch the show, I'm sure you won't regret it.

-> Firefly

About the same, only a lot more famous/recognized, despite its relatively similar fate -- stupid Fox.

-> Freaks & Geeks

I read your reviews, I know I don't need to say anything.

-> The West Wing

I am actually rewatching this show right now, and man it is fantastic.
Oh sure, it started in 99 but of it was in this decade, and even though there's a clear change after Sorkin left (God those 4 years were grand!) the show was still fantastic, and remains a classic, for many excellent reasons.
I love them all: Josh, Donna, CJ, Sam, Charlie, Leo, the President of course, all of them, but I think Toby is the best.

-> Breaking Bad

Newcomer, but filled with awesomeness on all levels.

-> Life Season 1

Seriously, during its first season this was the best thing on TV. Remarkable writing, top-notch performances, just what you want to see on TV.
Sadly it was only the shadow of itself during its second season, but man those 11 episodes were great. I am so pissed at NBC for not even releasing them right (read: not messing up the music) on DVDs!

-> House S06E01.

Because those writers can do wonders, and Hugh Laurie can give them life.

-> Dollhouse Unaired Pilot

I know most think ep 13 was the best, but I disagree. I think this was the best episode of the show so far, such a brilliant, smart & funny pilot. Got me interested, excited, intrigued, addicted, all at once and more long before it was over. Unlike what actually aired...

George said...

Before we go on anything from HBO is a given except Entourage/True Blood. Conchords, I always forget was on HBO but the 1st series of that was amazing

Heroes Season 1= Best one season wonder, I don't think I've seen so large a fall in quality as I have between Seasons 1 and 2.

AD and 30 Rock are the Best comedies this decade, but my favourite is Scrubs. HIMYM started strongly (Slap Bet, Liberty Bell etc.),but has faded in recent years. The Office US (Season 2-), Chuck, Earl (Season 1), Futurama, Simpsons (more a lifetime achievement than anything)

West Wing series 1-5 are amazing, I thought the whole time jump to season 6 and the new characters bar Vinnick/Santos were all terrible.

British series: The Office, Extras, Peep Show, Skins (season 1), Inbetweeners, Black Books, Mighty Boosh (1+2), Green Wing, Life on Mars.

Mad Men, House (1-4/Broken), Lost, The OC.

Episodes: Two Cathedrals (West Wing), Lost Pilot, My Ocardial Infarction (Scrubs), Greenzo (30 Rock), Too many AD to count, lets go with Good Grief. -30-, The Dickensian Aspect (The Wire), College (The Sopranos), Everyone's Waiting S.F.U. etc...

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's amazing to me how many people think Sports Night is from this decade. Power of discovering a show after the fact on DVD, perhaps?

"The Cut Man Cometh" aired in January 2000.

christy said...

Oh, and I don't know where this fits in but HBO's Angels in America. It's astounding, endlessly rewatchable television.

fred said...

Beat me, I forgot one!

-> Supernatural

It's on The CW and nobody seem to care about this show, but it is brilliant on every level, and keeps getting better.

Excellent mythology, clever writing, great acting, really one of the best show ever.

Unknown said...

HIMYM - Slap Bet
The West Wing - Two Cathedrals
Six Feet Under - Untitled
Scrubs - My Lunch

Charles said...

Doctor Who - "Blink", "The Girl in the Fireplace"
Angel - "Not Fade Away"
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - "Sweet Dee's Dating a Retarded Person"
Extras - "Patrick Stewart"
Burn Notice - "Bad Breaks"
Veronica Mars S1
Friday Night Lights S1
Sons of Anarchy S2
Burn Notice S2
Chuck S2
Rome S1

Pamela Jaye said...

I think watching shows on DVD (first) is somewhat similar to watching then in sydie reruns - the "compressed viewing" has an effect you might not get when you only see a show once a week.

I am still surprised, however, by the people who go out and *buy* series they have never seen.

Mary-Kate Hopkinson said...

No Weeds fans on here?? I hereby nominate season one or two.

Pat Weiss said...

OC Season 1.

And I'm a dude. I like steaks and fake breasts. Don't care. That show was magical.

M. Haubs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. Haubs said...

This probably doesn't merit inclusion, but I feel like PBS series like Frontline and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer deserve special citations for continued excellence, especially in an era in which "news" coverage is no longer truly news anywhere else on television, really.

Frontline's coverage of all the issues surrounding the war against Islamic extremism was extraordinary both *before* and after 9/11.

Specifically, "The Man Who Knew" was as good an hour of television as I saw this decade:

Hyde said...

Just a couple of mentions that no one else has made yet:

I'm probably one of the few people who preferred Season 2 of Deadwood to Season 1, although you certainly can't go wrong either way.

And for single episodes, nothing stands out for me more than the Friday Night Lights pilot.

Anonymous said...

"The Spoils" from ROME's first season featured a gladiator fight scene that made GLADIATOR look like ALADDIN.

"Carded and Discarded" is FREAKS AND GEEKS at its absolute finest.

Chalmers said...

Another vote for Big Love's "Come, Ye Saints."

Curb: Almost all of the season-enders are mentionable (The restaurant opening is my favorite), but "Trick or Treat" was a regular episode that I think best captured the essence of Larry and his show's humor.

Sopranos: There's lots of competition but I'll spare everyone my supporting evidence and propose "The Knight in White Satin Armor" (Janice shoots Richie, Irina attempts suicide, et al.)

SuzMiCo said...

Best Episodes:

- In the Shadow of Two Gunmen - West Wing
- The Constant - Lost
- Casino Night - the Office
- Slap Bet - HIMYM
- Aliens in a Spaceship - Bones
- Billy - Angel
- A Hole in the World - Angel
- Pilot - Alias
- It's the End of the World (As We Know It) - Grey's Anatomy
- House's Head/Wilson's Heart - House
- Objects in Space - Firefly
- Pilot - Everwood

Anonymous said...


The Office- wedding
Chuck- last 2 of S2

Hatfield said...

So if it's on the Series list it's cut from the episodes list? Because otherwise, I can name a whole slew of Wire and Sopranos and Mad Men episodes.

But since I think Deadwood won't make your series list (and let me just preemptively and unfairly excoriate you now rather than later), I'd say the second season of Deadwood, or the Season 2 premiere. Technically it's a two-parter, but "A Lie Agreed Upon" was a phenomenal way to start the season. Or, possibly the second episode of the first season, which included the epic argument between Bullock and Swearengen, the botched attempt on Wild Bill ("He meant me harm"), and the visceral anguish on Dan Dority's part when Al asks him to kill the girl, leading to his colluding with Doc to save her. God, I miss that show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But since I think Deadwood won't make your series list (and let me just preemptively and unfairly excoriate you now rather than later)

Save the excoriation for another drama. Deadwood's a lock for the best drama list.

LeGrandVon said...

Chuck season 2
Chuck VS The Colonel
FNL season 1
Veronica Mars season 1
Alias season 1

Hatfield said...

Ooh, I falsely assumed that it would be an all purpose list for series, but that too was not giving you enough credit for your sense of completism. Good thing I gave myself some wriggle room with the 'unfairly' I dropped in there.

How about the Six Feet Under finale, or the Season 2 finale, when Nate was going into surgery? That show was uneven, but those episodes were really strong.

princessapr said...

Wow, so many of the suggestions are on my Netflix list though I've seen so many of them as well. I'm horrible at remembering specific episodes though. So, if I do remember an episode, it stands out.

Two of my favorite Scrubs episodes not on the list are My Best Moment in Medicine and My Way Home though I know I loved the ones previously mentioned as well.

I think the episode Into You Like a Train (or the episode with the train accident) of Grey's Anatomy stands out for me.

My favorite CSI episode was the episode that Quentin Tarantino directed where Stokes was buried alive. Sorry, I do forget the title.

Another show that resonates with my husband and I (even though it's an odd choice and we're the only two that liked it even though we weren't the target demographic) was Joan of Arcadia. The episode where Adam Rove talked about ripples and told us how his mother died is one we reference a lot in our house.

Anna said...

Has anyone mentioned Coupling (UK)? I freaking loved that show (and Steven Moffat)! I especially liked "Inferno", "Her Best Friend's Bottom", "The Girl with Two Breasts", "The End of the Line", "Remember This", "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", "Nightlines", and "Nine and a Half Months". I could go on, but I think you catch my drift.

Ah, good show. I think one of the reasons I enjoy watching HIMYM now is of its resemblance to Coupling.

kimshum said...

I had forgotten that The West Wing season 2 aired in 2000-2001. In that case, I'd also nominate season 2 for Best Season and definitely In the Shadow of Two Gunmen 1 & 2 as Best Episode. The rest of the season was fantastic, with such memorable episodes as Noel, The Stackhouse Filibuster, 17 People (amazingly well-structured) and ending on Two Cathedrals. I think season 2 might have eclipsed season 1 in quality, frankly.

But what also occurs to me is that the biggest trend of the 2000s was the rise of the procedural. CSI premiered in 2000. I look over the other comments and many procedurals are eschewed (often justifiably) but it seems like a few are worthy of mention in the Best Episode category. Criminal Minds has done some great episodes, especially The Big Game/Revelations (a two-parter), Legacy, and the show did something quite different in True Night.

And maybe CSI's pilot deserves to be on that list for changing the face of network TV like it did.

Sean said...

Eli Stone & Pushing Daisies, along with Arrested Development, deserve top spots on any "Best but Cancelled" list. And I have to agree that "Company Man" stands out as one of Heroes best episodes from it's only true good season, the 1st.

DWood said...

I'm beginning to see why this will take awhile for you to do...however one show that doesn't seem to ever be mentioned which I thought was better than Sopranos is the recently deceased "Brotherhood", would go with Season 3. Also Sleeper Cell Season 1.

kellnaaah said...

West Wing Season Seven was very good, but nothing tops Season 2. Especially culminating with my favorite episode of any television show (Non-Mad Men division) - Two Cathedrals.

The writing, character development and emotion that this show and particularly its finale had are unparalleled.

Adam said...

I'm surprised to be the first person to realize that there were great episodes of ER in this decade -- the Lucy/Carter stabbing was February 2000; you've also got Hathaway's last episode, Benton takes Carter to rehab, the death-of-Greene arc (for better or worse), the Congo episode where Luka's surprisingly alive, the Ray Liotta episode and the Alan Alda arc.

Anonymous said...

Grey's Anatomy, "Into You Like a Train" and the two with the bomb in the guy (with Kyle Chandler as the bomb expert). It's a very inconsistent series but these were standouts.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Best Episdode: 30 Rock's "The Head or the Hair." 30 Rock at its best :)

DoctorJ said...

It's already been said, but Season 1 of Veronica Mars was one of the most fully realized story arcs ever. I just finished re-watching it and was struck again by how well written and acted it was.

Ben Silverman said...

I think Knight Rider was unappreciated this decade. And don't get me started on Bionic Woman.

rosengje said...

Just to echo some sentiments for "Angel," I think the following episodes are completely deserving of recognition: Not Fade Away, You're Welcome, Smile Time!, Awakening, Orpheus, Reunion, and Reprise.

The West Wing Seasons 1 and 2 remain some of the best seasons of tv I have ever seen. There are a lot of episodes people (deservedly) cling to like "What Kind of Day Has it Been" and "Two Cathedrals" but I would like to offer up "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail." Excellent balance of hilarity (the cartographers!) and poignancy.

Despite my recent hatred for it, Grey's Anatomy is worthy of some attention for "Make me Lose Control" and "Thanks for the Memories" along with a host of other episodes from the first two seasons.

Brian said...

Must agree with Anonymous at 3:08 that The Spoils episode of Rome needs to be on a best list. When Vorenus yells "Thirteenth!!" I had chills.

Alyson said...

My favorite CSI episode was the episode that Quentin Tarantino directed where Stokes was buried alive. Sorry, I do forget the title.

That Was Grave Danger, which was technically a two-parter that bridged seasons 5 and 6, but I agree that they were some of the best episodes the show has done; particularly great work by William Petersen and George Eads.

Alan, I do not envy you the task of wading through all these suggestions, nor compiling your multiple lists, but I do look forward to seeing them!

Billiam said...

As far as seasons go, would an election give Daily Show, Colbert, or SNL enough of a boost to make a list. Still, Office season 2 is my favorite season of a longer running show.

Jake said...

I'm an admitted Whedon fanboy, but I think that Buffy's fifth season is very much worthy of consideration. It helps surely that I never had a problem with Dawn, but nearly the whole season was a constant emotional rollercoaster. Well, so was season six, my personal favorite (I know, I know), but even I can spot the flaws that would leave it off any semi-objective list.

Best Import would have to be the original Office, wouldn't it? I mean, really no other show was as influential and important this decade, and precious few bettered it (only The Wire readily comes to mind).

JT said...

Shows that began in the last decade shouldn't be eligible for inclusion on a best of decade list. Besides, BUFFY is SOOOOOO 90s and hasn't aged well at all.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, so we'll leave off The Sopranos, which is only one of the greatest series in TV history, and aired the great majority of its episodes in the 2000s.

The Irish Cowgirl said...

My humble suggestions:

1) The Middleman was one of the geekiest, funniest, and most underrated shows in years. It definitely deserves some mention.

2) I think you and I both agree on the largely ignored brilliance of Life. Season one was out and out fantastic, and even if season two had its moments of faltering, "Did You Feel That?", "Re-Entry", and "One" were three of the most riveting hours of television I've seen in recent years.

3) Titus, one of the boldest sitcoms ever, should absolutely be in the running. This show dealt with heartbreaking family dysfunction, and made you laugh while they did it.

4) In in Fox won't keep a good series to save their life news: Firefly. The sheer peak of Joss Whedon's brilliance and one of the most incredible sci-fi experiences of all time, much less the last decade. Best season, best series, best episode ("Jaynestown", "Out Of Gas", "War Stories", "The Message," "Objects In Space"); it's all there.

Tom Murray said...

West Wing Series 2 Finale "Two Cathedrals" needs some love. Best hour of television I've ever seen.

maryploppins said...

O.k. sorry I already put in a vote for best seasons of some shows, but I'm thinking I should put in some votes for "best episodes" as well.

I agree with everyone who voted for Alias - Pilot ("Truth be Told"), "Phase One", and "The Telling" so I just wanted to add my vote to those.
Chuck - "Chuck vs. The Colonel", "Chuck vs. The Ring"
Gilmore Girls had so many seasons that I'm having issues trying to remember which ones were the best eps, but The AV Club listed "They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?" and I think that was definitely a good pick.

Benjamin Standig said...

Lost - Through the Looking Glass; the two-hour Season three. Not only was it a fantastic, heart pounding stand alone episode, it beautifully set up the next two seasons.

Scrubs - "My Musical" (Guy Love, nuff said); "My Lunch" (best dramatic scene in the series); and really anything in season one, but let's go with "My Old Lady"

Pamela Jaye said...

Too many West Wings to pick? I could probably pick fewer than 10

My favorites

Celestial Navigation
He Shall From Time to Time
The State Dinner

I watch Shibboleth and the Buffy ep Pangs, on Thanksgiving.

Did ER do anything useful this decade?

Anonymous said...

In Treatment: Sophie, episode 9.


Pamela Jaye said...

crap, seem to have lost last post re: Epitaph One, Dr Horrible, and eligibility.

alynch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela Jaye said...

If you are doing Worst of, I would nominate TLC (The *Learning* Channel??) for the never ending freak show

Two Ton Teen,What Not to Wear, World's largest man gets married, Tree Man, I didn't know I was pregnant, (darn, I wasted the best ones first) and of course, how to profit from having lots and lots of kids. (they have 3 series on one large family each, and also a series called Kids by the Dozen)

How educational.

alynch said...

So Alan, I understand want to divide the list up into things like genre just so you can be a bit more inclusive, but please tell you'll also put together some sort of grand, ultimate list that combines them all, and declares one show the indisputable best. Don't go Golden Globes on me and declare like six different winners.

Anonymous said...

I think the premiere of the Colbert Report is worth considering as a cultural touchstone. There may be funnier overall episodes, but the coining of "truthiness" is immortal.

You should consider a best line category as well, which could be funny and/or encapsulate a show's greatness (for example, the Bunk saying to Omar, "A man must have a code."

Pamela Jaye said...

Shows that made you never want to commit to a new serialized show ever again?

Pamela Jaye said...

My Bed Bath and Beyond from Scrubs

I can't remember it either. I think it was My Bed Banter or Buddy

Along iwth My Lunch, I keep the next ep, My Fallen Idol (and the one after that - don't remember why) as well as My Musical but especially
My Way Home.
I'm a sucker for everything right down to Somewhere Over the Rainbox (espeically when Mark Greene isn't dying behind it)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Not doing a Worst Of, so don't bother with suggestions for that.

Anonymous said...

Veronica Mars, season 1, best season ever.

Best Episode ever: Doctor Who - Blink.

Anonymous said...

"The Gift" of Buffy. I sobbed hysterically for 30 minutes after watching that.

TV Obsessed said...

If any show that had episodes in the '00s, shouldn't The X-Files be in consideration. Albeit most of the '00s episodes were crappy, but X-Cops aired in February 2000.

Phantom said...

In the not obvious list:

Best Episodes:

The West Wing - Election Day (Part 1 & 2), Masterpiece.
Farscape - A Constellation of doubt (even for the non-likers of science-fiction)
Doctor Who - The Girl in the Fireplace/Blink

Best Series:

Intelligence (Canadian Show)
Extras (UK Show)
The Street (UK Show)
The Fixer (UK Show)

annea said...

30 Rock: Tracy Does Conan

Pushing Daisies: Bad Habits

LakeRosenberg said...

Are you planning on doing best dramatic and comedic scenes or is that just too damn difficult to sort through? (If so, I'd nominate 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan therapist scene for best comedic scene. Dy-no-mite!)

For worst flop, I'd chose *Cavemen* and *My Own Worst Enemy*. Those were terrible shows, simply godawful.

For best sidekick, I'd like to see Sam Axe get nominated. *Burn Notice* wouldn't be nearly as good without the lovable alcoholic.

Taleena said...

Alan, if you read this far down let me make the case for Dead Like Me, Season 2 "Haunted" for the best episode list. I love "The Constant" from Lost, Nearly any Firefly episode, "Sold Under Sin" from Deadwood, and "Noshing and Moshing" from Freaks and Geeks- but Haunted has something that these other episodes do not. Haunted both ended the series perfectly and also told a story not dependent on knowing the complex ins and outs of the characters to be effective.

George's narration about Halloween from the perspective of a child, an adult, and a grim reaper - the eerieness of reaping the serial killer's victims with only a remote pity. The look of justice on the face of George as she makes the final reap. Excellent.

Alan Sepinwall said...

May I have your attention please?

We're getting way too far afield at this point, I'm afraid, and if I have a prayer of even attempting to sort through these suggestions, I'm going to have to ask that you stick to two categories and two categories only:

Best Episode
Best Season

That's it.

Do not mention an episode or season of a show that I've already said will be on one of the best series list. Do not invent your own categories. Do not demand that I organize the lists the way you want them done, not the way I plan to do them. Just specific suggestions for those two categories, and that's it. Period.

I appreciate all the suggestions, but this is getting to be too much, and it's only been a few hours since I put the post up.

Thanks, guys.

Anonymous said...

I also want to add my vote for Season 1 of Veronica Mars as the best set of 22 episodes pretty much ever.

Savvy Veteran said...

Well, I guess I'll have to be the 18th or so person to suggest Veronica Mars season 1 as one of the best of the decade. Also, I guess if you take the writers' strike shortened 9-episode first season and 13-episode second season as a single, 22-episode, complete broadcast season, then I would include Pushing Daisies as well.

And I don't normally have a single episode stand out to me as the "best," but Curb S6's "The Anonymous Donor," and this season's "Vehicular Fellatio," did to me. The Daniel Radcliffe episode of Extras is also quite good, as is the pilot episode of Stella and the Spaced episode "Battles." I'm sure a single South Park episode could fit in there somewhere too, and although many would go with the "Scott Tenorman" onee, I'd throw my hat into the "Woodland Critter Christmas" ring.

Can't wait to see the actual list!

Christina said...

One season wonders:
Andy Richter Controls the Universe (might as well have been one)

Best season:
Veronica Mars s1
Gilmore Girls s1
Joan of Arcadia s1
Criminal Minds s3

Best episodes:
HIMYM - Slap Bet
Pushing Daisies - Pie-lette
Angel - Not Fade Away or Smile Time

fanshawe said...

Off the top of my head:

Terminator, "Adam Raised a Cain"
Terminator, "What He Beheld"
House, "House's Head"
Mad Men, "Maidenform"
Mad Men, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"
Battlestar, "Downloaded"
Angel, "Not Fade Away" (series finale)
Buffy, "Once More, With Feeling"
Buffy, "Fool for Love"
Journeyman, "A Love of a Lifetime" (pilot)
The Middleman pilot
Jericho, "Termination for Cause"


The 4400 S1
In Treatment S1
Burn Notice S2
Mad Men S2

JanieJones said...

Six Feet Under-"Untitled"


Oz-Exeunt Omnes

True Blood-Strange Love

Huff-A Cornfield Grows in LA

L&O:CI-In The Wee Small Hours 1 & 2 or Frame

S1 of Damages

The Shield-Pilot/"Family Meeting"

The Tudors-S2, Ep. 10

ER-"And In The End" (show had completely overstayed it's welcome for years but it wrapped very nicely)

Speaking of sentimentality - I'm adding "Moving Day" from NYPD Blue (one of my favorite shows of all time and it ended in 00's)

Frasier-Goodnight, Seattle

Big Love-"Come,Ye Saints"

The Office "Dinner Party"

Gilmore Girls-"There's The Rub"

Weeds-"MLF Money"

Nurse Jackie-"Tiny Bubbles"

In Treatment-any week with April from S2, Alex-week 7 & 8

Burn Notice- Lesser Evil

Psych-An Evening with Mr. Yang

Monk-"Mr. Monk and The Astronaut"

S4 of The Wire or just the whole series, frankly

Mad Men-Entire Series and The Gypsy and The Hobo and

S2 of SOA

S2 of Breaking Bad

I'm going to stop

Anonymous said...

in my opinion, THE O.C. qualifies for a spot on any of the show, season, or episode lists, but the most obvious placement would be season 1 on the season list

AdamW said...

This is kind of nit-picky, but some of these series that are winning much love never really AIRED on television. I mean, most of Freaks & Geeks eventually was broadcast, but for Firefly and Wonderfalls, to pick two examples that I count among the best TV of the past 10 years, the MAJORITY of each season was only available for viewing on DVD.

Maybe that's a category? "Best TV Most People Were Never Given A Chance To See On TV"?

AdamW said...

OK, based on Alan's request of 6:11pm, Buffy's "Once More With Feeling" and Season 1 of Friday Night Lights. (I was reading while he was pleading.)

Lawofbob said...

I'll assume Big Bang won't be on the best of the decades, so I would like to nominate the episode where Penny gets Sheldon the christmas present. His reactions is one of pure comedic brilliance.

Also two shows no one seems to be mentioning, Reaper (the pilot episode) and Dead like me (first season)deserve at least some love.

Matthew said...

I know you were disappointed Life On Mars, since it too often just became a 70s cop show, but the final episode of the UK version was exceptional. (The final episode of the US version, not so much.)

Survivor - Someone's already mentioned Borneo and Palau as great seasons of that show, and I'd agree with that. (Borneo because Hatch basically invented how to play the game, Palau for the complete wipeout of one tribe and the general greatness of Tom and Ian.) I'd also point to Cook Islands (for Jonathan Penner, and the awesomeness that came with his mutiny) and, wile it is one of the worst seasons, Fiji had some of my favourite episodes (episode 10, with one of the greatest blindsides in Survivor history, or the finale with Dreamz deciding whether to follow his pledge with Yau-Man after Yau-Man gave him the car).

And someone's already mentioned the Meatblock episode in The Amazing Race, and I'd agree with that. Like or dislike Rob (personally, I like), in that one episode, he turned what should have been a straight race into a Survivor-style opportunity for strategy and outthinking. I remember watching that show with a huge goofy grin, in awe of what I was watching.

Someone's mentioned Joe Schmo season 1, which was good, but personally I'd go for season 2, where they had two Schmos, but the girl figured out that it was fake, so they enlisted her to help fool the other guy. There was one episode where they were showing an interview with her, and the on-screen captions went something like "Thinks it's real", "Thinks it's probably real", "Thinks it might be real", "We're Screwed". Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Scrubs Season 4

Episode: Two Cathedrals (The West Wing)

Craig Ranapia said...

Best One-Season Wonder

I know I'm really stretching it here, but how about Vurtuality? I still say to myself "Fox passed on this, but took to series a POS like 'The Cleveland Show'?"

Anonymous said...

Didn't get enough love at the time and an award would be a good way to (deservedly) shame the network:

Dead Like Me

And do imports qualify?:

Slings & Arrows (Canada)
"Blink" Episode of Doctor Who

Unknown said...

Best episode nominee:

Home Movies, "Renaissance"

Also, Home Movies gets my nod for Best Animated Series of the decade.

Mace said...

Buffy and Firefly. Still waiting for something better.

laimelady said...

\o/ Yes to "Buffy for Best Of The Decade."

For many late comers to the show. they missed out on the drama of "will it be renewed?" and "Oh, NO they didn't, wouldn't, couldn't!" moments.

1.01- Welcome to the Hellmouth -BEST series opening
1.05- Never Kill A Boy On A First Date -Buffy makes tough choice
1.12- Prophecy Girl -beating the odds
2.03- SCHOOL HARD -best new character intro plow car into Sunnyvale Welcome sign "Home, Sweet Home" f/b vamp-human face morph to Drucilla
2.06- Halloween -Buffy amnesiac & miscues
2.19- I Only Have Eyes For You -body snatching with a twist
2.22- BECOMING II -Spike & Buffy partnered (and OMG this could have been the end)
3.06- Band Candy -Hysterical conversion of adult-teen action
3.08- LOVER'S WALK -Spike needing a spell
4.03- The Harsh Light Of Day -nothing like your worst enemy seeing you get dumped
4.08- PANGS -BEST Thanksgiving day ever + 'mushy peas'
4.09- Something Blue -first hint of Willow's witchy-ness wrecking havoc
4.10- HUSH -NO dialogue & One of the scariest hours on television. Grinning Floating Bald men
4.17- Superstar -Superb Surprise even to the opening credits
4.22- Restless -exceptional walks into alternate universes
5.07- FOOL FOR LOVE -Titles for episodes so often the haiku of BtVS/Angel metaphors
5.14- CRUSH -=Word
5.16- *The Body -NO music episode with real life sounds
6.05- Life Serial -Ode to stuck-in-time tales like "Groundhogs Day"
6.07- Once More, With Feeling -BEST use of talent
6.09- SMASHED & 6.10- WRECKED -BEST Sex Scenes never seen
6.11- GONE -invisible sex
6.16- HELL's Bells -BEST tearjerker -BEST big JERK- Xander
6.18- ENTROPY -word to learn,
things go too far (ignore Lines),
go BOOM (consequences),
then implode! (big messy LIFE)
6.19- SEEING Red -result of choices
7.02- Beneath You -choice with results
7.06- HiM -O.K. haiku but still verrrrry funny
7.07- Conversations With Dead People -high haiku or why we can't be real with live people
7.08- Sleeper -Uh-oh Oopsie surprise & "song stuck in your head"
7.16- Storyteller -not MY fav (despised Andrew) but well done tale of cheap talk, faux ego
7.17- Lies My Parents Told Me -long title with big Payoff, Action & Performances
7.20- TOUCHED -all of us

Yes I love Mad Men & Breaking Bad on AMC.
Dexter & Six Feet Under -just too depressing.
LOST -waste of time.
Friday Night Lights -O.K.
Big Love -bleh
Firefly -meh (Whedon gets triple play for 3 shows on 3 networks but he was stretched too thin to give quality to show -even admitted to deliberate gaffs which might be fun for the crew, but lousy on delivery. Kinda like the early morning joke... not so funny in the harsh light of day}

laimelady said...

Oopsie forgot to add
Slayer slang changed the way Americans speak
Think Stephen Colbert and Truthiness

unless said...

My picks for best episode (I consciously tried to avoid picking things that have been mentioned a hundred times already):

Buffy - The Gift
Sealab 2021 - Der Dieb
Angel - A Hole in the World
Rome - The Spoils
HIMYM - Drumroll, Please
Space Ghost Coast to Coast - Flipmode
Firefly - Objects in Space
Six Feet Under - That's My Dog
South Park - Scott Tenorman Must Die
CSI - Grave Danger

As an aside, why are Adult Swim shows so completely ignored by critics? I can't say I'm a tremendous fan, I'll watch their program block maybe once every couple months, but I've seen some spectacular bursts of comedy here and there that continue to go utterly unmentioned by the media at large.

Sinkwriter said...

Oh so many options, I'm certain I'll kick myself for forgetting some, but here are a few of my favorites:

Firefly - The entire series (all 14 episodes of it, haha) but especially the gorgeous episode "Out of Gas." Everything was fantastic: the acting, the lighting, the music and the structure of the script. I love this episode so much.

Buffy - "The Body," hands down. I love the musical episode but "The Body" makes me sob, it's such an amazing, devastating representation of what it means to lose a parent. This show may have vampires and demons and therefore seem unrelatable, but not when you see this episode. It's pure grief, and friendship and family that helps you through.

The West Wing - Seasons 1 & 2, especially "In Excelsis Deo" (my personal favorite of all time, it's funny *and* poignant), "Celestial Navigation" (hilarious, especially with the cottonmouth conversation following poor CJ's root canal), and "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen Parts One and Two" (intense and really, really edge-of-your-seat awesome, and that's just the first five minutes of Part One!).

Supernatural - Season 1's "Home." Anyone who mocks this show or thinks the lead actors should be on some stupid 90210 soap needs to see this episode, especially for the scene where Dean tries to call his father on his cell phone: Jensen Ackles was terrific! So impressive. There are actually quite a few episodes from throughout this series that merit attention, but "Home" is my favorite.

Gilmore Girls - season 1. Lauren Graham is an underappreciated talent. I couldn't possibly pick one episode, she's fantastic in each and every one.

Doctor Who - "Doomsday" and "Journeys End" (I weep just thinking about these episodes, they're epic!)

How I Met Your Mother - "The Pineapple Incident" and "Slap Bet," both so hilarious.

Sports Night - Season 1, though I do think that Danny's Kafelnikov breakdown and Casey's "I'm right here, whatever you need" reaction to it (from Season 2) is an amazing episode. I have such love for those two characters. Aaron Sorkin writes wonderful friendships.

Prison Break - Season 1. Very exciting, loved the brothers' strong bond, and Robert Knepper terrified me.

From the UK, Merlin - "Le Morte d'Arthur," "The Moment Of Truth," and especially "To Kill The King." I find this show endearing, funny, and remarkably entertaining. Anthony Head actually made me see him as someone other than Giles (from Buffy), and Colin Morgan and Bradley James have wonderful, hilarious chemistry as Merlin and Arthur.

So much more I'm sure I'm not thinking of! A decade is a lot of TV! :)

ZeppJets said...

Not sure if a mini-series like "Band of Brothers" fits- but I'd take "Bastogne" as its best, most moving, most cinematically stunning hour.

Firefly: "Out of Gas"
Carnivale: "Babylon"/"Pick a Number"
Sons of Anarchy (still making its bones among the decade's great dramas): "The Pull"
Any of the first four season finales for The West Wing.
HIMYM: "Nothing Good Happens After 2am"
FOTC: "Forbidden Love"

All of Breaking Bad's second season, if that ain't an obvious one.

I figure you'll have the classic

UnwantedTouching said...

Poor Alan, he actually has to read these things. Maybe we'll hit 300 postings by the time we're done?

I wanted to add for Best Episode: The Simpsons "Behind the Laughter), which aired May 2000 (just under the wire). A killer parody of the unintentionally hilarious "Behind the Music" series, it's pretty good for a Simpsons episode that aired after the 90's.

Hatfield said...

I went off to give this some more serious thought, and then of course I search the comments and see that all the ones I thought of have been mentioned already, but I'll throw my hat in the ring with everyone else's:

Firefly - Objects in Space

House - Three Stories; House's Head/Wilson's Heart

Rome - The Spoils (and kudos to everyone who loves Vorenus and Pullo's cries of "Thirteenth!" as much as I do)

Dexter - Not good with episode names here, but either the Rudy/Brian reveal episode from Season 1, or the episode in Season 2 with Dexter and Doakes stuck in the cabin together

Hannah Lee said...

For off the beaten path reality shows: Dinner for Five (season 1 if you must, though I seem to remember the one in Season 3 with Alec Baldwin, Tracy Ullman, Peter Dinklage and Carrie Fisher being pretty good) and Iconoclasts (Mikhail Baryshnikov & Alice Waters or Venus Williams & Wyclef Jean)

Six Feet Under – the 1st season as best season (or the 2nd season, if you prefer) While the series finale was moving and unique, I think the last 2 episodes of season 2 were stronger.

In Treatment should be in there somewhere - Season 1 maybe?

Firefly episodes: Pilot (the actual Pilot, not the first episode Fox aired) Out of Gas

Dirty Sexy Money episodes: The Lions or The Watch (the series as a whole was uneven, but there were a few great episodes and fantastic acting during its first season)

Anonymous said...

Single episode: The West Wing's post-9/11 standalone episode "Isaac and Ishmael" came just two weeks after the attacks and was very powerful. A remarkable achievement, all things considered.

Matt said...

Not exactly one season wonders (they both ran two), but Pushing Daisies and Life deserve some kind of mention.

Best Episode Nominees:
What Kind of Day Has It Been (West Wing)
Two Cathedrals (West Wing)
Life on Mars (West Wing)
My Screw Up (Scrubs)
My Way Home (Scrubs)
My Musical (Scrubs)
Nothing Good Happens After 2 AM (HIMYM)
The Fight (HIMYM)
House's Head/Wilson's Heart (House)

Best Miniseries:
Band of Brothers
John Adams

Best Character Exit:
David Palmer (24)

Ryan Farnan said...

LOST should absolutely make it for shows (as should FNL), but if it doesn't for some reason, then "Through The Looking Glass" (Season Three Finale) should top the episodes -- I've never seen anything like it -- amazing.

Alex Mullane said...

I will continue to post nominations as I think of them, rather than in just one post. Hope that doesn't make it harder to sift through, I don't mean to make your work harder Alan.

Best Episode:

I believe it's episode 37 of In Treatment season 1. The final 'Alex' episode (although without any Alex). It was the one with Glynn Turman on the sofa.

The (decade best?) performance by Glynn Turman makes it worthy alone, let alone the brilliant writing and Mr Byrne.

Mike F said...

here's my top 20 tv shows of the decade in order...

1 The Wire
2 Sopranos
3 Breaking Bad
4 Mad Men
5 Hard Knocks
6 Battlestar Gallactica
7 Lost
8 Curb Your Enthusiasm
9 In Treatment
10 Survivor
11 The Office (US)
12 Six Feet Under
13 Project Greenlight
14 The Shield
15 Dexter
16 Brotherhood
17 Friday Night Lights
18 True Blood
19 Entourage
20 30 Rock

Hon mentions: 24, Californication, The Tudors, Damages (season 1 only), Weeds (seasons 1-2 only), Top Chef, Project Runway, Daily Show/Colbert, Greek, Rescue Me (seasons 1-2 only), The Riches, Party Down (only 1 season so far), Flight of the Conchords

Anonymous said...

Best Episode - I'm going against the "Company Man" tide and nominating "Five Years Gone" from Heroes.

Best Season - S2 of West Wing, because the character Mandy from S1 was gone. (I like Moira Kelly, but Mandy was just annoying.)

BF said...

No retrospective of the 2000 TV decade would be complete without "Her father is the DISTRICT ATTORNEY!!!"

RichC said...

It's amazing, I just watched "Once More With Feeling" for the first time ever last night and you put the picture up in your blog.

For episodes, I love "The Body" from Buffy, and "Bastogne" from Band of Brothers if it doesn't make your series list.

One series (mini-series) I loved that no one has mentioned was Thief on FX. I think I might put that on a top 10 list.

For American comedies, Office Season 2 is by far the best season of the 00's.

Dan Barrett said...

I really dig lists like this and the passion behind it, but isn't the end of the decade 2010?

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