Twenty-Five Perfect Hours of Television

[Some day I will finish this list, although by the time that finally happens, none of you may care any more. Whatever, I finish what I start.]

Back in the good old days, I used to get paid to surf the internet at work. It’s what led to the creation of this list. Well, I thought to myself one boring summer night, why not take the next logical step and narrow it down? I decided to weed through each individual episode of each show under the first two lists (because those are the ones I’ve seen all of — more importantly, if I haven’t seen all the episodes of a show, there isn’t much chance of that particular show producing an episode worthy to be on this list) and choose my favorite episodes. I ended up with a list around one hundred episodes long.

But why not take it even further (which is a question I’ve decided that I like asking)? Why not narrow it down to my favorite twenty-five? But this was way harder than I thought. Some I would try to sneak on the list just because I love them, but upon further evaluation, were found to be lacking in comparison to others that just needed to be on the list. (And another note about bias — I am totally for it. So, if you’re looking for a non-prejudiced list of the 25 most perfect hours of television ever, go somewhere else. Frankly, it’s a miracle that this entire list wasn’t made up entirely of Buffy and Battlestar Galactica. This is my list. So. NO WHINING.) Then there were the cases of those episodes that don’t really work alone because their stories begin and end in other episodes — episode arcs. For the most part, I steered clear of episodes that weren’t whole and self-contained. As much as I love them, i.e. the First storyline on Buffy and practically the entirety of Farscape, most of those episodes are impossible to appreciate unless you’ve seen the episodes — and sometimes entire seasons — leading up to them. Also, there are no ordinary episodes on this list. I intend for every episode on this list to be a shining and perfect example of everything that TV should be trying to do at all times.

And, my final disclaimer. I compiled this list in the summer of 2008. Any and all episodes I see, whether airing for the first time on TV or just watching them on DVD, beginning now are not subject to consideration. Now, sometime in the future I may decide to revamp this list, and maybe then some of these puppies will get kicked off in favor of newer fare. Or maybe I’ll just do a whole new list. Only time will tell. Excited? You should be. They don’t call me the Queen of Television for nothin’.

– – –

25. “Tempus Fugitive,” Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman ( Recap )

24. “The One With the Prom Video,” Friends ( Recap )

23. “Smooching and Mooching,” Freaks and Geeks ( Recap )

22. “A Trip to the Dentist,” Veronica Mars ( Recap )

21. “They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They?” Gilmore Girls ( Recap )

20. “Greatest Hits,” Lost ( Recap )

19. “Phase One,” Alias ( Recap )

18. “Small Potatoes,” The X-Files ( Recap )

17. “Gay Witch Hunt,” The Office ( Recap )

16. “Secrets and Lies,” 30 Rock ( Recap )

15. “Milagro,” The X-Files ( Recap )

14. “Flight of the Phoenix,” Battlestar Galactica ( Recap )

13. “My Hero,” Scrubs ( Recap )

12. “Die Me, Dichotomy,” Farscape ( Recap )

11. ?

10. ?

9. ?

8. ?

7. ?

6. ?

5. ?

4. ?

3. ?

2. ?

1. ?

11 responses

  1. I love your inclusion of ‘Tempus Fugitive’. Also, I would like to nominate any number of West Wing episodes for this list.

    • Unfortunately I haven’t seen The West Wing yet, but it’s on my list. I’m sticking to the original list and the plan is (once I’ve actually managed to do the remaining 11) to come back once a year and add at least ten more that I hadn’t seen before. So WW could definitely be on here in the future.

  2. “The Final Frontier” (Mad About You – Series Finale)
    “The Body” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
    “My Catalyst” (Scrubs) / “My Screwup” (Scrubs)
    “The Day the Was the Day” (Carnivale)
    “The Quality of Mercy at 29K” (Sports Night)

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Obviously, not only is this list a work in progress, it’s almost two years old. The Scrubs eps you mentioned were thisclose to making it on my list. Mum’s the word on whether any of your others made it.

      (I stopped by and lurked on your blog about an hour ago. You’re much more polite than I am.)

      • I’m nothing if not a gentleman.

        Dr Kevin Casey is a strong contender, especially at the end of that episode. I really wanted to think of a Chuck episode to put on there but, while there are a ton of great moments, I couldn’t think of a perfect episode.

  3. Hi Ashley,

    Just stumbled over here (I drink… so what!) and thought I would throw an episode of the X-Files at you that you might have missed. Blew me away when i originally saw it. It was written by Vince Gilligan, which lends some credence to why I really like Breaking Bad. If you’ve never seen the ep, check it out.

    It’s X-Files, Season 4, Episode 2, Title: Home

  4. Dude, of course, I’ve seen “Home.” The X-Files was my favorite show in high school, it was the first show I ever owned on DVD, and it’s the reason I started watching Breaking Bad in the first place (all of the eps Vince Gilligan wrote are listed among my favorites). (I wrote a little bit about the episode over here, and even though it’s not going to make it onto this list, I’m not saying another XF episode won’t.)

  5. I didn’t get a chance to roam around much before posting Ashley, but you really do have some great classic musical moments from my TV prime time years.

    This doesn’t really apply to this section, but I was just curious; have you caught Game of Thrones yet (maybe you’ve already read the Fire and Ice series to present)? I don’t have as much tv time as I used to, so I have to pick my shows carefully. I was given season 1 on DVD and was instantly hooked. Definitely worth the watch, provided you’re not against fairly explicit sex and violence.

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