While dutifully performing my role as a late 20’s insomnic, my brain started churning over the best episodes of television it had seen. Not the all-time, hall-of-fame best, but the “watch these and understand (read: fear) the way my brain works” sort of episodes. And, since I’ve never attempted to start a meme before…in the spirit of High Fidelity, top five, all-time, favorite TV episodes:
1. Twin Peaks “Beyond Life and Death”, 2×22. The narrative is bent to (and past) the breaking point, and the small screen is pushed to its technical and conceptual limit as the series closes. The final shot still ranks up with the last episode of Newhart as the best “gotcha!” ever filmed.
2. The West Wing “Two Cathedrals”, 2×22. Two overlapping timelines, relentless forward motion and some of the best writing in the entire series. The Bartlet/Mrs. Landingham storm scene. ‘Nuff said.
3. Doctor Who (2005) “The Girl in the Fireplace”, 2×04. I’d be comfortable putting almost anything Steven Moffat has ever written on this list (Captian Subtext, anyone?). But if anyone needed an answer to the question, “Why watch Doctor Who?”, one simply needs to point to this episode. Romance! Adventure! Mystery! History! Clockwork aliens! David Tennant! Sophia Myles! If you don’t believe me, wait until the fall and keep your eyes on the Sci-Fi Channel…
4. Wonderfalls “Crime Dog”, 1×05. The first of the unaired episodes, after Fox lost their backbone quite early on. I kept waffling between this one and “Caged Bird”, but while that episode contains some killer moments, and an ending that literally made me squeak, the Tarantino-esque construction makes it stand out from the pack a bit. Well, that and the cow creamer.
5. Greg the Bunny “Jewel Heist”, 1×03. Fox cancellation missteps, take 2. While Greg might have been a little too smart and a little too feisty for its time slot, no one can say that the bunny didn’t bring the funny. What other show would even think of Sammy Davis, Jr. Commemorative Musical Eyeballs? What other show would take that joke and push it two more steps into the Land of Wrong? And we haven’t even gotten to Tardy the Turtle.