The 10 Best Episodes Of TV History
With binge shows like Stranger Things and The Night Of stringing a series of great episodes together, it got us thinking about the best episodes in TV history. Here are our favorites. Now enjoy them and comment about how much you disagree with us when you’re done.
“The Contest” – Seinfeld
A four-way bet on the perils of self-control leaves each member of the group struggling to make their way to the finish line. With the dangling of the nude neighbor in the window on a string and a few of life’s every-day temptations, we’ve never laughed so hard watching adults try to act mature.
“Ozymandias” – Breaking Bad
What begins with a shootout and ends with the complete fallout for Walter White, his money and his family becomes an all-encompassing full circle decline for our antihero. Agent Schrader is killed, Walt’s family discovers the truth, Jesse is beaten into slave labor and Walt is officially on the run. This leads into a quiet penultimate episode, followed by the big finale of Breaking Bad.
“Diversity Day” – The Office
The second episode of the series made it clear which direction this show was going: bold. Michael Scott sets up an “off-colored” sensitivity training session to help with office relations, using an ill-fated diversity game where each member of the office goes around with a post-it on their forehead from another culture, and the bigotry ensues.
“Hardhome” – Game of Thrones
Late in the fifth season of “GoT,” “Hardhome” features the climactic battle at Windling village, a fight that was only referenced before. Fans and critics raved it as one of the show’s best episodes, a battle that took about a month to shoot. The episode was a catalyst for many an Emmy nomination.
“Charlie Work” – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If you ever wondered how Paddy’s Pub manages to stay in business, or even how the gang manages to stay alive, you must know about Charlie Work. In one of the most impressive, nonstop episodes about the unseen workings of Charlie’s job at the bar, we get to see him work with a steak scam using chickens, Frank’s flushed clothes, a gas-filled basement and the joke stool, all in the name of passing an impromptu inspection by the City Board of Health.
“The One With the Rumor” – Friends
Brad Pitt (pre-Angelina Jolie drama) joined the cast for a little Thanksgiving dinner at Monica’s place in the height of classic Pitt fame, back when he and Jennifer Aniston were an item. She assumes he’s there as a friend, until it’s revealed he is actually a charter member of the “I Hate Rachel Green Club,” a club Ross joined. Hilarity ensues as Pitt’s character, a former fat kid, also reveals they started a rumor that she was both a boy and a girl.
“Lost Horizon” – Mad Men
The first of the final three episodes to the Matthew Weiner alpha AMC show, “Lost Horizon” features the white whaler ad man, Don Draper, taking a much-needed detour, Roger and Peggy having a moment in the abandoned office and Joan getting herself a nice deal. Don thinks he’s found utopia, getting everything he thought he wanted, but it turns unfulfilling as he hits the road. We get Jack Kerouac quotes from “On the Road” and an ending with Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The music, the classic scenes and overall charm of the sequences are greatly missed in TV today.
“Two Cathedrals” – The West Wing
Anyone who loves political shows loves The West Wing, and anyone who watched it loved the season two finale, “Two Cathedrals,” the end to a major part of the journey for the Martin Sheen-driven show. The final five minutes of the second season are considered some of the best minutes in TV history.
“Pilot” – Lost
Say all you like about Lost as a series, its overtly long seasons, extensive character list and the fact that it’s simply a Fox show, but the two-part pilot, “Pilot,” was one of both unprecedented action and excitement. We watched Matthew Fox’s eyes open after he had been catapulted from a plane crash on a deserted island, spending the rest of the episode saving victims, organizing a survival mission and learning a little bit about the mysterious island that would haunt both them and us for six years.
“Pine Barrens” – Sopranos
It would be a crime (aptly-used word for Sopranos) not to include one of the best episodes from one of the best TV shows in history. The third-to-last episode of the third season, back in 2001, takes Christopher and Paulie out into the woods of South Jersey where they go to collect a debt, end up in a fight and discover the Russian they were supposed to whack. This Hansel and Gretel episode, directed by Steve Buscemi, is chock full of symbolism and pushes the show forward towards its season three finale.