Well we are at the end of 2009 in television. I know this is a bit late but I've been busy or lazy, but it's here. I aim to post two other posts this week, a review of The End of Time and Daybreakers, so I'm going to build up my blog count. Finally I won't do anything till late January/early February where I'll be going Lost centric with my top 10 episodes and 10 characters. It's going to be fun! (I'm also toying with the idea of doing individual episode reviews for each episode of Lost, but because it'll be going on until exams, I'm not sure that that will happen)
But here we go, my favourite episodes of television from the preceding 12 months, in alphabetical order.
Breaking Bad - Peekaboo
Ironically, this might actually be my favourite episode of television from last year and I get to write about it first. Well for starters it's Breaking Bad, and if you don't watch then something is clearly wrong with you. 'Peekaboo' might not the best example of what an episode of Breaking Bad is but it's one that got to me the most. For starters this is not Bryan Cranston's episode but Aaron Paul's (Jesse). Jesse is sent to get some money back from drug addicts armed with a gun he's never fired before. When he gets to their shack he finds a small child and what follows is on the of the most heartbreaking hours of television I've ever seen. Plus then of course there's that scene with the ATM Machine (similar to the bed+drugs scene later on in the season)
Chuck - Chuck Versus The Colonel/The Ring
Whilst technically not a two parter, it definitely felt like it with the events of one episode directly setting up the next. What we got were two of the most satisfying hours that Chuck has produced. Whilst I don't think they were as brilliant as the Chuck Versus Santa Claus, they made up a brilliant finale. There were twists, deaths and of course plenty of awesome music and action scenes. Oh and Jeffster, and Jeffster make anything about 500% more awesome (and that's a fact)
Dexter - Hungry Man
Ahhh Thanksgiving, that American holiday which we do not get in the UK, what would the Morgan's be doing for Thanksgiving I wonder? Well considering Dexter is a serial killer it wasn't going to be without some blood shed. Of course there were the events going on in the Morgan household, the affair, the breakthroughs in Lundy's shooting. But we were all there to see John Lithgow own the room as Trinity. There's the scene where he breaks his sons fingers which is absolutely brutal, but of course we have Michael C. Hall wrapping a belt around his neck dragging him to the kitchen and telling him he should have killed him when he had the chance. All in all it made for a near perfect episode of Dexter.
Dollhouse - Epitaph One
Dollhouse Season 1 had its ups and down. It definitely picked up towards the end but sadly the best episode didn't air on television. Instead 'Epitaph One' was kept for the DVD. Whilst episodes like 'Belonging' and 'The Attic' were great in Season 2, 'Epitaph One' was the first true taste of what the show could be and the main cast barely featured. Set 10 years in the future, with very little exposition, all we know is that technology is bad and the world is ripping itself apart. It makes for a riveting episode of television and whilst later episodes through some events into doubt, it doesn't take away any of the effect that is left upon the viewer with this brief and oh so brilliant look at what Dollhouse could have become if it weren't for network meddling, higher ratings and a better lead actress.
Lost - The Incident
It's a Lost season finale. There was action, romance, heartbreak, time travel and deaths. Plus of course mind blowing twists (the reveal of what was in the luggage trunk) and we followed Jacob around for two hours, the mysterious patriarch of the island. I'm keeping this one short because Lost ends in a few months and I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say about the show in the near future.
Glee - Sectionals
Probably the most feel good episode of any television last year. It could have wrapped up the first Season of Glee and it would still be as good. Stories came to an end and we got some great conclusions as well as hints for potential future stories. We find out if the Glee club make it to regionals (hint they do) and of course Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is her normal evil brilliance. The show is still airing in the UK but suffice to say, Sectionals was the perfect wrap up for the shows first 13 episodes and I can't wait for the back 9 to come in April.
Mad Men - The Gypsy and the Hobo
I could have chosen pretty much any episode of Mad Men, 'Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency' for the punchline to that joke (it involves a lawnmower) but I chose 'The Gypsy and the Hobo' for the scene where Betty confronts Don on his past. It's the moment that's been 3 Seasons in the making and it was just as good as we thought it was going to be. It was the start of the end of their marriage and you know what made the scene so tense between Betty and Don? Knowing that he had his kids teacher in the car outside who could come and make what was already a bad situation even worse. Master class entertainment.
Mad Men - Shut the Door. Have a Seat.
I did say I could chose any episode of Mad Men, so I chose two. The finale of Season 3 was perfect. From top to bottom, nothing was wrong with it. It paid of entire seasons worth of stories and was just an overall very fun hour of television. It wasn't as bleak as other episodes of Mad Men, instead we got a classic caper of building together a team of experts. From the witty dialogue (which at many points is downright hilarious) and playing with audience expectations (for a second you actually think they might call Sal). Mad Men is the best show on television for a reason, and this episode is the perfect example of that.
Parks and Recreation - Ron and Tammy
Not much has to be said about this episode other than it's absolutely hilarious. Ron Freaking Swanson is the man and any episode that focuses on him is bound to just be full of laughs. Honestly all I'm going to say is if you haven't seen this episode take a break from this and do so, no context is needed and it's only 20 minutes long. You just need to experience the awesomeness that is Ron Swanson and why he is quickly become one of my favourite comedy characters.
Party Down - Sin Say Shun Awards After Party
It's from the people that gave us Veronica Mars so you know it's going to be good. Whilst this episode seems quite a random one to choose I just remember laughing so much during it (perhaps revealing myself to have an extremely dirty mind). It's set after porn awards so of course everything is shaped like a penis. But there are also boobs! And the normal awkward hilarity from our Party Down crew. Ron's invitation to the porn industry and his massive penis (which just ends so badly and hilariously), Roman refusing to take dating advice Kyle trying to be so dirty and perveted that even porn stars run away and of course the woman who has people cum up her nose. Probably the most underrated comedy on TV at the moment (Season 2 beings April 23rd by the way)
Scrubs - My Finale
I felt My Finale was the perfect way to end Scrubs, whilst the jokes weren't always hitting, it spent time with the characters we know and love and said goodbye to them in such a meaningful way. JD and Turk acting like idiots with Eagle, the Janitor's name being resolved and Kelso finally leaving the hospital after being there ever since he was forced into retirement. But of course the big goodbye was to JD, he finally got that hug and acceptance from Dr. Cox, and that led us the perfect last 10 minutes. The walk through the hallway, the movie screen flashforward and then the quiet goodbye to a janitor (show creator Bill Lawrence) whilst an acoustic version of 'Superman' played in the background. Yes, I was in tears, so what?
Supernatural - On The Head Of A Pin
I had a tough time coming up with the perfect episode of Supernatural but ultimately I chose this one. Firstly it was just a superb episode, Alastair was a brilliant villain and got plenty of awesome moments. And we got great performances out of both Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. But I also chose it because it was written by Ben Edlund who has the incredible talent of being able to write many of the quirky funny episodes but also the best dramatic serious ones. This episode came with plenty of great reveals and shocking twists, so gets on as the best episode that Supernatural aired in 2009 (close 2nd goes to 'Changing Channels'
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Born to Run
The show may not have ended where it was supposed to but it ended perfectly. Whilst we'll never know what happens next, it still feels almost complete and I'm able to let go. Whilst earlier episodes in 2009 suffered from being to centric on Sarah Connor, this episode utilised the entire cast. I was still reeling by the scarily realistic death of Derek the week before (I was still sure it was a dream sequence) but 'Born to Run' still took us so many different places. Garret Dillahunt was, as always, brilliant (he's the one Deadwood star I'd kill to see on Lost this year) and the story took us to more thoughtful places than other Terminator movies have taken us whilst still providing us with action. But of course this is here for those last few minutes and the mindfuckery that went with it (time travel will do that to you).