I thought I’d run down a list of my favourite episodes of TV shows ever. I’ve tried to keep it to different shows, but you may find a show that appears more than once.
So you’ve probably seen a lot of best of lists and it’s been a while since I’ve done one, so I thought I’d turn my attention to my favourite episodes from several television series. The only real spoilers are the Battlestar Galactica and Arrow episodes so you may want to give them a wide birth if you haven’t seen S2x09 from Arrow or S2x06-07 and S3x03-04 from Battlestar respectively. (Also, avoid Supernatural if you haven’t seen S4x01) The rest is hopefully spoiler free – however you may want to proceed with caution just in case. I should also like to take this opportunity to point out that I’m not caught up with the likes of Breaking Bad – so if you don’t see an episode from your favourite show chances are I either haven’t seen the show at all – or am not caught up. Also remember that this is my personal opinion – so feel free to disagree with me in the comments below if you wish.
I should also point out that the only order they’re in is alphabetical.
ARROW S2x09 “THREE GHOSTS”
I could have chosen many episodes from Arrow, but in the end – I went with Three Ghosts. It’s an exceptional mid-season finale and shows that this show really grows over the course of its running time, culminating in an epic episode where Ollie is revisited by ghosts from his past – each telling him different things. It advances the plot and shows a compelling storyline and whilst it could be argued there are better episodes, for me – Three Ghosts is the highlight. Featuring Barry Allen and the origin of The Flash in the CW’s Universe of DC characters (time will tell if it’s the Flash from the DC Cinematic Universe) – Three Ghosts tells a great, compelling storyline that introduces the big bad for Season 2 in an incredibly effective way.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “S2X06, S2x07 HOME P1, P2” & “S3x03, S3x04 EXODUS P1, P2”
As it stands, I’m currently only up to Torn, at the start of Season 3. However, even so – there are still so many choices that I could pick and I could have easily made this a Top 10 of Battlestar Galactica episodes alone (which I may do when the show’s completed) – and there’s simply so much to talk about. So much high quality. I could have gone for You Can’t Go Home Again. Kobol’s Last Gleaming. Lay Down Your Burdens. So many choices – but in the end, I went for both parts of Home and Exodus. Why? Firstly, because Home is awesome. The second part is the real highlight but the first is just as good – as the last survivors of Humanity find themselves a fleet divided, with William Adama’s military at a standoff with Laura Roslin’s civilian fleet. When Roslin’s fleet makes a jump to the fabled home of Kobol – Adama puts aside his differences and leaps after them to save them from the Cylons. And what happens next gives us among the best hours of television ever. The ending of Part 1 is one of my favourite scenes in the entire series and it just gets better and better from there. I love Home. It’s an exceptional peice of storytelling and in both parts and handles a variety of characters very well.
And then there’s season 3’s Exodus, which picks up following one of the greatest cliffhangers ever – with half of the fleet including the likes of Colonel Tigh, President Roslin, Starbuck, Sam Anders, stranded on New Caprica at the mercy of the Cylons, with Adama and Apollo in command of the Galactica and Pegasus respectivley – having fled New Caprica. And from the previous episode, to make things more interesting – the likes of Cally, Tom Zarek and President Roslin are about to be executed by Cylons per an order from Baltar. It’s just a great way to kickstart a two-part epic that ends with Adama’s return – and for me, is the series at its strongest. Exodus handles multiple characters and their arcs very well as well as keeping it tense and unpredictable. That’s what makes it among my favourite episodes of the series – and in any other show, Exodus would have been a season finale. Maybe even a series finale. But not in Battlestar. No – in Battlestar – Exodus is episodes 3 & 4 of its third season – with plenty of stuff still to come.
I recently did a binge-watch on Buffy for All-Comic and like with Battlestar there are many, many episodes that I could pick from. The Gift, for example. Once More With, Feeling. Prophecy Girl. Becoming. The Wish. However, for me – Hush – from Season 4 remains the best Buffy episode, with its great use of onetime villains the Gentlemen, who are among the creepiest monsters ever. The lack of characters being able to speak in this episode allowed for some great fun to be had and some great highlights throughout, utilizing the cast of Buffy very well as they struggled with their experiences not to speak. There’s a good build-up to this episode and the payoff is handled very well – and it’s one of the finest peices of works from Joss Whedon ever. Excellent episode.
FIREFLY S1x07 “JAYNESTOWN”
Ah, Firefly. Were it not for the discovery of Battlestar and Person of Interest, you’d still be my favourite TV series. We’ve had fourteen excellent episodes from Joss Whedon and company and an excellent movie in the form of Serenity – but there are for me, a few episodes that stand above the rest. I could have gone with Our Mrs. Reynolds or Objects in Space. However – in the end, I settled for Jaynestown, an episode where the Firefly crew return to a planet where Jayne completed one of his jobs before joining Mal’s band of outlaws – and they find that he has earned hero worship in the process. The way this episode plays out is handled very well – and is again, one of my favourite TV episodes ever.
GAME OF THRONES S2x09 “BLACKWATER”
Sure, you can argue for different episodes of Game of Thrones. The ninth episode of Season 2 shows how awesome fantasy battles can be pulled off on television with a fantastic director in the form of Neil Marshall. Blackwater pulled off a fantastic siege episode perfectly well, and gave Tyrion one of his many moments of awesome in an entirely King’s Landing-centric episode. There was so many awesome things going on here, and for me – this makes Game of Thrones the best episode on that list.
DOCTOR WHO S6x04 “THE DOCTOR’S WIFE”
Neil Gaiman is my favourite writer of all time so in reality there was no way I was not going to pick The Doctor’s Wife as the episode in question. Superbly written with some great use of characters and plot – The Doctor’s Wife is Doctor Who at its finest. Sure, there’s a lot of hate for Season 6, but it’s one of my favourite seasons – the opening two parter was great and we also got several awesome episodes like When A Good Man Goes To War and The Girl Who Waited. Of course, with so many episodes in Doctor Who I could have gone for any one of them – with Blink or The Day of the Doctor being close contenders. However, Blink loses out because of the fact that it’s not as rewatchable as The Doctor’s Wife – with the scare factor robbed after the first time around, and The Day of the Doctor and this really depends on what mood I’m in. However, The Doctor’s Wife edged out this time around – because Neil Gaiman is excellent.
ORPHAN BLACK S1x01 “NATURAL SELECTION”
Natural Selection is probably one of my favourite pilots ever. Sure, I’m resisting the temptation to cheat here and include the whole show – because literally Orphan Black is one piece of excellence after another with the episodes improving as they go along, but Natural Selection is the perfect example of how to do a pilot episode. Create a compelling mystery and a great character – and give us an excellent actress in the form of Tatiana Maslany. Seriously – Tatiana Maslany is as good as everybody says.
PERSON OF INTEREST S2X16 “RELEVANCE”
This is currently my favourite TV show that hasn’t ended or been cancelled, and for good reason. The mysteries are compelling, the characters are fantastic – and the concept is great. Relevance – an episode written by Jonathan Nolan – is one of my favourite hours of television ever, and shows just how you can introduce a new character this late into the game exceptionally well indeed. Shaw is a fantastic character and steals any scene that she’s in – an from my point of view, is essential viewing whether or not you’ve seen an episode of Person of Interest before. Just seriously – go and watch this episode – it stands incredibly well on its own. Go and watch it. Whilst it sidelines the main characters – Reese, Finch, Fusco and Carter – it sets the stage for a great episode that really shouldn’t be missed.
SUPERNATURAL S4x01 “LAZARUS RISING”
Following the cliffhanger of Season 3, with Dean trapped in hell, Lazarus Rising managed to bring him back from the dead and introduce a whole new mythos into the show – we’re talking Angels and Demons here, as well as give a fantastic new direction for the series. This episode also introduces fan-favourite character Castiel, and provides a great example of how to do a season premiere very well indeed. It’s a great example of how the show has improved since the start, and whilst I may only be midway through Season 5 at the moment, for me Lazarus Rising is probably the highlight of the show that I’ve seen so far. Excellent stuff.
TORCHWOOD “CHILDREN OF EARTH”
Okay, I’m technically cheating here by including a five episode mini-series, rather than just a single episode – but this season of Torchwood flows so well together that I can’t leave it out, and and it’s hard to pick an episode amongst them – and can be watched without knowledge of Torchwood or not. Seriously – don’t bother with Season 1 and 2, just go straight to this one – with Children of Earth being a spectacular piece of television and the show at its finest. A great use of characters and a seriously compelling mystery that’s arguably better than its parent show, Doctor Who – at its finest. It’s also the show at its darkest – and don’t go in expecting a happy ending.