TV Theory: My Favorite 150 Episodes

In early 2012 I started an ambitious undertaking – I wanted to rank my favorite 100 episodes of television, much like how earlier this year I set out to list my 100 favorite video games (which I swear I’m going to finish by the end of the year…maybe). It was going to be very ambitious because I was originally going to go over each episode individually and talk about each one specifically.

I got through the listing 100 episodes part – except the list ballooned to 120 and I couldn’t bear to cut it down to just 100. And that’s about as far as I got. I never wrote up anything and the list just sat in a text file on my computer for the next six years.

Which brings me to this post: I recently unearthed the list and went over it, adding in some episodes of television I’ve seen in the six years since and reordering them since over time my opinions on certain episodes have changed (as opinions often do). I ended up with a list of 150 total episodes that I’m actually pretty happy with. Instead of trying to do a major write-up of each and every episode, instead what I’m going to do is just throw all 150 into this post, and then tomorrow I’m going to have a follow-up post where I discuss the list in general and talk about some specific episodes/shows.

So here’s a ranked order of my 150 favorite episodes of television – the name of the episode followed by the show. I might eventually edit in the season and episode number as well, but for now it’s just the show. And I’m just absolutely sure everyone will agree with me on every choice I made!

150. Veiled Threat (White Collar)
149. Chuck vs. the Dream Job (Chuck)
148. The Devil Complex (Agents of Shield)
147. Fredless (Angel)
146. The Devil’s Share (Person of Interest)
145. 33 (Battlestar Galactica)
144. Curveball (Perception)
143. Burn Out (CSI)
142. (Mr. Robot)
141. The Day The World Went Away (Person of Interest)
140. Football, Feminism, and You (Community)
139. Shot All To Hell (Justified)
138. The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (Doctor Who)
137. Twenty Sided, Die (iZombie)
136. Where There’s a Will (White Collar)
135. Chuck vs. Santa Claus (Chuck)
134. A Trip to the Dentist (Veronica Mars)
133. Day 3: 6 AM – 7 AM (24)
132. Ducky Tie (How I Met Your Mother)
131. Days Gone Bye (The Walking Dead)
130. A Priest Walks Into a Bar (Lucifer)
129. Weekend at Bobby’s (Supernatural)
128. Bishop (Travelers)
127. In The Trenches (Scream)
126. Extremis (Doctor Who)
125. My Lunch (Scrubs)
124. Time Will Tell (Castle)
123. Treehouse of Horror VI (The Simpsons)
122. AKA Three Lives and Counting (Jessica Jones)
121. The Rashomon Job (Leverage)
120. Omega (Dollhouse)
119. Michael (Stargate Atlantis)
118. You’re Welcome (Angel)
117. Brotherhood (Perception)
116. Did You Feel That? (Life)
115. Baptiste (Human Target)
114. The Protector (Titus)
113. Bus Tour (Parks and Recreation)
112. Spoiler Alert (How I Met Your Mother)
111. A Fistful of Paintballs (Community)
110. 4C (Person of Interest)
109. Slaughterhouse (Justified)
108. The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone (Doctor Who)
107. Walkabout (Lost)
106. A Study in Pink (Sherlock)
105. The Last Laugh (Gotham)
104. I Do Over (Eureka)
103. Rabbit Test (Kitchen Confidential)
102. Love Sick (Warehouse 13)
101. The Return (Agents of Shield)

100. Mr. F (Arrested Development)
99. eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt (Mr. Robot)
98. Headquarters! (Limitless)
97. My Bed Banter & Beyond (Scrubs)
96. Self Control (Agents of Shield)
95. The Time Travelers (How I Met Your Mother)
94. Out of Time (The Flash)
93. Mary Pat Shelby (Sports Night)
92. Witness (Person of Interest)
91. Crossing Over (Eureka)
90. Leave It To Beaver (Veronica Mars)
89. Leslie and Ron (Parks and Recreation)
88. The Pendulum (Titus)
87. Bottlenecked (White Collar)
86. Best Friends Forever (South Park)
85. My Life in Four Cameras (Scrubs)
84. 1.6 (Luther)
83. The Plateau (Fringe)
82. The Fury (Sneaky Pete)
81. Day 1: 11 PM – 12 AM (24)
80. Epidemiology (Community)
79. return 0 (Person of Interest)
78. Hunting Trip (Parks and Recreation)
77. Grace Under Pressure (Stargate Atlantis)
76. Bad Day at Black Rock (Supernatural)
75. Dalek (Doctor Who)
74. The Dirty Half Dozen (Agents of Shield)
73. Chuck vs. Operation Awesome (Chuck)
72. The Great Game (Sherlock)
71. Reckoning (Justified)
70. Spit & Eggs (Veronica Mars)
69. Strawberries and Cream (The Mentalist)
68. Penny and Dime (Daredevil)
67. Company Man (Heroes)
66. Top Banana (Arrested Development)
65. One Percent (Person of Interest)
64. How Your Mother Met Me (How I Met Your Mother)
63. Off the Record (Lucifer)
62. Out of Gas (Firefly)
61. Black Friday (Life)
60. 3XK (Castle)
59. Independence Day (The Dead Zone)
58. Death’s Door (Supernatural)
57. Torn Between Two Lovers (Feeling Like a Fool) (Boy Meets World)
56. Lovers Walk (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
55. The Doctor’s Wife (Doctor Who)
54. Through the Looking Glass (Lost)
53. Bad News (How I Met Your Mother)
52. The Gunfighter (Justified)
51. (Mr. Robot)

50. Ariel (Firefly)
49. Pier Pressure (Arrested Development)
48. Anonymous (CSI)
47. Locked In (House)
46. Mr. Yin Presents… (Psych)
45. Changing Channels (Supernatural)
44. The Constant (Lost)
43. Shadow (Perception)
42. Digital Estate Planning (Community)
41. Amy’s Choice (Doctor Who)
40. Sunday (Stargate Atlantis)
39. Greatest Hits (Lost)
38. Epitaph One (Dollhouse)
37. Reprise (Eureka)
36. Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark (Psych)
35. Briar Rose (Dollhouse)
34. Heaven Sent (Doctor Who)
33. I Will Remember You (Angel)
32. Modern Warfare (Community)
31. Numbers (Lost)
30. Cura Te Ipsum (Person of Interest)
29. The Zeppo (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
28. The Body (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
27. And Then There Was Shawn (Boy Meets World)
26. The Promise (Justified)
25. The Gift of the Car Guy (Titus)
24. Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead (Doctor Who)
23. Chuck vs. the Alma Mater (Chuck)
22. Hush (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
21. Mystery Spot (Supernatural)
20. eps3.4_runtime-error.r00 (Mr. Robot)
19. How I Met Everyone Else (How I Met Your Mother)
18. If-Then-Else (Person of Interest)
17. Murder? …Anyone? …Anyone? …Bueller? (Psych)
16. Remedial Chaos Theory (Community)
15. The Man Behind the Curtain (Lost)
14. Blink (Doctor Who)
13. Jus in Bello (Supernatural)
12. Jack of All Trades (Eureka)
11. Smile Time (Angel)
10. Last Night Gus (Psych)
9. Okay Awesome (How I Met Your Mother)
8. Not Pictured (Veronica Mars)
7. Midnight (Doctor Who)
6. Drumroll, Please (How I Met Your Mother)
5. My Screw Up (Scrubs)
4. Objects in Space (Firefly)
3. Tommy’s Not Gay (Titus)
2. Serenity (Firefly)
1. The Eleventh Hour (Doctor Who)

A few minor notes: I decided to group together some two-parters from Doctor Who as a single episode on the list since they’re each supposed to be one story and it doesn’t make much sense to watch one episode without the other. Similarly, Through the Looking Glass from Lost is also technically a two-parter but is usually referred to as just one episode, and as such it only takes one spot on the list.

I haven’t seen a lot of shows that people consider typically great: I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Breaking Bad and I’ve never watched The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Mad Men, etc. If a show or episode that everyone pretty much universally says is one of the greatest episodes or shows ever isn’t on my list, it’s probably because I haven’t watched it. My tastes are pretty obvious from the list but in case it doesn’t I tend to lean towards fun shows over serious dramatic pieces.

Also, here’s a basic statistical run-down of the shows that appear the most on the list: I listed every show that had an entry in the top 50 and also appeared at least 4 times on the list.

Doctor Who – 11
How I Met Your Mother – 8
Person of Interest – 8
Supernatural – 6
Lost – 6
Community – 6
Justified – 5
Firefly – 4
Titus – 4
Mr. Robot – 4
Veronica Mars – 4
Scrubs – 4
Psych – 4
Angel – 4
Eureka – 4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – 4
Chuck – 4

That’s a pretty accurate representation of what I would consider my favorite shows, so I feel like my list turned out pretty well.

If you’d like to see slightly more in-depth discussion of some of the episodes I chose, here’s the post where I do that!

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