Monday, July 14, 2014

Best Episode of?

With some TV shows, it is very easy to choose your favorite.

But for many shows that I truly love I could not single out a single episode. THE WIRE stands out. Its strengths do not lie in single episodes.

Now some of the shows above have arcs but FLY for instance, in BREAKING BAD steps outside that arc enough to write a memorable story with just the two men in their confined space. Another problem is that a show like BIG BANG THEORY, which I like a lot, is basically interchangeable from episode to episode. It is only the superb cast and writing that keeps it so good. I could also not name a single episode on JUSTIFIED that has stuck with me. MODERN FAMILY is the worst offender for offering the same antics week after week. Name me a episode of THE AMERICANS you particularly remember except for its shock value. It is episodes with shock value that are also memorable on HOUSE OF CARDS, HOMELAND, GAME OF THRONES. 

So if there is too much arc or too little arc, a show fails in some way for me. A way to get arond this a bit is the way ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, MAD MEN and SHAMELESS have. They offer a large cast that gets some individual story lines but also has an arc in terms of what the show is about. These are my three favorite shows at the moment.

I have talked about a lot of stuff here and I am not sure what my question is. What makes a great episode or a great TV show for you?


Anonymous said...

I like your list of "best" episodes. Shows like THE AMERICANS or JUSTIFIED or most of the other new series are meant to be more of an organic whole (like THE WIRE) rather than have individual episodes stand out like "The Contest" or some of the others. It's probably easier for a sitcom that doesn't follow a continuing arc to do it. I'd add the odd "Pine Barrens" episode of THE SOPRANOS to "College" as a standout.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, yes. Coming fro Philly, I know that area and it is as strange as the Ozarks.

Anonymous said...

ILove Lucy:

Lucy Does a TV Commercial (Vitametavegemin)
Job Switching (candy factory)

Jeff M.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'll usually have a few favorites. But I seldom know the name of the episodes. I recognize them when I see them. Except for the Original Star Trek, where I know pretty much all episode titles.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Comedy, Patti, especially black humour, as in BECKER.

Brian Lindenmuth said...

Just wanted to pop in and say that for Homicide the episode "Crosetti" is my all time favorite.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have to go see which one that is!

Gerard said...

BECKER was a good show.

George said...

Very few current TV programs have self-contained episodes. The story arc seems to be the preferred format today. Like Charles, I have my favorite episode of STAR TREK (THE CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER) and my favorite OUTER LIMITS episode (THE DEMON WITH THE GLASS HAND). Both episodes were written by Harlan Ellison.

Jerry House said...

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: "Chuckles the Clown Is Dead"

Todd Mason said...

"Crossetti" is a much better episode of HOMICIDE than "The Subway," I'd suggest. But there are so many excellent episodes of that own favorite might just be "Extreme Unction" but that's just one of many candidates.

While the episode of HOMELAND that stands head and shoulders above the others I've seen would be "Q&A"...I can see why it's apparently the most popular episode of the series by Nielsen ratings.

Both episodes I chose involve interrogators making incorrect assumptions that are necessary for their own sensibilities, which nonetheless lead to breakthroughs even though, at base, the questioners remain wrong...and have power in part because of what those errors stir in their interrogated.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, one of the few HOMELAND that stands out.

Todd Mason said...

Danson has shown good taste in series...I liked BECKER about as well as CHEERS (both pretty good), and HELP ME HELP YOU better.