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13 February 2013

Saw ST:TNG's "Inner Light" on TV the other day. (Not for the first time of course.) And I thought, "damn, that was one great hour of television."[More:]What's a show or episode that makes you think "Damn, that was one great hour of television!"?

(Definition of great? That's up to you. For me, this episode was meaty, thoughtful, great acting, and, well, Star Trek. But there are other definitions of great of course.)
So many "West Wing" episodes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 13 February | 13:56
Not the same thing, but we just watched the first episode of WKRP in Cincinnati last night on Hulu. My husband remarked that it was pretty much the perfect pilot episode for a show: interesting characters, obvious opportunities for conflict, setting up what's to come while standing on its own merits. And I just watched the first episode of the Cosby Show again, too, which reminded me that it had one of my favorite TV scenes ever (Theo and Cliff's confrontation over Theo's report card). Very real, but it goes in a bit of an unexpected direction, which I love.

Any episode of Father Ted or The IT Crowd is amazing. We've had friends over who have never heard of them, and immediately one of us starts fiddling with Netflix menus. We've gone through both of them at least three times, but at this point we should just keep it in the queue permanently.

So then we have to figure out which episode to pick as an introduction, and it's impossible. "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse" is always mentioned, but the whole setup takes place in "Escape From Victory," which nearly makes me pee. And "Competition Time" is just... and then there's "Speed 3"... oh, they all leave me speechless.
posted by Madamina 13 February | 13:58

See? Problems.
posted by Madamina 13 February | 14:00
The second part of Picard Torture: Chain of Command

posted by lysdexic 13 February | 15:17
And because I'm a wonk - absolutely anything by James Burke.
posted by lysdexic 13 February | 15:18
It's only half an hour, but this episode of M*A*S*H*.
posted by JanetLand 13 February | 15:33
I just re-watched the whole Prisoner series for the first time in decades and came away impressed as hell. There are a couple of bum episodes but I can't think of a show that original and that ambitious. I think that I've got my wife convinced to dress up as #6 and one of the female #2s for Halloween this year.
posted by octothorpe 13 February | 15:51
ST:TNG has some good episodes but it still never feels like "real" Star Trek to me.
posted by octothorpe 13 February | 15:52
Oh yes JanetLand, so many episodes of M*A*S*H are like that! Having trouble at the moment trying to decide, but the one with the clock on the screen is tops for sure.
posted by Melismata 13 February | 17:17
Well then I have to vote for Fawlty Towers as one of the best TV series ever made. My personal favorites are Basil the Rat and The Builders. A dozen episodes of perfect comedy. That's the way it should be done.
posted by Splunge 13 February | 20:08
There are a few episodes of SOAP that reached sitcom perfection to me, but I'd have to sit down and watch through to find them. That show elevated the form so much, though.

octothorpe mentioned The Prisoner: the last two episodes of that show are brilliant slices of drama and WTF-ness.

The finale of season 2 of Justified was some of the most compelling TV I've ever seen. That whole season was great, Margo Martindale was BRILLIANT as country crime-lord Mags Bennett, and that ending broke my heart on a few different levels.

The "Went With The Wind" episode of The Carol Burnett Show is still a classic, as well.

The first Mary Tyler Moore Xmas episode, where she has to work on Xmas Eve.

And there are many perfect episodes of Northern Exposure, IMO, including: the episode when Maggie's mom burns her house down, the episode when they catapult the piano into the lake, the episode when Fleischman's mom falls off a cliff and floats down like an eagle (and it changes her whole personality), and my favorite one, when Shelly is pregnant and meets these girls of various ages at the laundromat over several visits and kind of bonds with them, and on the last visit the late-teenage girl is leaving Alaska to fulfill a secret dream of Shelly's, to become a Dallas Cowgirls cheerleader, and the viewer realizes all these girls ARE Shelly's unborn daughter. And these mystical visits make Shelly less afraid of becoming a mom. It kind of makes me tear up every time I watch it.
posted by BoringPostcards 14 February | 00:41
The first episode of Downton Abbey was great TV imho, though the series went bad fast. Downton Abbey is like a lover who is so charming at first, working so hard to entertain you, and then just a few short meetings later, things have become astonishingly lazy and rote. You wonder how they can look you in the eye and be like that, don't they see how garbagey they're being? Are they even listening to their bullshit? Okay maybe that simile was too much.

I didn't watch ST:TNG much when it was on, because it had no spirit of adventure whatsoever, and that's what I wanted from Star Trek, I see in retrospect. However, recently some channel did have a marathon of selected favorite episodes. "The Inner Light" was in there. They were pretty good! I feel at peace. I refuse to watch DS9 or Voyager though. (Except Trials and Tribble-ations.)
posted by fleacircus 14 February | 08:32
My favorite TV series ever is Secret Agent (aka Danger Man if you prefer funky harpsichord to Johnny Rivers), the prequel to The Prisoner. I always preferred Secret Agent because The Prisoner struck too close to home: that's exactly what it was like for me, growing up.

Anyway, Secret Agent Series 2, Episode 1, "Yesterday's Enemies" may be my favorite, but really they're all so good. It's hard to pick one.

For example, I'm quite fond of Series 3, Episode 13, "Say It With Flowers." One among many.

Also, John Drake is just like my dad.
posted by Hugh Janus 14 February | 10:36
The episode "Lancelot du Lac" from the series Merlin. This show takes a lot of liberties with the legend of Arthur, but it also plugs a lot of holes. This episode featuring Lancelot plugs a huge hole while tearing one from your heart. The actress playing Guinevere hits every mark emotionally.

Angel Coulby:
≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by Ardiril 15 February | 20:45
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