10 Best Television Episodes
I was eating chicken the other day and it made me think of television because, well, most things do. I have claimed elsewhere that the best of television today rivals that of film and often exceeds it. Actors, writers, and directors who up until a few years ago would have considered association with the small screen to be career suicide now frequently adopt it as their medium of choice.
These days some of the most riveting, moving, and thought-provoking stories that our culture has to tell are being told on television, not in movie theaters.
I am also somewhat fond of lists. I admire their simplicity and directness. They are not big on plot or character development, but what they do they do well. Lists neither deceive nor prevaricate. They simply state. They have become an integral part of our society ever since the Ten Commandments – the first Top Ten list.
Movies dominate many of our lists. We list the best movies, best movie moments, best movie kisses, best movies starring rehabilited child actors, etc. But television gets ignored. So in that spirit I am going to produce my list of the ten best television episodes of all time. Not shows, but single episodes.
I will give my number 10 choice in the next post and present one episode at a time, allowing me to give my justification for their inclusion.
As with any such lists, these are merely my personal preferences. I have not seen every show that has ever aired, not for lack of trying, so certainly many worthy candidates will be missed because of it. My criteria for selection varies. Some are on the list because they were innovative episodes that impacted the television landscape from then on. Some are there because of the way they address significant philosophical, ethical, or theological issues, thus provoking healthy dialogue. Others are there due to the sheer quality of the episode. But regardless of the reason, all of these are examples of television at its best.