As I am prone to say in my TV.com articles, "Let's get this out of the way:" This isn't a preachy, this-is-how-it-is list of the best TV episodes that aired this past season. It's a list of my favorite TV episodes of my favorite shows... that aired this past season. Feel free to agree or disagree, and to mention which episodes you thought were exceptional, in the comments section, below.
So without further ado, here are eight episodes of television from the 2009-2010 TV season that will never leave my DVR (slight spoilers ahead; read at your own risk!).
Aired: April 1, 2010
"Peter" was an episode that Fringe fans have been waiting for for a long time. While the series' alternate-universe storyline is blowing our minds and is the subject that fans chat about most when discussing the show online, it's the interpersonal relationship between Peter (Joshua Jackson) and his father Walter (John Noble) that tugs at our hearts and was on full display in this episode. "Peter" filled holes, solved mysteries, showcased Noble's acting chops, and was an integral part of Fringe's stellar second half of the season.
Aired: September 23, 2009
Modern Family burst onto the scene as this year's "comedy that would save the genre." Adored by critics and lauded by viewers, Modern Family was a comedy that almost everyone could agree on. The show's pilot was a perfect encapsulation of how the program would go on to combine humor and heart while poking fun at everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference. Modern Family may have faltered in the second half of the season, but the pilot is a reminder of the show when it's at its best.
Aired: September 8, 2009
Those of you who've seen this episode know what I'm talking about. That final scene. Sons of Anarchy suffered a few growing pains in its first season, and the Season 2 premiere needed to slap us in the face—HARD—or risk losing us as viewers forever. Well, it did just that, and threw in a kick to the crotch for good measure. No one expected things to explode so quickly or to have such ramifications throughout the excellent second season, and everything was pulled together by the underrated Katey Sagal (SAMCRO matriarch Gemma), who delivered another riveting performance.
Aired: March 23, 2010
Richard frickin' Alpert, dude. The guy who never aged and doesn't wear guy-liner was a fan favorite and one of Lost's biggest mysteries. "Ab Aeterno" gave him his own episode... finally. A self-contained period piece mixed with forward-moving plotlines made this episode one of the most anticipated installments of the show's final season, and we were not let down.
Next: The Final Four >>
Aired: December 10, 2009
If one comedy kept getting better and better last year, it was NBC's freshman school-com, Community. But its winter finale (is that what we're calling them now?), which doubled as its
Christmas Hanukkah Kwanzaa Holiday episode, was absolutely brilliant. The show skewered the role of religion during year-end festivities, and brought to light what the holidays are really about: friends and family. Oh, and it illustrated this point with a bloody shirts-vs.-skins street brawl. Bonus points for making Anthony Michael Hall a douche-y bully.
Aired: November 5, 2009
Supernatural's fifth season gave us plenty of excellent episodes about its apocalyptic storyline, but it was one of the series' standalone episodes that stood out as uniquely special. "Changing Channels" saw Sam and Dean transported into various television programs (most of which just happened to be parodies of shows that aired in the same Thursday-night time slot as Supernatural, wink wink) and delivered comedic moments that its devoted fanbase thirsts for. Plus, that fake sitcom intro is awesome.
Aired: June 6, 2010
Forget just talking about one of the best episodes of television last season, "Half Measures" was one of the best episodes of television EVER. The penultimate episode of the series' most polished season showcased everything that places Breaking Bad on top of TV's heap: artful direction, class acting, and slick writing. But the episode's monologues and final jaw-dropper were what really put it over the edge. Those last minutes weren't just unexpected, they were a game-changer for the entire series.
Aired: January 21, 2010
Television's funniest new comedy wasn't on the main networks, and it wasn't a premium cable laugher headlined by an A-lister. Heck, it doesn't even have flesh-and-blood actors. FX's Archer is foul, crude, and racist and sexist (in an equal-opportunity way). And that's why we love it, of course. There's a valid argument that "Skorpio" belongs on this list instead of "Diversity Hire," but as the third episode of the season, the latter set the bar for the series' off-color humor. It featured a black Jewish man, a secretary who loves erotic asphyxiation, and all sorts of other shenanigans in a winning formula for comedy that made us cringe in delight.
What episodes of your favorite shows do you think stood out from the rest?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom