Another year, another 100 items we've crammed into a list of things that made us hug our TVs, and today marks the official start of our attempt to summarize our TV year, 10 items at a time. We've tried to spread the wealth, but some shows were so good in 2012 that you might see them more than once. Is this list totally and completely and absolutely definitive? number 96 isn't necessarily better than number 97, but you can bet your left ear that number 1 is probably better than number 100.
We'll trot out our picks 10 at a time, every weekday through the end of the year, so check back regularly to see what else made the cut or to learn how to count down from 100.
100. Revolution says what we were all thinking
We (Tim) has given NBC's post-apocalyptic drama a hard time mostly because the show deserves it, but there was one moment in the series' mid-season finale that both fans and hate-watchers could agree on. In the best episode of Revolution thus far, teen heroine Charlie stood waiting for Uncle Miles to escape the fortress of Sebastian Monroe, and when Miles emerged from danger he was greeted by Charlie's cartoonish cheeseburger grin. How did Miles respond? "Run, you idiot!" Also great: Charlie getting punched in the face in previous episodes. Like, repeatedly.
99. A dude EXPLODES on The Secret Circle
That was so cool.
98. Falling Skies' harness factory
TNT's alien-invasion drama made a lot of mistakes in Season 2, but one thing it got right was this pretty scary sequence showing us how young'uns get their alien backpacks. Sea cucumber-like things go down an alien waterslide and slap themselves right onto restrained kids' backs. Maybe it was the creepiness, maybe it's just because we love to see children being tortured.
97. Barney catches us up on seven seasons of How I Met Your Mother
In the same amount of time it takes most shows to get through their opening credits, Barney Stinson recapped the important parts of the CBS comedy to date. If this show had Barney telling the kids the story of how their mother was met instead or the rambling adult Ted, this long-running series wouldn't have lasted one episode.
96. The end of Gossip Girl
It's over, it's finally over! The show that was reviewed in text-speak acronyms and that taught sex to the nation's children lumbered through its listless final season this year, putting a cap on the show that the media wanted everyone to like more than they did. The CW series will always be remembered as a show that people talked about more than watched, and it's final finale was terrible and hilarious. Also: That person was "Gossip Girl"? Yeah, sure, we saw it coming, but still.
95. Ron Swanson vs. Ben's dad in the Battle of the Shrimp
SEAFOOD MAN CLASH 2012! Parks and Recreation hosted a macho showdown between its resident tough guy (Ron Swanson) and TV's favorite tough guy, guest-star Jonathan Banks (Mike from Breaking Bad), over the last bacon-wrapped crustacean at the buffet. It was a quick joke, but one of those cross-TV moments that makes this show so sharp.
94. Finch and Reese get a new roommate
CBS's Person of Interest isn't meant to be taken seriously at all times. So when Reese forcefully adopted an attack pooch that only spoke Dutch from some lowlifes who didn't appreciate it, it was a gag we only expected to last the rest of the episode. But Bear (that's the dog) stuck around and has transformed the Dynamic Duo into Terrific Trio in one of the more unexpected, and pleasant, new additions to a show this year.
93. Dewey Crowe loses a kidney, goes on a spree
One of Harlan County's redneckiest rednecks woke up in a bathtub, one kidney lighter, in "Thick as Mud," a fun tangent during Justified's third season. The twisted organ extractor had a simple task for Dewey: Come up with $20,000 in cash in four hours, and he could get his kidney reinstalled. If not, then he'd be one less hillbilly headache for Raylan Givens. Of course Dr. Givens asked dimwitted Dewey to try peeing, and when he did, the case was solved: The kidney was there all along.
Previously: Justified "Thick as Mud" Review: Do the Dewey
92. Elementary's opening credits
Network television has mostly abandoned the art of the opening sequence, but Elementary went old-school with these dizzying, Rube Goldberg-esque credits that represent the elegant yet complex mind of the series' detective whiz protagonist.
91. White Collar, flesh-colored everything else
In a September episode of the USA drama, subtlety took the week off and gratuitousness substituted in when Peter and Neal got half naked and sweaty for our entertainment. It was a boxing match between Matt Bomer and ladies' decency everywhere, and Bomer won in a first-round TKO.
Previously: White Collar "Gloves Off" Review: Hunk Tussle!
Check back tomorrow for items 90-81!