Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Top 25 Episodes of 2009-2010: #10-6

As a forerunner to the 4th Annual AFT Television Awards, my choices for the best of the most recent TV season which begin next week, here is a reader-requested run-through of the top 25 episodes of the 2009-2010 television season. Click on episode titles to read my original reviews of the episodes. Beware spoilers.

#10: “Culling” (Sons of Anarchy)

Things really came to a head in the penultimate episode of the season as Clay and Jax took on Weston and Zobelle. The conflict between Uncer and Hale as the latter refuses to stand by and let Uncer proclaim “no crime has been committed” was absolutely fascinating and incredibly played out. What really made this episode awesome, however, was Tara one-upping Gemma’s skateboard to the face and beating up her supervisor at the hospital.

#9: “Sunset” (Breaking Bad)

This episode came right before the Emmy-nominated “One Minute” and really set it up brilliantly. Gus giving up Hank as restitution for Tuco’s murder to his violent cousins was only the run-up to an incredibly intense and shocking standoff where Hank came so close to coming face-to-face with Walt and Jesse, and Walt crossed yet another line by having Saul call Hank and tell him Marie was in the hospital. Bonus: the introduction of Gale.

#8: “Hungry Man” (Dexter)

This certainly wasn’t a forgettable Thanksgiving installment, and while John Lithgow and Michael C. Hall are submitting other episodes for Emmy consideration, this one could probably win them both awards. Dexter actually revealed himself when he tried to strangle Arthur at the dinner table, but what really threw me for a loop was the jaw-dropping reveal that nosy reporter Christine is Arthur’s daughter!

#7: “Full Measure” (Breaking Bad)

As if the season couldn’t get any better, the finale was even crazier and more shocking than what led up to it. Walt bartering for his life is intense as it is, and the addition of his plan to save himself by executing Gale is even more unfathomable. His near-execution by Mike followed by his frantic phone call to Jesse and that parting gunshot made this one of the most breathless season finales I’ve ever seen.

#6: “Niagara” (The Office)

In a disappointing season, it makes sense that the best episode might seem better than it is, but this is one of the all-time greatest installments of this show. The wedding was both touching and hilarious, and the reenactment of the “Forever” dance was an instant classic moment. The episode’s events also reverberated through the rest of the season, as Michael got lucky with none other than Pam’s mom.

Coming up tomorrow: #5-1


Greg Boyd said...

I personally enjoyed "Niagara", but the whole "Forever" dance really didn't work for me. There were so many other, better moments: Michael's ill-advised attempts to soften the news about Pam's pregnancy, Dwight talking about an invention that allows him to take meat from a horse while it's still alive (disturbing, but funny), and of course Andy getting injured.

I'd probably rank it as my fourth favorite "Office" episode of the season, behind "The Delivery", "Gossip", and "Happy Hour". It was very good, but I don't consider it a classic "Office" episode. It's certainly no "Dinner Party".

Movies with Abe said...

I didn't really like "Gossip" and felt that "Happy Hour" was very good, while "The Delivery" was great. I would disagree with you, however, and say that "Niagara" is just as terrific an episode as "Dinner Party." My all-time favorite episode, however, still remains "Dunder Mifflin Infinity," which has me cracking up every time I watch it again, followed closely by both "Beach Games" and "The Job."

Greg Boyd said...

"Beach Games" is classic, and "The Job" is also very good. Really, the end of season 3 is simply "The Office" at its best. "Product Recall", "The Negotiation", "Women's Appreciation", etc... all terrific.

I really hope the show can regain some of that in season 7. Regardless, I do hope it's the last season (what with Carrell leaving). This show is running out of steam, I think.

thedemonhog said...

Dexter, The Office, Breaking Bad—we are getting into the good stuff. The only thing that is missing is some Lost.

Fabio Nascimento said...

Love 'Culling', 'Sunset', 'Full Measures' and 'Niagara'. All beautiful choices, but I'm not sure about 'Hungry Man', I would've chosen 'Hello Dexter Morgan' which was so intense and probably one of the show's best hours and that cliffhanger was top notch. But still a great choice.