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Jan. 8th, 2007 (UTC)

I'm both astonished and thrilled that this exercise suggests I haven't seen enough TV in my life. Ahem.

I'm intrigued that a lot of stuff on our lists seems to boil down to two categories (with a few notable exceptions): pilots and episodes that completely blow up the show's typical format (I know the vamp at the end of "The Body" is controversial, but I'd argue he's kind of neat both in underscoring that the ep has had a distinct lack of monsters and in introducing the question of whether death, tragic though it is, is not the worst that can happen to a person). Say what you will about Aaron Sorkin (and I've said a lot about him), but those attempts at fracturing the narrative (shifting the timeline, writing letters to deaf people, having Big Block of Cheese days, etc.) came up all the time on TWW. That's...pretty amazing, now that I think about it. And I really, really miss Darin Morgan.

Along those lines, as much as I love "The Body" (and I do--possibly their best use of Anya outside of "Selfless"), I'd suggest "Hush" as the bigger derivation from Buffy's typical narrative. How on earth do you manage to snark without any dialogue? They did it, and knocked the heck out of the theme at the same time. Although it's less flashy, Homicide's "Three Men and Adena" breaks their typical narrative structure (such as it was five episodes in) by locking three characters in the box--it's their version of a submarine episode.

I'd also rank the pilots of both Veronica Mars and Dead Like Me above stuff like Lost and Alias, because while the latter were absolutely mind-blowing, they set up premises so hefty that the their shows buckled under the weight within the first ten eps. In that way, the pilots were actually bad for the shows.

I'm intrigued, though, by the fact that we give so little credit to the workaday ep, the one that doesn't go outside the typical narrative but is just a perfectly written movement forward of the show's normal plot and characters. Whither "In Excelsis Deo" or "Colony/End Game" from X-Files or "Resurrection Ship" from BSG? So interesting.

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