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Jan. 5th, 2007

So, I've been thinking a lot about television lately, more specifically about great episodes of television and what makes them so great. In the course of searching online for the script for "The Body" (which I never found--if anyone knows where I can read the actual Joss-penned teleplay, not just a transcript, I'd be your BFF) I found Creative Screenwriting's list of the seven best dramatic television episodes on DVD and I was surprised by how much their list overlapped with mine.

Their List:
1. Star Trek - "The Cage" by Gene Roddenberry
2. Twin Peaks - Pilot by Mark Frost & David Lynch
3. The X-Files - "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" by Darin Morgan
4. ER - "Love's Labor Lost" by Lance Gentile
5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "The Body" by Joss Whedon
6. The West Wing - "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" by Aaron Sorkin
7. The Sopranos - "Employee of the Month" by Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess
* Star Trek - "The City on the Edge of Forever" by Harlan Ellison
* Wiseguy - "No One Gets Out of Here Alive" by David J. Burke
* Quantum Leap - "M.I.A." by Donald P. Bellisario
* Alias - "Truth Be Told" by J.J. Abrams
* The Shield - Pilot by Shawn Ryan

My List:
1. M*A*S*H - "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" by Alan Alda, Burt Metcalfe, John Rappaport, Thad Mumford, Dan Wilcox, David Pollock, Elias Davis, Karen Hall
2. Lost - Pilot by J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "The Body" by Joss Whedon
4. The West Wing - "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen" by Aaron Sorkin
5. ER - "Love's Labor Lost" by Lance Gentile
6. Veronica Mars - Pilot by Rob Thomas
7. Firefly - "Out of Gas" by Tim Minear
* House - "Three Stories" by David Shore
* Northern Exposure - "Cicely" by Andrew Schneider, Diane Frolov
* The X-Files - "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" by Darin Morgan
* Twin Peaks - Pilot by Mark Frost, David Lynch

The DVD restriction really helps narrow it down, because it excludes some truly great television, like Hill Street Blues, China Beach, thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, the amazing Law & Order season six episode, "Aftershock," (the one ending with Claire's death where they completely broke out of the show's formula), and all of David E. Kelly's best work.

So I'm dying to know what's on ya'lls lists? Which singular episodes (dramas only) stand out over the course of your television viewing lifetime? What am I criminally leaving off my list? Discuss.



Jan. 5th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
My So-Called Life,

Wait, but that's on DVD. (And I could swear Hill Street was, too.)

I would kill a puppy for China Beach on DVD.
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
They released MSCL, but it's out of print now and pretty much impossible to get anywhere except on eBay for like $300. Netflix doesn't even have it. :(

Oh, but you're right about Hill Street Blues, I must have typed it in wrong when I was searching for it on Netflix. My bad!
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
Did you need a copy of MSCL? I could, perhaps, be of assistance. (Also? $300? I should totally sell mine! *g*)
Jan. 7th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Assistance? Yes, please. :)

I saw one once being offered used by a 3rd-party vendor on Amazon for $800. I can't believe anyone would pay that much, though.
Jan. 7th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Email me your address and I'll hook you up. :)
Jan. 5th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
I would kill a puppy for China Beach on DVD.

I can't imagine it ever will come out on DVD. Which is why my all-but-two-episodes-on-VHS tapes are so precious to me. The music rights would be astronomical, and it's not a show that you can really temp different music in and have it work, it's too integral to the show. And I don't see Broyles and Young being willing to fork over the funds themselves a la "Freaks and Geeks", so I doubt we'll ever get to see the true love that was McMurphy and Dodger on DVD. ;)
Jan. 6th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
so I doubt we'll ever get to see the true love that was McMurphy and Dodger on DVD. ;)

Oh, no, not this again. heeheee
Jan. 7th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
Do you know anything about how syndication rights work? After a show's initial syndication run is over can another channel pick up the rights affordably years down the road? There are a lot of shows that aren't in syndiation anymore that I'd love to see back on the airwaves.
Jan. 7th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
I don't know for sure, but I would assume yes as syndication is where the studio actually makes back it's money on a show. However, there is a feeling that one-hour shows other than procedurals like L&O don't syndicate very well. And I'm not sure what effect the TV on DVD market has on that. The way things are currently structered, the studio make something like 80% of the profit on a DVD sale (compared to the writer who makes something like five cents...literally). They haven't changed the formula since videos first came on the market, back when buying a single movie on tape cost like $80 because they were so expensive to produce. So there might be a feeling on the studios part that they'd rather keep a show in the vault until they are ready to put it out on DVD rather than syndicate it again.

What shows in particular are you thinking of?

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