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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 05:37 pm (UTC)
A few of mine
I don't know that I could come up with ten episodes, but I could add a few to the ones we agree with. Like you, I would put HSB, MSCL, CB and thirtysomething episodes on the list. But alas.

In agreement: ER "Love's Labor Lost"; The West Wing "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen"; Lost "Pilot"; Buffy the Vampire Slayer "The Body"

Would put in the top 10:
The X-Files "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"; Northern Exposure "Seoul Mates" by Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider--maybe "Democracy in America" by Jeff Melvoin or "Burning Down the House" by Robin Green
Alias "Truth Be Told" by JJ Abrams
Deep Space Nine "In the Pale Moonlight" by Michael Taylor
Battlestar Galactica "Kobol's Last Gleaming (Pt. 1 & 2)" by Ronald D. Moore

Gilmore Girls "They Shoot Gilmores Don't They" by Amy Sherman-Palladino
Everwood "The Last of Summer" by Greg Berlanti and Rita Mimoun
Everwood "Home" by Michael Green, Rita Mimoun The West Wing "Take This Sabbath Day" by Aaron Sorkin
Joan of Arcadia "Silence" by Barbara Hall

Guilty Pleasure: Christy "Pilot" by Patricia Green

Not on DVD but I'm going to cite them anyway:
I'll Fly Away "The Hat" by David Chase
I'll Fly Away "Rules of the Game" by Barbara Hall
Jan. 7th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
Re: A few of mine
There were so many stand-out episodes of Northern Exposure that it's hard to choose between them. And I can't believe I didn't include any BSG on my list! I knew I was forgetting something.

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