Monday, December 28, 2009

My top 15 episodes of 2009

I need to preface this with the fact that I have been a bit behind on my TV watching this year. I have not seen Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Weeds, Fringe or Californication so the list is obviously a little biased. I did my best with what I did see though...

#15 6AM-8AM (24)

OMG, Kim Bauer actually does something useful for once in the 7 year history of the show! Why the hell could they not have always written her character this way? It was so sad to hate her character so much for so long since she is so very bangable :-P This episode was such a great ending to the season that brought back life to 24 after the dull and disappointing 6th season. Tony finally revealing that he was working for the good guys all along, Jack killing all of those scientists that wanted to harvest his organs for research, and Jack fighting a Prion disease. What a great season of action television. The ending was also perfect, what better way to end the season with Kim starting the treatment that will eventually cure Jack in the next two years that I am assuming we will skip in between this season and season 8.

#14 The Lover (The Office)

Watching Pam freak out about Micheal dating her mom was probably the best part of the latest season of the Office. Micheal's reaction to how old Pam's mom is during her birthday dinner was one of the best awkward humor moments I have seen this year on TV, rivaling some of the better stuff to come out of Curb Your Enthusiasm this season. I also kind of like the concept of Jim and Micheal being co-managers.

#13 LaFleur (Lost)

What an undertaking for a writer. Since the season 3 finalie we have been seeing what the Oceanic six have been up to in the three years that have passed since they day they left the island, and it still seemed like we needed more information. In this episode alone, we see what the ones left behind have been doing for those three years. Not only does it sound nearly impossible to tell that in a satisfying way in one episode, but they also had to introduce the fact that they spent those 3 years 30 years in the past! On top of all of this, they convincingly showed that Sawyer and Juliet have learned to love each other in that time. Luckily the writers were aided by the fact that Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchel have great chemistry. I gotta say though, what is up with Sawyer wanting Juliet to watch his back so much? That coupled with the above image of how Juliet holds Sawyer while they sleep shows me a lot about Sawyer that they have not ever shown us before....

#12 The Attic (Dollhouse)

It's episodes like this that both make me love and hate the fact that the show is ending. The unfortunate side is seeing what was sure to be a 5+ year plan for the show rushed into the last bunch of episodes of season 2. The upside is that we still get to see the overall story of the show before it ends, something we were not so lucky with on Firefly. I hope one day Joss will be able to create another story as fulfilling and wonderful as the Buffy/Angelverse without the networks screwing it up. Both Firefly and Dollhouse had the potential to become amazing stories and both were flushed down the drain by FOX. Joss needs to get the hell out of dodge...

#11 The D.E.N.N.I.S System (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

It took me a while to get into Always Sunny. Whenever I would watch it casually when it was on I found all of the characters to be abnoxious and retarded so I dubbed the show not worth my time. Once I finally decided to watch the show all the way through and got to know all of the characters better I realized the best part about them is how they are all horrible human beings with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Which brings me to this episode, this episode highlights exactly how and why all of these characters are such horrible people. From Dennis' system to Frank and Mac trying to go after Dennis' sloppy seconds. This episode was the highlight to the already great season this year.

#10 Fishsticks (South Park)

It is no secret that I love Kanye West. I have defended him through all of the stupid shit he has done from "George Bush hates black people" to "And imma let you finish...", but holy shit is this episode of South Park hilarious! I love the way Kanye talks in it (especially how he says homosexual haha). It is even better that this episode came out before all of the Taylor Swift drama. Even at its core, I think the concept of Cartman and Jimmy working together to write jokes is an amazing idea. This is definitely one of my favorite episodes of South Park ever.

#9 Jughead (Lost)

Lost in 1954! What is there not to love about this masterpiece of an episode? Here are some of my favorite parts:

"Which one of you is the leader" and the camera angle on Daniel Faraday that follows.
John telling Richard to visit him in two years on the day he is born.
Charles Widmore proclaiming to Richard that there is no way that the old man leading the other group could have tracked him then it cutting to Locke overlooking the Others' camp.
Farraday being marched to Jughead by his teenage mother.
"You told her?"
"Because I am in love with the woman sitting next to me"
and finally, the awesome ending with Charolete bleeding in Faraday's arms.

#8 The Bare Midriff (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

I am certain that I have not laughed as much as I did while watching this episode all year. Just watching Jerry and Larry working together and dealing with such an uncomfortable situation at work was enough to make this episode perfect. But coupling that with Larry's super high urine flow rate was just about the best idea they had all year (and that is saying something). Accidentally peeing on the picture of Jesus was so wrong and yet so right for this episode. One of my favorite things about Curb has always been how they set up small things throughout each episode that ultimately end in a great final joke and this episode takes the cake for the best payoff yet.

#7 The Public Eye/The Left Hand (Dollhouse)

Two words: Alexis Denisof! These two episodes made me proud to be a Whedoholic once again. It just felt like a two hour Whedon reunion packed into two hours of amazing television. Again though the only real downside is seeing the show on fastforward. So many of these plot twists happen so fast that it must have been hard for Joss to see the final product knowing that these things should have been separated by years. Summer Glau was amazing working with Fran Kranz in this as well.

#6 The Incident (Lost)

Almost every Lost fan will agree, this episode was fucking awesome! The opening scene is already infamous and I cannot wait to see the continuation of it (which I will be very surprised not to see in season 6). Ilyana's group is no doubt important for the end game of the series and I cannot wait to see where they go with that story. The flashbacks are great, showing how Jacob has "touched" many of our character's lives. Watching Jack go into full on faith mode has been a very satisfying thing for me as a fan to watch because of how much the character has developed throughout the last 5 seasons. This episode holds so many of the show's greatest moments, including the Jack and Sawyer fight we have been waiting for all these years. It also holds maybe the most emotionally draining scene of the whole show. Skate shipper or not, if you didn't feel anything while Sawyer was holding on to Juliet as she was about to fall into the Swan you just don't have a heart.

#5 7PM-9PM (24)

Watching the White House get infiltrated on 24 was a geekgasm joy for me. These two episodes are so much fun to watch. Rack Bauer running around after jumping in the water was an ultra plus to this episode. One of the funniest moments for me in all of 24 (there are so many hilarious moments on this show, remember "CLAAUUUUDDDIAAAA!!!!"?) is when Rack Bauer sneaks onto Juma's boat to try and figure out their target and she finds a huge thing of floor plans and electrical grids for the White House but her FBI training did not allow her to figure it out until she finally flips to a huge picture of the White House hahaha. Although it was one of the best ways for him to go, it was very sad to see Bill Buchanan die in this episode, he was always one of my favorites.

#4 This Place is Death (Lost)

After 4 years of storytelling, this episode really packs a punch in terms of satisfying a viewer who has always wished to see some of the stories we have only heard about through the characters. To see Jin accompany Roussoue's team into the heart of the jungle and watch them right before they get "the sickness" will always be one of my favorite things Lost has ever done. And that is only the first 15 minutes of the episode! The iconic ferry dock scene takes place mainly in this episode. To me the most significant part of this episode is the end when John is told that he was the one who had to turn the wheel by Christian. If it is true that Christian always knew that John had to turn the wheel during this time, it is huge for the mythology of the show. Although we do not know exactly what year it takes place, it shows that the island was moved in the days back when the Tawrett statue was still erect, which I am hoping will have huge implications for the entire course of the events that we have seen in the show. I would not be surprised if this takes place around the same time as the opening scene in The Incident, it may even help to explain why the Black Rock is in the middle of the island. I really hope that this does become significant because it is things like this that make me believe that season 5 may be the best season of the show.

#3 The Oath/Blood on the Scales (Battlestar Galactica)

These two episodes will go down as two of the best BSG episodes ever. I remember watching them for the first time when they aired, it felt like someone hit me with a sledgehammer as hard as they could. I just sat there in awe for a few minutes once it was all over. These are maybe the main episodes that make me incredibly happy that they continued the show after they found "Earth". The complete and utter loss of hope that drives the motivations of many of our favorite characters in the rebellion is both heartbreaking and exhilarating to witness. Also, the absence of Laura Rosslin in the public eye is undermined once she declares war on all of the followers of Gaeta and Zarek from the basestar. I also particularly love Baltar in this episode, even though he is safe and having sex with one of the sixes on the basestar he feels guilty that he has left his harem behind and wants to go back and help them. This is profound character development in terms of Gaius Baltar. Another particularly great part of these episodes is Chief Tyroll's crawl toward the FTL drives of the ship and him realizing that the BSG is ready to die out.

#2 Dead is Dead (Lost)

Words cannot express how much I love this episode. Every second of it is perfection in my eyes. This to me is the epitome of Lost in many ways because it holds some of the scenes I had always wanted to see and those only account for about half of the episode. We see Charles and Ben meet for the first time, Ben stealing Alex from Danielle, Charles being excised from the island, and of course what Ben did right before boarding Ajira 316. Other than those amazing scenes, we see John and Ben's conversation about Ben killing John through  Ben being judged by the smoke monster. Now, this episode may ultimately be a disappointment to me if a few assumptions I have made turn out to be incorrect, but I do not see this happening. In my eyes John Unlocke = MiB = The Smoke Monster. If this is true, then Dead is Dead is one of the most meticulously detailed episodes of Lost ever. Just watch it again thinking that Unlocke is Smokie and the episode will blow your mind. Plus, who didn't love Ben blowing Caesar away with the shotgun? :-)

#1 Daybreak (Battlestar Galactica)

I feel very strongly that this was an amazing way to cap off one of the greatest television series to ever air. I love the back story scenes (especially Baltar and his father, Lee fighting the pigeon, and Saul hollering at the strippers haha), the amazing battle near the black hole, and the ending on Earth. I find Kara's conclusion more satisfying now that I have rewatched the series, even though at first it feels kind of cheep. Now I find it to be beautiful that she was always destined to die in the nebula only to be reborn to lead the Cylons and Humans to what eventually becomes our civilization. I loved the idea of Sam leading the fleet into the sun after he fully integrates into the Battlestar Galactica. They tied the idea of "It has happened before and will happen again" very well and to me concluded the in-head Six and Baltar story very well also. One thing I found to be a decent idea but looked super cheesy on film was when the fleet was separated into who will fight and who will stay (btw Admeral Hoshi and President Lempkin? AWESOME!) it just looked too hokey on screen. I did like it though for the scene with the doctor trying to go to the fighting side and Adama telling him to stay behind and for Baltar being brave enough to finally put his life on the line for other people. I can only hope Lost ends with something this satisfying.

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