Here are my favorite episodes of television from the past year in no particular order. If it is possible, there was even more good television than last year and it was very difficult to pick only eight episodes. They are not necessarily the BEST episodes from the year, just the ones that I enjoyed and the ones that affected me the most.
1. Justified – The Promise
I am not really sure what made me interested in checking out this show when it first aired. Timothy Olyphant was definitely a factor, but there just must have been something about those first trailers that drew me in. And I am so glad that they did because it quickly became one of my favorite shows on TV. Each season was engaging and they had some of the best guest stars of any show on TV. This finale not only wrapped up the season’s arc with an epic shootout, but also brought Raylan’s, Ava’s and Boyd’s stories full circle. Everyone ended up exactly where they should.
2. The Flash – Fast Enough / Arrow – Legends of Yesterday
Okay, so this is technically two episodes, but since it was a two-part crossover, I am counting them as one. There are so many things that I love about these shows, including the fact that The Flash has consistently had the best special effects of any show on TV and Arrow has the best stunts. I also really found the music in these episodes to be inspiring. It was subtle, but in the Flash episode, you could hear Arrow themes overlayed and in the Arrow episode you could hear Flash themes. It was beautiful and awesome. These episodes also introduced us to Hawkgirl, Hawkman and Vandal Savage, who will all be featured on the new series Legends of Tomorrow. I just love how these shows intertwine so seamlessly, yet still maintain their individual tones.
3. Outlander – Wentworth Prison
The performances in this episode from Sam Heughan, Caitroina Balfe and Tobias Menzies just blew me away and broke my heart. It was an incredibly difficult episode to watch, even as someone who has read the books and knew what was going to happen, but is was so well done. We saw just how evil and broken Black Jack Randall truly is and also what lengths Jamie would go to in order to protect Claire. It was an extremely powerful and moving episode of television, and one that will stay with me for a long time.
4. Playing House – Celebrate Me Scones
One word: Bosephus! This season finale also gave us Kenny Loggins and his pun-tastic green room, as well as Jeanine Willcall and a heartwrenching cliff-hanger. You would think that having one of my best friends from high school working at the network, I would be able to get *some* intel on whether or not there would be a third season, but my mind control skills do not seem to be working. I NEED MORE OF THIS AMAZING SHOW!
5. Parenthood – May God Bless and Keep You Always
Jason Katims just really knows how to do series finales right. He knows exactly what his audience needs to feel closure and he gives it to them. He did it with Friday Night Lights and here again with Parenthood. I was lucky enough to watch this episode with the ATX Television Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse and there was something cathartic about bawling my eyes out while surround by strangers who were also crying. I still miss the Bravermans terribly, but I know in my heart that they are all in a good place 🙂
6. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – 4,722 Hours
This episode was entirely about the time Simmons spent on another planet after getting pulled through the monolith, how she survived and why she needed to go back. It was bold storytelling, punctuated by an incredible performance from Elizabeth Henstridge. This show and its entire cast are firing on all cylinders this season and I am happy to be along for the ride.
7. The Leftovers – International Assassin
The entire second season was fantastic, but this episode just blew me away. After poisoning himself, Kevin wakes up in a hotel bathtub with a mission to kill Patti and get back to his family and it was captivating to watch. Not only did they kill off the lead character, but they brought him back to life, and they did it in a way that was totally organic to the show. The performances on this show always leave me breathless and I cannot tear my eyes from the screen. I am so thrilled that there will be a third season.
8. Orphan Black – Certain Agony of the Battlefield
Not only did the episode include this AMAZING scene:
But it also included a great dream sequence between Beth and Sarah (or Tatiana and Tatiana), and an explosive death for Paul. I think I am in the minority here, but I always liked Paul because you never really knew where he stood or what he was up to, but he always looked out for Sarah. It was never Beth he loved.
Honorable Mentions: Banshee “We All Pay Eventually,” Shameless “Love Songs (In the Key of Gallagher),” You’re the Worst “There Is Not Currently A Problem,” Jane the Virgin “Chapter Twenty-Eight,” Strike Back “Episode Forty,” Bones “The Resurrection in the Remains,” The Americans “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov,” and Supergirl “Hostile Takeover.”
The entire second season of Fargo was incredible and I could not single out just one episode that I enjoyed more than the others. Also, I am two episodes behind on Kingdom, but the rest of the season has been fantastic, so I imagine they finished with a bang.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!
I wish you all a very Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year, and I look forward to writing for you and hearing from you in 2016! xoxo