My Top 15 Episodes of the Decade
15. Heroes – “Company Man”
In the first season of Heroes, audiences, including myself, were captivated with the intriguing storylines and plot twists the show offered, as well as the slow-building tension across the season arc. But in the episode “Company Man, just over the halfway point of the season, we were also hit with an emotional depth as the father/daughter relationship of the Bennetts was explored.
14. Battlestar Galactica – “Lay Down Your Burdens Part 2”
Battlestar is not really a show with outstanding episodes, but rather a show which is more solid as a whole. However, the finale of season 2 is the episode that stands out for me. It involves the humans faced with a choice: whether to keep searching for Earth or settle in a barely hospitable planet where the Cylons may never find them. In particular, the extended ending is especially intriguing and unexpected.
13. Lost – “Walkabout”
Right from the get-go Lost had established itself as an interesting and mysterious, yet character-driven show. But in its fourth season, they showed us just what the show would be offering. Locke’s revelation at the end of the episode told me that this show truly was going to be something special.
12. Alias – “Truth Be Told”
Its not often that a TV series’s pilot is one of its best episodes, but that’s just the case with Alias. Its extended first episode was almost like a feature film, a story all in itself full of interesting turns and twists, yet it also set us up with a fantastic premise for a TV show.
11. Band of Brothers – “Bastogne”
This is one of the most critically acclaimed episode of this fantastic series, and for good reason. One of the most brutal battles of the war was shown to us through the eyes of an army medic, giving a unique standpoint. The amazing hour of television shows us the true monotony and horror of war through the small details, such as spending hours freezing in foxholes.
10. 24 “Day 1: 11:00pm – 12:00am”
24 had such a fresh, new presence when it aired its first season back in 2001, that it grabbed the attention of TV viewers everywhere. The entire season took place in one day, all leading up to the final hour where everything would be resolved. And they did not disappoint. The first season finale had action, intrigue, and emotion abound with double agents revealed, a gunfight to the death, and a shocking conclusion.
9. The Office – “Christmas Party”
This episode really sums up what the series is, in my mind. It had Michael being Michael, Dwight being Dwight, and classic Jim/Pam tension, with lots of wit and lots of room for the supporting characters to have their moments.
8. The Office – “Gay Witch Hunt”
The Office has never shied away from political correctness debates, and in this episode, where Oscar is outed, they really take things to a hilarious new level. I don’t think I have ever laughed harder in the series than I did during this episode, and that’s saying a lot.
7. Lost – “Greatest Hits”
One of the most emotional episodes of TV I have ever seen sees Charlie facing his destiny and confronting his prophesied death. As Charlie prepares his self-sacrifice, we see his life documented through his Greatest Hits list, and we end up caring for him more than we ever have before.
6. The West Wing – “Noel”
The Christmas episode of the season season saw Josh Lyman discussing his near-death experience with a trauma therapist in a wonderfully clever back and forth. So many aspects of this episode are played up to their dramatic effect perfectly, especially the climax with guest star Yo Yo Ma.
5. Band of Brothers – “The Breaking Point”
Many will say Bastogne is the best of the series, but my favourite is The Breaking Point. IN this fantastic episode, we see what it means to be a leader, including some incredible moments like the heartbreaking shelling scene, the scene where Spears takes over the company, and the end of the episode where Lipton is promoted.
4. Lost – “Through the Looking Glass”
Many will argue that this is the best of the series. The finale of season 3 saw the survivors on the verge of rescue, as Jack organizes a plan to get them all off the island. This plan does require sacrifice and conflict however, leading to one great story. But the real scene stealer here is the twist on the Lost flashback structure,. changing the fabric of the show forever.
3. The Office – “Training”
The Office is the most brilliant comedy of the decade, and this episode shows why. This is simply comedic brilliance, with fantastic scenes involving Tim and Gareth, and David Brent is full form, even breaking out his guitar for a memorable, and cringe-worthy, performance.
2. Lost – “Exodus Part 1”
For Lost fans, this may be an odd choice for my favourite episode from that fantastic series, but it is. The entire first season has been building to this point, and there are some absolutely fantastic scenes here: Jack and Sawyer discussing Jack’s father, Walt giving Vincent over to Shannon, and the heart-swelling launching of the raft. This episode mixes hope and dread perfectly and is a fine example of what this show can be.
1. The West Wing – “Two Cathedrals”
It is hard to find an hour of television so well crafted. This is a powerful episode of my favourite show of the decade, where President Bartlett is faced with the decision of running again in the face of a scandal and the recent death of a dear friend. Everything is brought to a dramatic climax which appears to be a cliffhanger at first glance, but the genius of story tells us that it is not. Television at its finest.