50. Sports Night----- The Quality of Mercy at 29K
I've never truly forgiven ABC for canceling this brilliant show in 2000, even after it's ratings went up despite a killer time slot. Almost every episode was filled with Aaron Sorkin's personal energy, but few had the wit and majesty that this episode did. The romance between Natalie and Jeremy finally starts firing sparks after just a few episodes, Dana's efforts to get tickets to The Lion King and her awe and wonder when she sees it, Dan's desire to try and figure out what to be charitable --- all gems. But the two minutes, when three major storylines converge--- that was done in a way that I've rarely seen any show match. Priceless.
49. Angel--- Reunion
My personal candidate for best spinoff ever starts with this show, which started as Buffy wannabe, and then in season 2 kicked into high. After episodes trying to get the recently human Darla out of his head, Angel has to watch as his own vampire child Drusilla revamped her. The chance to see Julie Benz and Juliet Landau at the top of their game is worth watching this episode, but it becomes a masterpiece when Wolfram & Hart, the evil law firm responsible finds itself at the mercy of these two vampiric legends. Angel returns, and just when we think he's going to save them--- he locks them in with his evil children. The show would go to some truly dark places, but few were as majestic as the ones we saw here.
48. Twin Peaks --- Episode 3 (Cooper's Dreams)
I'm in the minority in thinking this series actually made a certain amount of sense all the way through. Don't get me wrong, the Pilot was one of the best first episodes of a series ever created. But I've always felt that this episode (curse Lynch and Frost for not titling them) had one of the most astonishing five minute wrap up ever. The dream sequence will haunt your nightmares, and believe it or not, all of the dialogue we got in it did help make sense of the mystery.We may not have learned who killed Laura Palmer, but it did tell us that maybe knowing wouldn't give us all the answers.
47. The Practice--- Betrayal
Before David E. Kelley lost his mind during the Bush Administration (I loved Boston Legal, but despite the rantings, not because of them) he had a gift for creating mesmerizing villain and corkscrew plots. The Practice was a little seen show in 1997, but this episode demonstrated that there was gold in these hills. Featuring an Emmy winning performance by John Laroquette as Joey Herric as a man who manages to manipulate the legal system to get out of committing a murder, this show was dark, witty and mesmerizing. When it ended, I knew this was a show with a future.
46. Grey's Anatomy --- The End of the World/ As We Know It
My love affair with this show didn't last very long, but there was a period where I thought Shonda Rhimes was a genius. With the overwhelming sex drives sublimated (but not gone) it was hard not to be impressed by the professionalism of the 'code black' that seized Seattle Grace. Featuring some of Chandra Wilson, Ellen Pompeo and T.R. Knight's best work on the series, as well as the always reliable Christina Ricci and Kyle Chandle in memorable guest turns -- this show made you think that this was a worthy successor to ER and St. Elsewhere. Then Izzy fell in love with Denny. Oh well.