Am going to post another article some time in the next few days, so I decided I'd spend the next post putting up another of my top 50. I believe I had 20 to go.
The Sopranos --- The Pine Barrens
Okay, this is the most overrated show of all time. You can say what you want about its supposed brillaince, but it even acknowledged in its last episodes that we were basically following the activities of a sociopath and his family. Yes, there were some flashes of genius, but for the most part David Chase and his crew glorified violence and bloodshed and called it entertainment. This hour, when Paulie and Christopher routine collection of a Russian's debt goes horribly wrong, was probably it's finest hour in both comic and dramatic possibilities. But all of the joy that comes out of great television is absent with this episode. And it doesn't change the fact that none of the story possibilities opened are ever even touched on again. So why pick this (or any Sopranos episode) in the first place? Because when I saw it, I thought it was genius (I didn't really start to detest the show until Ralphie lost his head.) and there are moments that shine.But this episode is like The Sopranos as a whole, it glories in the moment, but when it's over, you're a little ashamed you watched.
Dexter --- The Getaway
Now this is how you write a brilliant series about a sociopath! Michael C. Hall always astonished me in this series, but in the season 4 finale, he deomonstrates why he is one of the best actors in Hollywood. His confrontation with the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow, who's never played a psychopath quite like this) is memorable, particularly in the final scene where Dexter seems to come to grips with who he is. His relationship with Debra seems barely shaken from the thunderous revelation about who her brother really is. But it's the final scene, where Dexter, finally seems capable of getting the happy ending we actually think that he's earned--- and then comes home to see his newborn son in the blood spatter of Rita makes us realize that he will never emerge whole. I don't know where they're going to take this series in Season 5, but this may be it's crowning achievement.
Arrested Development --- Mr. F
Oh, I loved this show so much. Why did it seem that the only people who ever watched it were me, Emmy voters, and all the TV critics. Every aspect of the show, writing,acting and narration were so brilliant , it's hard to pick a favorite. But this episode stands out in my mind not just for all these reasons--- or Charlize Theron's gem of a performance as Rita, but how it takes the most blatant of taboo of all, and turns in it to a hysterical joke. ANyone else who watched or witnessed it would think that it was offensive; I found it comic gem. I personally don't care if they ever do an movie of this show--- just the memories of it are enough even now.
Star Trek: The Next Generation ---- The Best of Both Worlds (I)
The best incarnation of the series, this is probably the best single hour that we ever saw of any of the Star Trek franchise (and it's airtime just makes the deadline) It's good to see the Borg back when they still seemed this all-encompassing threat rather than just another big monster that the writers pulled out of their hat every season. And it was a real blow to see Picard taken prisoner, leaving Riker to make the most shocking decision in the show's history. And even when he sees his former captain decked out in Borg armor, he doesn't hesitate for a moment. "Mr. Worf. Fire." Best last line of a season ever,'
NYPD Blue --- A Death in the Family
I never thought that this police drama was as good as it could be --- all of the characters talked like they were characters in a cop show, instead of actual cops. But that doesn't change the fact that, at it's peak, it was nearly perfect when it dealt with emotions. Seeing Andy Sipowicz deal with the first (of far too many) losses was one of the most painful episodes of TV i'VE seen. Even though we don't know Andy Jr, that well, the fact that everybody did, and what he was seems to cause real pain. And watching Dennis Franz going down the path that we know will eventually lead him into the bottle --- of the four Emmy's he won, this is the one he really desreved.