In a 12 months with simply a lot TV, it’s unattainable for it to all be good. We’re typically of the minds that there’s extra good TV than unhealthy, however that is nonetheless a numbers challenge — in any case, as an episodic medium, a tv present usually isn’t even constantly good inside itself. However that’s the great thing about it: Yow will discover one thing to put in writing residence about even within the worst of exhibits, and one thing actually transcendent in the very best of them.
This checklist is crammed with unbelievable episodes of numerous the nice exhibits that got here to outline our 12 months in TV. A few of them have been the ultimate acts to cap off a powerful season; others are center chapters that seize the heights of the present.
TV isn’t alone in making one thing really feel like a noteworthy half of an entire; there’s additionally film scenes that stand out from the remainder of the movie they’re in. And positively one may make a case for many of those exhibits as among the many better of the 12 months (and, certainly, there’s numerous crossover with our Finest TV exhibits of 2022 checklist). However nonetheless, there’s one thing distinctive about an episode that simply actually kills it in each method it might probably. That’s good leisure — that’s TV, child.
Andor season 1, episode 10, “One Means Out”
Andor got here into its personal throughout its Narkina 5 trilogy, a set of episodes that noticed its hero imprisoned in a secret labor camp on false pretense. With exceptional economic system, Andor lays out the inhumanity undergirding Star Wars’ Galactic Empire in stark aid — after which exhibits how a lot work it takes to construct up the individuals it has oppressed into not taking it anymore. “One Means Out” is a rousing and thrilling hour of tv that underlines Andor’s give attention to making a insurrection private, and reminding the subjugated that there are extra of us than there are of them. —Joshua Rivera
Andor is accessible to observe on Disney Plus.
Gamers season 1 episode 10, “Yuumi”
Photograph: Lara Solanki/Paramount Plus
The esports mockumentary Gamers, from the good minds behind American Vandal, was one in every of 2022’s largest surprises and our #Eight favourite TV present of the 12 months. Naturally, there are lots of completely different episodes we may have picked right here — the episodes centered on Braxton and Guru additionally stand out — however the wonderful finale “Yuumi” is the pure selection due to how nicely it represents what Gamers does so nicely.
For our non-League of Legends readers, Yuumi is a playable character within the sport — a magical cat who attaches herself to a teammate. “Yuumi” the episode opens with a dramatic studying of her foolish lore, within the traditional ludicrous humorousness we’ve come to anticipate from showrunners Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault. However as is usually the case with their work, the foolish bit finally ends up turning into one thing fairly significant.
And that’s why “Yuumi” is a good encapsulation of how Gamers is ready to pull off the unattainable: making you give a shit a couple of fictional League of Legends workforce. Gamers makes use of Yuumi’s distinctive standing within the sport as a champion wholly reliant on one other participant to nail one of many main thematic throughlines and arcs of the season — protagonists Creamcheese and Organizm overcoming their respective egos and variations to work collectively as a workforce. It’s a becoming finish to a wonderful season of foolish, significant tv. —Pete Volk
Gamers is accessible to observe on Paramount Plus.
The Rehearsal season 1 episode 6, “Faux Daddy”
The Rehearsal was twisty and misleading from the beginning. The early episodes of Nathan Fielder’s docuseries (if we’re calling it that) had him serving to individuals dwell out their possibly goals, feeling out the very best circumstances to lift a baby or have a troublesome dialog. Earlier than too lengthy the present morphed into one thing else, much less simply definable and way more audacious. “Faux Daddy,” the season finale, is the end result of all that work, driving to the deepest a part of the center of Fielder’s premise and persona.
As a comic with knowledgeable cringe timing, who may at all times discover the appropriate factor to say (“Door metropolis over right here, huh?”), let The Rehearsal change into one thing of a shell sport with its themes. In “Faux Daddy,” one may make the case for The Rehearsal enjoying into all the things from anxiousness and presentation of self to the ethics of kid appearing to Fielder’s personal contemplation of his comedy. It’s the very best form of TV — divisive, difficult, typically bizarre and at all times simply intensely fascinating. It seems the door metropolis was filled with trapdoors all alongside; “Faux Daddy” was simply the very best form of fall. —Zosha Millman
The Rehearsal is accessible to observe on HBO Max.
Severance season 1 episode 9, “The We We Are”
Picture: Apple TV Plus
Cease me should you’ve heard this however: TV is, by nature, constructed off the longform narrative construction. And with that duty comes the nice energy of making a finale simply actually aggravating with how a lot it leans into the cliffhanger of all of it to arrange the following chapter. After eight episodes of mounting intrigue, suspense, and mid-century fashionable, Severance delivered with “The We We Are,” an annoyingly efficient — if extremely good — chapter that leaves each single one in every of our precept gamers in a lurch. Its abrupt ending units the stage for an exciting season 2, with out letting down the characters’ tales as much as that time.
In truth, fairly the other: Of their temporary hour in the actual world, Severance’s “innies” came upon truths they don’t know what to do with (maybe the truest taste of dwelling a full life). And whether or not it’s the cries of “Burt!,” “We’re prisoners,” or “She’s alive!,” the temporary hour-long experiences on the surface have essentially altered the place the present goes from right here. It’s a daring finale that leans into all of the stunts that TV can pull, and it does it nicely. Goddammit for that. —ZM
Severance is accessible to observe on Apple TV Plus.
Station Eleven season 1 episode 7, “Goodbye My Broken Dwelling”
Photograph: Ian Watson/HBO Max
There’s not numerous corners of Station Eleven that aren’t mildly bleak, and episode 7, “Goodbye my Broken Dwelling,” isn’t any exception. As Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis) displays again on her first days post-pandemic, it’s unattainable to disregard the emotional devastation that she (performed in her youthful type by Matilda Lawler), Jeevan (Himesh Patel), and Frank (Nabhaan Rizwan) attempt to stave off as they the desolation of their state of affairs.
And but, “Goodbye” is subtly grand, turning out and in like an origami fortune teller, unfurling its wings to seek out new views on a narrative we form of know. Although it might probably’t change the innate disappointment of the story, it’s rendered all of the extra beautiful by Kirsten’s extra mature understanding of her time in that Chicago condo. As a ghost she sees all of the foibles and the arduous moments for everybody making an attempt their finest. And in that method, “Goodbye my Broken Dwelling” is a quiet ode to these hardships, the robust moments the place you thought nobody was watching. Possibly nobody was; however you, no less than, understand it occurred. You have been there.
Kirsten needs to be the grownup for her youthful self, observing these dour moments and appreciating them for the way troublesome they’re. Via that, each she and Station Eleven can transfer ahead. In a post-pandemic time, we’re not quick on Day Zero/Early Quarantine tales. However Station Eleven makes the case for wanting again on these (or any story) with a quiet kindness. Via that lens, nothing is simply too bleak to course of. —ZM
Station Eleven is accessible to observe on HBO Max.
Higher Name Saul season 6 episode 13, “Saul Gone”
Photograph: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Photos Tv
Between the scorched earth nature of Breaking Unhealthy and the ever twisty meticulousness of Higher Name Saul’s ultimate season, the finale appeared bloated with prospects. This was a universe teeming with bleak falls from grace, and ol’ Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) appeared poised to fall even additional. However the ultimate episode, “Saul Gone,” was a climax of one thing far sweeter: the love story between Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn). Between them, the stakes have been completely different, deeper. And the picture on the finish of the finale, of Jimmy and Kim sharing a cigarette — a glowing supply of the one coloration left of their worlds, a shared spark we by no means see exit — lingers within the thoughts lengthy after the episode is finished, like smoke within the air. That is the one story we ever wanted, and “Saul Gone” understands that journey all too nicely. —ZM
The ultimate season of Higher Name Saul is accessible for digital rental or buy by way of Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, and Vudu.
Home of the Dragon season 1 episode 9, “The Inexperienced Council”
Photograph: Ollie Upton/HBO
Home of the Dragon episode 9 is a quiet masterpiece of the form of palace intrigue that makes the present, and its predecessor Sport of Thrones, nice. It follows Queen Alicent and her Greens faction within the moments after they be taught King Viserys has died. All of a sudden, in a flurry of exercise and revealed intentions, everybody springs into motion to crown Alicent’s son Aegon King of the Seven Kingdoms, usurping the King’s chosen inheritor, his daughter Rhaenyra — whose perspective on these occasions we get in episode 10.
In a uncommon feat for a Sport of Thrones collection, or any collection actually, episode 9 can be one which’s filled with character development and alter. Alicent, recognizing she’s been a pawn your complete time, all of the sudden takes management by asserting her authority over her son, the brand new king. Aegon goes from a degenerate monster, to a degenerate monster who realizes he likes it when individuals cheer for him. Aemond enters his gloriously tragic villain period. It’s a powerful feat to take a essential character via chaos and have them emerge from it as a brand new individual all around the course of 1 episode, and this one manages it 3 times.
Most significantly, each second of episode 9 is a cautious payoff of the plots and schemes that characters have spent the final eight episodes planning each onscreen and off. Like in all the very best elements of the collection, there aren’t any battles that resolve the destiny of the realm, there are unintended killings the place the poor and highly effective alike change into collateral victims to these above them on the royal meals chain. —Austen Goslin
Home of the Dragon is accessible to observe on HBO Max.
Reservation Canines season 2, episode 6, “Decolonativization”
Photograph: Shane Brown/FX
It’s nearly unattainable to choose one standout episode of Reservation Canines’ wonderful second season, as a result of they’re all so good at reaching various things. Episode 3, “Roofing,” is a touching cross-generational story about accepting errors and what you possibly can and might’t change. Episode 4, “Mabel” offers with loss and grief in methods few exhibits can. The 2 episode conclusion, “Choices” and “I Nonetheless Imagine,” carry residence most of the themes the present has been working with from the start. And episode 8 “That is The place the Plot Thickens” is a riotous journey that leans closely on the wonderful pairing of Zahn McClarnon and Kirk Fox.
However I made a decision to choose the episode that I feel can be best for brand spanking new viewers to leap in and check the Rez Canines waters. In episode 6, our lovable group of ruffians are enticed to attend a youth summit with the promise of Sonic reward playing cards. As soon as there, they’re lectured by a pair of influencers on learn how to “decolonize” all the things of their lives. The influencers are performed brilliantly by Elisha Pratt and Amber Midthunder (Prey). Midthunder particularly shines as a Dartmouth PhD scholar from the Bay Space who genuinely cares for these children however can’t assist however come off as patronizing.
It might be straightforward for Reservation Canines to easily dismiss this train as a whole waste of time. However experiences are what you make of them, and our group is ready to create their very own that means out of an ungainly social expertise. And I’d be remiss to not shout out all 4 lead actors for his or her unbelievable performances on the present, and particularly Lane Issue, who excels because the goodhearted Cheese. —PV
Reservation Canines is accessible to observe on Hulu.
Atlanta season 4, episode 8, “The Goof Who Sat by the Door”
Donald Glover’s Atlanta has at all times had a repute for experimenting with often unusual (err, stranger), inexplicable detours separate from the misadventures of Earnest “Earn” Marks and his rapper cousin Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles. The primary season of Atlanta had “B.A.N.,” an episode which noticed the collection reshape itself right into a twisted in-universe facsimile of a B.E.T.-like speak exhibits, full with pretend commercials and controversial interview segments. The second season had “Teddy Perkins,” a horror-lite episode that centered on Paper Boi’s eccentric finest buddy Darius buying a piano from a deranged Michael Jackson-lookalike performed by Glover himself, whereas the third season exhausted these experiments to their breaking level, interjecting its mainline episodes centering on Earn and co’s adventures in Europe with anthology episodes satirizing the peculiar (and infrequently horrifying) intersections of race, class, energy, efficiency, and tradition.
“The Goof Who Sat By the Door,” the eighth episode within the collection’ fourth and ultimate season, eschews any point out of or look by Earn, his girlfriend Vanessa, Paper Boi, or Darius, as an alternative restructuring itself as a documentary airing on the aforementioned B.A.N. channel. Lifting its title from Sam Greenlee’s novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door and paying homage to Robert Downey Sr.’s Putney Swope, the episode follows the story of Thomas Washington, a black man by chance appointed because the CEO of the Walt Disney Firm amid the 1992 Los Angeles riots who goes on to direct The Goofy Film, a.okay.a “the blackest film of all-time.” Plot-twist: Thomas Washington doesn’t exist. Equal turns hilarious, stunning, and viscerally unsettling, Atlanta circles again to hone in on its core components and ship one ultimate coup de grâce that might very nicely go down as one of many present’s best. —Toussaint Egan
Atlanta is accessible to observe on Hulu.
What We Do within the Shadows season 4, episode 8, “Go Flip Your self”
Photograph: Russ Martin/FX
What We Do within the Shadows is consistently hilarious — and nothing exemplifies this greater than “Go Flip Your self.” This specific episode parodies residence enchancment exhibits and performs all of it completely straight, from the jaunty theme track to the in-show banner commercials. Whereas the host cheerily talks about his plans for the renovation, the vampires bury his brother within the yard, as a result of they only ate him. It’s nice! The most effective a part of What We Do within the Shadows is seeing all the standard vampire tropes coupled with mundane on a regular basis life. And making that on a regular basis life an HGTV present for this episode is simply utterly superb. —PR
What We Do within the Shadows is accessible to observe on Hulu.
Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds season 1, episode 5, “Spock Amok”
Photograph: Marni Grossman/Paramount Plus
2023 was the 12 months when Star Trek remembered learn how to do purely episodic drama once more. Unusual New Worlds was a miraculous success, and it did it by making a holistic embrace of Star Trek’s duality.
For all it’s excessive minded morals, we do the venerable franchise a disservice after we neglect the Authentic Collection discovered its true footing with “The Hassle With Tribbles,” or after we neglect how totally foolish but utterly beloved Star Trek: IV — The Journey House is. No episode of Unusual New Worlds has embodied the enjoyment in Star Trek silliness greater than “Spock Amok,” a pun on the indelible Authentic Collection episode “Amok Time,” through which bonds between heroes are close to fatally damaged, and traditional Looney Tunes quick “Duck Amuck,” through which Bugs Bunny harasses Daffy Duck by drawing him with bizarre legs and stuff.
“Spock Amok” is a biggest hits album in three plots: Characters at odds develop to know one another via contrived, hilarious physique swap hijinks. The hijinks immediately encourage the answer to a weighty diplomatic downside. And two stuffy, rules-minded crewmen be taught that making an attempt to have enjoyable is definitely… enjoyable. It’s a metaphor that’s as apparent as it’s true. —Susana Polo
Star Trek: Unusual New Worlds is accessible to observe on Paramount Plus.
Movie star Jeopardy season 1 episode 1
Watching Movie star Jeopardy makes you’re feeling actually good, as a result of so many of those lovely, charming individuals don’t know shit. It’s nice! Positive, there are exceptions like Wil Wheaton and Ike Barinholtz who blasted their method via their video games. Typically that is irritating, like within the episode the place Eddie Huang simply kinda stood there and didn’t attempt. However typically, watching Ray Romano do his absolute darn finest is absolutely endearing. The opposite enjoyable factor about Movie star Jeopardy is as a result of they aren’t truly enjoying for cash (it’s for charity donations), they’re a little bit looser about betting all of it (even when half the time they don’t understand how the Each day Double works). WHICH MEANS, you possibly can have absolutely the biggest upset ever within the ultimate moments of a sport, as was the case within the first episode of the season, the place Simu Liu simply barely received after Andy Richter risked all of it on Last Jeopardy. —PR
Movie star Jeopardy is accessible to observe on Hulu.
Barry season Three episode 6, “710N”
Photograph: Merrick Morton/HBO
The third season of Barry was uneven and divisive, a messy story about characters making determined and messy selections. As an entire, it doesn’t fairly rise to the extent of important tv the way in which the earlier two seasons did, however its sixth episode, “710N,” is value watching by itself, a spectacular half-hour that builds to a automotive chase that’s going to be an motion benchmark for years to come back. A masterpiece of restrained but thrilling filmmaking, “710N” additionally capabilities as a form of climax for your complete collection up thus far, as Barry Berkman’s sins are all catching as much as him and want to see him useless. —Joshua Rivera
Barry is accessible to observe on HBO Max, or for digital buy on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, and Vudu.
American Horror Story season 11, episodes 9-10, ““Requiem 1981/1987”
It’s arduous out right here being an American Horror Story fan. The present hasn’t been remotely good since season three and each time I’m pulled in by a probably intriguing idea, I’m let so catastrophically down. It’s virtually humorous at this level (I’m nonetheless very pissed off in regards to the wasted potential of final season). This time round, someway, towards all odds, AHS caught the rattling touchdown.
With American Horror Story: NYC, Ryan Murphy crafted an elegiac allegory for the AIDS disaster, juxtaposing imagined horrors with the actual. The serial killer was only a footnote in the long run — the actual terror got here from how powerless the queer group was within the face of this virus, particularly when nobody who had any energy would assist them. Nothing hammers this as a lot as the ultimate episode of the season, which incorporates an extremely haunting sequence that kicks off when reporter Gino (Joe Mantello) will get as much as give a speech at his associate’s funeral. For ten minutes, nobody speaks. Set to “Radioactivity” by Kraftwerk, Gino slowly watches as everybody he is aware of succumbs to the AIDS virus in a roundabout way form or type. Typically it’s literal — he waits in line for his meds and attends die-in protests. Typically it’s metaphorical — he watches individuals stroll right into a grave and sips a drink at a bar whereas a faceless leather-clad determine (who we’ve come to know all through the season is a few form of harbinger of dying) kills everybody round him. It’s completely chilling and devastating, and very similar to the episode title implies, a real requiem.
I’ve handy it to Murphy. I had my doubts about this season, particularly since I’ve been burned by… nicely mainly each AHS season since Coven. Whether or not AHS: NYC was true horror is up for debate — in any case, it was remarkably subdued in comparison with earlier seasons, even with kinky BDSM scenes and leather-clad ghosts — however Murphy noticed his central theme via to the tip. Lastly, he broke freed from the standard AHS trappings, the tangled net of mythos that he created and enabled. One factor’s for sure — that final montage in American Horror Story: NYC will hang-out me for years to come back. —PR
American Horror Story is accessible to observe on Hulu.
The Sandman season 1, episode 6 “The Sound of her Wings”
The episode that precedes this one could be very troublesome to observe. The entire content material warnings that include The Sandman mainly occur in episode 5, which highlights absolutely the worst of humanity. However “The Sound of Her Wings” is an antidote. On this episode, a grumpy Dream (Tom Sturridge) follows his older sister Dying (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) round for the day. An episode surrounding dying doesn’t seem to be it will be all that cheery, however this Dying is sort and gracious, a mild hand reaching out to information mortals to their ultimate resting place. Watching Dying make her rounds within the first half of this episode is surprisingly heartwarming. And the second half of the episode pivots to Dream and his outdated buddy Hob Galding, who meet up each 100 years. Again in ye olde day, Dying and Dream determined to grant Hob everlasting life — sure that he would develop uninterested in it. However regardless of ups and downs, Hob is delighted by existence, discovering pleasure in each new century. He and Dream meet each 100 years for a verify in, and whereas Dream at first resists the truth that they’re mates, the episode finally ends on a candy observe, the place the 2 meet up after Dream missed their final assembly. —PR
The Sandman is accessible to observe on Netflix.
The Marshawn Lynch episode of Murderville
Photograph: Darren Michaels/Netflix
Nobody is extra sport than Marshawn Lynch after they come to Murderville. The previous NFL working again could get excessive marks simply because his seamless transition into comedy king is one thing of a shock, however he earns this episode’s place on this checklist with each fired-off quip.
What’s nice about Lynch’s efficiency is that he’s completely all the way down to clown round on the subject of the situations (who knew he’d make such mirror to Rob Huebel?), but in addition makes the entire thing really feel like a buddy cop comedy. Whether or not he’s backing up Seattle’s doll DNA recommendations or defending the time-honored procedural cross-talk — “Then act like you possibly can’t!” he yells on the witness who says he can hear all the things they’re saying — Lynch places the workforce on his again and runs with it. —ZM
The Marshawn Lynch episode and the remainder of Murderville is accessible to observe on Netflix.