Saturday, January 5, 2008

2007 Recap: Travis Yanan's Favorite Episodes (Honorable Mention)

The time has come for some sort of annual "best of" list. I'll be listing, and in most cases explaining, my favorite 50 episodes of scripted television... that I watched. I don't watch everything. I don't even get Showtime (so, while I'm sure Dexter would have places on my list, I'm waiting for Season Two DVDs).

Here are the episodes that didn't quite make the cut, in alphabetical order by series:
  • Brothers & Sisters, “Something Ida This Way Comes” (originally aired January 21, 2007). One of the more amusing, but less consequential, episodes of B&S. This episode is about the family throwing Nora (the incomparable Sally Field) a surprise 60th birthday party, and the titular Ida (Nora and Saul's mother) coming to town for the event. Ida, as a non-resident of Los Angeles, is blissfully unaware of the drama of The Walker Family. Not much happens in the episode, but it serves as a great comedy piece and summary of the characters' stories thus far.
  • Chuck, “Chuck Versus the Sandworm” (originally aired October 29, 2007). This episode of my pick for Best New Network Series was filler, no question, but there are few combinations I love more than Halloween-themed episodes, spies and geeks. Having Chuck face a nerdy, ex-CIA "agent" villain was a good touch.
  • How I Met Your Mother, “Stuff” (originally aired February 19, 2007). Take that, independent theater. Barney's send-up of one-man plays entitled "Suck It Lily" was genius, and, of course, Slap Number Two.
  • Mad Men, “New Amsterdam” (originally aired August 9, 2007). The lines between Don Draper and Pete Campbell are drawn in the sand in this episode where Pete oversteps his station and Draper has to suck it up because Pete is, well, a Campbell. Social, political, and office politics be damned!
  • Pushing Daisies, “Bitter Sweets” (originally aired November 28, 2007). The first, and only, episode of the series that managed to stand close to the pilot/pie-lette in my eyes. I'm not a big Molly Shannon fan, but I found her (perhaps recurring) character, the competitive proprietor of a candy store that opens right near The Pie Hole, to be a great addition. Something needed to stir up trouble with the group of characters. Throw in the added stakes of Ned being framed for murder, and you actually have a passably engaging episode of television.
  • Reaper, “Pilot” (originally aired September 25, 2007). The pilot provided hints at a really great series as soon as it got rolling (I was no fan of the almost sitcom-ish first few minutes). Ray Wise's Devil is a standout character this season. Unfortunately, the rest of the series has (at the behest of the network, I understand) taken a purely anthological turn and gotten rid of Sam's powers. To which I ask... huh?
  • Scrubs, “My Musical” (originally aired January 18, 2007). Props for trying, but "Once More, With Feeling" this wasn't.
  • The Shield, “Chasing Ghosts” (originally aired May 8, 2007). Oh, man, this was the episode the series was building up to since it killed Lem off in the fifth season finale. And, of course, it defied expectations. From the opening scene between a desperate Vic and an all-too comfortable (and jailed) Antwon to the final confrontation between Vic and Shane where the latter comes clean about killing Lem... just great.
  • The Simpsons, “24 Minutes” (originally aired May 20, 2007). We all know the glory days of this show is long past, but it brought out its parody bat and went down swinging with this send-up of FOXs 24. Which was surprisingly timely, as the parody version had to have been conceived around the time when 24 won its Best Drama Series Emmy and then proceeded to have a season that, overall, will rank among humanity's worst crimes. Cameos by Jack Bauer and Chloe O'Brien only showed that The Simpsons could write 24 better than 24 itself could.
  • The Sopranos, “Kennedy and Heidi” (originally aired May 13, 2007). Christopher Moltisanti dies. In the freaking beginning of the episode.


Piper said...

Good list. I agree with the "Kennedy & Heidi" episode completely. Most of the others I havent really watched. Except for The Shield, that was insane!

My hope is that next years' lists are populated by The Wire, and people finally notice it. But I'm not holding my breath.

BTW, thanks for your posting of the finals on pifeedback. Wish you were still doing it.

Travis Yanan said...

Hahah, I'll be posting the finals on PIFeedback again... but my ratings source's company is (still) off for the holidays, so I'm not receiving them! That's how they roll in Hollywood... even with a strike!

It's weird to even think about doing a Top 50 list without The Wire. I fully expect all 10 episodes to be in my list next year (which is saying something, since the highest episode count per series on this year's list is going to be Brothers & Sisters with 5 including the honorable mention).

2007 was a year without The Wire... no wonder TV was in the doldrums, right?