Part 2 of BuddyTV’s four-part countdown of the 100 best episodes of television for 2008.
#26 “Leave No One Behind,” Friday Night Lights
Back in season 2 when Friday Night Lights was still on NBC, Zach Gilford gave his best performance yet when he became broken by his father’s decision to go back to Iraq, causing him to party with Tim Riggins, get drunk, and have a tearful scene with Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor turned on the shower to sober up Matt Saracen.
#25 “The Path,” Eli Stone
Season 2 of this great legal drama saw Eli’s world expand as more people started believing in his prophetic powers. The episode also featured Eli regaining his powers from his brother, Sigourney Weaver guest starring as God, and an amazing Alias reference as Jordan Wethersby was stuck in a Credit Dauphine bank.
#24 “Rock the Title Challenge,” America’s Best Dance Crew
America’s Best Dance Crew routinely featured dancing that was more amazing than anything else on TV. In this early episode from season 2, there were many great dances, but none more spectacular than eventual winners Super Cr3w’s “We Fly High,” which saw the Supermen flying, almost literally. Their aerials stunts made it clear early on that they deserved to win.
#23 “The Baby in the Bough,” Bones
Bones has a very charming sense of humor, and nowhere was that more apparent than in this episode when Booth and Bones were given custody of a baby. Few things are more precious than seeing Bones play a game of peekaboo by yelling out “Phalanges!”
#22 “Patriots and Tyrants,” Jericho
Jericho’s shortened second season made the entire story move faster, and in the series finale, the writers crammed about two whole seasons’ worth of plot into a single hour as Jake helped expose the fraudulent government and save Hawkins by traveling from Kansas to Wyoming to Texas. Fans were given just the right amount of closure while making them eager for more with the promise of the second American Civil War brewing.
#21 “Frozen,” House
Post-Super Bowl episodes are always major events, and here Dr. Gregory House diagnosed a patient via webcam because she was trapped in Antarctica. But the real twist was the reveal that Wilson is dating Cutthroat Bitch.
#20 “Juiced,” Rescue Me
It seems odd to include a five-minute “minisode” on this list, but this one deserved it. The guys of the firehouse sit around debating which baseball players are using steroids, and it’s all perfectly nice and funny and Jimmy walks in. It was a jarring twist that turned incredibly sad when the newspaper revealed that the conversation was taking place mere moments before they got the call to report to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
#19 “For Tonight You’re Only Here to Know,” One Tree Hill
The Ravens were playing their first game of the season, but the real action of this episode took place in the high school library, where Brooke, Peyton, Haley, Lindsey and Mia were trapped. What followed was a surprisingly compelling bit of writing that explored the way these women interact with one another given that almost all of them have been with Lucas at some point.
#18 “Pilot,” Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Many people, myself included, expected a TV series based on the Terminator movies to be terrible. We were all wrong, and this pilot episode proved it by being true to the film mythology while establishing itself as a separate entity. It was fun, action-packed, and, above all else, really good.
#17 “Scylla,” Prison Break
Prison Break spent season 3 in Sona, and it was a detour that unfortunately bogged the series down. Season 4 kicked off in a totally new direction, and suddenly the show had a new energy as Don Self recruited Michael Scofield and his team to steal the Company’s little black book. It was just the boost this aging series needed to become fresh again.
#16 “Never Been Marcused,” Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl is at its best when it’s characters are behaving badly, and this episode had plenty of that. Blair was desperate to make a good impression on her royal boyfriend’s duchess mother, and just when it looked like Blair finally met her match, she caught the mature woman sexing up boy toy Nate Archibald, giving Blair the upper hand. The lesson here? No matter who you are, don’t mess with Queen B.
#15 “The Damage a Man Can Do,” Dexter
For Dexter Morgan, killing someone is the most personal of activities. So it was a game-changing moment when he allowed friend Miguel Prado to join the party, and for the first time, Dexter got to see what it looks like to kill someone.
#14 “Thanksgiving,” Boston Legal
This different episode saw all the major players of Crane, Poole and Schmidt gather for a Thanksgiving feast that had plenty of laughs and tears as Denny finally admitted his Alzheimer’s was getting worse, Jerry confessed his love for Katie, and Carl proposed to Shirley.
#13 “The Shape of Things to Come,” Lost
If you want proof that Michael Emerson is the best actor on Lost, look no further than this episode, which featured the pivotal scene of Alex’s assassination. Emerson has never been better than in those scenes were he tried so desperately to hide his fear and torment.
#12 “Heaven and Hell,” Supernatural
Jensen Ackles gave a tour-de-force performance in Supernatural’s final episode of 2008 as the angels and demons did battle. Dean played them against one another, had sex with an angel in the backseat of the Impala, and gave a tearful confession about his time in Hell to his brother.
#11 “Monster Movie,” Supernatural
This special black-and-white episode served as an homage to old-fashioned horror films, with a very clever and funny performance by Todd Stashwick as Dracula, who asks the pizza delivery boy if there is any garlic on his pizza. That scene alone merits putting this episode on the list.
#10 “The Loobenfeld Decay,” The Big Bang Theory
If you want great comedy, look no further than this episode that saw Sheldon concoct a labyrinthine lie to get out of seeing Penny’s musical. Sheldon’s neurotic obsession saw him create the most complex lie ever told that included hiring an actor to play his druggie cousin.
#9 “Bzzzzzzzzz!,” Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies returned with plenty of buzz, literally, as a bee-themed second season premiere let the show’s fast-paced witty writing fly off the pages and out of the mouths of the talented cast.
#8 “Midnight,” Doctor Who
An almost Hitchcockian episode, in this stunning hour, the Doctor and several passages on a tour of a mysterious planet are trapped with an unknown creature that mimics and steals the voice of people. Less about the monster than the way people react in stressful situations, this claustrophobic episode was a brilliant piece of writing.
#7 “The Nightman Cometh,” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The songs in Charlie’s musical were as absurdly hilarious as anyone could hope for, and if you don’t laugh at the scene of Mac raping Dennis, there’s a good chance you have no sense of humor.
#6 “Cooter,” 30 Rock
30 Rock’s second season finale was a pitch-perfect parody of the incompetence of Washington D.C. as Jack gets a job with the government, only to discover how truly corrupt and incompetent it is.
#5 “Last Call,” Boston Legal
In the series finale of Boston Legal, Alan Shore gets one last chance to argue before the Supreme Court to procure an untested drug to help treat Denny’s Alzheimer’s. If that’s not enough, the show ends with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia officiating the gay marriage of Denny Crane and Alan Shore. Some shows jump the shark, but Boston Legal shot way past it in its brilliantly twisted final swan song.
#4 “Slip of the Tongue,” Californication
Californication’s second season began with Hank Moody getting a vasectomy and performing what I’m guessing is TV’s first ever case of accidental cunnilingus. If you’re wondering how that’s even possibly, so was Hank’s ex-wife.
#3 “Soul Free,” Eli Stone
Eli Stone ended its first season with a mesmerizing episode that saw Eli fighting for his life while recovering from the surgery to cure his aneurysm. One final musical number, featuring George Michael as God, was exactly what the doctor ordered.
#2 “Wilson’s Heart,” House
Wilson had to say goodbye to his girlfriend Amber in this emotional season finale that saw Dr. House unable to help his best (and only) friend’s true love.
#1 READ MORE OF OUR 100 BEST EPISODES OF 2008
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