2006 was a great year for TV. I won’t argue with you about this. We are in a golden age of television and we need to embrace it. I can’t remember a time in my life where more shows were indispensable viewing. We’ve had some great new shows and some returning programs that have either stepped it up considerably or aged gracefully. Given all this, it would be obvious that the year would also give us a multitude of memorable moments. And it has. The surprising twists were there. The poignant moments were there. The heart-wrenching sad moments were there. So, what makes the list?
This is my list of what I think are the best TV moments of the year. These were the moments that stood out and meant the most to me as a watcher. The medium of television is perfect for creating the perfect moment. Moments that the show and characters have earned over hours and hours of television. These moments rewarded the loyal viewers. Without further ado, click below to start the list.
#10 Mexican Space Program Sends Whale to the Moon
Show: South Park
Easily the most ridiculous moment on television this year. The short explanation: Fooled by technicians at a Sea World-type park, the boys are convinced that one of the trained Orca whales is an alien who needs to be sent to its home planet. The boys steal the whale from the park, take it to Mexico, where Mexico’s shoddy space program agrees to send the whale into space for a couple hundred bucks. And then they do.
#9 Wes Mendell Rants on Live Television
Show: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Wes Mendell interrupts the live broadcast of his own late-night comedy show and goes off for over a minute on everything that is wrong with television. This was a stirring, exciting, and intense moment in one of the greatest TV pilots I have ever seen. Studio 60 has had its fair share of detractors, but the show’s pilot is almost universally lauded.
#8 Izzie Gets $8 Million Check
Show: Grey’s Anatomy
I don’t think a television moment can be much closer to the definition of “bittersweet”. The father of the man Izzie loved and subsequently (albeit incidentally) killed gives her a check from his son to her for over $8 million. This was not only a surprising twist, but conjured up a crazy gamut of emotions for an already dynamic character. This story is still far from resolved.
#7 Vinnie Chase Fires Ari
In the biggest plot twist in a largely plotless television show, Vincent Chase made the tough decision and decided to can super-agent Ari Gold. This move, taking place in the season finale, has set up what should be an interesting next season of Entourage. Less Ari means less comedy, so I’m hoping that he’s brought back as soon as possible.
#6 The Prisoners Escape
Show: Prison Break
They finally did it. After an entire season of careful preparation, Michael and Lincoln, with a few other choice cell mates, made their break. Fans can attest to the fact that, although the build-up was unprecedented, the actual escape was not anti-climactic and remained exciting.
#5 Taylor Hicks Wins American Idol
Show: American Idol
Taylor Hicks, the grey-haired Michael McDonald clone, was a massive underdog in many fan’s eyes coming into the finals. His charm and unique musical sensibilities brought him a massive fan following and his victory was certainly a joyous moment for millions of viewers.
#4 Jim and Pam Make Out
Show: The Office
This was the moment fans had been waiting for. Not only was their dramatic kiss a long time coming, it also set up story lines for season three, as well as leaving a monster cliffhanger. If you’re not a fan of The Office, you can’t understand how long this moment had been in the offing. The build up was all worth it.
#3 Yul Turns Jonathan
Yul made the most pivotal play of Survivor: Cook Islands (and maybe one of the best in the show’s history) when he convinced Jonathan to betray the Raro tribe in favor of Yul and his brethren. He sealed Jonathan’s decision by showing him the hidden immunity idol, another stroke of utter genius.
#2 The Others Camp is Revealed
Lost is known for its plot twists, but there was no one (and I mean ABSOLUTELY NO ONE) who saw this one coming. What seemed like what had to be a flashback ended in the swift realization that this was the island and that this was the initial plane crash. It was a perfect introduction for the Elizabeth Mitchell character and put the Others into a brand new light.
#1 President Palmer is Assassinated
The most devastating moment on television this year. Hands down. President Palmer had been a rock on 24 throughout its first four seasons. So, when he was unexpectedly gunned down in the opening moments of the fifth season premiere, the surprise was both unbelievable and horribly sad. It was a great decision dramatically and set the season’s story in motion, but was also as heart-wrenching a moment as I’ve ever witnessed on TV.