Consider this my breakup letter to the FOX Television Network. I know I've said it before, but this is really the last straw. Every time I give them my heart, they throw it on the ground and stomp on it. They did it with Firefly, one of the most brilliant shows of its decade, which FOX basically sabotaged by airing the episodes out of order and then relegating it to the Friday night graveyard where shows go to die. (Seriously, the Friday Night Death Slot is a real thing. If you don't believe me, it's on Wikipedia.) They did it with Dollhouse, Firefly's less-brilliant-but-equally-groundbreaking cousin. (Both were brainchildren of TV god Joss Whedon, who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) Dollhouse also languished in the dreaded Friday night slot. And now that FOX has announced their midseason schedule, they've thrust yet another dagger into my still-bruised heart. Starting in January, FOX will move Fringe, my favorite drama on network television (for these purposes, we're not counting The CW as a real network, because let's face it, it's not) to Friday nights on death row. Considering Fringe's pedigree (it's a J.J. Abrams creation...you know, the guy who brought you Lost and Alias) and the fact that this season (its third) has been arguably the best yet, makes me wonder how it's possible that this show could be struggling. Twenty million viewers will tune in to watch has-beens and celebutantes make fools of themselves on Dancing with the Stars, or watch Charlie Sheen play himself on Two and a Half Men, but a genuinely well-written, well-acted drama series that occasionally involves giant worms can't stay afloat on Thursday nights? Then again, history has certainly shown that quality is not necessarily an indicator of success when it comes to television. If that was the case, shows like Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies, and Arrested Development would still be on the air. Here's hoping that Fringe has the resilience to survive where few shows have survived before: the Friday night death slot.
In another successful effort to put off doing work for as long as possible, I have compiled a list of my favorite episodes of television. Keep in mind, these are my favorite episodes, not by any means the best, although I would argue there is certainly some overlap. I was inspired by this week's particularly high caliber episodes of Bones, Lost, and Chuck. So here they are, the greatest episodes of the greatest shows, in my humble opinion:
"Once More With Feeling" (Buffy) - I know every word of every song (except for "Dawn's Ballet," which is, in fact, instrumental).
"The Gift" (Buffy) - The Slayer dies to save the world. You don't get much more epic than that.
"Touched" (Buffy) - In a dark moment, during a dark, dark season, Spike really shines.
"Not Pictured" (Veronica Mars) - The fantastic season 2 finale solves two mysteries with one huge twist. And Logan saves the day.
"Spit & Eggs" (Veronica Mars) - Once again, mystery solved, Logan is valiant, tears are shed.
"I Do" (Lost) - Nathan Fillion guest stars AND Kate and Sawyer have cage sex. Best episode ever?
"Through the Looking Glass" (Lost) - A legendary finale, and a teary but heroic farewell to a beloved character.
"Happily Ever After" (Lost) - Double the Desmond, double the fun.
"Hidden" (Smallville) - Clark has to save the day, sans super powers. (SPOILER ALERT: It's awesome.)
"Lovesick Ass" (Wonderfalls) - Jaye and Eric have to babysit a deranged little boy and his Russian mail-order bride. I kid you not.
"Kerplunk" (Pushing Daisies) - An amazing finale to an amazing show, canceled too soon.
"War Stories" (Firefly) - Mal and Wash on a mission together, two of the greatest characters in the history of television. Also, Mal loses part of his ear (but reattaches it).
"Stop-Loss" (Dollhouse) - I loved this Victor-centric episode. Someone give Enver Gjokaj his own show, stat!
"A Stone of the Heart" (The Black Donnellys) - Odds are you haven't even heard of this show about brothers trying to hold their own against local crime lords, but it was phenomenal, and this episode is the embodiment of why.
"The Parts in the Sum of the Whole" (Bones) - The last three minutes of this episode make the first five and a half seasons worth it.
"Chuck Versus the Other Guy" (Chuck) - The culmination of three seasons of awesomeness.
"Wind Sprints" (Friday Night Lights) - Between Tim Riggins trudging through the rain and Lyla's heart-wrenching breakdown, this episode clinched the series for me.
"Friday Night" (Joan of Arcadia) - I can't decide if this episode is too sad, or just sad enough to be my favorite episode of Joan. Jury's still out.
"Raincoats and Recipes" (Gilmore Girls) - Luke and Lorelai are interrupted by Kirk, who runs down the stairs having one of his night terrors...naked.
"The Best Chrismukkah Ever" (The O.C.) - Say what you will about The O.C., but it was a phenomenon, and it gave us the greatest bi-religious holiday ever.
"At World's End" and "The Wish-Pretzel" (Greek) - I'm counting these two episodes together as the pinnacle of the Casey/Cappie love saga.
"Yeah, Just Like Tomatoes" (Weeds) - Zooey Deschanel guest stars in this already-hilarious masterpiece of a show. Kat (Zooey): "I'm part of this family!" Nancy: "Just because you are crazy, and we are crazy doesn't mean we're related."
"Miracles" (How I Met Your Mother) - Barney and Ted finally make up. (Everyone knows their bromance is the real love story of this show.)
"Casino Night" (The Office) - Jim and Pam: The early years. I could watch this episode on repeat and still adore it.
"Mamma Mia" (30 Rock) - Tina Fey + ABBA + Alan Alda = hilarity
*ADDENDUM (by which I mean, essential episodes I somehow overlooked and have now edited this entry to include):
"I Will Remember You" (Angel) - For one episode, Angel and Buffy actually had the life together we all wanted for them.
"The Constant" (Lost) - I tried to limit myself to three Lost episodes, but who am I kidding, this Desmond-centric episode is one of the top episodes of primetime TV ever.
"Making a Stand" (Arrested Development) - How could I forget this hysterical show? This episode taught us that using your amputee buddy to traumatize your children is a great way to teach them life lessons. "And that's why you always leave a note."
This week's quality of television was good-not-great. That being said, I have extended my favorite things this week to seven instead of five. After all, if you've read Harry Potter (the correct answer is "of course! I've read the whole series at least three times), you know that seven is the most magically powerful number. Which brings me to...
1.) Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas: That's right. It's basically ten hours a day of Potterphilia all weekend long. I even found myself watching the not-so-good first movie when the stars were just little babies. Oddly, Emma Watson's (Hermione) horrible acting doesn't bother me as much in the first movie as it does in the fourth one. (The eyebrows! Egads!)
2.) The holiday MasterCard commercials with Peyton Manning and Alyson Hannigan: Whoever's idea it was to put the adorable formerly-red-headed 'Buffy' and 'How I Met Your Mother' alumna in a commercial with my favorite NFL quarterback slash hilarious spokesperson (seriously, Peyton has like four commercials on TV right now. So take you stupid take-yourself-too-seriously watch commercials and shove 'em, Eli) is clearly a genius. Also genius? Making Peyton utter the words "sausage-shaped necktie" with a straight face.
3.) Star-crossed lovers House and Wilson: In this week's episode of 'House,' the adorable couple that was doing the heart-string tugging wasn't House and Cuddy or Chase and Cameron, it was House and Wilson. House finally set aside his pride and admitted that without his tolerant floppy-haired boyfriend he would be totally alone. Everyone together now: "Awwwww."
4.) The awesome Spanish 'Lost' promo: (Attention Sara: DO NOT CLICK! You will hate me forever if you watch this promo for season 6 before you finish season 3.) So while America was busy being completely unsatisfied by ABC's lame promo for 'Lost' season 6 (the creators refuse to release any new footage, so it's a challenge), the Spanish network Cuatro was being awesomely creative and making this appropriately epic (and superior) promo.
5.) This amazingly adorable video.
6.) SNL finally mocks that guy from the UPS commercials. You've probably seen those stupid UPS commercials with the guy whose hair kind of looks like 90s Rosie O'Donnell. You know, he draws on a dry erase board and thinks he's really clever and stuff. Anyway, in a long overdue mocking, Bill Hader plays him in this chucklesome (please note that spellcheck did not flag that word) SNL skit.
7.) 'Cougar Town' on ABC. Okay, I know the premise (and the title) of this show is a little bit ridiculous, and I fully expected it to be horrible, but after catching a few episodes (it's on right after 'Modern Family' and sometimes I'm too lazy to change the channel. Don't judge me) I'm afraid to say I'm actually loving it. Courteney Cox's comedy chops are as sharp as when she was on 'Friends,' and Busy Philipps plays the ditzy party girl hilariously. The best part has to be the character of Barb, a 48-year-old cougar who randomly turns up to make extremely inappropriate comments and hit on young men. She's basically Jane Seymour in 'Wedding Crashers' with a recurring sub-supporting role. It's hysterical. I dare you to watch it.
In an attempt to actually use this portion of my blog on a somewhat regular basis, I'm going to try something new and exciting (but not too exciting- don't panic). Every week I'll try to post a list (I love lists! But seriously, I love them, like it's slightly abnormal) of my top 5 favorite things in TV, movies, and media. You with me so far? Okay, here goes:
1.) Joss Whedon to direct an episode of 'Glee': Two of my favorite things in the world coming together. Excuse while I go jump up and down. (Side note: If you don't know who Joss Whedon is, you shouldn't even be reading this blog. You've got some serious Wikipedia-ing to do and at least seven seasons of genius to catch up on before you are even allowed to read this.) Joss is awesome, 'Glee' is awesome, music is awesome; I see no way in which this could be anything less than phenomenal. Here's hoping for some subtle 'Buffy' references like we saw in the awesome episode of 'The Office' Joss directed in season 3. Which brings me to...
2.) 'The Office': Pure unadulterated hilarity. Until this week, season 6 had been slightly lacking in the funny department compared with earlier seasons (although the Jim and Pam wedding ep was wonderful), but this Thursday was chock full of LOLs (and if you know me, you know I don't use my "LOLs" lightly, mostly because I feel like my IQ drops ten points every time I use a tween acronym in everyday speech, but that's beside the point). This week's was by far the funniest episode of the season thus far.
3.) This photo
4.) 'Dollhouse': Despite the ominous news this week that Fox will not be airing 'Dollhouse' during November sweeps, I still call this week a win. Friday's episode was probably my favorite of the second season, mainly because it focused on Sierra and Victor, two of my favorite characters. Also, we got to see just how good Boyd is at his job. As demonstrated by this quote: "In the van outside you'll find containers of sulfuric acid, a plastic sheet, and a bag of tools." (Hint: They're not building a Slip 'n' Slide.)
5.) "All The Right Moves" by OneRepublic: My new favorite song of all time. Just the right mix of monotonous synthesized percussion and hypnotizing falsetto. See the creepy masquerade ball music video here.
BONUS (Okay, I couldn't narrow it down to five, sue me): 'Modern Family': Just watch it, okay? Because I'm going to put it on my Top 5 list every week, and eventually you're going to get tired of not understanding the ridiculous references and quotes I will no doubt allude to, like this: "Claire likes to say, 'You can be part of the problem, or part of the solution,' but I happen to believe you can be both." If you enjoy laughing, you will love 'Modern Family.' It's like 'Arrested Development: The Younger Years.'
So there you have it, my five (or six) favorite things from this week. Tune in next week for more idolizing Joss Whedon and 'Modern Family' quotes.