Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009: Favourite Single Episode of TV

Here are the contenders.

Mad Men, Season 1: The Marriage of Figaro. The third episode of this show opens up what it's really about - social conformity and people caught in lies about their own lives. It's like Pleasantville without the gimmicks. I'm looking forward to seeing how these characters survive the 60s, but I doubt it will be a pleasant journey for most of them.

Lost, Season 5: Le Fleur. The episode that established that Sawyer is amazing, that gave him a home and people to care about, and then reintroduced Jack to screw it all up. Le Fleur not only gives us our first real behind the scenes look at Dharmaville, it begins the process of making all of the main characters sympathetic again that Season 5 would continue.

True Blood, Season 1: Episode 6. I just felt so sad for Sookie's loss, which was magnificently displayed in sub-text during a scene where she ate her grandmother's pie.

Dollhouse, Season 1: Man on the Street. A episode filled with brutal, series-defining plot points in this show about people who can copy and download their personalities into other bodies. It also contains a gimmicky series of news interviews with people about the urban legend of the Dollhouse. ... 'Gimmicky' that is, until the very last interview - where a scientist says that if this technology is real, then it's the end of humanity. "We are over. As a species," he says, referring to the idea that the people who control this technology will inevitably use it for their own gain. At the very least it will create a class of rich immortals who use our bodies as rides. From there, two or three minutes of consideration, a set of nightmare scenarios emerge that (in later episodes) Dollhouse will spectacularly not shy away from.

Supernatural, Season 4: The Monster at the End of This Book. Probably the most 'meta' episode of television I've ever watched. Magnificent. Inspirational.

And the winner is: Dollhouse, Man on the Street. Dollhouse is the only show I've had arguments about this year. Despite all of its many many flaws, Man on the Street is the point where it demonstrates its incredible potential.

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