This was the year when decent television became better and great television became worse. So instead of a list of best TV shows, it makes more sense to rank the best moments — at least from the moments I saw. Come on, I can’t see everything.
5. Tina’s slow-motion car wreck on Bob’s Burgers
In a nearly empty parking lot, Bob lets his 13-year-old daughter, Tina, practice driving. Of course, it’s inevitable that she’d hit the only other car in the sprawling lot. But her long drawn-out two-miles-an-hour scream shows why Bob’s Burgers is fast-becoming comparable to the best seasons of The Simpsons.
4. Captain Marcus Chaplin warns us all on Last Resort
Andre Braugher could give a monologue reading from the phone book, and in the end, you’d be willing to sacrifice your life in service to Aaron A. Aaronson. It’s no wonder, then, that as submarine captain Marcus Chaplin, he’s able to lead a crew to defy the U.S. military. In measured tones, his deep voice threatens, “Test us, and we will all burn. You have been warned.”
3. Frank gets analyzed on Always Sunny in Philadelphia
As the Always Sunny ensemble finally gets some therapy, Frank (Danny DeVito) stares horrified off into the distance, describing how he was shipped off to a school for the mentally disabled and received his first kiss, from a girl with no lips who died two weeks later. It’s politically incorrect and gross, but Frank’s anguish and anger gives the moment a just-short-of-genuinely-moving sort of hilarity.
2. The first salvo in the Battle of the Blackwater on Game of Thrones
Viewers have long rooted for the death of the sniveling, sadistic child-king Joffrey. But when a fleet of ships invades his kingdom, Game of Thrones turns the invasion on the women and the innocent children — with plenty of pyrotechnics.
1. Skyler goes swimming on Breaking Bad
Former chemistry teacher Walter White’s descent into evil would be bad enough if he weren’t a husband and a father of two. His wife Skyler knows it will all end poorly. At first, his wife stepping, fully clothed, into a swimming pool during Walt’s birthday dinner seems like the powerless actions of a battered woman in a Lifetime movie. But it isn’t: it’s a brilliant gambit to win her children a reprieve from the poisonous influence of a self-made monster.
— DANIEL WALTERS