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A television episode is a short segment in a television series, which makes up a part of it. There have been several great television episodes over the years, though there is no question to which one is the greatest. However, there are certain contenders for the greatest. Television episodes have continuously aired since the 1940's, in various different forms including dramas, sitcoms, variety shows and more.

Critics have constantly tried to determine what television's greatest episode of all time is, even though there have been polls of the greatest episodes for a single series. TV Guide, the major television magazine, compiled a list of the greatest television episodes in 1997, and again in 2009. In their 1997 list, they named Chuckles Bites the Dust, the Emmy-winning Mary Tyler Moore Show episode the greatest of all time. In 2009, The Contest, the controversial Seinfeld episode was listed as #1, pushing the latter down to #3.


TV Episode Series Description Awards Other Accolades
The Contest Seinfeld This controversial forth season episode aired in 1993. George gets caught while masturbating and his mother ends up in the hospital. After telling his friends, the four see who can go the longest without masturbating, while there are many "challenges" every step of the way. Larry David won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series TV Guide ranked it #1 on their list of TV's Top 100 Episodes.
Last Exit To Springfield The Simpsons Often called one of the series's best episodes, it centers around Homer becoming the president of the Springfield Union when Mr. Burns tries to win back his dental plan from them. Soon, in a battle between Burns and Homer, a strike occurs, even though Homer's aloofness makes him oblivious to Burns's requests for an end. Nothing well-known Called "the best Simpsons episode by Entertainment Weekly. On a number of "Top Ten" polls to determine best Simpsons episodes.
Chuckles Bites the Dust The Mary Tyler Moore Show One of TV's most acclaimed shows reaches its peak with this wonderful, and selfishly funny segment, in which the WJM-TV crew celebrate the death of kiddie show host Chuckles the Clown with a couple laughs & memories. Mary Richards seems to be taking it seriously, until the funeral hits. David Lloyd won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series TV Guide ranked it the greatest TV episode in 1997. In 2009, it was pushed down to #3
Time Enough At Last The Twilight Zone In this major pop culture staple, a banker named Henry Bemis is a lover of books, and all he ever wants is to read. When an atomic bomb destructs as he is reading in the bank vault (after he sneaked in there to read), he is the world's only survivor. He has food, he has cigarettes, he even has a wide collection of books. What more could he want? Rod Serling won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in Drama for his work on various episodes of The Twilight Zone in the 1959-60 season;[1] this was one of 20 episodes he wrote or co-wrote that aired during the eligibility period. Ranked #11 on TV Guide's top 100 episodes. Frequently called the series's most well known episode.
The One With the Embryos Friends Don't be fooled by the title; it refers to Phoebe getting an embryo transplant. The most well-known part is the trivia game played by the friends. The guys and the girls get into a contest to see which gender knows better about the other, with Ross in charge of hosting the game. It was unfortunate that this one missed an Emmy. Emmy award miss TV Guide ranked it #21 on their list of TV's top 100 episodes. Listed on several polls of the best Friends episodes.
Once More, With Feeling Buffy the Vampire Slayer Also another Emmy-award-missing episode, Buffy and her crew start singing and dancing randomly...unfortunately for them, it's a curse. Emmy-award requested several times, but missed Ranked #14 on TV Guide's list of the 100 greatest TV episodes.

Other Possible ContendersEdit

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Although these could be certain contenders for the greatest television episode of all time, there is no guarantee. There are plenty of TV episodes out there that match the quality of these, but are not strongly determined to be "the best" of the series that they are in.

The SopranosEdit

The Blue Comet is often ranked one of their best episodes. It got several emmy nominations, and was the penultimate episode of the series. It centered around a war waging between the Lupertazzi family and the Soprano crime families. This leads to several assassinations, one of the most well-known being Bobby Bacala.

Other Possible "Best" Sopranos Episodes: College centering around Tony taking Meadow to look at colleges in Maine.
Join the Club centering around Tony Soprano in a coma after being shot.
Pine Barrens centering around a failed assassination attempt made by Chris and Paulie


Through the Looking Glass, the third season finale of the series, got several accolades. The survivors of the plane crash go for one final battle with the "Others", while Charlie tries to investigate their main headquarters, a mysterious ship known as the Looking Glass.



The Pony Remark received critical acclaim, and was often called a turning point for the series. Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes go to one of Jerry's relatives' 50th anniversary, where he makes a comment about hating everyone who has a pony. Shortly after, one of them dies, and he wonders if the pony remark had anything to do with her death (since she grew up with a pony).

The episode The Chinese Restaurant also could be called one of the best of the series. One of their first classic episodes, it centers around the four waiting for a table at a Chinese Restaurant before seeing "Planet 9 From Outer Space". It helped improve the concept of the series about "nothing".


  1. O'Neil, Thomas (2000). The Emmys. New York: Berkley. p. 76. ISBN 0399526110. 
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