Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 10 Episodes of 2012 - Part 5

This is part 5 of 5. I asked 20 friends to write about their favorite TV episodes of 2012 and this is the exciting results. At the bottom you'll see the tabulated results from everyone's lists. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here and Part 4 here.

The Thick of It – “Episode Three” (Season Four, Episode 3)
By Aaron Wittwer

Back from a three year hiatus, Series 4 of The Thick of It wastes no time, throwing us right back into the everyday, mundane chaos at work behind the scenes of the (fictional) British “Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship” aka DoSAC.
With this (and the funny, yet slightly redundant, Veep), show runner Armando Iannucci satirizes the trivial power-struggles and day-to-day inanities that one imagines must overtake lesser government positions in the off-seasons. Not satisfied to simply “humanize” government authority figures, The Thick of It turns them into a bunch of children going to war over the last piece of candy.
There is so very much going on this episode that it’s almost impossible to describe it. It involves a “thought camp” team building exercise, the suicide of a homeless nurse with a funny name, a £2 billion community bank purchased out of “social embarrassment”, and a debate over inappropriately colored pants. This all culminates in two grown men, waving their phones in the air and climbing over each other to get to the top of a playground slide.
I chose this episode because I don’t think I can imagine a more perfect and concise visual metaphor for everything this show is about.

Aaron’s Top 10 Episodes of 2012
1. The Hour – “Episode Six” (Season Two, Episode 6)
2. Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight” (Season Five, Episode 5)
3. Louie – “Late Show” (Season Three, Episodes 10-12)
4. Game of Thrones – “Blackwater” (Season Two, Episode 9)
5. Justified – “Slaughterhouse” (Season Three, Episode 13)
6. Peep Show – “Business Secrets of the Pharaohs” (Season Eight, Episode 2)
7. Sons of Anarchy – “Laying Pipe” (Season Five, Episode 3)
8. American Horror Story: Asylum – “Welcome to Briarcliff” (Season Two, Episode 1)
9. Strike Back – “EXPLOSIOOOOONNNSSS!!!!!!!!” (Season Three, Episode 4)
10. The Walking Dead – “Made to Suffer” (Season Three, Episode 8)

Treme  -- “Tipitina” (Season Three, Episode 10)
By Ken Jones

Treme is one of those shows that I find hard to explain why I love so much. There is very little plot in every episode, but I find myself engrossed in the lives of the characters that it feels like a lot happens. It’s the kind of show that you watch and love, or you don’t get it and are obviously a miserable person because you don’t like the rich culture of New Orleans. The latest season has been especially fun for me since I am now living in New Orleans, which brings a new familiarity. I recognize names of places and streets, as well as have seen a number of the musicians perform live. It also helps that now I get jokes about certain neighborhoods and recognize a few extras because I’ve worked with them.

One issue with deciding which episode is the best of the season is that they all sort of blend together. I would much rather discuss the significance of a show so true to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, or how David Simon has once again captured the essence of a city, but I’ll play by the rules. The last episode of the season was my favorite partially because it felt like an episode of The Wire, but with a lot of awesome music. There’s police corruption, shady politics, lack of justice, racial tension, drugs, and problems with the education system. The episode was one line about unions away from being The Wire. I’m also a sucker for finales. Hey, I like seeing things finally pay off.

This episode, “Tipitina”, has many New Orleans musical staples, occasionally playing together. One of my favorite parts of the show is the musical collaborations that happen on screen. You get the wide range of New Orleans music, from Jazz to Folk to Bounce. I love the DJ Davis song in this episode. Can’t say much about it because the song itself is a bit of a spoiler, but it’s another fun pissed off Davis original. And if you’ve ever wanted to see a Jewish boy playing Jazz piano, you’re in luck!

“Tipitina” is filled with awful things happening to good people. Enough bad things happen to make you feel awful at the end, but there are also many plotlines left unresolved. There will be plenty of joy and sorrow to be enjoyed in the next season.

Ken’s Top 10 Episodes of 2012
1. Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight” (Season Five, Episode 5)
2. Community – “Pillows and Blankets” (Season Three, Episode 14)
3. Mad Men – “Far Away Places “ (Season Five, Episode 6)
4. Parks and Recreations – “Win, Lose, or Draw” (Season Four, Episode 22)
5. Game of Thrones – “Blackwater” (Season Two, Episode 9)
6. Archer – “The Man From Jupiter” (Season Three, Episode 4)
7. Treme – “Tipitina” (Season Three, Episode 10)
8. Spartacus: Vengeance – “Libertus” (Season Two, Episode 5)
9. Community – “The First Chang Dynasty” (Season Three, Episode 21)
10. Doctor Who – “Asylum of the Daleks” (Season Seven, Episode 1)

The Walking Dead – “When the Dead Come Knocking” (Season Three, Episode 7)
By Josh West

[Plot spoils for what happens in this episode of The Walking Dead.]
The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows on television not only because there are zombies, but also because I care for the characters. These characters are what drive the story and make the show interesting. Also, who doesn't love watching countless zombies get their face destroyed by a hammer, shovel, etc.? My favorite episode of this year is "When the Dead Come Knocking."
Tyreese is a character the fans of the comics have come to know and love. Seeing this new group expose such a weak point in the prison defenses and Tyreese destroy zombies adds tons of points to this episode. The only fall back to his introduction is the show's unsaid mantra of "to introduce a black male, you must kill a black male" and sadly, Oscar was no more.
Michonne is a vital reason this episode is so great. As a character who we know can be very brutal, we see a glimpse of her vulnerable side. Looking for the Governor, Michonne finds Penny instead. When she sees a child that is chained up with a hood over its head, we see Michonne’s face soften. She looses her cold steely demeanor and replaces it with concern and caring. Only then does she find out that this child is actually a zombie.
Although he is shown for only a short time, we see that Glen is a badass. In a previous episode we saw Glen get duct-tapped to a chair and then break the chair to kill a walker. Well in this episode, knowing he had no weapon to break Maggie and him out, he tore open a zombie open so that he could use its bones as weapons. Glen has gone from errand boy to brutal warrior who will do anything to survive and protect Maggie.
The final reason this episode is the best this year is the showdown between Michonne and the Governor. Now, this didn’t go down exactly like it did in the comic, which is kind of a letdown, but they wouldn’t let anyone show that on basic cable. This fight was between a woman who saw a man as sick and deranged and a man who saw a woman that was trying to mess up his way of life. They both did everything in their power to win this fight, including some pretty awesome eye-stabbing! 

Josh’s Top 10 Episodes of 2012
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – “New Friend, Old Enemy” (Season One, Episode 4)
2. Doctor Who – “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” (Season Seven, Episode 2)
3. The Walking Dead – “When the Dead Come Knocking” (Season Three, Episode 7)
4. Girls – “All Adventurous Women Do” (Season One, Episode 3)
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – “Metalhead” (Season One, Episode 6)
6. Doctor Who – “Asylum of the Daleks” (Season Seven, Episode 1)
7. The Walking Dead – “Beside the Dying Fire” (Season Two, Episode 13)
8. Doctor Who – “The Angels Take Manhattan” (Season Seven, Episode 5)
9. Girls – “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident” (Season One, Episode 7)
10. How I Met Your Mother – “The Final Page” (Season Eight, Episodes 11 & 12)

Collected Results
(This was done by a simple addition formula. The #1 pick got 10 point, #2 got 9 points, etc.)

The Gang’s Top 10 Episodes of 2012
1. Breaking Bad – “Dead Freight” (Season Five, Episode 5) (91 points, 12 lists)
2. Sherlock – “The Reichenbach Fall” (Season Two, Episode 3) (67 points, 7 lists)
3. Game of Thrones – “Blackwater” (Season Two, Episode 9) (66 points, 10 lists)
4. Sherlock – “A Scandal in Belgravia” (Season Two, Episode 1) (62 points, 8 lists)
5. Game of Thrones – “Valar Morghulis” (Season Two, Episode 10) (32 points, 5 lists)
6. TIE Community – “Pillows and Blankets” (Season Three, Episode 14) (27 points, 5 lists)
6. TIE Homeland – “Q&A” (Season Two, Episode 5) (27 points, 4 lists)
7. TIE Game of Thrones – “A Man Without Honor” (Season Two, Episode 7) (26 points, 4 lists)
7. TIE Parks and Recreation – “Win, Lose or Draw” (Season Four, Episode 22) (26 points, 4 lists)
8. TIE Breaking Bad – “Fifty-One” (Season Five, Episode 4) (23 points, 3 lists)
8. TIE Mad Men – “The Other Woman” (Season Five, Episode 11) (23 points, 3 lists)
9. Doctor Who – “Asylum of the Daleks” (Season Seven, Episode 1) (22 points, 5 lists)
10. Mad Men – “Far Away Places” (Season Five, Episode 6) (21 points, 3 lists)

Trivia About the Collected List
--There were 19 Top 10 lists in this article and one Top 6.
--46 different shows were mentioned on at least one list.
--97 different episodes were mentioned on at least one list.
--A Scandal in Belgravia was had the most #1 slots with 5.
--Every episode of Sherlock Season Two was mentioned on a list
--Four of Doctor Who Season Seven’s 5 episodes were mentioned on a list.
--5 out of Breaking Bad Season Five’s 8 episodes were mentioned in a list.
--5 out of Game of Thrones’ 10 episodes were mentioned in a list.
--6 out of Mad Men Season Five’s 13 episodes were mentioned in a list.

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