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100 best TV episodes of all time

Nicole Johnson on

Published in Slideshow World

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100 best TV episodes of all time

Episodic television found its origin in radio, which featured brief stories that carried over from week to week and kept listeners coming back for more. There were dramatic soap operas, kids’ adventure programs, and mysteries, each appealing to a very different audience. While the medium may have changed from radio to television, audiences still want to be entertained by shows that tell a continuing story.

What makes a great episode of television, though? Is there a magic formula? Is it moving love stories, intricate plotlines, edge-of-your-seat cliffhangers, quiet moments that speak volumes, hysterical scenes, or perfectly-placed pop culture references?

Stacker compiled data on all TV episodes with over 5,000 votes on IMDb, and ranked them according to IMDb user rating, with ties broken by the number of votes. In the interest of maintaining a diverse list and reducing the dominance some shows might’ve had over the list (“Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Mr. Robot,” in particular), shows have been capped at five episodes.

Whether it is a cancer-ridden chemistry teacher turned meth maker, a group of gladiators fighting for their freedom, a wisecracking talking horse living in Hollywood and battling addiction, or a group of teenagers slaying vampires after a tough day of class, these episodes feature the most interesting characters on television. With plotlines ranging from ludicrous to tragic, enchanting to infuriating, they represent a wide and diverse range of genres, including miniseries, animated series, comedies, dramas, season openers, series finales, foreign subtitled series, and everything in between. These unbelievable shows, beloved by both fans and critics, are what make watching television one of America’s favorite pastimes. They feature epic battle sequences, technologically advanced shots, breathtaking locations, and some of the most remarkable and memorable moments ever seen on the small screen.

This data, compiled as recently as July 30, 2020, includes 100 episodes from 41 different shows. Sit back, grab a snack, and get your remote ready. After reading Stacker’s list, you’ll want to go into full-fledged couch potato mode. These episodes are what make binge-worthy television...well, binge-worthy. Enjoy the 100 best TV episodes of all time, commercial-free!

Visit thestacker.com for similar lists and stories.

ShadowMachine 2/101

#100. BoJack Horseman - Fish Out of Water

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 6,686 - Season 3, Episode 4 - Director: Mike Hollingsworth - Air date: July 22, 2016

This episode, which drew comparisons to Sofia Coppola’s film “Lost in Translation,” finds BoJack attending a film festival to promote his movie. The festival takes place underwater, which creates all sorts of communication issues between BoJack and the under-the-sea locals. It also includes the birth of a seahorse by a male father, as well as a guest appearance by Angela Bassett.

Braniff 3/101

#99. South Park - Scott Tenorman Must Die

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 6,972 - Season 5, Episode 4 - Director: Eric Stough - Air date: July 11, 2001

A ninth grade bully named Scott Tenorman plays a trick on Cartman when he sells him his pubic hairs. Cartman spends the rest of the episode exacting his diabolical revenge on Scott, a character loosely based on Scut Farkus, the yellow-eyed bully from the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.” The band Radiohead also makes a guest appearance.

The Colleton Company 4/101

#98. Dexter - Born Free

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 7,332 - Season 1, Episode 12 - Director: Michael Cuesta - Air date: Dec. 17, 2006

The season one finale revealed not only who the Ice Truck Killer was, but his relationship to Dexter. When Dexter, a serial killer, murdered a serial killer to save someone he loved, it made him one of the most-complicated heroes on television.

Caryn Mandabach Productions 5/101

#97. Peaky Blinders - Untitled

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 7,383 - Season 2, Episode 6 - Director: Colm McCarthy - Air date: Nov. 6, 2014

The final episode of season two saw a death, a plan gone awry, a pregnancy, and a narrow escape from death by another character. This action-packed episode left fans eagerly awaiting season three.

High Bridge Productions 6/101

#96. Better Call Saul - Winner

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 7,467 - Season 4, Episode 10 - Director: Adam Bernstein - Air date: Oct. 8, 2018

The season four finale opens with a flashback and ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” sung in karaoke style. When two characters experience transformations that change the trajectory of their lives, it’s proof that this prequel spin-off is just as good as the show that inspired it.

Wonderland Sound and Vision 7/101

#95. Supernatural - The French Mistake

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 7,931 - Season 6, Episode 15 - Director: Charles Beeson - Air date: Feb. 25, 2011

In this episode of the long-running series, the Winchester brothers are sent to an alternate universe, where they appear in a television show called “Supernatural.” A clip from Jensen Ackles’ time on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” is also featured in the episode.

Media Rights Capital (MRC) 8/101

#94. House of Cards - Chapter 14

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 8,190 - Season 2, Episode 1 - Director: Carl Franklin - Air date: Feb. 14, 2014

The first episode of the second season won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series. “Chapter 14” was also nominated for Outstanding Writing, Directing, and Editing for a Drama Series. The episode finds Frank preparing for his promotion to vice president and Zoe wondering whether she should work for Frank again.

BBC Wales 9/101

#93. Doctor Who - Heaven Sent

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 9,204 - Season 9, Episode 11 - Director: Rachel Talalay - Air date: Nov. 28, 2015

This penultimate, multipart episode from season nine finds the Doctor trapped alone in a strange world as a creature of unknown origin pursues him. In this episode, the Doctor also breaks the fourth wall by looking at and speaking to the television audience.

World 2000 Entertainment 10/101

#92. Vikings - All His Angels

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 9,764 - Season 4, Episode 15 - Director: Ciarán Donnelly - Air date: Dec. 28, 2016

Things become dire for Ragnar when he meets up with his nemesis, King Aelle. Shooting the episode was hard on both the cast and the crew because of the brutal winter weather conditions.

W&B Television 11/101

#91. Dark - An Endless Cycle

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 10,260 - Season 2, Episode 6 - Director: Baran bo Odar - Air date: June 21, 2019

This episode answers questions fans have had since the beginning of the series. Jonas returns to 2019 to reunite with his father. At an anniversary party for Katharina and Ulrich, things get interesting.

W&B Television 12/101

#90. Dark - Endings and Beginnings

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 10,524 - Season 2, Episode 8 - Director: Baran bo Odar - Air date: June 21, 2019

In the season two finale of this German science fiction thriller, the impending apocalypse is set to play out. The links between past and present reveal the intricacies of the characters’ relationships. This adds to both the confusion and the intrigue that is the time travel series’ trademark.

Berlanti Productions 13/101

#89. Arrow - The Climb

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 11,052 - Season 3, Episode 9 - Director: Thor Freudenthal - Air date: Dec. 10, 2014

The midseason finale features excellent fight sequences and flashes between the past and present. The League of Assassins also make an interesting and dangerous demand. While critics and fans found the third season bumpy, many thought this episode made up for it, especially with the cliffhanger ending.

Berlanti Productions 14/101

#88. The Flash - Fast Enough

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 11,409 - Season 1, Episode 23 - Director: Dermott Downs - Air date: May 19, 2015

The Flash has to make an important decision, and like anything that involves time travel, things get complicated. This season one finale was also a favorite of critics, earning a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rick and Morty 15/101

#87. Rick and Morty - Total Rickall

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 13,242 - Season 2, Episode 4 - Directors: Juan Jose Meza-León, Pete Michels - Air date: August 16, 2015

The title of the episode is a take on the 1990 sci-fi movie “Total Recall.” Rick and Morty try to figure out whether those closest to them are real or parasites. The episode inspired a card game of the same name.

Parliament of Owls 16/101

#86. True Detective - The Secret Fate of All Life

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 16,496 - Season 1, Episode 5 - Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga - Air date: Feb. 16, 2014

Hart and Cohle finally solve the case in the only episode of the season to feature every time period (1995, 2002, and 2012). This episode also won an Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series.

Green Portal Productions 17/101

#85. Rick and Morty - The Rickshank Rickdemption

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 16,560 - Season 3, Episode 1 - Directors: Juan Jose Meza-León, Wesley Archer - Air date: April 1, 2017

The season three opener finds Rick planning his escape from the Galactic Federation, a high-security prison, while Morty and Summer remain back on Earth. The episode title is a play on the 1994 movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” which focuses on a character trying to escape from prison.

Parliament of Owls 18/101

#84. True Detective - Form and Void

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 19,011 - Season 1, Episode 8 - Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga - Air date: March 9, 2014

Cohle and Hart get a new lead in their 17-year-old case in the season one finale. While it received a 9.6/10 rating on IMDb, not everyone felt the season came to a satisfying conclusion.

American Movie Classics (AMC) 19/101

#83. The Walking Dead - No Sanctuary

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 23,378 - Season 5, Episode 1 - Director: Greg Nicotero - Air date: Oct. 12, 2014

This ratings record-breaker season opener finds Rick and friends still stuck in a box attempting to get away from the demented inhabitants of Terminus. Carol, not only a survivor of the zombie apocalypse but of domestic abuse as well, continues to prove just what a boss she is by saving the whole crew.

Sister Pictures 20/101

#82. Chernobyl - Open Wide, O Earth

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 41,834 - Season 1, Episode 3 - Director: Johan Renck - Air date: May 20, 2019

In the third episode of the award-winning miniseries, Valery Legasov comes up with a decontamination plan, while Lyudmilla ignores warnings about her husband’s contamination. The episode’s title comes from an Eastern Orthodox prayer said at funerals.

Sister Pictures 21/101

#81. Chernobyl - Please Remain Calm

- IMDb user rating: 9.6 - IMDb user votes: 44,593 - Season 1, Episode 2 - Director: Johan Renck - Air date: May 13, 2019

In the aftermath of the explosion, scientist Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson) begins to investigate. This marks the first appearance of Watson in the series. Khomyuk was not based on a real person but rather a composite of many Soviet scientists who worked on the Chernobyl disaster.

Krasnoff Foster Productions 22/101

#80. Community - A Fistful of Paintballs

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 5,275 - Season 2, Episode 23 - Director: Joe Russo - Air date: May 5, 2011

Anthony Michael Hall appears in a return cameo for the next-to-last episode of the second season. Pierce attempts to get revenge at the annual paintball tourney in this hysterical Spaghetti Western parody.

Mutant Enemy 23/101

#79. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Body

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 5,276 - Season 5, Episode 16 - Director: Joss Whedon - Air date: Feb. 27, 2001

In one of the saddest episodes of the series, Buffy and her crew struggle with an unexpected and very personal tragedy. Show creator Joss Whedon believes the episode is the best thing he’s done—and maybe the best thing he will ever do.

Starz Originals 24/101

#78. Spartacus - Kill Them All

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 5,286 - Season 1, Episode 13 - Director: Jesse Warn - Air date: April 16, 2010

In the season one finale, Spartacus and the other gladiators engage in an epic battle. This episode is a true success, both for those who know the history behind the story of Spartacus and those who simply want to be entertained.

Mutant Enemy 25/101

#77. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Hush

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 6,087 - Season 4, Episode 10 - Director: Joss Whedon - Air date: Dec. 14, 1999

Buffy and the Scoobies, her loyal band of ragtag sidekicks, battle bobblehead floating ghouls called The Gentlemen in this fan-favorite episode. Wearing suits and demented smiles, the demons steal voices and fans’ (and Sunnydale residents’) hearts without making a peep, as the 44-minute episode is carried out in near silence. The cast admitted it was one of the hardest episodes to make because show creator Joss Whedon’s direction was so precise.

Chase Films 26/101

#76. The Sopranos - Pine Barrens

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 6,492 - Season 3, Episode 11 - Director: Steve Buscemi - Air date: May 6, 2001

In an episode directed by Steve Buscemi with a fan rating of 9.7/10, trouble comes for the Jersey mob crew when Chris and Paulie take over collections for a sick Silvio and—bada bing, bada boom—things get a bit out of hand. The dynamic duo try to dump a body, get lost in the woods, and nearly freeze to death. Meanwhile, Tony confesses to Dr. Melfi that he’s been seeing one of her patients and admits things aren’t going well.

Warner Bros. Television 27/101

#75. The Leftovers - International Assassin

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 6,633 - Season 2, Episode 8 - Director: Craig Zobel - Air date: Nov. 22, 2015

In this season two episode of the show based on the book of the same name by author Tom Perrotta, Kevin goes head-to-head with Patti. Both fans and critics have pointed out the many similarities between this episode and the television series “Lost.” It is no coincidence that the episode was written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, the son of Lindelof’s collaborator on “Lost,” Carlton Cuse.

Warner Bros. Television 28/101

#74. Arrow - Lian Yu

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 6,921 - Season 5, Episode 23 - Director: Jesse Warn - Air date: May 24, 2017

An epic battle finds Arrow paired with some unexpected allies in the season finale. Lian Yu is in the North China Sea, but the scenes depicting the island were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. “Lian Yu” translates to “purgatory” in English.

Starz Originals 29/101

#73. Spartacus - Victory

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 7,027 - Season 3, Episode 10 - Director: Rick Jacobson - Air date: April 12, 2013

In the series finale, Spartacus and his rebel crew battle the Romans for their freedom. Known throughout the series for its unique credits, this episode’s final credits followed suit by listing the names of virtually every character and actor who ever appeared in the series.

Bad Hat Harry Productions 30/101

#72. House - Broken

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 7,282 - Season 6, Episode 1 - Director: Katie Jacobs - Air date: Sept. 21, 2009

The sixth season opens with House as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. His roommate at the hospital is played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the megahit Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

Aggressive Mediocrity 31/101

#71. Lucifer - Who's da New King of Hell?

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 7,550 - Season 4, Episode 10 - Director: Eagle Egilsson - Air date: May 8, 2019

Demons escape from hell and show up in Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to come home in the season four finale. The episode opens with one helluva dance sequence set to Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright,” which also happens to be the theme song for the 1980 movie “Caddyshack.”

Warner Bros. Television 32/101

#70. Supernatural - Changing Channels

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 7,831 - Season 5, Episode 8 - Director: Charles Beeson - Air date: Nov. 5, 2009

In this episode, The Trickster sends Dean and Sam to TV Land, a place filled with TV show parodies. Nostalgic fans rejoiced at all the references to 1980s sitcoms, including a nod to KITT, the talking car from the television show “Knight Rider.”

Anonymous Content 33/101

#69. Mr. Robot - eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 8,079 - Season 3, Episode 5 - Director: Sam Esmail - Air date: Nov. 8, 2017

As chaos erupts at E Corp Headquarters, Elliot tries to intervene. One of the most technically advanced episodes of the series, this one looked like one continuous, commercial-free long take.

Wonderland Sound and Vision 34/101

#68. Supernatural - Swan Song

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 8,207 - Season 5, Episode 22 - Director: Steve Boyum - Air date: May 13, 2010

When the apocalypse looms, the Winchester brothers realize they need to make some important and difficult decisions. This season finale was originally intended to be the series finale, as the show’s creator only imagined five seasons. Much to the delight of fans, its showrunner Sera Gamble took over to continue the series.

Deedle-Dee Productions 35/101

#67. The Office - Stress Relief

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 8,372 - Season 5, Episode 13 - Director: Jeffrey Blitz - Air date: Feb. 1, 2009

This episode featuring a fire alarm, a heart attack, and an office roast won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. It was also the most-watched episode of the series, with a viewership of 22.5 million.

Warner Bros. Television 36/101

#66. Friends - The One Where Everybody Finds Out

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 8,441 - Season 5, Episode 14 - Director: Michael Lembeck - Air date: Feb. 11, 1999

“They don’t know that we know they know we know.” This befuddling tongue-twister of a line uttered by a smiling Phoebe Buffay signals the beginning of the end for Monica and Chandler’s months-long hidden love affair. It isn’t all laughs, though, as by episode’s end, Ross gives his blessing to his best friend and baby sister.

Bad Robot 37/101

#65. Lost - Through the Looking Glass

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 9,662 - Season 3, Episode 22 - Director: Jack Bender - Air date: May 23, 2007

With so much happening on the mysterious island in this episode, fans look for plot holes to this day. The image of Charlie raising a hand with the words “Not Penny’s Boat” written in black marker as the water rises around him—and the revelation that the future Jack and Kate have somehow made it off the island—make this not only one of the best episodes of the series, but one of the greatest finales.

Bad Robot 38/101

#64. Lost - The Constant

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 10,225 - Season 4, Episode 5 - Director: Jack Bender - Air date: Feb. 28, 2008

Another brilliant episode, “The Constant,” was also dubbed the best episode of the century by The Ringer and the best episode of 2008 by TIME magazine. The story follows Desmond as he jumps back and forth between 1996 and present-day 2004. Only a phone call can break the loop between past and present and prove that Penny is Desmond’s true constant.

Warner Bros. Television 39/101

#63. Friends - The Last One: Part 2

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 11,299 - Season 10, Episode 17 - Director: Kevin Bright - Air date: May 6, 2004

The final episode of the series’ 10-season run finds iconic television couple Rachel and Ross together again after yet another near-miss. With Monica and Chandler leaving the city behind for suburbia, the friends place their apartment keys on the counter and end things where they began: at their favorite coffee shop, Central Perk. The last episode also marked the first time Pearl Jam licensed one of its songs, “Yellow Ledbetter,” for use on a television show.

High Bridge Productions 40/101

#62. Better Call Saul - Chicanery

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 11,580 - Season 3, Episode 5 - Director: Daniel Sackheim - Air date: May 8, 2017

In this episode, Jimmy and Kim go after someone Jimmy loves in a court of law. This is also the first episode in which Huell Babineaux appears—he played Saul’s bodyguard in “Breaking Bad.”

W&B Television 41/101

#61. Dark - Between the Time

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 11,919 - Season 3, Episode 7 - Director: Baran bo Odar - Air date: June 27, 2020

This penultimate episode of the series grants its audience a chance to see the years that are not a part of the show’s normal time travel cycle. Essentially, the audience witnesses the years that lie between the important ones. The episode also includes a powerful montage sequence.

Berlanti Productions 42/101

#60. The Flash - Out of Time

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 13,269 - Season 1, Episode 15 - Director: Thor Freudenthal - Air date: March 17, 2015

This episode features nods to both “Doctor Who” and “Star Wars.” The episode is also filled with action scenes, time travel, and weather-related events.

American Movie Classics (AMC) 43/101

#59. The Walking Dead - Too Far Gone

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 21,796 - Season 4, Episode 8 - Director: Ernest R. Dickerson - Air date: Dec. 1, 2013

In this midseason finale, one of the series' most complex villains, The Governor, attempts to take the prison from Rick. Chaos, death, and destruction ensue, leaving viewers reeling and waiting for the second half of an epic season.

Parliament of Owls 44/101

#58. True Detective - Who Goes There

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 22,396 - Season 1, Episode 4 - Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga - Air date: Feb. 9, 2014

This Emmy-award winning episode features Detective Cohle returning to a dark, drug-addled world when the search for Reggie Ledoux leads him to a motorcycle gang, the Iron Crusaders. The episode ends with a dramatic and critically-lauded six-minute tracking shot.

American Movie Classics (AMC) 45/101

#57. The Walking Dead - No Way Out

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 24,092 - Season 6, Episode 9 - Director: Greg Nicotero - Air date: Feb. 14, 2016

In this midseason premiere, Daryl takes on the Saviors, Rick leads the crew through a pack of walkers, and Glenn attempts to rescue Maggie. Tragedy gets the Alexandrians to finally fight back.

Bad Robot 46/101

#56. Westworld - The Bicameral Mind

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 27,221 - Season 1, Episode 10 - Director: Jonathan Nolan - Air date: Dec. 4, 2016

The final episode of the first season of the HBO sci-fi western thriller received positive reviews from critics and fans alike. At 90 minutes, the episode was two minutes longer than the 1973 Michael Crichton movie on which the series is based. Maeve, Dolores, and Foster experience major shifts in this episode, setting the stage for season two.

High Bridge Productions 47/101

#55. Breaking Bad - Granite State

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 31,713 - Season 5, Episode 15 - Director: Peter Gould - Air date: Sept. 22, 2013

This next-to-last episode of the series finds Walter holed up in New Hampshire on the lam. The episode went on to receive a 2014 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series and also marks Saul Goodman’s last appearance. Bob Odenkirk would go on to reprise the character in the series “Better Call Saul” in 2015.

Hartswood Films 48/101

#54. Sherlock - The Reichenbach Fall

- IMDb user rating: 9.7 - IMDb user votes: 33,382 - Season 2, Episode 3 - Director: Toby Haynes - Air date: May 20, 2012

The final episode of season two opens with a shocking declaration from Watson and a flashback. Sherlock’s archenemy, Moriarty, attempts to set him up and make him look bad at an already precarious time for the investigator.

Bad Robot 49/101

#53. Person of Interest - The Devil's Share

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 5,284 - Season 3, Episode 10 - Director: Chris Fisher - Air date: Nov. 26, 2013

The opening montage features Johnny Cash’s rendition of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt.” In the 10th episode of the third season, the team seeks justice for the murder of one of their own. The episode also features several flashbacks, each featuring a major character.

The Walt Disney Company 50/101

#52. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Old Friends Not Forgotten

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 5,375 - Season 7, Episode 9 - Directors: Dave Filoni, Saul Ruiz - Air date: April 17, 2020

When Ahsoka reaches out to Obi-Wan and Anakin, they are faced with an important decision: Should they defend Coruscant or help Ahsoka pursue Maul on Mandalore? The opening title sequence is different for this episode because it features an arrangement of the “Star Wars” theme by John Williams instead of the standard arrangement by Kevin Kiner.

Bad Robot 51/101

#51. Person of Interest - The Day the World Went Away

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 5,509 - Season 5, Episode 10 - Director: Frederick E.O. Toye - Air date: May 31, 2016

In this episode, Finch’s cover is blown, which sets a series of deadly events in motion. The Nine Inch Nails song this episode is named after plays at the episode’s end, and a remix of the song appears in one of the theatrical trailers for the 2009 movie “Terminator Salvation.”

Nickelodeon Animation Studios 52/101

#50. Avatar: The Last Airbender - Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 5,619 - Season 3, Episode 21 - Director: Joaquim Dos Santos - Air date: July 19, 2008

The series finale finds Aang facing some of the greatest challenges of his life. This episode provides a satisfying ending to the animated series. The sequel series, “The Legend of Korra,” would air from 2012 to 2014.

Alec Berg Productions 53/101

#49. Barry - ronny/lily

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 5,962 - Season 2, Episode 5 - Director: Bill Hader - Air date: April 28, 2019

Barry has an unexpected encounter with surprising consequences in this season two episode, which won two Emmy awards: one for sound editing and one for sound mixing. It was nominated for four additional Emmys.

Bad Robot 54/101

#48. Person of Interest - YHWH

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 6,038 - Season 4, Episode 22 - Director: Chris Fisher - Air date: May 5, 2015

The title of the season finale refers to God’s name as it was revealed to Moses, as four Hebrew consonants. The episode features Root and Finch as they attempt to save The Machine.

Wit Studio 55/101

#47. Attack on Titan - Senshi

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 6,089 - Season 2, Episode 6 - Directors: Tetsurô Araki, Masashi Koizuka - Air date: May 6, 2017

The episode’s title translates to “warrior.” After battle, the Scouts meet and discover they have more questions than answers. The episode ends with a typical anime trope: the cliffhanger.

Bluebush Productions 56/101

#46. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Charlie Work

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 6,260 - Season 10, Episode 4 - Director: Matt Shakman - Air date: Feb. 4, 2015

When he receives a tip that the health inspector is stopping by the bar, Charlie works hard to make sure the bar is up to snuff. Considered by critics and fans to be one of the best episodes of the series, “Charlie Work” also features an uninterrupted, seven-minute-long shot that pays homage to the HBO show “True Detective.”

ShadowMachine 57/101

#45. BoJack Horseman - Time's Arrow

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 7,257 - Season 4, Episode 11 - Director: Aaron Long - Air date: Sept. 8, 2017

One of several flashback episodes in the series, this one deals with the history of BoJack’s parents, Beatrice Sugarman, a socialite, and Butterscotch Horseman, a writer. It also features Matthew Broderick in another turn as BoJack’s maternal grandfather, Joseph Sugarman. Interestingly, all the voice actors who play Beatrice’s family (including Broderick, Jane Krakowski, and Lin-Manuel Miranda) are Tony Award winners.

Bad Hat Harry Productions 58/101

#44. House - Wilson's Heart

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 7,367 - Season 4, Episode 16 - Director: Katie Jacobs - Air date: May 19, 2008

In the final episode of the two-part season finale, House figures out what happened to Amber on the bus and why she is not responding to treatment. Playing on a popular television death trope, everyone is torn up when a character dies, including the audience and House, even though no one was really crazy about said character. It is proof that an amazing and heart-wrenching death scene is worth its weight in television gold.

Bad Hat Harry Productions 59/101

#43. House - House's Head

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 7,894 - Season 4, Episode 15 - Director: Greg Yaitanes - Air date: May 12, 2008

There’s a mystery in House’s head, and only he can figure it out. Involved in a bus accident, he believes one of the victims is dying, but not from the crash. In an interesting cameo, Fred Durst of the band Limp Bizkit plays a bartender.

Krasnoff Foster Productions 60/101

#42. Community - Remedial Chaos Theory

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 7,903 - Season 3, Episode 4 - Director: Jeff Melman - Air date: Oct. 13, 2011

At Abed and Troy’s housewarming party, several alternate realities play out. These realities come into play in later episodes of the show in various ways. For this episode, the writers drew inspiration from shows like “The Simpsons,” “Star Trek,” and “The X-Files.”

Universal Cable Productions 61/101

#41. Suits - Faith

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 7,956 - Season 5, Episode 10 - Director: Anton Cropper - Air date: August 26, 2015

Louis and Jessica get into a power struggle with Daniel Hardman and Jack Soloff, while Harvey and Mike are faced with important decisions and seek guidance from others. This season five summer finale is filled with flashbacks.

Mutant Enemy 62/101

#40. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More, With Feeling

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 8,291 - Season 6, Episode 7 - Director: Joss Whedon - Air date: Nov. 6, 2001

Before “Riverdale” gave us its musical television episodes, there was Buffy. “Once More, With Feeling” has the longest runtime of any episode in the series and finds the residents of Sunnydale bursting into song and dance—and sometimes into flames. Under the influence of a diabolical dancing, singing demon, all of Sunnydale is revealing their darkest secrets through song.

Deedle-Dee Productions 63/101

#39. The Office - Goodbye, Michael

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 8,302 - Season 7, Episode 21 - Director: Paul Feig - Air date: April 28, 2011

The office prepares to say goodbye to Michael in this emotional episode. This was the last time Steve Carell would appear on the show, with the exception of his return for the series finale two years later. The final scene Carrell shot was the one where Michael says goodbye to Jim.

Anonymous Content 64/101

#38. Mr. Robot - 405 Method Not Allowed

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 8,718 - Season 4, Episode 5 - Director: Sam Esmail - Air date: Nov. 3, 2019

This holiday episode takes place on Christmas and finds Elliot and Darlene on the run. In a pop culture nod, security guards watch the 1988 movie “Die Hard.” The episode contains virtually no dialogue.

Anonymous Content 65/101

#37. Mr. Robot - 409 Conflict

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 8,725 - Season 4, Episode 9 - Director: Sam Esmail - Air date: Dec. 1, 2019

With Elliot unstable, Darlene and Mr. Robot attempt to get all of the Deus Group members in one place. The episode features a reference to the Robert Zemeckis film “Back to the Future Part II.” The movie is mentioned frequently throughout the show.

Bad Robot 66/101

#36. Person of Interest - Return 0

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 9,051 - Season 5, Episode 13 - Director: Chris Fisher - Air date: June 21, 2016

In the final episode of the series, Finch and The Machine share a moment, while one character makes the ultimate sacrifice. The dark series ends on a relatively optimistic note. Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Chancellor Agard called the series finale “a pathos-filled and near-perfect end that focused on the show’s relationships.”

Krasnoff Foster Productions 67/101

#35. Community - Modern Warfare

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 9,091 - Season 1, Episode 23 - Director: Justin Lin - Air date: May 6, 2010

Jeff and Britta’s sexual tension cannot be denied nor ignored by the study group, and a friendly game of paintball gets out of hand. The episode itself is a homage to action-adventure films and the first of many featuring paintball.

ShadowMachine 68/101

#34. BoJack Horseman - Free Churro

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 9,784 - Season 5, Episode 6 - Director: Amy Winfrey - Air date: Sept. 14, 2018

This episode sees BoJack delivering a eulogy in true BoJack style. As always, everything becomes about him, even a funeral. There is also a reference to the “All in the Family” spin-off “Maude.”

Aggressive Mediocrity 69/101

#33. Lucifer - A Devil of My Word

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 10,159 - Season 3, Episode 24 - Director: Eagle Egilsson - Air date: May 14, 2018

After a shocking death, Lucifer and company do their best to find the killer. Fox would air two more episodes in season three but ultimately canceled the series. Much to the delight of its loyal fans, Netflix picked the series up after Fox dropped it.

John Goldwyn Productions 70/101

#32. Dexter - The Getaway

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 10,361 - Season 4, Episode 12 - Director: Steve Shill - Air date: Dec. 13, 2009

The season finale contained a shocking revelation for one major character and a difficult end for another. John Lithgow won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Arthur Mitchell in the fourth season of the critically-acclaimed show.

High Bridge Productions 71/101

#31. Better Call Saul - Bad Choice Road

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 10,383 - Season 5, Episode 9 - Director: Thomas Schnauz - Air date: April 13, 2020

In the penultimate episode of the season, Jimmy tries to get back to normal after a misadventure, though it isn’t as simple as he thought, while Mike and Gus come up with a plan. Not only did fans love this episode, but critics did as well. It received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Deedle-Dee Productions 72/101

#30. The Office - Finale

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 10,780 - Season 9, Episode 23 - Director: Ken Kwapis - Air date: May 16, 2013

Series creator Greg Daniels came up with the idea for the series finale during season three. He envisioned a reunion show in line with the post-competition shows that followed the reality-series “Survivor.” In the finale, Dunder Mifflin employees gather for a panel discussion about the documentary they participated in, then attend Dwight and Angela’s wedding.

High Bridge Productions 73/101

#29. Better Call Saul - Bagman

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 11,114 - Season 5, Episode 8 - Director: Vince Gilligan - Air date: April 6, 2020

The highest-rated episode of the series, with a 9.8/10 rating on IMDb, places two major characters in mortal danger. “Bagman” also distinguishes itself as the episode that is the closest in tone and style to “Breaking Bad.”

Dino De Laurentiis Company 74/101

#28. Hannibal - The Wrath of the Lamb

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 11,545 - Season 3, Episode 13 - Director: Michael Rymer - Air date: August 29, 2015

In this epic series finale, Will and Hannibal team up to beat a common enemy. The haunting song “Love Crime” featured in the final episode was written by Siouxsie Sioux, who came out of retirement to write it for the show.

W&B Television 75/101

#27. Dark - The Paradise

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 15,397 - Season 3, Episode 8 - Director: Baran bo Odar - Air date: June 27, 2020

In the series finale, Adam finds out how everything is connected. The episode brought “Dark” to a satisfying conclusion, though some fans and critics still had questions. In a show with such an intricate plot and timeline and interesting family connections, that wasn’t surprising.

BBC Wales 76/101

#26. Doctor Who - Blink

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 17,777 - Season 3, Episode 10 - Director: Hettie Macdonald - Air date: June 9, 2007

With the Doctor and Martha trapped in 1969, Sally Sparrow must decipher a series of cryptic messages. The critically-acclaimed episode also features a pop culture reference to “Scooby-Doo.”

Green Portal Productions 77/101

#25. Rick and Morty - The Ricklantis Mixup

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 24,481 - Season 3, Episode 7 - Directors: Dominic Polcino, Wesley Archer - Air date: Sept. 10, 2017

In this episode, other-dimensional Rick and Morty interrupt regular old Rick and Morty before they head off to Atlantis. The series, known for its pop culture references, continues the trend in this episode with nods to “Stand By Me” and “Harry Potter.”

High Bridge Productions 78/101

#24. Breaking Bad - To'hajiilee

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 31,380 - Season 5, Episode 13 - Director: Michelle MacLaren - Air date: Sept. 8, 2013

Walter and Jesse turn on each other in this season five episode, making the name of the episode all the more meaningful. To’hajiilee is the Navajo reservation where Walter not only buried his money but where he and Jesse first cooked meth in the pilot episode.

Home Box Office (HBO) 79/101

#23. Game of Thrones - The Spoils of War

- IMDb user rating: 9.8 - IMDb user votes: 79,808 - Season 7, Episode 4 - Director: Matt Shakman - Air date: August 6, 2017

The shortest episode in the series, with a runtime of 50 minutes, sees Arya return to Winterfell in a reunion that includes all of the surviving Stark children. Cinematographer Rob McLachlan and director Matt Shakman looked to war movies like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Apocalypse Now” for inspiration for the episode’s epic Loot Train battle scene.

The Walt Disney Company 80/101

#22. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Victory and Death

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 5,463 - Season 7, Episode 12 - Directors: Dave Filoni, Nathaniel Villanueva - Air date: May 4, 2020

Rex and Ahsoka struggle to survive in the series finale. For Slate, Marissa Martinelli wrote: “It’s the ending that ‘The Clone Wars’always deserved, and a dignified close to an era of ‘Star Wars’ that wasn’t always so dignified.”

The Walt Disney Company 81/101

#21. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Shattered

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 5,526 - Season 7, Episode 11 - Directors: Dave Filoni, Saul Ruiz - Air date: May 1, 2020

An Order 66 is declared, interrupting Ahsoka’s trip to see the Jedi Council in the next-to-last episode of the series. For fans, it’s all been leading up to this. A pivotal scene in the episode features audio from the 2005 movie “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.”

LazyTown Entertainment 82/101

#20. LazyTown - Robbie's Dream Team

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 5,602 - Season 4, Episode 12 - Director: Magnús Scheving - Air date: Oct. 3, 2014

The next-to-last episode of the series featured the song “We Are Number One,” which became an internet hit and spawned several parodies and an internet meme. In the episode, Robbie and three clones attempt to get rid of Sportacus. Stefán Karl Stefánsson, the actor who played Robbie Rotten, died in 2018 after a brief battle with cancer.

The Walt Disney Company 83/101

#19. Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Phantom Apprentice

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 6,179 - Season 7, Episode 10 - Directors: Dave Filoni, Nathaniel Villanueva - Air date: April 24, 2020

On Mandalore, Ahsoka, backed by Republic clones, confronts Maul. This episode marks a first in the show’s history, with the episode’s events unfolding in real-time to a “Star Wars” film.

Home Box Office (HBO) 84/101

#18. Six Feet Under - Everyone's Waiting

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 7,305 - Season 5, Episode 12ac - Director: Alan Ball - Air date: August 21, 2005

This series finale made it on several best television series finale lists, including those of USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety. The Fisher clan’s story is tied up not only in the present but in the future, using a flash-forward technique in an extended, seven-minute montage that reveals the death of all the show’s main characters. Given that every show opened with death, it seemed a fitting end that it should close with it.

ShadowMachine 85/101

#17. BoJack Horseman - The View from Halfway Down

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 8,767 - Season 6, Episode 15 - Director: Amy Winfrey - Air date: Jan. 31, 2020

The penultimate episode of the series features the return of actor Zach Braff, who shows up as a butler. BoJack has a recurring dream where he is attending a dinner party. The episode was arguably one of the darkest and saddest of the series.

Wit Studio 86/101

#16. Attack on Titan - That Day

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 9,009 - Season 3, Episode 20 - Directors: Tetsurô Araki, Masashi Koizuka - Air date: June 17, 2019

This episode explores Grisha’s childhood and a tragedy that colored his entire future. The episode is also vitally important because it explains much of the history of the series.

Wit Studio 87/101

#15. Attack on Titan - Perfect Game

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 10,233 - Season 3, Episode 16 - Directors: Tetsurô Araki, Masashi Koizuka - Air date: May 20, 2019

Surrounded by boulders and flames, the Scouts must fight back against the Titans. Daniel Kurland, writing for Den of Geek, noted that the show “always looks incredible, but the horseback sequences that conclude the episode look especially stunning.”

Bad Robot 88/101

#14. Person of Interest - If-Then-Else

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 10,688 - Season 4, Episode 11 - Director: Chris Fisher - Air date: Jan. 6, 2015

In this midseason episode, Samaritan carries out an aggressive cyberattack against the stock exchange. The team is forced to stop what could become a global economic disaster. “If-Then-Else,” the episode’s title, refers to a conditional statement featured in computer programming languages.

Wit Studio 89/101

#13. Attack on Titan - Midnight Sun

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 10,825 - Season 3, Episode 18 - Directors: Tetsurô Araki, Masashi Koizuka - Air date: June 3, 2019

This action-packed episode features a conflict among the Scouts that tests the limits of the group’s trust. It also features a meeting between Zeke and Eren.

Anonymous Content 90/101

#12. Mr. Robot - Hello, Elliot

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 11,302 - Season 4, Episode 13 - Director: Sam Esmail - Air date: Dec. 22, 2019

In the second part of the series finale, fans and Elliot finally discover the truth. Part One of the finale marked the first time the Styx song “Mr. Roboto” was used in the series. It accompanied the main title sequence.

Dino De Laurentiis Company 91/101

#11. Hannibal - Mizumono

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 15,232 - Season 2, Episode 13 - Director: David Slade - Air date: May 23, 2014

In the season finale, Will makes his decision, while Jack tries to capture Hannibal. An interesting scene following the credits left fans with questions for the following season.

Anonymous Content 92/101

#10. Mr. Robot - 407 Proxy Authentication Required

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 18,109 - Season 4, Episode 7 - Director: Sam Esmail - Air date: Nov. 17, 2019

Though not done under the best circumstances, Krista helps Elliot make a startling realization about his past. This episode had a slightly longer runtime of 56 minutes and ran commercial-free.

Wit Studio 93/101

#9. Attack on Titan - Hero

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 26,470 - Season 3, Episode 17 - Directors: Tetsurô Araki, Masashi Koizuka - Air date: May 27, 2019

A heroic charge by Erwin gives Levi the time he needs to confront the Beast Titan, while Armin comes up with a plan. With a near-perfect rating on IMDb, Daniel Kurland, writing for Den of Geek, said “Hero” was “an absolutely incredible episode of ‘Attack on Titan’that is as good as the show gets.”

High Bridge Productions 94/101

#8. Breaking Bad - Face Off

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 40,784 - Season 4, Episode 13 - Director: Vince Gilligan - Air date: Oct. 9, 2011

Voted by TV Guide as one of the best shows of 2011, it isn’t difficult to understand the high praise for “Breaking Bad” watching this season four finale. Featuring a final faceoff between Walter White and one of his enemies and questions for Jesse Pinkman regarding how he knew about the poisoning of Brock, this episode offers a final twist that proves Walter has hit the point of no return. Fans of the show will never look at a simple backyard lily of the valley in the same way.

Sister Pictures 95/101

#7. Chernobyl - Vichnaya Pamyat

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 51,238 - Season 1, Episode 5 - Director: Johan Renck - Air date: June 3, 2019

In the final episode of the critically acclaimed miniseries, the truth about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster comes out. Winning the most BAFTA awards for any series ever as of 2020, the show also won an Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series, as well as two Golden Globes.

High Bridge Productions 96/101

#6. Breaking Bad - Felina

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 84,244 - Season 5, Episode 16 - Director: Vince Gilligan - Air date: Sept. 29, 2013

The series finale saw record-breaking viewership and was the most-watched episode of the entire series with 10.3 million viewers. In it, Walter White returns to Albuquerque to tie things up with old enemies and his family. The title “Felina” is an anagram for “finale.”

Home Box Office (HBO) 97/101

#5. Game of Thrones - Hardhome

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 88,030 - Season 5, Episode 8 - Director: Miguel Sapochnik - Air date: May 31, 2015

This season five episode brought Tyrion and Dany’s first real conversation, and it was filled with sharp and witty dialogue. This “Game of Thrones” episode also included a hefty CGI budget for the epic battle sequence, which also required 50 stuntmen and 400 extras.

Home Box Office (HBO) 98/101

#4. Game of Thrones - The Rains of Castamere

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 88,072 - Season 3, Episode 9 - Director: David Nutter - Air date: June 2, 2013

A wedding becomes the setting for one of the most shocking episodes of the series. Coldplay drummer Will Champion makes a cameo as one of the wedding musicians. The episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.

Home Box Office (HBO) 99/101

#3. Game of Thrones - The Winds of Winter

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 129,990 - Season 6, Episode 10 - Director: Miguel Sapochnik - Air date: June 26, 2016

This season six finale features an unbelievable, extended vengeance sequence and a major revelation about an important character. Online fan reactions proved just how shocked fans were by the bloody episode.

Home Box Office (HBO) 100/101

#2. Game of Thrones - The Battle

- IMDb user rating: 9.9 - IMDb user votes: 186,649 - Season 6, Episode 9 - Director: Miguel Sapochnik - Air date: June 19, 2016

This episode has not only been called the best episode in the “Game of Thrones” series but also one of the best television episodes of all time, which explains its near-perfect rating on IMDb. Two major action sequences take place in the next-to-last episode of season six, one of them featuring Daenerys going after her enemies.

High Bridge Productions 101/101

#1. Breaking Bad - Ozymandias

- IMDb user rating: 10.0 - IMDb user votes: 118,345 - Season 5, Episode 14 - Director: Rian Johnson - Air date: Sept. 15, 2013

One character goes on the run, while another is taken hostage. This critically acclaimed episode has been called one of the best episodes of television, ever. Show creator Vince Gilligan said of the episode, “‘Ozymandias’ is the best episode we ever have had or ever will have.”


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