There are so many new television shows every year, and only so much time and patience. It’s always fair to give a show a few episodes to get its hooks in, and hopefully be interesting enough to follow. I’ve found it actually disappointing when I can’t get into something like Heroes, or Supernatural, or V – I wanted to like them, I liked the concepts and the ideas, but I was never hooked.
But others get in deep, and I’ll follow them until the end. And it often comes down to one pure moment that tips the balance – it might be a moment of exquisite comic timing, or some deep emotional moment, or some incredible piece of action, but once I’ve seen that, I’m willing to follow this story to the end, no matter where it goes.
Because it can be a hell of a commitment, taking years to fulfil, and the path it takes might be one I’m wary of following, but it’s usually worth it.
I can always recognise that moment, when I think something is so clever, or hilarious, or just good, and it’s always a delight. Sometimes it comes in the first episode I ever see, sometimes it’s four seasons in, but I always know it.
I can’t find the words to fully explain this feeling, so I’me going to use theirs instead. And images. But no YouTube, because I hate blogs full of YouTube windows. Go find it if you want it, it’s all out there.
There is the usual subjectivity here – all of these 23 television shows are from the past 15 years, when the best television suddenly became better than the best movies, and I have a predictable preference for genre television and long-form narratives that occasionally touch some moment of transcendence, and lots of dopey adult cartoons.
These are those moments:
2. The Simpsons
“There's a man here who says he can help you.”
“Is it Batman?”
“He's a scientist.”
“Batman's a scientist.”
“It's not Batman!”
“You can go now, brother”
4. Parks & Recreation
“You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of bacon and eggs, but what I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.”
6. Venture Bros
“And I think my spaceship knows which way to go! Tell my wife I love her very much!”
“Ground Control to Major Tom! Your circuit's dead, (there's something wrong!) Can you hear me, Major Tom?”
7. The Wire
“All in the game, yo?”
“No soup for you!”
“Go! Into! The water!”
10. Doctor Who (new series):
“Everybody lives, Rose. Just this once, everybody lives!”
11. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“Is Buffy Summers here tonight?”
12. Arrested Development
“What have we always said is the most important thing?”
“Oh, right. Family. I thought you meant of the things you eat.”
15. Mad Men
“Peggy, listen to me, get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”
“I love to singa, about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a! I love to singa , about the sky all blue-a or a tea for two-a…”
17. Trailer Park Boys:
“Act like you know me!”
18. Batman: the Brave and the Bold
"Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but is certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots then the tortured avenger, crying out for mommy and daddy. And besides, those Easter bunnies looked really scary, right?
19. Game of Thrones
“Stop this madness in the name of your King!
20. Six Feet Under
“Lord bring peace to them in their grief as you have in ours.”
21. Peep Show:
“Here, eat some turkey!”
22. True Blood
“Come, join us! It’s beautiful!”
23. Curb Your Enthusiasm:
“Larry, is there anybody right now that you’d like to ask for forgiveness, make right with?”