[01/04/01 - 12:00 AM]
The 20 Best Episodes of 2000
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

While movie critics decipher what was actually good during the year 2000, us television critics have a plethora of choices for what was great during the year 2000. What follows here is a list of the top 20 episodes of television during the final calendar year of the 20th century. Picking the top 20 wasn't easy as I feel like so much isn't included here. Regardless each of them featured some of the most stunning, funny, dramatic, shocking, you-name-it adjective moments of the year 2000. Enjoy.

20. angel - "reunion"
(december 19, 2000)
"Help us please!" says a distraught Wolfram & Hart executive. Angel's response was one of the most jaw-dropping moments of 2000 - "Somehow I can't bring myself to care," he says shutting the doors to his lawyer antagonists and their out of control vampire creations. And just when you think they can't top that, when Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia confront him about it his response drops your jaw even further - "You're all fired." I've never wanted to see the next episode of a series more than this one.

19. sex and the city - "hot child in the city"
(november 3, 2000)
Carrie's relationship with a comic book store owner is probably one of the funniest episodes of 2000. The entire episode harkened back to high school style relationships that make us all remember how ridiculous we were in our younger years. The moment his parents enter and he blames their marijuana smoking on Carrie made me laugh for at least a week.

18. la femme nikita - "four light years later"
(august 27, 2000)
If there were ever an example of the term "when shit goes down," this was it as Section One is turned up on its head and a new status quo is established.

17. now & again - "the eggman cometh"
(may 5, 2000)
The final episode of this astonishingly original series featured the conflict we all saw coming as Michael finally tries to escape from his captors. Who didn't feel chills when Dr. Morris busted through the Wiseman's front door and yelled - "Find him!"

16. once & again - "sneaky feelings"
(january 31, 2000)
This episode was the beginning of "Once & Again's" expansion to its other characters' lives - in this case a bittersweet tale of Karen's (Susanna Thompson) relationships with her two beaus. Surprisingly resonant, Karen's struggle sculpted the often one-dimension doting mother character into a three dimensional woman.

15. cover me - "the fever flip"
(july 26, 2000)
Probably the darkest episode of the series thus far, this one featured the Arnos taking on Johnny Fever (Jere Burns), a child pornographer whose life Danny and Barbara destroyed in their heyday. Frightening to almost a level of fear, Fever's kidnapping of their son Chance was on of the most terrifying moments of 2000.

14. boston public - "chapter six"
(november 27, 2000)
This episode saw the touchingly sweet relationship between Harry and Lauren come to a head. It's always fantastic when a simple touch can communicate more than words.

13. gilmore girls - "kiss and tell"
(november 16, 2000)
While all the episodes of this series feature an unprecedented level of wit, this one was particularly fun as Rory's first date with Dean ends up being a movie night accompanied by her mother Lorelai.

12. sports night - "celebrities"
(february 29, 2000)
A testament to those type of moments that made you wish you seized the day, a depressed Jeremy meets a woman (Paula Marshall) that he forms an instant connection with only to be taken back by what she does for a living. He ends up not seizing the day and finds himself alone in Casey and Dan's office wondering what might have been.

11. c.s.i. - "friends & lovers"
(november 3, 2000)
William Peterson is creating one of the most fascinating characters this season in Gil Grissom, the lead investigator for the Las Vegas criminology department. This episode was especially strong as Gil deals with a teenager who inadvertently killed his best friend due to an illegal hallucinogen. The episode's closing moments featured a distraught Grissom climbing into a roller coaster and trying to contain his pain and anger as it circled the track.

10. angel - "five by five"
(april 25, 2000)
Any time Faith stops by the Buffyverse it's worth taking notice, especially in this case as a self destructive Faith attempts to hunt Angel. Her breakdown in the show's closing moments was painfully real and left one of the biggest impressions of 2000. Hopefully we'll see more of her in 2001.

9. cover me - "our mister brooks"
(april 23, 2000)
Not since Alan Birch's death in "Chicago Hope" has a character's death come more shockingly swift and painful. When Danny's case agent is fatally shot in a drive-by his rush to get him medical attention was jawdroppingly hard to watch. Peter Dobson is one of the most underrated actors out there and this episode was a testament to the talent this man has.

8. the sopranos - "d-girl"
(february 27, 2000)
The sole highlight in a disappointing season, this episode featured a stunning portrait of Christopher's life - from his aspirations as a screenwriter to his acceptance as one of "the family" - all of which was brought to a head after he's shot in the episode's closing minutes.

7. once & again - "a door, about to open"
(april 24, 2000)
The first season finale of the series brought all 15 plus characters in the same episode of the first time as a joint family dinner for the Sammlers and Mannings is on the horizon. The episode closes with the door opening and a pan of all the cast members - a true testament to the tapestry of family life the show's producers have made.

6. ed - "pilot"
(october 8, 2000)
Never before has a series brought such an fascinating view of everyday life. Ed Stevens' adventures are some of the funniest and sweetest to appear on television. I still laugh about that "pancake mouse" bit and I'm starting to bet my friends ten bucks to do stupid things.

5. freaks & geeks - "discos and dragons"
(july 8, 2000)
Just when the series started to hit an addicting stride, NBC pulled it but at least we got to see some of the unaired episodes including this intended season finale that saw Daniel (James Franco) sitting down with the "geeks" for a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

4. now & again - "there are no words"
(april 14, 2000)
Easily one of the most original episodes of 2000, this one featured a virus that destroyed all printed words. Never before has an hour of television make me love books more than this one.

3. sports night - "quo vadimus"
(may 9, 2000)
The final episode of the greatest series nobody watched, this one featured Dana's interaction with a mysterious stranger that coincidentally mirrored the series' troubles to stay on the air. It also saw the best dialogue exchange of 2000:

Dana: "You're keeping the show?"
Stranger: "Yeah. It's a good show, Dana. Anybody who can't make money off 'Sports Night' should get out of the money-making business."
Dana: "I don't know what to say."
Stranger: "Your show's on."
Dana: "That's right. My show is on. My show is on! My show is on! My show is ON!"

2. the west wing - "in the shadow of two gunmen"
(october 4, 2000)
The season premiere of "The West Wing" did something magical - it showed how the characters of the series all got together for the first time just as they are falling apart after an assassination attempt.

1. buffy the vampire slayer - "restless"
(may 23, 2000)
While most people would say "Hush" was the most daring episode of "Buffy" to date (sorry kids it aired in 1999 and isn't eligible for this list), I'd still take this one any day. A strange mix of images and ideas, "Restless" featured each character's dream tour of their own individual psyches after the trauma of battling the season villain - Adam. It would set up the tone the show is taking this season as Buffy now is figuring out exactly what it means to be a slayer just as her friends start to find their places in this world.

  [january 2001]  


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