With the new year upon us it always seems proper to look back on the year that has passed. Last year we picked the 20 best episodes of 2000 in our first column of 2001 but we found this year we couldn't limit the list to just 20 episodes. So we decided to up the ante to 50 episodes this year - a true testament to how great television is nowadays. Myself, the staff as well as our various contributors and friends to the site offered up their favorites from the first year of the new millennium and we've compiled them here.
No doubt there are plenty of noteworthy series and episodes that aren't on this list not to mention many you might disagree with, nevertheless we hope you enjoy our picks. We continue today counting down 10 episodes a day until we unveil our 10 best episodes of 2001 on Monday. So without any further adieu, let the countdown continue...
20. the invisible man - "going postal"
(originally aired june 22, 2001)
The best episode of "Invisible Man" to date was a "Rashomon" send up in which Hobbes, Munro and Fawkes each tell their side of a post office sting gone wrong. Their stories are so different even different types of cameras and film stocks were used to tell their own version - Hobbes in black and white noir, Munro in security camera gray and Fawkes in full-color widescreen. Just another clever example of how great this show is.
19. the fugitive - "thanatos"
(originally aired may 25, 2001)
The finale to the Kopelsons' latest remake of "The Fugitive" had the biggest cliffhanger of any series last season - fate has Kimble with the one-armed man finally in reach only to be foiled by a rogue federal agent who not only puts a bullet in fellow pursuer Gerard but fires again at Kimble and the one-armed man. Who gets hit? Who lived? Who died? Sadly, we'll never know.
18. c.s.i.: crime scene investigation - "justice is served"
(originally aired april 26, 2001)
"C.S.I." very often creeps into the, well creepy side of things and that's exactly what this episode did. Grissom and company investigate a personal trainer (Alicia Coppola) who kills people for their organs. Why you ask? So she can grind them into powder and eat them to fight off a rare disease. Well I'm done eating for this century.
17. six feet under - "knock, knock"
(originally aired august 19, 2001)
HBO's newest dramatic entry finished its inaugural season the way all great series do - some doors opening, some doors closing. The final moments of the episode feature Peter Krause watching his family thinking about what has come before and what is ahead. A sweet and surprisingly fitting ending to the show's first season.
16. malcolm in the middle - "bowling"
(originally aired april 1, 2001)
In one of the show's most clever tricks, the episode follows Malcolm being taken to a bowling party in two versions - one taken by his mother and one by his father - both of which offer vastly different events but strangely the same result.
15. buffy the vampire slayer - "life serial"
While you'll find some of "Buffy's" more dramatic episodes at the top of this list, that doesn't mean we don't love the comedy ones and this one about a "geek" Troika fooling with Buffy took the cake. And if you have any doubts that this isn't one of the best episodes of 2001, two words my friends: kitten poker.
(originally aired october 23, 2001)
14. angel - "that vision thing"
(originally aired october 1, 2001)
The evolution of Cordelia has been one of the best things about this show as of late and this episode put out all the stops. Originally a Girl Friday to Angel, it's here we really see how far the character has come in the five years we've known her. And let's not forget the best character introduction all season - Skip.
13. n.y.p.d. blue - "in the wind"
(originally aired may 22, 2001)
While we know now that Danny took a dirt nap over the summer the mystery surrounding his death had us glued to our sets. Surprisingly after producer David Milch's exit at the beginning of last season, "Blue" managed to put up one of its most compelling seasons to date.
12. once & again - "aaron's gettin' better"
(originally aired march 21, 2001)
Why doesn't Patrick Dempsey get more work? Every episode he has appeared in on "Once & Again" has been absolutely amazing and this one - in which he comes to live with Lily for a short while - ranks as one of the series' best. Mental illness has never been portrayed more heartfelt or more honest than it has with Aaron on this show.
11. cover me - "the river"
(originally aired february 25, 2001)
USA's short-lived drama provided one of the most dark and disturbing episodes of 2001. The Arnos investigate a Mormon family in Utah of which one of the wives is missing and presumed dead. Chilling and unsettling in more ways than I can count this episode is just another in a long line of vastly different tones and undercurrents the show used during its run. Sadly few saw them.