June 25, 2024

Television as a medium is perfect for creatives to tell long stories, often stretching stories across episodes and even seasons. While movies are forced to wrap things up in a couple of hours, TV shows can take their time to really develop their characters. This means fans can immerse themselves in their favorite shows, often feeling like they’re saying goodbye to some of their closest friends when the show finally ends.


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While each episode works to move the narrative further, sometimes a series can have fun and tell a self-contained story that is removed from the main plot of the show. These can include regular cast members or new characters as they tell a self-contained story that wraps everything up in one episode. These episodes are often the perfect introduction for new viewers to understand the basic concepts of a show.

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10 ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ – “Appa’s Lost Days” (2006)

Aang serves food to Appa in Avatar: The Last Airbender
Image via Nickelodeon

One of the most popular cartoons of the 20th century, Avatar: The Last Airbender Loved by fans young and old alike, it’s the perfect animated show for parents and kids alike to enjoy. The series follows Aang, who has been chosen to protect the earth as the prophesied Avatar. As such, Aang and his friends travel learning new skills while making new allies and enemies.

One of Aang’s closest friends is Appa, his loyal flying bison. Appa is kidnapped by animal traders in the show’s second season, and this episode follows her capture and her journey to escape captivity and reunite with her best friend. A children’s show “Appa’s Lost Days” was praised for its handling of the subject of animal cruelty, and remains one of them. AvatarThe most memorable episodes of

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9 ‘The X-Files’ – “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (1995)

David Duchovny and Peter Boyle in The X-Files - Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
Image via Fox

One of the best in terms of police procedural format, X-Files Scully remains skeptical (Gillian Anderson) and the faithful Mulder (David Duchovny) because they investigate extraterrestrial occurrences. Episodes often alternate between the show’s larger mythology and standalone “monster of the week” stories.

One of the best standalone episodes is “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” in which Mulder and Scully team up with psychic Bruckman (Peter Boyle) as they hunt down a serial killer who takes out his victim’s eyes. The episode captures everything that’s great about the show: humor and quirky mysteries.

Watch it on Hulu

8 ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ – “Heart of Ice” (1992)

Mr. Freeze stares sadly at a snowball in Batman The Animated Series
Image via Fox

Often hailed as the best adaptation of the Caped Crusader, Batman: The Animated Series it maintains the dark atmosphere of its hero, despite the animated format. The show follows Batman on his crusade against Gotham’s criminal underworld.

“Heart of Ice” is considered the best episode of the show, and Batman Mr. It follows his first encounter with Freeze. This episode is credited with creating Freeze’s now-iconic backstory, which reveals that he turned to a life of crime to save his frozen wife in order to stop his dying disease.

Watch it on HBO Max

7 ‘The Last of Us’ – “Long, Long Time” (2023)

Murray Bartlett as Frank playing the piano while Nick Offerman Bill watches The Last of Us Episode 3
Image via HBO

The hottest show on TV right now, the Internet is buzzing with chatter after every new episode. Based on the popular video game, The last of us Joel continues (Peter Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) are navigating constant threats in search of a safe haven in a world overrun by a zombie virus.

The third episode moves away from Joel and Ellie to focus on Bill (Nick Offerman), the last day he falls in love with Frank (Murray Bartlett), a survivor who wanders within the walls of his town. The episode shows all the stages of their romance and has been named as the best episode TLoU until now

Watch it on HBO Max

6 ‘Futurama’ – “The Sting” (2003)

The main cast of Futurama sitting on a couch together
Image via Fox

Since the premiere, Futurama It has grown out of the shadow of its sister series The Simpsons becoming a beloved classic in its own right. The show follows Fry’s exploits after he is accidentally frozen and sent 1,000 years into the future. There he starts working for a delivery service called Planet Express and has many crazy adventures with his colleagues.

Futurama has several classic episodes, but one of his best is “The Sting”. After a mission to collect space honey results in Fry’s death, his love interest Leela is wracked with guilt. The episode continues its struggle with that sentiment, exploring the deeper themes typically found in half-hour animated comedies.

Watch it on Hulu

5 ‘Lost’ – “Ab Aeterno” (2010)

Mark Pellegrino and Nestor Carbonell drinking on a beach in Lost
Image via ABC

Before Game of Thrones and The last of us, lost it was the most talked about series on television, with viewers sharing their predictions about the nature of the island after each new episode. It was made for event television, with the writers often throwing a curveball into the mix every few episodes to keep fans guessing.

Richard (Nestor Carbonell) was always one of the more mysterious members of the show’s cast, and “Ab Aeterno” finally provided some answers about the island’s immortal resident. Beginning as a devoted husband in 1867, the acclaimed episode shows how he arrived on the island and acquired his abilities.

Watch it on Hulu

4 ‘Mythic Quest’ – “A Dark Quiet Death” (2020)

Jake Johnson and Cristin Milotti in Mythic Quest
Image via Apple TV+

A workplace comedy show based on the gaming industry, A legendary quest It is set in the offices of a studio working on the titular MMORPG. The show follows various employees of the company led by egotistical creator Ian Grimm (Rob McElhenney) to test Rachel (Ashley Burch) who feels sorry for his colleague.

Episode 5 moves away from this studio to focus on a husband and wife team as they try to play their game. As he breaks free and becomes successful, they try to navigate this new found success without giving up the heart of their creation. It makes for a surprisingly thoughtful narrative hidden within such crazy comedy.

Watch on Apple TV+

Carey Mulligan: Sally Sparrow: Doctor Who in the episode 'Blink'
Image via BBC

The James Bond of television, Doctor Who swaps out the usual main cast as its protagonists go on all sorts of crazy journeys through time and space. As the series follows the journeys of the doctor and his friends, one of them Doctor Who‘s best parts, “Blink”, barely appear.

Instead, this episode is the star Carey Mulligan Sally Sparrow, a woman living in 2007, who begins to receive mysterious messages from the Doctor in the past. This will lead to them facing off against the Weeping Angels, annoying creatures that taint their victims whenever they aren’t looking. It makes for some of the show’s most tense moments, as even a single gesture can give the monsters an opening.

Watch it on HBO Max

Study group around a table in the Community section
Image via NBC

One of the most beloved comedies released this century, the community revolves around a small study group at a community college. Comprised of characters of all ages and backgrounds, the show creates laughs as they follow their personal lives and adventures throughout college.

“Remedial Chaos Theory” is one of them the community‘ explores the best episodes and six different timelines, pondering what will happen when each team member goes out to collect pizza at a housewarming party. The results range from marrying the pizza boy to setting the house on fire, creating many hilarious scenarios.

Watch it on Netflix

1 ‘BoJack Horseman’ – “Fish Out of Water” (2016)

BoJack Horseman in the underwater episode 'Fish Out of Water'
Image via Netflix

One of the most acclaimed animated shows of the last decade, BoJack Horseman it depicts a world where humans and humanoid animals live together. The series follows BoJack (Will Arnett), a horse and former TV star who struggles with substance abuse and other self-destructive tendencies while trying to make a comeback.

After starring in the blockbuster film Secretariat, BoJack is ordered to attend an underwater film festival as part of his Oscar campaign. Unable to speak underwater, ‘Fish Out of Water’ sees BoJack entangled in a series of mishaps as he tries to make it to the premiere of his film, with almost no dialogue able to impressively convey the episode’s central themes of loneliness and guilt.

Watch it on Netflix

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