So, anyway, Matt has seen fit to compile his list of "the ten greatest TV Drama Episodes of the Past 10 Years." It's here, and it's not bad.
Parts of it I can't analyze: I've never watched Alias, Buffy or L&O:SVU, which comprise about half the list. But beyond that, and without spending the night putting together a top 10 of my own (Isaac, Phil: please chime in), here's a few notes:
1. Of the episodes of The West Wing I've seen, I'd put in "Somebody's Going To Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" ahead of "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen", not that Matt's pick was bad at all. I just appreciated the Lowe-centered-Henley-titled episode, with its great sins-of-the-father plot dealing with the pardon of a deceased (alleged) spy and the neat Cartographers for Social Equality subplot which ended up pulling the whole "up is down, left is right" metaphor through the episode without dropping anvils on my head. Whatever Sorkin was on when he wrote that one, he should stay on.
2. You will get no quarrel from me in recognizing My So-Called Life on any list like this. I'd just have gone with the final episode, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities", over the pilot or the Juliana Hatfield Xmas show, because I thought the whole think with Brian Krakow and the letter was just heartbreaking, and that last scene, when Angela realizes . . . oh, it's just too much. Plus Graham and Hallie Lowenthal get close to doing the hippity-dippity, and it's so, so wrong.
If I had to pick a second, it'd be "Resolutions", the one with Ricky/"Enrique" and the substitute teacher.
3. There's three shows that Matt missed entirely, whether from inadvertance or because he didn't watch the same television I did (for shame!). But I did, and these would clearly make my top ten:
a. Homicide: Life On The Streets. I feel weird isolating it to a few episodes -- pretty much anything involving Bayliss' years-long investigation of the Adena Watson murder or the slickly evil drug kingpin Luther Mahoney rules the planet. Or any case that's a "red ball".
But I'll limit it to three: "Subway", in which Vincent D'onofrio played a man trapped between the subway car and the platform in a way that ensured his death the moment the train moved; "Deception", in which Kellerman takes down Mahoney in cold blood; and "Fallen Heroes", in which Junior Bunk (Mekhi Phifer!) takes his revenge for Mahoney's death and Det. Frank Pembleton puts Kellerman and Lewis in The Box, forcing them to take responsibility for their sins.
b. NYPD Blue. "A Death In The Family" (Andy Jr. gets it; Andy hits the bottle again) or "Hearts And Souls" (Bobby sees the pigeons one last time, so to speak). I can't believe this show is still on the air, but man, Sipowicz is a wonderfully complicated character.
c. The Sopranos. Um, Matt? Forget anything?
I know that "College" is the favorite of a lot of people, but it's not mine. That'd be "Pine Barrens", in which Christopher and Paulie go on search in the white woods for a Russian who ought to be dead, with the runner-up being, gosh, "Whoever Did This" (Joey Pants gets whacked)? You tell me.
I've also got a soft spot for the L&O three-parter where they go to LA to make their most explicitly OJ-influenced episodes, with the death of the film executive and all of the great fighting between Jamie Ross and her ex, but, okay, enough yammering already.
Tell me and Matt what we both missed.