The Top 5 TV Episodes of 2014 So Far

Photo Credit:

Yesterday we gave you our thoughts on the best five shows of 2014 so far. But episodes can stand far above their shows and be one of the best things on TV that given year even if their respective show isn’t that good (best example that didn’t make this list: Looking “Looking for the Future”). So here are our picks for the five best episodes of TV so far this year.



Matt’s Take:

Photo Credit: Parks and Recreation “Moving Up” (Season 6 Episodes 21 and 22)

Season 6 of NBC’s other critically acclaimed mockumentary series was a pretty stale affair, but the finale was absolutely stunning. Giving us a ton of great character moments and a the wish-you-were-there Unity Concert, the episode stood on its own long before the shocking flash forward. The three-year jump that closed out the season felt like a new lease on life for a show that had really gone downhill. (Airdate: Apr. 24)


Photo Credit: Game of Thrones “The Children” (Season 4 Episode 10)

Game of Thrones has not done a more satisfying finale than The Children. Typically, the ninth episode is the standout of the season, and while this season certainly had a great ninth entry, this finale featured phenomenal character moments for just about every major character in the show. It ends Season 4 on a note of completion, as if the first half of the series is over and now we are ready for whatever future may come. (Airdate: Jun. 15)


Photo Credit: Girls “Free Snacks” (Season 3 Episode 6)

Girls continued its all-too-real representation of being a 20-something all throughout its spectacular third season. But the best of the bunch had Hannah getting a corporate job that was’t very close to her end career goal. However, it’s actually quite rewarding how good Hannah is at her job. The show frequently puts down its lead, but here she felt very much in her element. Which is how her co-workers ended up working there for longer than they intended, the most terrifying thing about the episode. (Airdate: Feb. 9)


Photo Credit: Mad Men “Waterloo” (Season 7 Episode 7)

The sad thing about the first half of Mad Men‘s final season is that it’s actually kind of disappointing quality-wise. That is, aside from the truly spectacular mid-season finale. Mixing office drama with the 1969 moon landing, Waterloo stands among the best episodes the show ever produced. Plus there’s the pitch-perfect sendoff of Bert Cooper. It’s unclear where the show will take off from here for the final seven episodes, but this episode proved the show is still capable of being as stunning as it once was. (Airdate: May 25)


Photo Credit: Louie “In the Woods” (Season 4 Episodes 11 and 12)

It’s actually unfair to refer to In the Woods as an episode of television. It’s more of an art film set in the same surreal world of Louie. After Louie catches his oldest daughter smoking weed, he remembers his experiences in middle school with weed. The extended episode features a ton of great performances and hits every emotional beat it intends to. It’ll be surprising if anything in the second half of 2014 surpasses it. (Airdate: Jun. 9)



Mike’s Take:

Photo Credit: The Simpsons “Brick Like Me” (Season 25 Episode 20)

Who knew that a bit of product placement was all that was needed to resurrect The Simpsons‘ cultural relevance? Following the success of The Lego Movie, this episode sees Homer plunged into an alternate universe made entirely of toy bricks as a coping mechanism for Lisa not wanting to spend time with him. The jokes were clever, and the animation was slick, but the real treat was watching a bittersweet story about growing up. It’s proof that there’s no reason why The Simpsons can’t be good again. (Airdate: May 4)


Photo Credit: Broad City “Apartment Hunters” (Season 1 Episode 9)

The joy of Broad City is that it takes clichéd 20-something struggles, and amps them up to dizzying new heights. We start out with a wonderfully ludicrous music video-style opener at the bank, and then follow Abbi and Ilana on a tour of several horrifying apartments with a manic, scatterbrained realtor (Amy Sedaris). While this exact scenario might be unrealistic, everyone who’s lived in the city has experienced some sort of apartment hunt-trauma, and watching an over-the-top version of it is both hilarious and relatable. (Airdate: Mar. 19)


Photo Credit: True Detective “Who Goes There” (Season 1 Episode 4)

Nic Pizzolatto’s gothic mystery spanned over seventeen years as Rust and Marty tried to track down The Yellow King. Its finest moment, however, arrived in one fell swoop as Rust is forced to maneuver through a massive shootout in a local gang neighborhood. Seemingly shot all in one take, the excitement never wavers as you follow the detective from house-to-house with a captive in tow. Matthew McConaughey delivers an exhilarating performance that’ll leave you breathless until the end credits roll. (Airdate: Feb. 9)


Photo Credit: Parenthood “The Offer” (Season 5 Episode 18)

Max’s Aspergers has always been a source of conflict on Parenthood, and its amazing how well they’ve been able to make him stand out without turning him into a PSA. Still, nothing beats this heartbreaking episode that sees him fully realize how different he is from his peers on a class trip. The ending scene is gut-wrenching. On the car ride home, Max struggles with the idea that the other kids at school might see him as a “freak,” while Peter and Kristina sit helpless in the front seat. It’s Kristina’s final act of motherly love, however, that really gets you. (Airdate: Mar. 20)


Photo Credit: Hannibal “Kaiseki” (Season 2 Episode 1)

Premiere episodes are often fraught with instability, mostly because so much hinges on, “let’s wait and see how this plays out.” Yet, right from the start of season 2, Hannibal immediately pulls you back in with a brutal fight between Jack and Dr. Lecter. Before we see who wins, however, time jumps backward twelve weeks so we can understand how things progressed to this state. The glimpses of what’s to come—including an eerie new serial killer—are more than enough to hook you for the rest of the season. (Airdate: Feb 28)


What did you think of our picks? Let us know in the comments below!


By Matt Dougherty and Mike Papirmeister




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