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...
30. the chris isaak show - "behind the isaak"
(originally aired july 2, 2001)
Considering Chris Isaak's clean cut image, a "Behind the Music" episode seems kind of futile but leave it to his fellow band members to try and give the VH1 show the dirt it's looking for - it seems Chris has an illegitimate child. Be sure to check out this enormously underrated show when it returns this Sunday at 10:45/9:45c on Showtime.
29. dark angel - "...and jesus brought a casserole"
(originally aired may 22, 2001)
The first season finale of "Dark Angel" did something the previous episodes had yet to do - bring everything together. After 21 episodes of chases, questions and the like Max and company set out for the final showdown with Manticore and emerge victorious giving Max and Logan time to finally consummate their relationship. But leave it to "Dark Angel" to rip out the rug from under it - it seems it was all just a dream in Max's mind before she is fatally shot. Talk about a cliffhanger.
28. twenty four - "12:00 midnight-1:00 a.m."
(originally aired november 6, 2001)
"Sit back, things are just getting started," one of the kidnappers tells Jack Bauer's daughter. That's the understatement of the year in the opener to FOX's densely plotted and equally as exciting series. No show throws out as many curve balls in an hour as this show does.
27. 100 centre street - "let's make a night of it"
(originally aired april 2, 2001)
The image of the kind-hearted Robert Esposito being taken from the courtroom before being disbarred still gives me chills. Sydney Lumet's series always finds ways to capture life altering moments in a quiet, unnerving manner and the first season finale is a prime example.
26. the invisible man - "johnny apocalypse"
(originally aired june 15, 2001)
When Fawkes and Hobbes bring in Adam Reese, a child they are told carries an ebola-like virus that will detonate once he hits puberty, the series hit quite a few emotional notes. Big kudos to Vincent Ventresca in this episode for really making us invest in what happens to the child. And let's not forget Eberts playing Perfect Dark - "Who let the dogs out now!!!"
25. the agency - "pilot"
(originally aired in parts september 27 and november 1, 2001)
While only a few got to see the unedited pilot for "The Agency," nevertheless we're putting it on the list anyway. Exciting, pulse-pounding and riveting like no other hour I've seen in quite some time, it's a shame the episode was chopped up into spare parts and inserted into the events in other episodes.
24. the west wing - "two cathedrals"
(originally aired may 16, 2001)
Like President Bartlet cursing out God in Latin wasn't going to make this list? Martin Sheen's character may have a penchance for heavy handed speeches but this one had us still in our seats after the death of Mrs. Landingham.
23. alias - "mea culpa"
(originally aired december 9, 2001) - bug active
"Alias" might end each episode with a cliffhanger but the mid-episode jump in this episode gave us the willies for a while. Will's investigation into "Kate Jones" leads him to a flower pin bug that seems to still be on. Not too scary but after a night of drinking with Francie and some joking about it Will's cell phone rings. "Stop talking about the bug," the mysterious voice says when he answers. Oh doctor!
22. titus - "the pendulum"
(originally aired may 15, 2001)
Leave it to "Titus" to make one of the funniest (and most emotional) episodes of the year feature Titus in a coma through the entire episode. Just when the episode has you ripped up from laughing it will come out of nowhere with a emotional punch like no other.
21. ed - "goodbye sadie"
(originally aired december 5, 2001)
The best episodes of "Ed" are often the ones that are so free wheeling they make no sense. This one about Molly's attachment to her car "Sadie" is a perfect example. In the end a crowd gathers and applauds as Sadie is thrown into a lake. Carol asks Ed - "what's all this about?" Ed responds - "no idea." All this plus Warren gets a publicist and Ed loses his lifelong commitment to "just eat one chip." Sure it sounds stupid but man this show has a way of making everyday life hilarious.