It's time for our annual list of the 50 best episodes of the past year. (For previous lists check the bottom of this column.) We'll be counting down 10 episodes a day until we get to the best episode of 2004 on Friday. The episodes on this list are based on nominations by myself and regular visitors to the site as to what we think the standout moments of the year were. In some cases while we were fans of certain series we couldn't pin down a particular episode we thought was of special merit so don't be stunned to see a few of our regular favorites missing from the list. Anyway, on with the show...
30. "jack & bobby: lost boys"
(originally aired november 17, 2004)
This episode, which saw the addition of Tom Cavanagh to the mix, made an already great show even better. It's here that we finally got some sort of counterweight to Christine Lahti's often overbearing character not to mention one of the show's strongest stories to date as Jack learns that an old friend has killed himself, and only he may know why.
29. "ed: happily ever after"
(originally aired february 6, 2004)
The show's de facto series finale was everything you'd want it to be - goofy, offbeat, charming and touching in equal doses - except for the fact it came way too soon.
28. "house: pilot"
(originally aired: november 16, 2004)
Hugh Laurie steals the show - not to mention makes the biggest acting impression of 2004 - in the debut of his wonderful series "House." While us Americans haven't had much exposure to Laurie, one can't help but wonder why it took so damn long for us to get it.
27. "wonderfalls: wax lion"
(originally aired march 12, 2004)
The short-lived gem opened with a delightful installment that introduced us to the (pardon the choice of adjectives here) wonderful Caroline Dhavernas and her first exposure to talking inanimate figurines. The DVD (featuring nine - yes nine, folks - unaired episodes) can't get here soon enough.
26. "desperate housewives: pilot"
(originally aired october 3, 2004)
The best thing about "Housewives" is that it feels like in a different time it would have been added to the list of ABC's trademark short-lived classics ("Cupid," "Nothing Sacred," "Miracles," etc.) except that it somehow found an audience and is having award after award dumped on it. After all, does anyone remember when everyone thought the show would tank?
25. "joan of arcadia: no future"
(originally aired november 19, 2004)
Say what you will about the show's often depressing tone this season, but if you didn't tear up a little when Patty Griffin's "Kite Song" came on as Jason Ritter's character took his final step then, well, you have a far stronger constitution than I.
24. "the o.c.: the chrismukkah that almost wasn't"
(originally aired december 16, 2004)
All hail Josh Schwartz's creation of Chrismukkah, as said event continues to provide the show's best highlights. Adam Brody's Seth Cohen says it best: "The Chrismukkah backlash, What if it's getting too big and commercial...It's like it started out as this really cool, cult holiday, flying under the cultural radar and then all of the sudden it crosses over. Then there's too much pressure. I mean can it really be the next Thanksgiving? Can it top Halloween?"
23. "rescue me: sanctuary"
(originally aired october 13, 2004)
The series closed its freshman season in an absolutely riveting fashion as Tommy (the Emmy-worthy Denis Leary) is once again visited by his ghosts except that this time it comes at a real cost - the potential life of one of his best friends.
22. "gilmore girls: raincoats and recipes"
(originally aired may 18, 2004)
Possibly one of the (if not the) best episodes of the series to date as Luke and Lorelai finally have their first kiss - only to be interrupted by a naked Kirk during one of his night terrors.
21. "angel: smile time"
(originally aired february 18, 2004)
They made Angel a puppet. A puppet. Nothing more needs to be said.