It's time once again for our annual list of the 50 best episodes of the past year. (For previous lists check the links to the right.)
As usual we'll be counting down 10 episodes a day until we get to the best episode of 2006 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.
Obviously our list will differ from the ones you sent in - but that's half the fun! So sit back, relax and enjoy the countdown!
50. "the king of queens: apartment complex" (cbs)
(originally aired: february 6, 2006)
Still doing a yeoman's job all these years later, "Queens" knocked out another winner last season in which Doug and company rent an apartment above a Chinese restaurant to use as their own club house. Things deteriorate over time though as Deacon and Doug assume husband and wife roles respectively. Plus who could forget: bologna darts!
49. "monk: mr. monk and the actor" (usa)
(originally aired: july 7, 2006)
Just when you think the show has run out of ways to poke fun of Monk's behavior they roll out this gem in which Stanley Tucci plays a method actor who shadows Monk - only to take on the most extreme aspects of Monk's personality.
48. "psych: 9 lives" (usa)
(originally aired: august 4, 2006)
For a show whose premise already skirts the absurd, you gotta love the moxy of having Shawn say a cat was a murder's only witness. And then having the cat "partner up" with Shawn to solve it - genius.
47. "the west wing: tomorrow" (nbc)
(originally aired: may 14, 2006)
A genuine celebration of the show's post-Aaron Sorking resurgence, the finale once again reminded us what "The West Wing" was - a handsomely constructed love letter to what an honor public service is.
46. "the sopranos: johnny cakes" (hbo)
(originally aired: april 30, 2006)
Who would have thought a subplot involving a gay mobster on the lam and his subsequent romance with a volunteer fireman was going to be the most intriguing part of "The Sopranos" final season thus far?
45. "big love: the ceremony" (hbo)
(originally aired: june 4, 2006)
The Governor's wife declaration to Bill - "That would be a matter for you to discuss with her... and your other wives" - as she escorts Barb out of the "Mother of the Year" competition was about as heart-sinking a moment as any of 2006.
44. "brothers & sisters: northern exposure" (abc)
(originally aired: november 5, 2006)
I may be off a week or two, but I think this was the episode of "Brothers & Sisters" where it stopped being "that depressing show with all the alleged behind-the-scenes trouble" and started being an honest, authentic show about family.
43. "studio 60 on the sunset strip: pilot" (nbc)
(originally aired: september 18, 2006)
Sure this show frustrates me like no other and sure it's "en vogue" to jump off its bandwagon nowadays, but damn was this a fantastic hour of television.
42. "south park: the return of the chef!" (comedy central)
(originally aired: march 22, 2006)
The latest example of "South Park's" awesomeness: its explanation of why Chef (Isaac Hayes) is leaving the show.
41. "rescue me: beached" (fx)
(originally aired: august 29, 2006)
A sobering reminder - literally - of the long journey all of these characters have taken. The crew's visit to a 9/11 Firefighter's Memorial and confession of their respective failures was about as big of a "chill moment" as this series has ever had.
COMING TOMORROW: #40-31