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!
40. "desperate housewives: bang" (abc)
(originally aired: november 5, 2006)
Both shocking and touching, the show's much-ballyhooed "hostage crisis" episode delivered on all counts as a touchstone to moments past (Lynette's dreams involving Mary Alice) and another 90 degree turn in one of its major subplots (the murder of Nora).
39. "saved: a day in the life" (tnt)
(originally aired: june 12, 2006)
Worth a spot on this list alone for the harrowing sequence set to Johnny Cash's Hurt, this short-lived TNT drama will be sorely missed.
38. "scrubs: my lunch" (nbc)
(originally aired: april 25, 2006)
While the show itself has waded deep into cartoonish waters as of late, this installment reminded us of classic "Scrubs'" balance of the absurd - a look inside "The Todd's" efforts to walk into conversations at the right time - and the very real - an annoying patient (Nicole Sullivan) confesses to trying to kill herself while Dr. Cox battles to break a streak of transplant patients dying.
37. "entourage: vegas baby, vegas!" (hbo)
(originally aired: august 6, 2006)
Johnny Drama cold cocking Seth Green. End of story.
36. "heroes: genesis" (nbc)
(originally aired: september 25, 2006)
A swift reminder that making our imaginations sizzle - what would you do if you woke up with super powers one day? - is the hardest thing to do in television.
35/34. "lost: live together, die alone, parts 1 & 2" (abc)
(originally aired: may 24, 2006)
After its disappointing send off in season one, we got the info dump of info dumps in its season two finale - the hatch exploding, the Others capturing Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sawyer, Desmond's backstory and the show's first post-crash visit off the island.
33. "how i met your mother: come on" (cbs)
(originally aired: may 15, 2006)
The fact that this series can make us care about relationships that we know are destined to fail is a true testament to how great this show is. In this case, Ted finally gets together with Robin in the show's season finale while Marshall and Lily split up.
32. "grey's anatomy: it's the end of the world" (abc)
(originally aired: february 5, 2006)
The cannon shot that marked the show's first visit to the top of the Nielsens, the famed Super Bowl episode did for America the one thing all post-Super Bowl episodes should do - check out a promising series they might not have watched before and stick around for the long haul.
31. "24: day 5: 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m." (fox)
(originally aired: may 22, 2006)
About as perfect of a finale this show has ever had - from its teaser for the upcoming season (Jack being literally shipped off to China) to the chief villain being caught (Martha Logan gets her husband to confess his part in the day's events).
COMING TOMORROW: #30-21