68) Authority (Law and Order: SVU)

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Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is the longest running scripted, non-animated, prime-time show on TV. A lot of qualifiers to be sure, but it’s still pretty impressive. With its tendency to derive inspiration from real events, and to put forward alternate reality versions of them, the show often manages to hit home a lot harder than some of its contemporaries. Since the show focuses almost entirely on sexual-based offenses, which, as the show points out, are considered especially heinous, the episodes can be particularly unnerving.

While the show, focused on an NYPD special crime division, had a solid core cast (Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, Diane Neal, Adam Beach, B.D. Wong, Tamara Tunie, and Dann Florek, to name a few), it also had enough clout to get some good guest stars, and this episode is one of them.



SVURobinWilliamsRobin Williams can do dark. One-hour Photo showed…

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69) Triumph (Rome)

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Rome was doomed from the start. The show, I mean, not the city. Its budget was crippling, but that was because the production was so high-quality. The sets were massive and elaborate, the costuming was extravagant, and there were a lot of sexy happenings to be found. The last one probably didn’t hugely inflate the budget, but I know that the actresses were asking for more money to do nudity, so it didn’t help.

RomeVorenusPulloThe show depicted the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Empire, as viewed through the eyes of two soldiers, Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) and Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd). While both of them have names belonging to soldiers mentioned by Caesar in The Gallic Wars, they’re two of the only completely fictional characters in the series. Everyone else worth noticing is a historical figure crafted from writings about them. I’m not saying they…

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70) The Wrong Trousers (Wallace and Gromit)

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Cards on the table, this is technically a short film. That being said, it is usually run as part of a set of TV specials, which includes shorts, and I didn’t really think about the distinction until I had already finished the list. It didn’t stand out because the British are always weird about their episode ordering and number per season, and Wallace and Gromit is so British that it makes Harry Potter look like Malcolm X.

WallaceGromitMalcolmX This exists, and now you have to know that.


WallaceGromitWallace.jpgWallace (Peter Sallis) is a tinkerer with weird teeth whose inventions often backfire or are borderline ridiculous solutions to simple problems, such as “using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut” (which actually does happen in another short film). Rube Goldberg is assumed to be one of his ancestors, and whoever Rube ended up mating with to make him clearly lacked the “common sense”…

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71) I Will Remember You (Angel)

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Joss Whedon properties are found in a lot of slots on this list, because I love Joss Whedon. Oh, and because he’s a genius when it comes to the craft of balancing writing, directing, and producing. Of all of the episodes on the list from Whedon shows, however, this is the only one that Joss Whedon didn’t personally write or direct. It was part of the first season of Angel, the spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was the first episode to feature an appearance by Buffy, the woman Angel loves so much he chooses to leave her behind. This is because Angel (David Boreanaz) is a vampire cursed with a soul that will leave if he ever experiences perfect happiness (which, horrifyingly, happens when he has sex with Buffy). Without his soul, he is among the greatest evils the world has ever seen, so he chooses to avoid…

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72) Columbia Pictures doing the Burns and Allen Story (Burns and Allen)

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George Burns was a funny man, but even he knew that he lucked out when he met Gracie Allen. Actually, it was especially lucky, considering she was applying to be partner with a different comic, and only asked George because of a mix-up. Burns would often say he’d only found one truly funny thing in his career, but fortunately, he was married to her for thirty-eight years.


BurnsAndAllenPresidency Ahead of its time

After being a hit as a Vaudeville act on stage, on film, and on the radio, Burns and Allen got a show on T.V. Not much was different for them, as the act was pretty simple. George was the straight man, Gracie (the character) was the dumbest woman who ever managed to stand upright and, on some occasions, she couldn’t even pull that off too well. Despite this, she ran for President as a marketing stunt in 1940… and…

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73) The Interview (M*A*S*H)

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M*A*S*H was a comedy about war. That’s a pretty dark place to start, and M*A*S*H was pretty famous for being able to bounce back and forth between off-the-wall humor and dark, maudlin drama. In fact, in an episode of Futurama, iHawk, a character based on Hawkeye (Alan Alda), has a switch that causes him to oscillate between irreverent humor and maudlin drinking. That was not an inaccurate portrayal of the characters on the show, especially Hawkeye.


In order to live on the battlefield and to treat the wounded, the crew of the M*A*S*H tent have to balance accepting the horrible reality in front of them with standing back and mocking life’s cruelties. It made M*A*S*H a show where the audience could not guess what the theme of the next show was going to be like.

mashedwardrmurrow.jpgSmall amount of background for this episode: During the Korean War, Edward R. Murrow…

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