[01/01/02 - 12:00 AM]
The 50 Best Episodes of 2001 - #50-41
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

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. Beginning today we'll countdown 10 episodes a day until we unveil our 10 best episodes of 2001 on Monday. So without any further adieu, let the countdown begin...

50. stargate sg-1 - "wormhole x-treme!"
(originally aired september 8, 2001)

While easy to dismiss as a parody of itself, the 100th episode of "Stargate SG-1" was a grand celebration of how good this underappreciated series can be. In the same way "Galaxy Quest" was an homage to "Star Trek" this episode looked at the (at times) inherently hokey nature of the show and delivered some of the series' best laughs to date.

49. xena: warrior princess - "friend in need"
(originally aired the week of june 23, 2001)

Who would have thought "Xena" would have ended so violently? A tearful and joyous sendoff at the same time, Xena's battle with Yodoshi and Gabrielle's more earthbound struggles proved a great capper to the long running drama.

48. family guy - "if i'm dyin' i'm lyin'"
(originally aired april 4, 2001)

Leave it to "Family Guy" to make an entire episode about saving a television series. When Peter and Chris' favorite show - "Gumbel to Gumbel" - is canceled, they fake Chris getting a terminal illness so that the "Make a Wish Foundation" can save the show. Only "Family Guy" could make this concept far too hilarious for words.

47. enterprise - "broken bow"
(originally aired september 26, 2001)

Can one episode make us forget seven years of "Star Trek: Voyager?" This one came close as the opener to "Enterprise" hit tons of notes the franchise has not struck since "Deep Space Nine" folded. "Wonder" is the word that the series holds close to its heart, hopefully with no end in sight.

46. ed - "live deliberately"
(originally aired february 28, 2001)

No episode better exemplified the whimsy and good nature of "Ed" than this one as a local may (Kevin Pollack) tries to change his life by living simply - something that rubs off on Ed and company. And who could forget Warren spending a night with Donna after being inspired by Thoreau?

45. big apple - "pilot"
(originally aired march 1, 2001)

David Milch's rich, densely plotted (and sadly short lived) series opened us to a distinctive vision of "cops and robbers." Ed O'Neill, who sadly still gets typecast in his Al Bundy personae, was stunning as Detective Mike Mooney not to mention Michael Madsen, David Strathairn, Donnie Wahlberg and Titus Welliver all of whom helped bring Milch's world to life.

44. curb your enthusiasm - "the car salesman"
(originally aired september 23, 2001)

What do you do after you've made millions off of "Seinfeld?" Sit around in your jammies and watch talk shows if you're Larry David. There's just something about this show that you can't help but laugh at.

43. the job - "pilot"
(originally aired march 14, 2001)

Denis Leary's cop dramedy (which returns in two weeks) jumped out of the gate with its fine pilot episode which set the tone for the series' irreverent but heartfelt tone. Hopefully viewers will find the show this time out.

42. once & again - "the second time around"
(originally aired may 2, 2001)

The wedding that was two years in the making finally happened in the series' second season finale, which brought the show's large cast together for the celebration. Always willing to show its characters at their both best and worst, the episode was no exception. And who could forget Evan Rachel Wood's song that closed the episode?

41. everybody loves raymond - "the angry family"
(originally aired september 24, 2001)

This season opened with one of "Raymond's" finest (and funniest) shows in which at an open house for first grader Michael, the Barones are treated to a surprising story from Michael called "The Angry Family." When the story hits too close to home the family (along with Ray's parents) head to counseling. How this show finds new ways to make old material funny is beyond me, but until it doesn't I'll keep on watching.

  [january 2002]  


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