When it comes to watching critically acclaimed TV series you can’t really go wrong with turning to Netflix for your weekend binge session.
And for every great series, there are a number of great episodes.
The very best make us laugh, cry and gasp. They are groundbreaking in terms of spectacle, writing and drama. They stay with us long after the credits roll
Joel Draba-Mann picks out the 12 of the finest episodes of your favourite shows on Netflix right now…
Warning: Spoilers and NSFW videos do follow…
Lost – “Pilot: Part 1”
Series 1, Episode 1 (2004)
The Pilot to Lost is one of the most critically acclaimed first episodes in TV history and broke the record for a pilot viewership, at 18.6 million.
The episode introduced us to the ensemble survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 by opening amidst the madness of the crash site, following doctor and series protagonist Jack Shepard as he attempts to use his skills to help those he can.
Commanding the largest budget of any TV pilot to date, the high-octane opener set the bar high for the remainder of the show’s run.
Breaking Bad – “Ozymandias”
Series 5, Episode 14 (2013)
Considered by many as the greatest episode of television ever made, the penultimate episode in the entire series of Breaking Bad won three awards at that year’s Primetime Emmy’s (Outstanding Writing, Lead Actor and Supporting Actress).
The episode saw the collapse of Walter White’s empire as the drugs-lord turned on his own family and everything he had once loved. Ozymandias was the melancholic descent into darkness for one of TV’s greatest antiheroes.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – “The Nightman Cometh”
Series 4, Episode 13 (2008)
So celebrated that it spawned it’s own live stage show, this episode of cult comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia sees the gang try their hand at writing a rock opera. A “very serious” musical about the age-old battle between masters of good and evil, The Dayman and The Nightman…
Doctor Who – “Blink”
Series 3, Episode 10 (2007)
For an episode of family-friendly, prime-time British television, Blink is terrifying; a masterful piece of horror that unrelentingly ramps up the levels of suspense.
The episode introduced us to the Weeping Angels, stone effigies intent on killing humans who have since gone on to become one of the series stand-out monsters.
The episode, ironically, is rather ‘doctor-less’ and features a young Carey Mulligan in the protagonist role. Do not watch if you live near a graveyard!
Dexter – “The Getaway”
Series 4, Episode 12 (2009)
The series 4 finale of serial killer drama Dexter shocked fans with its dramatic twist ending. The show’s producers had gone to great lengths to keep the actual ending secret, even leaking fake alternate endings to the press and imposing strict security measures on their writing team.
The finale saw the end of the long-running “Trinity Killer” storyline and the demise of one of the show’s much loved characters…
Arrested Development – “Pier Pressure”
Series 1, Episode 10 (2004)
One of the stand-out episodes of the fantastic original run of cult comedy Arrested Development, Pier Pressure is perhaps one of the best examples of sitcom writing in the television medium.
An episode on the ‘benefits’ of medicinal marijuana, it also saw the debut of G.O.B.s hilarious “Hot Cops” business scheme..
The Office (US) – “Casino Night”
Series 2, Episode 22 (2006)
Written by lead actor Steve Carell, this episode is considered one of the best that the long-running comedy has to offer. It was also one of the show’s most emotionally touching episodes, as fan-favourite Jim confessed his love for the already betrothed Pam.
The Office (UK) – “Staff Training”
Series 1, Episode 4 (2001)
This episode saw the introduction of David Brent: The Musician, an artist that has since gone on to top the charts, fill venues and has a spin-off film in the works. It was also utterly hilarious.
Planet Earth – “Ocean Deep”
Series 1, Episode 7 (2007)
The penultimate episode of the groundbreaking BBC documentary series saw the culmination of over seven years of filming, featuring beautiful footage of the largest existing animal, the Blue Whale.
Battlestar Galactica – “Exodus Part II”
Series 3, Episode 4 (2006)
Exodus is a high-octane thrill ride throughout, as the vicious Cylons launched an attack on the embattled remnants of the human population.
The episode was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for its astonishing visual effects, which could hold their own against anything coming out of Hollywood at the time, despite the vast disparity in budgets.
Sons of Anarchy – “Balm”
Series 2, Episode 10 (2009)
Balm was one of the more poignant episodes of crime drama Sons of Anarchy. It is an episode with a powerful agenda: the belief that even criminals can be noble, family-orientated and morally just.
Balm is famous for including one of the most tense and memorable scenes in modern television history, as Gemma reveals the details of her rape to her battling son and husband (Charlie Hunnam’s Jax and Ron Perlman’s Clay), a horrifying revelation that brings the two warring characters together, just in time for the season finale….
Archer – “Placebo Effect”
Series 2, Episode 9 (2011)
Secret agent Sterling Archer is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, only for his doctor to realise his prescription drugs are counterfeit and are actually medical marijuana.
Enraged, the narcissistic spy begins a mission to track down the dealers who sold him the fake pills. A mission that leads him deep within the heart of the Irish Mob…
24 – “11.00PM- 12.00AM”
Series 1, Episode 24 (2001)
This season 1 finale of action-drama 24 saw the explosive culmination of the series storyline and the crippling loss of one of the first season’s much loved characters in an unexpected ending that shocked fans…