The Third Best Thing

The best thing about fall is undoubtedly college football. The second best thing about fall is cooler weather. Right behind those two and often making a solid push for second place (for instance, when September acts like a bitch and stays too warm or November acts like an even bigger bitch and gets too cold and rainy) is the return of decent television. 

My husband and I decided to forgo cable when we moved into our new house back in May and in doing so saved ourselves from the near comatose stupor that is inevitably brought on by repeated viewings of reality tv and Seinfeld reruns on TBS (not that I don’t love Seinfeld); summer tv is a wasteland.

But it is fall again and thanks to our lovely digital antenna and ever-glorious Tivo, we are all set for the wonderful return of the shows we love.

In honor of the approaching season premieres, I’ve created a sampling, if you will, of some of my favorite episodes from the shows that I am most looking forward to watching again. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. The five episodes I’ve selected for each show are not necessarily the five best episodes. They are not necessarily my five favorite episodes. I tried to pick at least one standout episode from each season. So if you happen to read this blog (hi Mom!) and are looking for a good mix of episodes to provide an overall feel for the arc of a show, this list should be helpful. If you don’t want to waste your time with generally less than stellar seasons and just want to consume as much top-notch, firing on all cylinders material from each show, I suggest just watching Season 2 for any of the shows below (actually, that’s pretty good advice for any show–I find that second seasons most often contain the highest quality episodes) except for 30 Rock. Season 1 of 30 Rock is perfection and shouldn’t be missed. 


The Office (Season 6 Premiere Thursday, Sept. 17 on NBC) 

Health Care  (Season 1)

The Injury  (Season 2)

A Benihana Christmas  (Season 3)

Goodbye Toby  (Season 4)

Broke  (Season 5)


Season 6 Promo:


Bones (Season 5 Premiere Thursday, Sept 17 on Fox)

Two Bodies In The Lab  (Season 1)

Aliens In A Spaceship  (Season 2)

Judas on a Pole  (Season 2)

The Widow’s Son In The Windshield  (Season 3)

Con Man in the Meth Lab  (Season 4)


Season 5 Promo:


How I Met Your Mother (Season 5 Premiere Monday, Sept 21 on CBS)

The Pineapple Incident  (Season 1)

Slap Bet  (Season 2)

Stuff  (Season 2)

How I Met Everyone Else  (Season 3)

Intervention  (Season 4)


This is a general promotional video for CBS shows cut to include only the HIMYM cast and clips from the show’s past season. Stop watching at 5:25, or well before that if you have anything even remotely important to do with your life.


Big Bang Theory (Season 3 Premiere Monday, Sept 21 on CBS)

The Dumpling Paradox (Season 1)

The Loobenfeld Decay (Season 1)

The Barbarian Sublimation (Season 2)

Bath Item Gift Hypothesis (Season 2)

The Work Song Nanocluster (Season 2)


Season 3 Promo:


30 Rock (Season 4 Premiere Thursday, Oct 15 on NBC)

Jack the Writer (Season 1)

Jack-Tor  (Season 1)

Jack Meets Dennis  (Season 1)

Cougars  (Season 2)

Believe in the Stars  (Season 3)


Stupid 30 Rock doesn’t come back until Oct (which was the case last season as well). In the meantime, enjoy these helpful tips from Jack Donaghy. 


Since we don’t have cable anymore, I won’t actually be able to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia when it airs. Sad face. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the new episodes will be posted on Hulu in a timely fashion. This show is absolutely hilarious. 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Season 5 Premiere Thursday, Sept 17 on FX)

Underage Drinking: A National Concern (Season 1)

Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare  (Season 2)

Sweet Dee Dates a Retarded Person  (Season 3)

Mac & Dennis: Manhunters  (Season 4)

The Nightman Cometh  (Season 4)


All of the Season 5 promos that I could find online didn’t really do the show justice. So instead, watch this interview with the show’s creators and stars; it includes lots of clips.


As for other shows that I’d like to catch up on sometime in the future: Fringe and FlashForward. Both of these shows conflict with other things that I already watch and will thus be relegated to after-the-fact Hulu viewing or very much after-the-fact Netflix DVDing. FlashForward may very well suck (this will be its first season), but it’s from the creator of Lost and I love me some Lost. I have seen a few episodes of Fringe and it’s pretty weird and badass.


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