Best TV The Best Single Episodes in Television History  

Ranker TV
61k votes 5.9k voters 89.6k views 256 items

List Rules No reality, late night, or talk shows. Vote on the merits of just the one episode, not on the entire series.

Some episodes of a TV show are so good, they stand alone and may even raise the bar for a genre. Some of the best TV episodes of all time are even better than the series as a whole. Certain episodes may even transcend the life of a television series, shared again and again among fans. 

We’ve taken a cross section of the best stand alone episodes in television history and they are here on this list of the greatest single episodes of any TV show, awaiting your votes! TV has exploded over the years, to become a serious medium of a quality on par with film. That said, old TV shows have some of their top single episodes listed here as well, and many of the best TV comedies have multiple entries. This list features a solid representation of all genres and time periods, so long as the episodes are truly exceptional in their own right, regardless of the quality of the rest of the series.  

Remember Prison Mike from that episode The Office? Or basically any episode of Breaking Bad (though "Ozymandias and "Dead Freight" certainly stand out)? From Arrested Development's edgy comedy to Seinfeld's iconic episodes to All in the Family's landmark moments in television history, this list runs the gamut may even introduce you to some new shows whose best episodes will have you binge watching the entire series (Friday Night Lights and Adventure Time, anyone?).

You may have your own favorite TV episode that you think stands head and shoulders above the rest of the series and are encouraged to add it to this list. Good TV is good TV and everyone should know about it. With so much top TV programming these days, it can be hard to know where to start, but the best single episodes on television listed here are a great place to start. From the best episode of Friends and the best episode of Seinfeld or even Game of Thrones, they're all here, waiting to rise to the top based on your votes.

After you've voted and reranked, let us know in the comments section how many of these famous, groundbreaking, memorable, and iconic TV episodes you've seen!
list ordered by

1
1,562 544
"Ozymandias" - Breakin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Ozymandias" - Breaking Bad

2
812 304
To Serve Man is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
slaft added Mar 02 1962 An alien race comes to earth, promising peace and sharing technology. A linguist and his team set out to translate the alien's language, using a book whose title they deduce is  "To Serve Man" is episode 89 of the anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on March 2, 1962 on CBS. The story is based on the 1950 short story "To Serve ...more

3
925 391
The Rains of Castamere is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jun 02 2013 "The Rains of Castamere" is the ninth episode of the third season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 29th episode of the series. The episode was written by ...more

4
845 393
Face Off is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Oct 09 2011 A showdown with Gus occurs. Walt finds an unexpected ally through Saul's help.

5
745 347
The Luck of the Fryrish is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Mar 11 2001 After a string of bad luck, Fry ventures into the decaying ruins of Old New York to regain his lucky seven-leaf clover from his childhood, only to find that his brother Yancy Fry had stolen not ...more

6
749 372
The Soup Nazi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
theuniverse added Nov 02 1995 "The Soup Nazi" is the 116th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which was the sixth episode of the seventh season. It first aired in the United States on November 2, 1995. The Soup ...more

7
754 376
Scott Tenorman Must Die is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jul 11 2001 Cartman goes medieval on Scott Tenorman's ass when ginger-haired Scott tricks our supple hero into buying his pubic hair for $16.12. Radiohead guest stars and plays a role in Cartman's elaborate ...more

8
623 301
Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Feb 28 1983 Hawkeye is sent to a mental hospital; a freak accident causes Father Mulcahy to lose his hearing; Margaret worries about her post-war plans; Charles run across a band of Chinese musicians; BJ is ...more

9
640 314
"Blink" - Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Blink" - Doctor Who

10
625 307
The Nightman Cometh is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 20 2008 In the season finale, Charlie gets the gang to help him put together a rock opera based on his song "Nightman."

11
303 108
The Eye of the Beholder is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
MVandermast added Nov 11 1960 A young woman undergoes ""experimental treatments"" in an attempt to make her appear ""normal"".

12
621 310
Make Love, Not Warcraft is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Oct 04 2006 "Make Love, Not Warcraft" is the eighth episode of the tenth season of the animated television series South Park, and the 147th episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the ...more

13
565 275
You Only Move Twice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 03 1996 "You Only Move Twice" is the second episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 3, 1996. The episode, based on a story ...more

14
658 336
Blackwater is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
May 27 2012 Tyrion and the Lannisters fight for their lives as Stannis’ fleet assaults King’s Landing.

15
705 366
The Contest is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 18 1992 "The Contest" is the 51st episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. The 11th episode of the fourth season, it aired on November 18, 1992. In the episode, George Costanza tells Jerry ...more

16
595 305
"The Watchers on the Wall&... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"The Watchers on the Wall" - Game of Thrones

17
532 268
Days Gone Bye is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Oct 31 2010 "Days Gone Bye" is the first episode of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead. It originally aired on AMC in the United States on October 31, 2010. The episode ...more

18
632 335
Pilot is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
analise.dubner added Sep 22 2004 Stripped of everything, the 48 survivors scavenge what they can from the plane for their survival. Some panic. Some pin their hopes on rescue. A few find inner strength they never knew they ...more

19
507 255
Marge vs. the Monorail is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jan 14 1993 When Springfield gets a sudden windfall, a charismatic traveling salesman convinces the town to build a monorail.

20
457 229
The Trouble With Tribbles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Dec 29 1967 Kirk must defuse a Klingon scheme to destroy a grain shipment...and cope with a seemingly benign creature known as a tribble, which reproduces at amazing speed.

21
308 131
The Monsters Are Due on Maple ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Mar 04 1960 Paranoia strikes the residents of Maple Street when they believe human-looking aliens have invaded the neighborhood.

22
526 288
Slap Bet is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 20 2006 Ted and Barney discusses their viewpoints on knowing things about women. Barney thinks that the more you know the more likely you are to find a deal breaker. Ted wants to know the deal breakers ...more

23
403 204
Turkeys Away is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Oct 30 1978 Feeling left out because he doesn't have anything to do, Mr. Carlson suddenly decides to take full charge of every aspect of the station. He then proceeds to come up with a special, top-secret ...more

24
538 299
The Convict is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 30 2006 "The Convict" is the ninth episode of the third season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 37th overall. It first aired on November 30, 2006 in the ...more

25
413 214
Out of Gas is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Oct 25 2002 In a delirious state after Serenity's engine explodes, draining the ship of its oxygen supply, Mal has a series of flashbacks about how he came to own Serenity and form his crew.

26
498 275
Li'l Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
May 19 2011 Leslie and the parks team put together a memorial service for a dearly departed friend. Meanwhile, Tom makes a big life decision, while Chris reacts badly to a health problem.

27
170 48
Jurassic Bark is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jen Fox-Williams added Nov 17 2002 "Jurassic Bark" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of the television series Futurama, airing November 17, 2002. It was nominated for an Emmy Award, but lost to The Simpsons ...more

28
440 247
Dead Freight is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Aug 12 2012 Walt's team gets creative to obtain the methylamine they need to continue their operation.

29
306 150
The Best of Both Worlds is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jun 18 1990 "The Best of Both Worlds" is a two-part storyline from the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It comprises the 74th and 75th episodes ...more

30
332 169
Roswell That Ends Well is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Dec 09 2001 The combined explosions of a supernova and Fry putting metal in the microwave hurtle the Planet Express crew back in time to 1947. They land at Roswell, New Mexico, where a shattered Bender is ...more

31
297 145
Ranker Video
daniel-paternina added "The Dance of Dragons" - Game of Thrones june 7-2015

32
236 102
Time Enough at Last is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
David Strickler added Nov 20 1959 A bank teller, obsessed with reading, finds himself alone after a nuclear blast.

33
389 226
Once More, With Feeling is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Nov 06 2001 A mysterious force causes everyone in Sunnydale to reveal all of their innermost thoughts and feelings in song. Tara sings a love song to Willow professing all her love, but does Willow feel the ...more

34
304 163
The City on the Edge of Foreve... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Apr 06 1967 Kirk and Spock must travel into the past in order to correct a change that will alter history.

35
278 145
Home is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
analise.dubner added Oct 11 1996 A baby is found buried alive in shallow ground and appears to have birth defects resulting from generations of inbreeding, leading Mulder and Scully to a reclusive family who have a history of ...more

36
422 256
Band Geeks is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History

37
288 154
Bastogne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Bastogne" - Band of Brothers Oct 07 2001 Easy Company experiences the Battle of the Bulge and have to hold ground near Bastogne while running low on ammunition and other supplies. The episode focuses on medic Eugene "Doc" Roe ...more

38
437 273
Basketball is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Apr 19 2005 The office staff play a basketball game against the warehouse workers in which Jim shows off to impress Pam and upstage her fiancee who is on the opposing team.

39
348 212
Pine Barrens is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
May 06 2001 While on a collection errand, Paulie and Christopher find themselves thrust into a deadly chase with a Russian in the frigid woods of South Jersey. Tony is caught between business, family ...more

40
354 220
"Treat Yourself" - Par... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Treat Yourself" - Parks and Recreation

41
115 28
Mr. Plow is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
danielm0 added Nov 19 1992 "Mr. Plow" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season, which originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 19, 1992. In the episode, Homer buys a snow ...more

42
306 185
Abyssinia, Henry is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Mar 18 1975 "Abyssinia, Henry" is the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. First aired on March 18, 1975, and written by Everett ...more

43
330 209
Booze Cruise is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Jan 05 2006 Michael takes the entire Dunder-Mifflin staff on a motivational cruise aboard a party boat on Lake Wallenpaupack, but his planned presentation is bogged down by numerous distractions, including ...more

44
209 110
Blue Harvest is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
comicspies1 added Sep 23 2007 Peter retells the story of Star Wars in this hour-long episode of Family Guy. When Princess Leia is captured by the evil Darth Vader the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 escape to the planet Tatooine to ...more

45
341 222
The Marine Biologist is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Feb 10 1994 Jerry meets an old college classmate who asked about George, whom Jerry says is now a "marine biologist." An infuriated Russian writer tosses an electronic organizer belonging to ...more

46
249 146
Last Exit to Springfield is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
analise.dubner added Mar 11 1993 Homer negotiates his union's contract with Mr. Burns, mindful that he needs a dental plan for Lisa's new braces. Burns mistakes Homer's utter ineptitude for strategy and concedes, on the ...more

47
259 161
House's Head is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
May 12 2008 A bus accident leaves House with serious head trauma and partial amnesia. He comes to believe that a patient on the bus had a life-threatening disease and struggles to recall who it was, and ...more

48
192 105
Serenity is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Umberhaven added Dec 20 2002 Serenity continues to travel through space conducting illegal runs across the star system, which is under the control of The Alliance. A powerful and fearsome mobster named Adelei Niska demands ...more

49
202 115
Road to the Multiverse is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
comicspies1 added Sep 27 2009 With the help of an out-of-this-world remote control, Stewie and Brian travel through alternate universes, including a post-apocalyptic world and a parallel world run by dogs where humans are

50
322 220
The Body is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
Feb 27 2001 After finding Joyce on the couch, a terrified slayer calls 911. Unfortunately, it's too late to do anything. We see Dawn at school for the first time, and she's just getting over the freakout ...more