Best TV The Best Single Episodes in Television History  

Ranker TV
61.7k votes 6k voters 90.5k 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
1,587 557
"Ozymandias" - Breakin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Ozymandias" - Breaking Bad

2
822 318
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
942 399
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
857 401
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
755 354
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
760 379
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
762 383
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
648 321
"Blink" - Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Single Episodes in Television History
"Blink" - Doctor Who

9
636 314
The Nightman Cometh is listed (or ranked) 9 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."

10
626 308
Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
311 112
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
719 369
The Contest is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
631 314
Make Love, Not Warcraft is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
671 343
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
571 280
You Only Move Twice is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
610 313
"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
642 340
Pilot is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
538 274
Days Gone Bye is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
513 259
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
462 232
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
314 134
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
550 301
The Convict is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
535 292
Slap Bet is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
406 205
Turkeys Away is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
507 277
Li'l Sebastian is listed (or ranked) 25 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.