This year’s genre television gave us a lot of high highs and a few very low lows. In no particular order, we’ve rounded up the year’s best moments, along with the worst.
The Best of the Best:
Janet begs for her life in The Good Place
Let’s start with pure fun. I could have come up with a ton of moments from The Good Place for this list, including the freeze-frame-worthy scene where all the ways you can gain and lose points for the afterlife pop up (I give this joke a bonus because the pilot has “tell a woman to smile” as a negative and the finale had a demon do that almost as soon as he arrives.) But I’m giving this spot to my favorite performance by D’Arcy Carden as Janet. She swings from her blandly genial AI to screaming and pleading so easily, it’s amazing. And the jokes—about her having a family and not having one—are great.
The Arrowverse team-up
The week-long event was a ratings success, and it was partly because of the promise of finally seeing this moment. Was it fan service? Probably. That’s not always a bad thing.
The hotel room battle in Preacher
The way this cloning battle—where every time someone in it dies, they come back again while leaving their original corpses behind—was done was great. And the fact that the bodies just keep piling up makes it even better somehow. It’s chaotic and fun and a great reminder of why Preacher is so good.
Darth Maul and Ezra see into the future of Star Wars on Rebels
Some moments just make you scream because of the implications—and this was one of them. Ezra and Maul look into the holocron and see a planet “with two suns.” Yes, that could mean anything. But the way Maul reacts? It feels more likely they’re seeing the beginning of A New Hope.
Alex comes out in Supergirl
Most of the items on this list come from the “awesome” or “ridiculous” list, but this was an emotional moment that worked unbelievably well.
Butch shoots Azrael in the face with a goddamned bazooka in Gotham
Gotham often straddles the line between “so bad it’s amazing” and “so bad I want to scoop out my own eye like Fish Mooney did.” This is an example of it leaning just the right side of bonkers.
Carol trying not to laugh hysterically upon meeting Ezekiel in The Walking Dead
“I don’t know what the hell’s going on in the most wonderful way!” Neither do we, Carol. But if you can’t laugh when a man introduces himself as a king and has a tiger on a leash, what can you laugh at?
William’s face after getting shot in the arm in Westworld
All this dude wanted all season was for the park to cause him actual harm. This is the face of someone just realizing that getting exactly what you want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Eleven flipping over that van in Stranger Things
This one speaks for itself, I’m pretty sure.
Ash fights intestines in a morgue in Ash vs Evil Dead.
In episode two of season two of Ash vs. Evil Dead, Ash fights some possessed intestines. Because that’s how this show rolls.
High Mulder in The X-Files
“Babylon,” the fifth episode of the X-Files revival, was completely forgettable and very, very not good. But at least it gave us a look at what Mulder thinks it would be like to be high.
Dr. Stein sings “Edelweiss” in Legends of Tomorrow
Before this show even came back, executive producer Greg Berlanti said “There’s a lot of time travel shows. There will only be one time travel show where Victor Garber will sing ‘Edelweiss.’” He wasn’t wrong. It’s so completely absurd and we loved it. Slightly more than we loved the Atom being unable to make himself heil Hitler to maintain his disguise... but only slightly.
The Flash gets Supergirl ice cream
We could use this gif for everything.
Best Moment Battle: Game of Thrones Edition
We had a lot of trouble narrowing down our favorite Game of Thrones moments to even just two or three. It got really nasty—jobs were threatened, people swore to leave if things were left off. So we’re going to just let you pick your favorite from these five.
The Battle of the Bastards
Game of Thrones does a big, show-stopping battle almost every year. This year’s might have been the best—the most chaotic, the most down and dirty, and the one where we wanted a win for Jon more than anything (and, since we’re out of books to guide us, had no idea if there was one.)
Sansa watches Ramsay die
From the same episode: The writers went way out of their way to show us, over and over, in ever escalating ways, that Ramsay Bolton was a horrible human being. And one of the unneccessary additions made to this show last season was his rape of Sansa. So when she fed him to his own hounds, it was incredibly satisfying.
This was heartbreaking, jarring, and brand new. The next day everyone was in morning for gentle giant Hodor, and in shock from the revelation of how he ended up with his name.
Lyanna Mormont shames the lords of the North
Bella Ramsey is 12. She’s 12, and she commanded every single scene she was in—and they weren’t many—in Game of Thrones. Her first appearance she snarked about Sansa’s various marriages, but her true moment of glory was rallying everyone behind Jon and declaring him king. Mostly by telling every other lord how they’ve turned their back on their obligations.
Cersei drinking wine as the world burns
You know how you just smirk and drink your wine after you’ve exploded all your enemies in an act of vengeance that is absolutely going to backfire? Good times.
The Worst of the Worst:
The Walking Dead season five finale
We hated this cliffhanger, we hated spending months being teased with its resolution, and once the show aired, it wasn’t even that interesting a resolution. As the show’s declining rating have shown, we aren’t alone in our opinion.
Flash changes reality for his own selfish desires
The Flash’s use of the Flashpoint arc has been a problem, because when Barry went ahead and saved his mom through time travel he ruined everything. Not just the lives of his friends and family—poor Cisco—but the show ruined Barry’s growth. It made him selfish and it left us spending this whole season waiting for someone to yell at him for pulling this shit.
Abby dies in Sleepy Hollow
Fuck this show for running off one of its stars and then killing off her character in this insulting manner.
Poison Ivy became a sexy adult child on Gotham
This show wanted to have sexy Poison Ivy so bad it aged up a child to do it. Which doesn’t actually change the fact that she is, mentally, still a child. It was gross, it was creepy, and it was so very, very Gotham.
Robin Hood’s stupid death scene on Once Upon a Time
This recent season has been awful (Regina is two people, Emma isn’t a hero, etc.), but it took a huge turn for the suck last season when Robin Hood leapt in front of Regina to prevent Hades from wiping her from existence. The weird blue effect they gave his dusted body did not help. And it didn’t even matter since he’s back now!
Lexa getting killed off on The 100
Fans were rightfully incensed that this show killed off one of its lesbian characters and that it had trumpeted this relationship only to give into the trope of killing off one of the partners. It seems like they might have learned a lesson, but it was still awful.
The X-Files ending
After everything, we got alien DNA, vaccines, the declaration that they’d need to go see William the Wonderbaby again and, dammit, a UFO coming out of the sky to shine a light on a dying Mulder, Scully, and the completely superfluous Agent Miller (Robbie Amell). That was what the whole finale was leading up to? The whole revival? DAMMIT.
Matt’s courtroom scene in Daredevil
Matt Murdock was a dick for a lot of season two of Daredevil, but he was atrocious in the courtroom. You can’t treat your own witness like he’s hostile, for one thing, especially when he’s the defendant. And even if you could, you can’t use that space to make a speech in the middle of a witness’ testimony. Marvel should throw this whole scene into that giant hole the Hand dug that we never got an answer about.
Dorne from Game of Thrones
Nothing in this plot made sense, why were we here? Does anyone remember? It came and went and never came back again.
Jonathan Rhys-Davies made us sad on Shannara Chronicles
All of Shannara was bad, but every time Jonathan Rhys-Davies was on screen, it made us sad. The first time he showed up, we just wanted to crawl away from this show.
The Audience in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show
You know what a filmed and not live version of this needed? Cuts to a fake audience not doing the things that Rocky Horror audiences do. All of the audience participation was probably too “racy” for primetime on Fox. Plus, again, this wasn’t live so it was extra fake.