Friday, July 16, 2010

The Countdown Intensifies

This week, the summer-long countdown of the Best Episodes of the Season cracks the Top 20 with more fabulous outings.  But before we get to them, we have to go over the rules for the countdown. We ended up with 28 incredible episodes that demonstrate the diversity and quality of the current television state. The shows and their episodes are from both NETWORK and CABLE television. All episodes aired between June 2009 and June 2010. Each episode that made the final list moved us in some way; either by making us laugh out loud, cry our eyes out or just left us with that "wow" feeling that stays with you for a few days. So basically, it's completely subjective! Since this is a summer-long countdown to the number 1 episode, PTR will reveal a few each week all summer. So, be sure to tune in every Friday to find out which episodes are on the countdown! Today, we're going to take a look at numbers 21-19.

21: "Perverted" - Law & Order: SVU
When this episode started with Olivia at home with the flu, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then, her vintage Mustang showed up on a list of vehicles matching the description/license plate of the murder suspect’s vehicle and I was thrown for a complete loop. But, I was also totally enthralled from that point forward. I knew Olivia didn’t, nay couldn’t, have killed the badass biker, but I never imagined how the show was going to write itself out of her DNA (from her blood) being found on the murder weapon. Maybe the test was wrong. Maybe samples got switched. Maybe Liv was drugged and unaware when the real murderer borrowed some of her blood. Each explanation seemed more ridiculous, but I just couldn’t imagine how someone managed to murder the biker and put Olivia’s blood on the knife when Liv had no wounds on her body. The answer, it turns out, was beyond the usual forensics crime drama vernacular. Someone had discovered a way to take a person’s DNA and plant it in a DNA-neutral blood sample. Suddenly, the new solve-all in modern crime solving (or at least on crime shows) was being used against those who rely on it the most. Imagine the implications if this technology were to come true. Let’s just hope it doesn’t and leave it at that. This episode raised questions, solidified the strong bond between partners Benson and Stabler and twisted into a knot everything we thought we knew about DNA. And wrapping Olivia up in the middle of it: Brilliant! Written by Dawn DeNoon and directed by David Platt.

20: "The Proof in the Pudding" - Bones
This episode was very risky.  It took on one of this country's greatest mysteries -- one of our most tragic moments, and perhaps, the incident most cloaked in conspiracies and secrets: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  They presented both sides of the argument, they drew some interesting conclusions and they left us with almost as many questions as the assassination itself.  But, taking on something as huge as the Kennedy assassination deserves an ending with as much intrigue as the real tragic incident.   The Jeffersonian was charged with investigating mysterious remains.  These remains certainly seemed to be those of President Kennedy, but the agency who sent them could have used someone of similar stature who died around the same time and recreated Kennedy's wounds to test the folks at the Jeffersonian.  Perhaps, they did want to see if modern forensics are able to ascertain the truth to the assassination.  Maybe it was all just to test one or more members of the team.  Hard to say.  The important thing with this case was Booth's connection to it.  He didn't want to think that his government could lie about Kennedy because that might lead him to believe that they lied about the people he killed as an Army sniper.  He wanted to trust it and the work that he did for it.  Once Bones understood where he was coming from, she let him have this one.  There was no way to know for sure who the bones belonged to, so she let the benefit of the doubt stand as the truth in order to give Booth back his sense of faith in the government.   So, just whose bones were those at the Jeffersonian?  And who were the mysterious "men in black?"  Why was the team investigating the cause of death of the individual on the table?  None of it was clear at the end, but honestly, I wouldn't have liked it any other way.  Written by Bob Harris and Emile Levisetti.

19: "Arctic Ice" - Ice Road Truckers
Lisa is surprisingly strong for her small stature and she can lug chains, tighten straps and haul the big loads right along with the boys.  But, this outstanding episode focused on her goal to become  one of the Dalton elite: A heavy-haul driver.  She had a load of 80-foot pipe bound for somewhere even more remote than Deadhorse. It had a one-way ticket for the oil rigs out in the Arctic Ocean, which meant harrowing miles across the frozen ocean over sea ice. A trek so dangerous, drivers have to maintain the 10 mph speed limit in order to keep themselves from compromising the ice, and ultimately, falling through into the ice-cold waters below. Instantly, Lisa noticed the wave-like feeling as she edged out onto the frozen ocean. But have no fear, the narrator (executive producer Thom Beers) informed us, "The wave-like motion is the weight of the truck making the ice sag and stretch." Sag and stretch??!!  Not the words you want to hear while driving a multi-ton vehicle over ice.  But, she did get to cross "driving across the frozen Arctic Ocean" off of her "bucket list." She excitedly exclaimed, "Put a big ol' fat red check mark next to it."   And then there was the seemingly innocent concept of going "barefoot."  First-year driver Tim had to drive back to Fairbanks "barefoot." This kind of barefoot refers to driving on snow and ice down steep hills without chains to help you gain traction. Then after starting his next load, he had a few scares when his truck lost traction with the ice and his steering became almost impossible. It looked liked he was going off the road, but luckily, he was able to regain control and steer his truck safely away from the snowy banks and steep edges.  Yup, I love me some IRT!!

So, there's a look #21-19 on the countdown. What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment with your thoughts. You can also view previous entries by clicking the "Best Episodes" label below.  And be sure to tune in next Friday when PTR reveals the next entries on the countdown!


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