By Entertainment Weekly
June 18, 2014

Now that the TV season is over, awards season is about to begin. We’ve watched every minute of every episode of the finest shows from the past year to determine the most impressive scene from each series. It was a task as daunting as it was time-consuming (you try to pick just one “best” scene from Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones), but we came away with our list, and we’re ready for you to disagree with the majority of it.

The full list, clips, and our explanations, are here. Emmy voters, you’ll want to take notes.

50. Trophy Wife (ABC)
Ep. 7, “The Date”
SCENE: Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) plays beer pong to get an embarrassing photo removed from “Instant-Gram.”

WHY: Who knew deadpan Diane is a master of the party game? The vicious doctor is never funnier than when she’s trying to bridge a generational gap, and in a season of brilliant one-liners, this raucous sudsy showdown was brimming with some of the best. Although Trophy Wife won’t live to see a second season, Harden’s performance as Diane was one of the year’s best character creations. Whether slinging ping pong balls or zingers toward Kate (Malin Akerman), it’s hard not to love the hollow shell of terror that is Dr. Buckley. —Marc Snetiker

49. Sleepy Hollow (Fox)
Ep. 13, “Bad Blood”
SCENE: The epic nine-minute reveal at the end of the season 1 finale.

WHY: It could’ve felt like “just the biggest exposition dump in the history of TV,” to quote executive producer Alex Kurtzman. But being a part of producers’ plans from the start, the twist—increasingly affable Sin Eater Henry Parrish (John Noble) is actually the son of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Katrina (Katia Winter), and the Second Horseman of the Apocalypse—will go down as one of the TV season’s biggest, most satisfying surprises. “We kept using as a touchstone The Usual Suspects,” Kurtzman tells EW. “You’re watching the movie having one experience, but by the end, you realize you’ve been set up so inevitably for the reveal that was in front of you the whole time.” —Mandi Bierly

48. The Simpsons (Fox)
Ep. 20, “Brick Like Me”
SCENE: Homer realizes he’s stuck in a Lego world because he’s afraid of Lisa growing up—and outgrowing him.

WHY: Homer offers up some classic blunder-headed thinking (Marge: “Homey, ask yourself, Can you really live in a paradise if you know it’s just pretend?” Condescending Homer: “Marge, who would give up eating steak in the Matrix to go slurp goo in Zion?”), and his juvenile joy is effectively illustrated through consequence-free Lego magic: He kicks off his head in joy and takes down Chief Wiggum’s helicopter by throwing a parking meter at it, only to have the resulting mess tossed into a Tupperware container, to be rebuilt another day. Indestructible, like The Simpsons. —Dan Snierson


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