A superlative episode will generally be part of a show that’s at least good. After all, there has to be the raw material there to make viewers care in the first place. But it can be hard to pluck out an episode worth singling out from an absolutely superlative show. (That’s why, say, The Leftovers isn’t represented on this list, as its episodes are so across-the-board remarkable that it’s next-to-impossible to pick out one worth elevating.) Big Little Lies, I Love Dick, and Feud are all mentioned here for episodes that substantially elevated already very special shows. While other series that were slow to get started (Fargo, Dear White People) or looking for a post-election message (Saturday Night Live) found their turning points in a single episode.

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