The Newsroom – “Run” (A)
I could make a strong case that this is the best episode the show has turned out thus far. Sorkin crams this episode with lots and lots of story, but makes every moment compelling. I don’t know how he’s going to wrap all this up in four episodes, but he’s delivered one of the best hours of television of the year.
The Mindy Project – “Diary of a Mad Indian Woman” (A-)
Is The Mindy Project actually getting good? I’ve enjoyed this show a lot since it started getting its act together partway through its second season, but it’s been on an absolute roll in its third season. This episode used its cast perfectly, with dynamite writing and comedic timing that’s nearly unparalleled. And the final minutes of this episode are quite touching. Dammit, Mindy! You made me feel!
The Simpsons (Season 8) – “Lisa’ Date with Density” (A-)
Lisa episodes are often among the best and most consistently melancholy episodes. Her unrequited crush on Nelson, which in turn brings up Milhouse’s unrequited feelings for Lisa. Because this is Golden Age Simpsons, it’s packed with little heartbreaking details, like how Nelson pretends to go to sleep once he realizes his date isn’t going well. And ordinarily, I’d find Homer’s auto-dialer scheme especially hokey, but it leads to an incredible comedic setpiece with Ned and Maude, plus the fake-out that Wiggum shot Nelson in cold blood. That’s the beauty of Season 8, which also includes one of my Top 5 moments of all time: