Greatest TV Scenes of All Time

by merrimacga | created - 02 Dec 2018 | updated - 02 Jan 2019 | Public

An ongoing list of some of the best scenes from TV episodes ever aired. Some hysterically funny, some incredibly moving, some hopelessly romantic, some tragic, some inspiring and influential, and some just plain crazy, bizarre or ridiculous. But all great and all memorable. This will eventually be a huge list and will take me a really long time to assemble. I welcome all comments with recommended additions to this will really help.

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1. The X-Files (1993–2018)
Episode: Bad Blood (1998)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Scully and Mulder each recount their version of events that led Mulder to drive a stake through the heart of a Texas teenager he claims was a vampire.

Director: Cliff Bole | Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Luke Wilson

Votes: 4,520

The opening scene is hysterically funny, especially if you're a fan of the series. But also it does a great job not only introducing the episode but also of summing up nicely both the whole dynamic between the two lead characters and what the series is all about, at least the monster-of-the-week side of the series, albeit from a humorous perspective.

Check it out on YouTube:

2. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966–1969)
Episode: The City on the Edge of Forever (1967)

TV-PG | 50 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

When a temporarily insane Dr. McCoy accidentally changes history and destroys his time, Kirk and Spock follow him to prevent the disaster, but the price to do so is high.

Director: Joseph Pevney | Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Joan Collins, DeForest Kelley

Votes: 4,059

I'll do my best to not add too many Star Trek episodes, across all the series, to this list but arguably this was one of the finest of TOS. The scene I've chosen to mention is Edith's prophecy of the future speech to the men in her shelter. In one scene her character is not only inspirational and forward thinking with a hopeful and positive attitude but also demonstrates why the choice at the end of the episode is rightfully such a difficult one.

Check it out on YouTube:

3. Vikings (2013– )
Episode: Blood Eagle (2014)

TV-14 | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Ragnar and King Horik clash over differences; King Aelle arrives in Wessex; Ecbert has an eye on a new alliance.

Director: Kari Skogland | Stars: Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clive Standen, Jessalyn Gilsig

Votes: 3,735

Check it out on YouTube:

It's very difficult to choose a single episode from the Vikings series, let alone a single scene. You might think I would choose the episode and scene when Ragnar is executed in the snake pit. If I add another Vikings scene to this list, that would be the one. But I include the blood eagle execution of Jarl Borg instead because in one scene, however gruesome, it sums up nicely not only everything the series is trying to convey about Viking culture but also what we know of the Vikings. They were a very spiritual people, believing in death as a way of life and that redemption was possible, even if only through a final honorable act. Truly I think the whole episode does a great job of portraying spirituality, not only of Viking culture but also comparing and contrasting it with English culture. But the final scene is especially powerful. Forget the gore. Forget how you feel about this form of execution or the television portrayal of it. This was about redemption, the afterlife, beliefs, honor and respect. This was about saving a man's soul, regardless of his transgressions. It was about an execution that had to be done and though it seemed excessive to us, it was portrayed with honor and compassion and understanding, not out of a need for vengeance or violent retribution.

4. Doctor Who (2005– )
Episode: Vincent and the Doctor (2010)

TV-PG | 47 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The Doctor and Amy travel back in time to meet Vincent Van Gogh and face an invisible monster that only the painter can see.

Director: Jonny Campbell | Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Tony Curran, Nik Howden

Votes: 8,850

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5. Doctor Who (2005– )
Episode: The Day of the Doctor (2013)

TV-PG | 77 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

In 2013, something terrible is awakening in London's National Gallery; in 1562, a murderous plot is afoot in Elizabethan England; and somewhere in space an ancient battle reaches its devastating conclusion.

Director: Nick Hurran | Stars: Matt Smith, David Tennant, Christopher Eccleston, John Hurt

Votes: 16,439

Check it out on YouTube:

6. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992)
Episode: The last Tonight Show (1992)

46 min | Comedy, Talk-Show

May 22, 1992 was the last "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson as host. Carson presents a retrospective of clips covering the past 30 years. Carson says goodnight for the last time.

Directors: Bobby Quinn, Steve Purcell | Stars: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen, Louis Armstrong

Votes: 96

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7. Doctor Who (1963–1989)
Episode: The Tenth Planet: Episode 4 (1966)

TV-PG | 24 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

The Cybermen take over the base again, apparently to stop the humans using the Z-Bomb, but then the Doctor realises they intend to use it themselves to destroy Earth.

Director: Derek Martinus | Stars: William Hartnell, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze, Robert Beatty

Votes: 293

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8. M*A*S*H (1972–1983)
Episode: Abyssinia, Henry (1975)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy, Drama, War

Henry finds out he's been discharged from the army, and everyone at the 4077th prepares to say goodbye to him as he heads for home.

Director: Larry Gelbart | Stars: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson, Loretta Swit

Votes: 731

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9. M*A*S*H (1972–1983)
Episode: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen (1983)

TV-PG | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, War

In the closing days of the Korean War, the staff of the 4077 M*A*S*H Unit find themselves facing irrevocable changes in their lives.

Director: Alan Alda | Stars: Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit

Votes: 3,029

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10. Dallas (1978–1991)
Episode: A House Divided (1980)

TV-PG | 49 min | Drama, Romance

J.R.'s friends, family, and business associates vow revenge on him; Bobby and Pam leave Southfork.

Director: Irving J. Moore | Stars: Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray

Votes: 174

Check it out on YouTube:

11. Dallas (1978–1991)
Episode: Who Done It? (1980)

TV-PG | 46 min | Drama, Romance

Sue Ellen is charged with attempted murder, but the charges are dropped when the real assailant reveals herself and her shocking secret.

Director: Leonard Katzman | Stars: Barbara Bel Geddes, Jim Davis, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray

Votes: 106

Check it out on YouTube:

12. The Orville (2017– )
Episode: About a Girl (2017)

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Bortus and Klyden debate whether their newborn child should have a controversial surgery.

Director: Brannon Braga | Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes

Votes: 3,686

13. Schoolhouse Rock! (1973–2009)
Episode: Conjunction Junction (1973)

TV-Y | 4 min | Animation, Short, Family

Talks about the three main conjunctions: and, but, or. It tells what each of the words do.

Stars: Mary Sue Berry, Terry Morel, Jack Sheldon

Votes: 60

14. Sesame Street (1969– )
Episode: Episode #15.4 (1983)

TV-Y | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Big Bird draws pictures of his friends and wants to give them to him. When he gets to Mr. Hooper's picture, they remind him that Mr. Hooper died, and they must explain what death is.

Director: Lisa Simon | Stars: Northern Calloway, Emilio Delgado, Loretta Long, Sonia Manzano

Votes: 45

15. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001)
Episode: 1478: Divorce (1981)

TV-Y | 29 min | Family, Fantasy, Music

Jeff Erlanger, a young boy who uses an electric wheelchair, visits Mister Rogers and talks openly and honestly about his disability. Together they sing "It's You I Like."

Director: Hugh Martin | Stars: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, Charles Altman, Jeff Erlanger

Votes: 14

16. The Golden Girls (1985–1992)
Episode: Isn't It Romantic? (1986)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

Dorothy's lesbian friend Jean develops a crush on Rose.

Director: Terry Hughes | Stars: Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty

Votes: 397

Telecrime was the first ever TV series and this was the first episode aired. Unfortunately, it was aired live and not recorded so all episodes are lost. Only photos remain to prove it existed. Still, I include it here because it earned its place in TV history.

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