got blackwater 510x317 Best of 2012: Episodes we can’t erase from our DVR

Image Credit: HBO

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of an episode of television. Maybe it marks a decisive turning point for a series you love. Maybe it makes you laugh uproariously (or cry shamelessly) every time you watch it. Maybe it’s just plain cool. Below are the five episodes or television we just couldn’t delete from our DVR’s memory banks months after they first aired.

5. Daniel Radcliffe, Watch What Happens Live
When we need to remind ourselves that stars can still be candid, we revisit this February chat where the always entertaining Radcliffe outdid himself telling Andy Cohen about his creepiest stalker and losing his virginity (“Yes, it was Maggie [Smith],” he joked. “She was gentle”), and showcasing his special skills (rotating his arms 360 degrees, contorting his tongue, and naming the periodic table of elements).

4. “Basic Lupine Urology,” Community
If you’re a person with a television, you’ve probably seen at least a couple dozen episodes of Law & Order just by accident. Which means you’re bound to enjoy this episode, a spoof so uncannily perfect that it practically qualifies as the sixth (or seventh) Law & Order spin-off.

3. “Everybody Dies,” House
Ken Tucker called it an “unabashedly sappy but satisfying series finale,” after House faked his own death to spend dying Wilson’s final months with him and the two road off into the sunset. Sometimes you find a happy ending where you least expect it.

2. “The Debate,” Parks and Recreation
Amy Poehler’s brilliance is on display not only as an actor, but also as a director and writer: She knew to simply tape and transcribe costar Chris Pratt describing the plot of Road House for Andy’s reenactment dialogue (and to let Pratt pick another film, Rambo, to dissect on the set), and she nailed Leslie’s moving debate speech on her first draft.

1. “Blackwater,” Game of Thrones
The penultimate episode of Thrones’ second season narrowed the show’s typically panoramic focus onto the actions of a few key characters during a decisive battle in Kings Landing. The result—directed by horror auteur Neil Marshall—feels like the best action movie that never made it to theaters.

Written by Mandi Bierly and Darren Franich

More Best of 2012:
The couples we’re shipping
The 5 best non-Adele songs of the year

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