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May 29 2012

10 TV Episodes that changed television. No. 1 will come as no surprise to us.

At this point, "The Body" is something of a given on this sort of list. I was very glad to see "33" on there as well. It's one of my favorite Galactica episodes.
I love when lists give Buffy the recognition it deserves. If I told one of my co-workers that an aspect of Buffy changed television, they'd laugh in my face, but I love seeing lists like this because it validates what I believe.
I've heard so many good things about Blake's 7, I can just never get past the beyond horrible special effects in oldschool brit scifi. Of course as a Buffy fan/pusher I feel vaguely hypocritical about that.
Also yay for "The Constant". Love that episode, and Desmond is still my favorite Lost character.
"The body" is beyond Television.

In a relative note, Mark from MarkDoesStuff is reviewing "The Body" this Thursday. Tissues will be necessary.
I don't know. I'm as big of a fan of "The Body" as the next guy, but I guess I'd've liked a bit more of an explanation on what makes it a game-changer as opposed to just an awesome episode. OMWF would've seemed like the more reasonable choice IMO.
They... do know that "Balance of Terror" was a straight up, full-tilt rip off of two actual submarine movies (Run Silent, Run Deep and The Enemy Below), and that that is why it relies on that imagery, right? I liked that episode, too, but can something that is completely and in every way derivative of movies 10 years older than the episode really have "changed television"?
I remember OMWF getting a lot of attention for BtVS, and deservedly so, but I think "The Body" and "Restless" were on the same level, as far as formula breakage and re-conceptualization are concerned. All extraordinary episodes. But each of those took the genre in an entirely new direction. If I were to recommend a Buffy episode to someone who'd never seen the show before (and therefore wouldn't know the pre-existing arcs), and I wanted one consistent with the show's tone and genre, I'd say it doesn't get better than "Hush".
I guess I'd've liked a bit more of an explanation on what makes it a game-changer as opposed to just an awesome episode


Yes. This. As the younger generation would say. Did it influence writers, did the audience's expecations get more demanding as a result? That's the sort of thing I was looking for.
7lovelyangel, I've been waiting for Mark to come to "The Body" for so long now, I'm so excited for his reactions. He is a great writer and I enjoy his comments big time. I just started watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time and I'm reading his reviews after each episode. Such a treat.

My favorite Buffy episode is not "The Body", but I can't argue, it might be the best one. It's simply brilliant.
OK, I don't know whether this post is going to make any sense, but I'll give it a whirl.

I can remember very vividly the first time I saw "The Body". I was stunned. At the end of the ep I sat there with my jaw on the floor, thinking "Holy crap, I didn't know TV could do that". At the time I had no particular idea what "that" was, but I definitely didn't know TV could do it.

Many years later, after watching Joss' commentary to "Objects in Space" for the umpteenth time, I finally got around to reading Sartre's "Nausea", and a light went on. There's a passage in that book where the narrator rails against the impossibility of things "just happening" in fiction. As a construct, everything happens for a reason; it can never capture the truly arbitrary, meaningless nature of existence.

That's what "The Body" achieves. Despite the fact that it did have an obvious point in Buffy's grand arc, the episode as experienced by the viewer absolutely nailed that sense of "just happening". Not the cheap superficial randomness of marzipan and pie-plates. This was arbitrary and meaningless and at the same time it turned the whole world upside down.

Never seen anything else do that, before or since.
I'm thirding the validation of the title "Television Changing" as opposed to just really awesomeness. I don't recall very many post-2001 stories about death quite like "the Body." Although lesbian kissing was more common after that (which the article doesn't mention). And pure science fiction didn't rise to the level of BSG's "33" since 2005 either.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2012-05-29 22:51 ]
blackmarketbeagle, and it's funny that Xander's line was featured in the trailer for the episode, "Things don't just happen." I remember it vividly. While "I Was Made to Love You" was a great episode, that was the part of the VHS recording that got worn out.
I know it's not scifi but my M*A*S*H heart feels obliged to just say that the death of Colonel Blake had a similar impact on me. As it was from the 70s and was often so true to life and had such great characters, I wonder if Whedon watched the series.
The Body took genre and made it real life. I don't know if there's ever been a better depiction of the impact of death on TV, and it was in a fantasy show about a teenage girl killing vampires. I think that's a game changer.
OMWF really also belongs on this list. Not to take ANYTHING away from The Body, but Buffy deserves two entries here.
At Comicpalooza last year, Edward James Olmos named "33" as his favorite episode as well - he said it raised the bar for the rest of the series.
Greatest hour of television ever shown. Not easy to watch and reduces me to tears each time I see it. But I fail to see how it changed television. What was different on TV after it?

Hey, we are seeing lots of reader response here! :-) Since the author of the article failed to tell us why it changed TV, people are offering their own interpretations...
Perhaps it is 10 episodes that Should have changed television

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