23. mad men: far away places
(originally aired: april 22, 2012)
"Mad Men" continues to thumb its nose at expectations, opting for vignettes about existential subjects rather than plodding forward as your typical serial. Case in point: this fable in which Peggy, Roger and Don attempt to maintain control of their lives, a haunting reminder that our vision of the world and ourselves is fleeting, always on the cusp of being replaced by something else, no matter how hard we try to ignore it.
22. 30 rock: mazel tov, dummies!
(originally aired: november 29, 2012)
Liz Lemon's wedding was everything we hoped it would be and more. Sure there's the expected silliness (Top Gun-esque windmill high fives, dressing up as Princess Leia, anything involving Dennis Duffy, etc.) but it's the perfect amount of sweetness - beau Criss cleverly sabotages their city hall wedding so she can have the one she hadn't yet admitted to herself - that set it apart.
21. how i met your mother: no pressure
(originally aired: february 20, 2012)
I love that even some eight years in, the romantic pangs of the pilot - in which the blistering chemistry between Robin and Ted is crushingly undercut by the news that she is in fact not the mother - still hang over in the series. Such was the case here as Ted once again offers his heart to her, to similarly devastating results. The ensuing fallout: Marshall tells Robin she needs to move out in order to give Ted space to heal was equally bittersweet, another example of the emotional honesty that makes this show so great.