20. fringe: letters of transit
(originally aired: april 20, 2012)
The hallmark of "Fringe" has been its ability to establish a family unit no matter how outlandish the scenario. Lose your son, replace him with one from an alternate universe. Lose your universe, have yourself dropped into a new one. Regardless of the makeup, the connections of love and family still manage to get created. That constant state of reinvention once again became evident in this episode, as Walter, Astrid and Peter awaken some 25 years into the future under the rule of The Observers. Among the rebels: Peter's now grown up daughter Henrietta, squaring the circle of the family unit once again.
19. community: virtual systems analysis
(originally aired: april 19, 2012)
If centering an episode about trying to help Abed, a character who is paralyzed by his skewed perception of reality, using an even more fake perception of reality, the Dreamatorium, isn't snake-eating-its-tail meta manna from heaven, I don't know what is.
18. treme: tipitina
(originally aired: november 25, 2012)
David Simon and Eric Overmyer's annual closing up shop remains as potent as ever, as their characters either find peace in letting go of their previous ambitions or remain resolute in the face of the realities of their fates. As always "Treme" remains a compelling story about survival and what that means to each of its denizens.
17. parks and recreation: halloween surprise
(originally aired: october 25, 2012)