TV was full of memorable moments this year. Whether dramatic, comedic or just plain amazing, we didn’t have a hard time coming up with our favorite moments from TV in 2010.
From deaths to threats, conspiracies and stop-motion shenanigans, TV was good to us this year and we had a lot of fun looking back at the small screen moments that had us talking. Here are the TV moments from 2010 we won’t soon forget…
David Tennant's Doctor Dies - Doctor Who
One of the truly brilliant things about Doctor Who, the reason it has endured so long on television, is that The Doctor can never die. He can be killed, but once killed he regenerates into someone new. With each regeneration his appearance and even his personality may change, but he’s still at his core the same Doctor. Somehow knowing that didn’t help at all when David Tennant took his final bow as the tenth Doctor on January 1st of 2010 (in America) for the episode “The End of Time part two”. Sacrificing himself to save another, after accepting that by doing so the man he was now and the man many of us have grown to love as perhaps the greatest character in the history of television, would be sent into permanent oblivion, Tennant’s Doctor went out in one of the most emotional farewells ever captured on screen.
After enduring life-ending energies, The Doctor struggles for consciousness aboard his Tardis, knowing that his struggle doesn’t matter, it’s all over. He has time only to briefly visit the people and places he’s loved, watching them from afar as his body at last betrays him and begins transforming him into someone else. Still fighting to stay who he is Tennant gasps his last words at the screen, “I don’t want to go,” before violently regenerating into a wholly new person. Rumor has it that Tennant himself cried when he heard how his character would end, to say nothing of those of us in the audience watching, left in a puddle of tears on our couches. Though Doctor Who would live on, for a lot of us The Doctor died that night.
Sun And Jin Die Together - Lost
When it came time for Lost, in its final season, to establish that the stakes are high and Smoke Locke is the true baddy, the producers chose the heart wrenching course. They first reunited fan favorites, and arguably the best couple on the show, Jin and Sun after two and a half seasons apart. Then in apparent cold hearted fashion the couple was killed off. But it was the choice of these two beloved characters to die that allowed the island aspect of the story to come to a close. Perhaps we fans would like to believe one or both should survive, but is there any version of the story you want to exist where Jin leaves Sun ever again? Lost was always at it’s best when the people were the center of the story. One more time before the end game began we got to share in the love and joy of these two. They lived alone for far too long, and it was only appropriate that they should die together.
Deb Walks Away - Dexter
The Deb we’ve always known was a cop through and through. We’ve watched her climb the ranks and prove her loyalty to the badge time and again, so to say that her decision to look the other way when she came upon Jordan Chase’s body and the two people who killed him was a bit out of character for her would be an understatement. She had no idea it was her brother and his girlfriend she was letting go. What she knew was that one of them had gone through the same thing every other “barrel girl” she’d seen tortured in the videos had and the other was helping her get through it. Instead of making the arrest, she turned her back and gave them time to clean up and get out - a decidedly un-Deb like move but one that shows there’s a side to her that even she didn’t know existed. It may very well have been the best moment of the season and one of the biggest character-expanding moments for Deb within the series.
It’s A Very Stop-Motion Christmas - Community
Stop motion is normally way cooler in theory than in execution. Typically, everyone gets so bogged down in the bizarre humor of it all that they forget to actually make a real episode. Not Community. Just as they did with the concept of a bottle episode, the stop-motion Christmas special gave us fresh insight into the characters, as well as provided the perfect medium for Abed to explore his past. Hilarious, poignant and right at home with Community’s off-beat, self-realized viewpoint, no other show on television could have pulled this off quite so effectively. It’ll surely go down as one of the high points for the comedy fast turning into one of the best television has to offer. Lesser shows would have given Jeff the lead here, but by killing him off early on in the episode, the guys behind Community proved no one is any more valuable than another. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about anyway?
Matt Takes His Place - Doctor Who
After watching The Doctor not just played, but absolutely embodied by David Tennant for three seasons it seemed impossible that his successor Matt Smith would ever live up to the high water mark already established for the character. Yet somehow, impossibly, Smith showed up in his first full episode “The Eleventh Hour” and instantly won everyone over. In that single introduction we all knew that while perhaps he’d never be as good as Tennant, he was the next best thing. As the episode ended Smith took over the screen in one of most electrifying, moments captured on television this year. Facing down a massive, hovering alien space ship Smith’s Doctor stood on a rooftop, staring back at Earth’s attackers and warning them to be afraid. As those freakish aggressors hovered above, Smith stood behind a series of holograms depicting previous Doctors only to tighten his newly acquired bowtie (bowties are cool, fezzes too for that matter) and step through the holographic face of David Tennant, and stare straight in the face of death. The eleventh Doctor had arrived.
Mitchell’s Flash-mob Love Letter - Modern Family
Modern Family is a show full of incredible moments, many of them as touching as they are funny. Between Community and this show we could possibly fill up a whole other list of greatness. So, how do you choose the best of the best? It’s simple, go with what encompasses all that Modern Family represents. When Mitchell and Cam are out and about as a flash mob starts up you see Cam get excited. Mitchell pretends to be annoyed, and it appears we’re going to get a little banter between the two. Instead Mitchell joins in the dancing, leaving Cam alone to watch. It is one of the tenderest showings of love, made only better by Cam’s horror that Mitch would do it without him. Full of heart and hilarity, Mitchell’s flash mob love letter is one of the many reasons we return to watch this family each week.
Adam Punches A Stranger - Parenthood
Adam is the sensible one. While everyone else bitches and moans and acts irrationally, he calms the waters and swallows everyone else’s pain. Lately, it’s really been showing. He’s been getting short, with his wife, with his kids and with his co-workers. There’s only so much a guy can take, even if he’s the good guy; so, when some jackass at the supermarket called his autistic son retarded, he reached back and punched him in the face. I was watching the episode with three other people, and you could have heard a pin drop. Parenthood had worked and worked, setting up that pay-off for weeks on end, but none of that made it any less shocking. Adam is the sensible one, and when he hits, it hurts so much more.
Louis CK Tackles Bullying - Louie
Louis CK’s new show Louie earned raves this year with it’s refreshing mix of Curb Your Enthusiasm like comedy and deeply moving poignancy . Louis’s series works best when it’s at its simplest, and that’s never been more true than at the end of episode 9, titled “Bully”. After an altercation with a teenage boy causes Louie to follow the kid home to talk with his parents, he learns that kid-bully’s father has been smacking his kid around. As Louie leaves, Dad follows him out on to the porch, where they have one of the most utterly real conversations seen anywhere on TV this year. The kid’s father confesses, “hey buddy, I don’t know what to do... he’s 18 now, I don’t know what to do... That’s what I know. My dad hit me and his dad him.” Louie asks “how’s that going”, and the two of them, complete strangers, sit down to have a smoke. They relate to each other as men on the wrong side of 40, with their best years behind them, and the episode ends with them just sitting there in complete silence. Two strangers, looking out into the night with no real clue about what they’re supposed to be doing and plenty of regrets.
Would That This Hoodie Were A Time Hoodie! - Community
In an episode about conspiracy theories (and soft defenses), we should have expected a big finish with huge reveals and Community certainly did not disappoint in that department. The hilarity of trying to keep up with who was the true mastermind behind the conspiracy as fake-shots were fired and people continuously fake-died came second only to Dean Pelton’s reaction to all of it. The ordeal, which he thought he was controlling, left him curled up in a ball on the floor, clutching his hoodie and wishing for the ability to travel through time. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for “Time Desk” to hit the shelves.
Russell Wants To Eat Your Children - True Blood
True Blood doesn’t give a damn if you think you’re too smart for the show, or that you’re too sophisticated of a TV viewer. Only high concept dramas can appease you? Suck it. True Blood revels in it’s camp, violence, and debauchery. It never backs down from being packed full of the pure joy that comes with watching a story, along with its characters, go balls to the wall crazy. Never is that more evident than the moment Russell, king vampire of Mississippi, goes on a killing spree that eventually lands him on the news. Russell suddenly appears, ripping the newsman’s spine out from behind, and proceeds to lecture America on how vampires are nothing like humans. Sure, he’s a bit crazy from the death of Talbot and his rage makes his actions a little less stable. But the truth is that in this moment of quiet insanity Russell is telling us that the issue of equal rights for vampires is not analogous to the civil rights movement. Vampires are a different breed. “We will eat you -- after we eat your children!”
When It Rains, It Pours - Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spartacus’ first season was full of fantastic moments, including an excellent temper tantrum from Iliythia that rendered one of her frenemy's face completely smashed, Varro’s wife’s act of revenge (“He was mine!!!”), and pretty much every other moment from the end of the finale but none were so great as Spartacus winning the favor of the crowd by defeating Theocles. He had help from Crixus, who nearly died in the battle but still managed to blind Theocles with his helmet and effectively distract him so Spartacus could take the Shadow of Death down. Let’s hear it for teamwork, people! Spartacus beheaded the huge, “undefeatable” man, the crowd roared his name and the skies opened up, releasing some much needed rain on the arena.