15 TV Episodes to Watch Before the World Ends: Friday Night Lights, How I Met Your Mother and More

You might have missed some truly exceptional small-screen stuff in your lifetime

By Jenna Mullins Dec 19, 2012 12:11 AMTags
TV to see Before World EndsCBS, BBC, NBC

The end of the world is coming! According to the Mayans, the world will end this Friday, Dec. 21. That's right, because an ancient civilization's calendar ended on that day, people think the Earth is doomed to be destroyed before the end of the week.

This fact might make you want to go outside and enjoy the sunlight or spend time with loved ones before it's all over, but we're here to offer up another option: television. You might have missed some truly exceptional episodes in your lifetime, or you might want to watch some awesome small-screen stuff before the end of the world. Either way, we want to suggest 15 episodes to watch before the lights go out. This list is not be all end all, but we think it's a good place to start. Here are the first five:

1. Friday Night Lights, "Pilot": A lot of showrunners would call the first episode of their series as one of the best, and audiences would definitely agree with them. It's where we get introduced to all the characters and learn how the show is going to flow. With Friday Night Lights, we didn't just get intros to the people of Dillon, Texas. We instantly and irrevocably fell in love with them. The first moment we laid eyes on Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) will forever be burned into our memories, so it's not a bad sight to see when we close our eyes before the world ends. And let's not forget about the most perfect married couple on television: Mr. and Mrs. Coach, aka Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. Is there a better phrase to hear before the brimstone and whatnot than: "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose"? Nope.

2. Parks and Recreation, "The Fight": Season three of the NBC comedy added Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, a pair we never knew we needed on TV until it happened. They turned a great comedy into an unforgettable series, thanks in a huge part to Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie's (Amy Poehler) will they/won't they relationship. And while this episode does revolve around those two, it's mostly about the friendship between Ann (Rashida Jones) and Leslie, or more specifically, the drunken fight they get into. It's a perfect 22 minutes of comedy mixed with just the right amount of heart. Plus, everyone gets drunk, and we were given Drunk Ron Swanson, which is a gift we can never be thankful enough for.

3. Sherlock, "The Reichenbach Fall": Sherlock offerings are more feature films than television episodes, but no matter what you label this BBC series, the season two finale is a perfect story with perfect performances and one of the most perfect villains ever: James Moriarty (Andrew Scott). And it really showcases the amazing chemistry between stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Trust us, you will be bawling by the end. If 2013 does arrive, they will undoubtedly become bigger stars than they are already with little movies like The Hobbit and Star Trek Into Darkness, so enjoy one of the best Sherlock episodes ever before their schedules prevent them from making any more.

4. How I Met Your Mother, "Slap Bet": Let's go to the mall, everybody! Before Cobie Smulders joined S.H.I.E.L.D. in The Avengers, she was Robin Sparkles on How I Met Your Mother, a teenage pop star from Canada who had one minor hit. You can watch that whole video to get the gist of what Robin Sparkles was all "aboot." HIMYM is a great comedy about a group of friends, and no episode makes the gang's dynamic shine brighter than "Slap Bet." Plus, it sets up one of the great running gags of the series: Marshall (Jason Segel) slapping the crap out of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris).

5. Lost, "Pilot": J.J. Abrams said himself that he wanted the first episode of the ABC series to look like a movie, and boy howdy, did he deliver. From the plane crash in the beginning to the countless mysteries that unraveled afterward, the pilot episode of Lost introduced us to a genre of television we didn't know we were craving until we watched it. For those of you will be watching this before Dec. 21, you might want to just fast forward to the series finale to make sure you get answers before the end of the world. Or we can just tell you: they were in limbo. We think.

Check back tomorrow for more end of the world TV! And feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments for what you think people should watch before the apocalypse.

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