2012 was a great year for television, and as the year finally comes to a close, we’d like to count down our favorite moments. This was the year we saw Jack and Liz be Batman and the Joker, this is the year Leslie Knope was elected, this is the year Gossip Girl was revealed. You get it; it was a big year. Of course, we don’t watch everything on television, so if we’re missing something you have as a top moment, make sure to list what it is in the comments section.
And now without further adieu, our 16 top moments of 2012 in order of television show:
1. 30 Rock | Batman and the Joker
Season five may not have been 30 Rock‘s finest, but every once in a while, moments of sheer genius popped up like it usually does. One of those moments was this, when Liz (who is in a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude…and basically looks homeless by episode’s end) and Jack inadvertently became Batman and the Joker, respectively — all becoming a hilarious Batman parody.
2. Breaking Bad | Skyler’s waiting[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrtyYCWjR0s]
There are plenty of moments to choose from the first half of Breaking Bad’s final season — like the kid’s death, Mike’s death, or Walt finally being found out thanks to a book in the bathroom — but none of them are as matter-of-fact and equally chilling as this moment. Truth be told, Skyler’s plan to keep her kids away from her husband, Heisenberg, was half-baked at best. But once Walt confronts her with all the questions that should have popped up in her mind, asking her what’s her endgame, she simply states: “I’m waiting… for the cancer to come back.” Boom.
3. Community | Greendale goes to war
One of the greatest things about the NBC sitcom is Community‘s ability to think outside the storytelling box, often utilizing well known TV tropes to frame its plots. When best friends Troy and Abed had a difference of opinion over pillow forts versus blanket forts, it spiraled into an all out campus “civil war” in the style of a Ken Burns documentary. An epic pillow fight was the best moment of the episode, as it got heart of the matter, focusing on the strains within Troy and Abed’s relationship. The pair refused to stop smacking each other with pillows, long after everyone else had given up, as stopping their fight would mean the beginning of the end of their friendship. In the end, we loved the way Community managed to show us something basic, friends under the strain of change, but delivered it in a memorable way.
4. Damages | Patty’s daddy issues[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-zrvLojzg8]
Though the complex dynamic of Patty Hewes and Ellen Parsons drove the narrative on Damages for five straight seasons, the most impactful scene of the year was when Patty told her dying father off. Glenn Close delivered a cold, understated monologue, layered with contempt. It gave us goosebumps, and even though it was a treat to watch, it was a tragedy to realize the show was ending, as Glenn Close was still delivering her best work right up until the final hours.
5. Gossip Girl | The Big Reveal[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef93SVnjjDY]
Sure, over the last few episodes it was kind of obvious who gossip girl was. And, yeah, it would have been better if it wasn’t SO obvious that the writers hasn’t chosen their Gossip Girl from the beginning of the series, but still, finally knowing who was behind Kristen Bell’s voice all these years was definitely a big TV moment. And let’s be honest, even if the writers did kind of screw it up in the early seasons, Dan as gossip girl does make perfect sense.
6. Happy Endings | Dave and Alex out their relationship
One of the greatest moments in this sitcom’s 3 years is the moment we all knew was coming… the reunion between Dave and Alex. Happy Endings teased us a couple of times and even flat out spelled it out for us, so when Dave and Alex finally reveal their “big secret” the moment is even better because everyone is in on the joke. The collective groans pretty much embodied the way we felt about this inevitable hookup. We were glad it had finally happened, but to pretend like this was a reveal? It just feels wrong… So Happy Endings having a sense of humor about its attempt at a “will they/won’t they?” relationship was short-lived, but the “reveal” of the obvious was handled with the same kind of ease and hilarity that us fans have come to expect from the ABC comedy.
7. Homeland | Carrie gets Brody arrested
The first half of Homeland’s second season was absolutely mind blowing: every single episode sufficed as a finale, and when it came to the fourth one, “New Car Smell” is no exception. After being recruited to play with Brody and get a little bit of intel, Carrie fears that he is on to her. Her next move? Go up to his hotel room and just tell him off, the handcuffs follow suit. A terrorist arresting plot potentially damaged, yes, but still makes for a gratifying moment for Carrie… one that was 16 episodes in the making.
8. How I Met Your Mother | Bride revealed[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6NRKBXq3To]
Okay, so maybe we all knew that Robin would be the bride in the flashforward to Barney’s wedding… but it was still great to see it happen on screen. In a short clip from How I Met Your Mother, Robin turns around to see Ted, her best man, after he asks if the bride wants to see him. A season and a half of waiting is over, and we finally know that Barney and Robin can dance around it, but eventually they will end up together.
9. Parenthood | Kristina’s video for her kids[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D83xBfxKrjg]
Not to be insensitive, but we’ve seen what can happen when shows go the cancer storyline route. With few exceptions? Not great, but something about seeing one of our favorite onscreen moms hit home. There have been some great moments with Kristina, but the most honest and heartbreaking had to have been the video she left for her kids. We can’t imagine anything worse than cancer, but when she tearfully broke down about not getting to see Nora grow up? That was it. Not a dry eye in the house.
10. Parks and Recreation | Leslie votes for herself
The greatest thing Parks and Recreation has ever pulled off is making us love Leslie Knope. While in season one she was — let’s face it — a little annoying, as the seasons wore on she became someone we all genuinely root for. The season four finale “Win, Lose, or Draw” effectively captures the hectic bustle of an election day, but it shines the most in the quiet moment where Leslie goes to cast her vote. She takes a second to register that this is it — after all the years of dreaming of it, there is her name on the ballot, in front of her. In that moment, it doesn’t matter if she wins or loses. It’s a huge personal milestone, and after four seasons of getting to know Leslie Knope, we’re all right there with her, feeling proud, overwhelmed and emotional.
11. Scandal | Happy birthday, Mr. President[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tksuB_yLzH8]
Scandal often tried to present itself as more than a romantic melodrama in season two, but the moment it finally succeeded was when it shot President Grant Fitzgerald out of nowhere as he was walking out of his limo and into his birthday bash. Talk about going out with a bang! Although most of the shock factor comes from the fact that the character is a president, it still doesn’t stop it from being surprising.
12. Sherlock | The Reichenbach Fall
It’s a year later, and we’re still not over the dramatic series 2 conclusion of BBC’s Sherlock. Even though most Sherlock Holmes fans were familiar with the great Reichenbach plot twist, the modern adaptation did pulled off [spoiler alert] Sherlock’s faked death like the best of magic tricks. But beyond mind tricks, the real power was found in the rooftop scenes between Sherlock’s nemesis Moriarty, each trying to out-clever the other. In the end, it was a scene as brilliant as the detective himself, and left a great impact on us (no pun intended).
13. Teen Wolf | If you’re going through hell…
Teen Wolf could have just been at silly show about werewolves on MTV, but apparently, it decided to make its second season much more than that. After a bloody showdown with one of the season’s main protagonists, the go-to comedic relief, Stiles Stilinski, delivered a chilling monologue to the school conselor, in which he discussed the physical effects of drowning. Though Stiles had always been a fan favorite, that moment really amped his character to a new level of emotional depth, and marked a turning point for what the show was capable of.
14. True Blood | Bill dies (and then is evil)
What better moment to end a season of everyone just dillydallying around the vampire HQ than to have Bill drink all of Lilith’s blood and melt into a pool of his own viscera? Oh, we know! Have Bill rise from that pool like a Phoenix only to become a super evil animal-type thing, we assume. Whatever, it was glorious. Murder them all, Bill!
15. The Vampire Diaries | Damon and Elena… you know[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw9xUj-mrGI]
This was the moment that we had all been anticipating for four years now. We finally got to see Delena happen! Nevermind that the moment was somewhat ruined by interjecting scenes of Caroline and Stefan. Never mind the following episode that dropped the sire bond bomb. Tumblr was filled with gifs just moments after airing and with good reason. This was the sexiest sex that TVD has ever had.
16. The Walking Dead | Lori’s birth, etc.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=So-kKed7AAM]
Though we can’t find the scene on YouTube in which Lori does actually (spoiler) die, the subsequent reaction from Rick is just as heartbreaking. There’s no doubt that one of The Walking Dead’s best qualities is that it remains fearless and kills off characters at a whim. In retrospect, we knew that Lori couldn’t survive giving birth, but we somehow didn’t expect it all the same. Guess we’ll never again hear “Stay in the house, Carl!” again.