Le Batard is not wrong saying it was good, but it is not even close to the best. There are five seasons of television that stand out and are significantly better. Here is the correct list, and each season’s most memorable scene (it goes without saying, this piece contains a lot of spoilers).
5. True Detective, Season 1
Well, obviously this is not referring to the embarrassment of a second season that HBO presented. The first season, however, starring Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey was a thrill-ride like no other. Beginning in the past, then moving to the present, two detectives Martin “Marty” Hart and Rustin “Rust” Cohle, ultimately try to find out who the true Yellow King actually is. The 17-year-old homicide case takes many twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows until the mystery is finally solved. What made this season legendary, was the clues periodically appearing and coming together to make the audience feel like detectives of their own.
Suggestion: re-watch this season, after knowing the results, the brilliance will be clear as everything adds up just perfectly.
4. The Wire, Season 4
All five seasons of The Wire – the show many consider the best ever – are so raw, so real, so painful, so telling, but the fourth season really enlightens the audience on what it was like growing up in Baltimore during this time. If anything ever felt like a cinematic achievement, it was the fourth season of The Wire. Focusing on the school systems in Baltimore, and all of the trials, tribulations, and decisions (or lack thereof) the students faced. Unlike the rest of the seasons on this list, this one will not leave you always anxious for more. But that is because it is shining a light on a topic most were unaware of before this aired. Season 4 of The Wire delivers in every aspect, as well as an emotional gut-punch to the viewers. The failure to interrupt Jimmy McNulty into a major storyline and fan-favorite Stringer Bell already being killed prevents this season from ranking higher.
3. Game of Thrones, Season 6
Game of Thrones with one of the most memorable, extreme, talked about seasons in television history. If this was a list ranking the best episodes of television, a strong case could be made for the final two episodes of this season being ranked one and two. Featuring the most epic battle scene ever during the “Battle of the Bastards” and a historic ending with “The Winds of Winter” it seems irrational to believe anything can compare to the final 128 minutes of this season. Write this down: Jon Snow became the King of North, rose from the dead, won a battle, recaptured the region his family once led; The King committed suicide; Cersei became Queen, blew up a city; Daenerys grew her army, got enough boats to sail to Westeros; Arya became Arya again; and Bran learned how to be the Three-Eyed Raven all in one season (there was more).
2. The Leftovers, Season 3
Many may still be upset with the showrunner, Damon Lindelof, for how he ended Lost… he made up for it with this one. The Leftovers is a masterpiece that was fastly told in just three seasons. This show plays off the ending to be the exact opposite of every episode before it, the audience goes in knowing nothing, and leaves knowing everything. Well… do they? The brilliance of the mysterious show is that it’s all about what the audience believes and what they do not… there are no answers. Each character struggles with belief or believing too much… where does that leave the audience? Do you believe that Nora finally found her children, that Kevin really could die and come right back, that there was a parallel universe? The hope here is Lindelof never slips one of the answers in an interview. The Primetime Emmy Awards are a complete joke for not recognizing this season, series, or any of the actors in it.
1. Breaking Bad, Season 5
The final season of Breaking Bad is as good as television has ever been. The ultimate binge-watch show made sure anyone watching on Netflix was not willingly doing anything else besides consuming this thriller. The first scene, in a flash-forward, saw Walter White with a beard, and a full head of hair, giving the audience a clue of things to come. The entire season is a non-stop rollercoaster of trust, business, love, hate, death, meth, cash, and choices. We finally hear Walter admit to his wife, he didn’t just make meth for his family, but it made him feel “alive”. The final few scenes display a finishing touch as perfect as could be with Walter killing all of his enemies, freeing Jesse, leaving money for his children, and dying in the place he felt most alive (a meth lab) seconds before the police arrived. As he said at the end of the penultimate season, he “Won”.