Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane
Deaths! Interrogations! Plane crashes! Breakups! Weddings! Catfights! Sex dreams! TV had it all this year. From Desperate Housewives' fitting farewell to Fringe's powerful flash-forward, 2012 served up some remarkable hours of television, and we've assembled the top 25 episodes. Which ones made the cut? Tune in all week to see the full list.
What were the best TV shows of 2012?
Here are the first five in our countdown.
25. "Jill Zarin," Watch What Happens Live
Watch What Happens: Live gets serious when Andy Cohen welcomes fired Real Housewives of New York City star Jill Zarin to the clubhouse for what has been dubbed the reality TV version of Frost/Nixon (seriously). The awkwardly heated Q&A culminates with Jill's confession that she played up an argument with ex-BFF Bethenny Frankel, which caused the dissolution of their friendship. But Jill isn't all about repentance. Still bitter over her axing, she snips, "You can't replace me, Andy."
24. "Flight," Grey's Anatomy
Just when you think Shonda Rhimes can't up the shocking-finale ante anymore, she leaves Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Arizona, Lexie and Mark stranded on a mountainside after a plane crash. Their traumatizing ordeal is all the more devastating as the docs hopelessly stand by as Lexie, crushed by a section of the aircraft, dies. And that's just the beginning. The docs are not rescued by the end of the episode. (RIP, Lexie, Mark and Arizona's leg).
23. "Hot Tub of Sour Grapes," The Real Housewives of New Jersey
We're still not sure if sending the Giudices and the rest of the Housewives clan on vacation together was dumb or genius. While the husbands play poker, Caroline and Teresa decide to duke it out over lies, tabloid covers and pent-up anger. (At this point, who even knows what the fight is about?) But the best part: While the two go at it -- and the husbands pipe up every now and then -- Jacqueline pretends to be asleep so she doesn't have to get involved.
Check out the best performancea of the past year
22. "Mick Jagger," Saturday Night Live
It was the worst-kept TV secret this spring: Kristen Wiig was leaving Saturday Night Live. Wiig and the show never officially confirmed her departure, but actions speak louder than words. In the Season 37 finale's last sketch, the Bridesmaids star bids farewell by playing a graduating student. The sketch is followed by an emotional, teary medley of The Rolling Stones' "She's a Rainbow" and "Ruby Tuesday" that features appearances by Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Chris Kattan, Will Forte and creator Lorne Michaels, as Wiig shares one last dance with her colleagues. Oh, that? It's just dust in our eye.
21. "Justice Denied," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
After an old case of Olivia's is reopened, her new beau and Executive ADA David Haden (Harry Connick Jr.) is assigned to a new unit established to re-examine the SVU's closed cases, forcing the two to reluctantly call off their blossoming relationship ("Us, this, never happened," Haden says). The heartbreaking end feels like a tease and makes us wonder if Olivia will ever find happiness, but the glimpse into her love life, however fleeting, is necessary for someone with whom we've grown close over the last 13 years.
Check back all week to see the rest of the list!