On the heels of The Magicians conjuring its latest musical offering and with Riverdale ready to size up Hedwig and the Angry Inch, TVLine decided to take a look back at some of our favorites from days (and shows) gone by. (Nos. 20 through 11 can be found on Page 1.)
10. Fringe: “Brown Betty” (Season 2, Episode 20)
Of all the worlds explored during the Fox drama’s five-season run, why are we not surprised that one of the weirdest — and definitely the most musical — comes courtesy of Walter’s special strain of weed for which the episode is named?
9. Futurama: “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings” (Season 4, Episode 18)
Fry’s desire to master a complicated instrument — all part of a ploy to impress Leela, naturally — leads him to make a deal with the Robot Devil, triggering a series of unfortunate appendage-swaps. Fortunately, it all culminates in a wonderfully weird opera chronicling Leela’s past… as well as her future with Fry.
8. Daria: “Daria!” (Season 3, Episode 7)
Unlike the ominous storm approaching the town of Lawndale, this episode definitely did not blow.
7. The Flash, “Duet” (Season 3, Episode 17)
Thanks to the mischievous Music Meister, Barry Allen and Supergirl‘s Kara Danvers woke up in a musical — and in the midst of a gang war that had shades of Romeo & Juliet. In addition to standards such as “Moon River” and “More I Cannot Wish You,” this mini-crossover featured a contribution from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s own Rachel Bloom (the superbly silly “Super Friend”), while La La Land‘s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul had Barry “Runnin’ Home to You” aka Iris. [Warning: This is oh-so-soft.]
6. Even Stevens: “Influenza: The Musical” (Season 2, Episode 21)
Four years before High School Musical bopped its way into our hearts, Disney Channel gifted us with this toe-tapping tale of angst, revenge and — most importantly — America’s history of interstellar travel. (Bonus points for #BabyShiaLaBeouf!)
5. Scrubs: “My Musical” (Season 6, Episode 6)
“Doctors! Nurses! Patients! Dead guys!” No one at Sacred Heart Hospital can, ahem, refrain from bursting into song during this Emmy Award-winning episode. And with music from the likes of Jeff Marx (Avenue Q) and Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Frozen), who could blame them?
4. Dexter’s Laboratory: “LABretto” (Season 2, Episode 38)
This operatic retelling of Dexter’s birth — as well as the birth of his rivalry with Dee Dee, his destructive older sister — earned the Cartoon Network staple a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 1998.
3. The Simpsons: “Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious” (Season 8, Episode 13)
Remembered fondly as one of the series’ finest, this episode introduces Sharry Bobbins, a delightful British nanny who — after spending just a few days with the Simpson family — is driven to alcoholism. (Sadly, given the nature of Sharry’s exit, I doubt we’ll ever get a sequel in the vein of Mary Poppins Returns.)
2. Xena: Warrior Princess: “The Bitter Suite” (Season 3, Episode 12)
How do you mend a broken friendship between two women when each believe the other is responsible for her child’s death? Xena goes the non-Jerry Springer route, sending its characters to the land of Illusia, where their hatred is manifested into a nightmarish enemy that can only be defeated with the power of forgiveness — and song, of course.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “Once More, With Feeling” (Season 6, Episode 7)
Sorry for ending on such an anticlimactic note, but did you really expect another episode to snag the top spot on this list? Nearly every song in this hour-long masterpiece is an earworm, courtesy of series creator Joss Whedon, and performed flawlessly — or at least with a lot of enthusiasm — by the cast. (Plus, it blessed us with “I think this line’s mostly filler,” something we’ve since quoted too many times to count.)
There you have it, folks — TVLine’s updated Top 20 musical episodes of all time.
And as a special thank-you for making it this far into the post, here’s our No. 1 worst pick: 7th Heaven‘s inexplicably heinous “Red Socks” (Season 9, Episode 15). Tone-deaf both literally and figuratively, this 60-minute torture session found the Camdens bursting into off-key song, complete with awkward choreography that screamed, “We’re all doing this against our will!” Alas, the worst number isn’t available on YouTube, so you’ll have to settle for this pretty terrible one:
What’s your favorite musical episode? Any we missed? Drop a comment with your picks — as well as your complaints about our order — below.