This year has already gifted us some pretty great TV shows, but what about great episodes? I’m talking about the kind of episode that makes you laugh nonstop, or stand up and cheer, or force you to such points of emotional devastation you can’t think of anything else.

You’ll find episodes that accomplish all these things and more on our list of the best episodes of 2024. Whether you love drama or comedy, narrative shows or reality TV, we can assure you that the following 13 episodes are absolute bangers. Who knows — maybe you’ll find some new and wonderful show to check out!

So without further ado, here are the 13 best episodes of 2024 so far, and where to watch them.

13. Game Changer, Season 6, episode 7, “Beat the Buzzer”

Three people gather around a game show podium with a red buzzer on top of it.

Becca Scott, Rekha Shankar, and Erika Ishii in “Game Changer.”
Credit: Dropout

The joy of Dropout’s game show Game Changer comes from its sheer versatility. Each episode, contestants don’t know the rules of the game until they start playing. The result is delightful chaos.

Nowhere is that chaos more apparent on Game Changer Season 6 than in “Beat the Buzzer,” an episode which removes a key component of any quiz show: the buzzer itself. Players Rekha Shankar, Becca Scott, and Erika Ishii must compete in a series of mini-games in order to gain access to the many buzzers hidden around Dropout HQ. They’ll destroy cakes, make a witch’s brew, plead with strangers in the street, and more, all in the hopes of getting some sweet, sweet points. Endlessly inventive, and less competitive than it is sweet and collaborative, “Beat the Buzzer” will have you smiling nonstop from start to finish. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Game Changer is now streaming on Dropout.

12. 3 Body Problem, Season 1, episode 5, “Judgment Day”

A ship going through the Panama Canal is torn to shreds.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s 3 Body Problem has more than a few spectacles, from winking stars to the many levels of a way-too-real VR game. But it’s episode 5 that takes the cake, or a slice of it at least, thanks to a truly horrifying sequence.

Aboard Judgment Day, the repurposed tanker HQ of oil magnate Mike Evans (Jonathan Pryce) and his Earth-Trisolaris Organization (ETO), a thousand people — including children — await the arrival of the aliens known as the San-Ti. Problem is, they’ve just gone cold on Evans after a bedtime story. In the climax of the episode, the ship sails through through the Panama Canal, where a fatal trap awaits. Auggie Salazar’s (Eiza González) super-thin nanotechnology is deployed by Strategic Intelligence Agency head Thomas Wade (Liam Cunningham) against the ship, effectively functioning as a large-scale egg slicer through its bow. Taken directly from Cixin Liu’s book, it’s one of the most horrifying scenes you’ll see on TV this year. The repercussions will send the characters into a moral spiral, especially Auggie, whose entire science career has been turned into a massacre. But in this episode, we also find out exactly what the San-Ti’s intentions are, as the incoming aliens declare the human race to be “bugs,” scaring the shit out of everyone with their sophon sentient supercomputer, and revealing worldwide surveillance. It’s a lot. — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How to watch: 3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

11. One Day, Season 1, episode 13, “Episode 13”

A man and woman lie on a carpet, laughing.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in “One Day.”
Credit: Ludovic Robert / Netflix

There are few episodes that will send you through an emotional upheaval as intense as One Day‘s penultimate chapter, set over several years of our beloved protagonist’s lives. Finally together after decades of what we’ll put down to bad timing, Emma (Ambika Mod) and Dexter (Leo Woodall) have a whole future ahead of them, side by side. We accompany this besotted pair through their wedding plans, a new business, trying for a baby, and establishing family bonds with Dex’s daughter. It’s everyday life in all its romantic mundanity, from brushing teeth together to arguing over the news, and it’s all we’ve wanted for these two for the previous 12 episodes. However, a tragic turn means a cruel end, and a voice note holds more power than Em and Dex can possibly know at the time. The shell shock of this episode of One Day will stay with you through the finale and long after you’ve watched. Call the people you love, right now. — S.C.

How to watch: One Day is now streaming on Netflix.

10. The Traitors UK Season 2, episode 12, “Episode 12”

A group of blindfolded people sit around a large round table.

Credit: BBC / Studio Lambert

The entirety of The Traitors Season 2 was TV at its most binge-watchable, but the finale took things to dizzy new heights of tension. A reality TV game show with a cash prize, The Traitors sees members of the public divided into “traitors” and “faithfuls” while carrying out missions in a Scottish castle; the faithfuls have to try and banish all the traitors, while the traitors must “murder” (the game show kind, not the actual kind) all the faithfuls without getting caught. The entire show is great, but what made the finale stand out was the elite levels of treachery displayed by Harry Clark, a contestant who’d been a traitor from the very beginning but who’d manage to convince everybody else that he was faithful through and through. The brutal levels of suspense and the looks on everyone’s faces when they realize the truth is television at its finest. — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How to watch: The Traitors UK is now streaming on Peacock.

9. Bluey, Season 3, episode 49, “The Sign”

A family of cartoon dogs gather around a swing tied to a tree branch, with the smallest among them sitting on the swing.

Credit: Ludo Studio

In an endless desert of insipid TV shows aimed at kids, Bluey has proved an oasis for grown-ups. Spirited, silly, and emotionally intelligent, the show’s standard seven-minute episodes are a pleasure for audiences of all ages. But show creator Joe Brumm leveled up with the super-sized 28-minute episode “The Sign.” 

It wasn’t just that this very special episode was four times as long as usual eps, or that it offered a big wedding and a series of teachable moments for pups and big dogs alike. “The Sign” also centered on a heart-wrenching storyline about the Heeler family preparing to move away from their home, a space that fans knew every nook and cranny of, for parts unknown. As Bluey and her little sister Bingo must learn to say goodbye, watchers young and old wept over the loss. But there were tears of joy as well because — beyond a third-act twist that caused cheers across social media — Brummer also laced in Easter eggs that revealed positive news for a string of beloved supporting characters. Incredibly, it’s a cartoon show about a playful puppy that has provided the biggest — yet briefest — emotional roller coaster ride of 2024. —Kristy Puchko, Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Bluey is now streaming on Disney+.

8. Doctor Who, Season 14, episode 6, “Rogue”

Two men in Regency-era attire dance at a large ball.

Jonathan Groff and Ncuti Gatwa in “Doctor Who.”
Credit: Disney+

Doctor Who bested Bridgerton when it comes to queer romance with this Regency-era episode, and we’re still swooning. 

Mashable Top Stories

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and his bestie Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) travel back to 1813 in Bath, England, just to take in the period appeal of balls and courting. But when a murderous alien shapeshifter is discovered in their midst, the Doctor must team up with a new ally named Rogue (a dashing Jonathan Groff), to save the day. Whovians were thrilled with the intersection of monster-of-the-week fun and Bridgerton drama. But what made this episode the best of a solid season from returning showrunner Russell T Davies is the scorching romance between the Doctor and Rogue. Their enemies-to-lovers arc was swift and satisfying, featuring biting banter, tense misunderstandings, a flashy proposal, a kiss, and a not-so-simple request: “Come find me.” 

The series will whir on, but our hearts — and the Doctor’s — will not soon forget this debonair lost love. —K.P.

How to watch: Doctor Who is now streaming on Disney+.

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Season 1, episode 5, “Do You Want Kids?”

A man and woman kidnap a man with a bag over his head.

Donald Glover, Ron Perlman, and Maya Erskine in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”
Credit: David Lee / Prime Video

Every episode of Mr. & Mrs. Smith examines an aspect of romantic relationships through the lens of a spy mission, and while the show as a whole is a blast, nowhere is it more fun than in its fifth episode, “Do You Want Kids?”

Here, John (Donald Glover) and Jane (Maya Erskine) have to protect a reluctant asset named Toby (Ron Perlman) as he comes under attack from rival spies. Between chase scenes and shootouts through Lake Como, Toby essentially become the Smiths’ child, whining about taking medicine and fussing around in the backseat. Meanwhile, the Smiths — the portrait of frazzled parenthood — evaluate their own relationship. Hilarious and action-packed, “Do You Want Kids?” is one hell of a ride, made all the better by the visual gag of two people having to baby Ron Perlman, of all people. — B.E.

How to watch: Mr. & Mrs. Smith is now streaming on Prime Video.

6.True Detective: Night Country, Season 4, episode 5, “Part 5”

A young man in a tan police uniform.

Finn Bennett in “True Detective: Night Country.”
Credit: Michele K. Short / HBO

While earlier True Detective: Night Country episodes gave us plenty of buzzworthy moments — all hail the corpsicle! — it’s the show’s fifth episode that really sticks in our minds. Here, the many threads of the season begin to converge, joining Night Country‘s oft-present ghosts and grief to the more human evils our detectives are facing down. Tensions boil over at the Silver Sky mines, we uncover further secrets from Danvers (Jodie Foster) and Navarro’s (Kali Reis) Wheeler investigation, and we finally understand Hank’s (John Hawkes) true involvement in the Annie Kowtok (Nivi Pedersen) cold case. The entire episode culminates in a brutal father-son clash, complete with a tooth-centric moment I’ll never forget. Ennis, Alaska may already be drenched in eternal night, but this episode takes us far deeper into the darkness. — B.E.

How to watch: True Detective: Night Country is now streaming on Max.

5. Expats, Season 1, episode 4, “Mainland”

A woman sits on the floor of an elevator between two other women, who are standing.

Sarayu Blue in “Expats.”
Credit: Jupiter Wong / Prime Video

Claustrophobia proves fruitful in “Mainland,” the fourth episode of Lulu Wang’s Hong Kong-set Expats. Our trio of leads each find themselves walled-in here in different ways, and the gradually increasing pressure reveals painful secrets.

Margaret (Nicole Kidman) and her husband Clarke (Brian Tee) wait in a morgue to identify a body that might be that of their missing son Gus. Each wants a different outcome: Clarke needs the body to be Gus, in the hopes that the family can grieve and get closure on this nightmarish period of their lives. Margaret needs it not to be, so she can continue searching. Elsewhere, Mercy (Ji-young Yoo) reckons with the fact that she might be pregnant with her affair partner David’s (Jack Huston) child. But is she ready for motherhood? The episode’s most affecting storyline belongs to Hilary (Sarayu Blue), whose own mother (Sudha Bhuchar) bursts in for a visit, criticizing her every move. When the two find themselves trapped in an elevator, Hilary bites back with a chilling childhood story of witnessing her father’s abuse of her mother. It’s an unforgettable scene in an episode that forces us to sit alongside our leads as they contemplate the horrors of an unknowable future. — B.E.

How to watch: Expats is now streaming on Prime Video.

4. Ripley, Season 1, episode 3, “III Sommerso”

Two men walking along a wall.

Andrew Scott and Johnny Flynn in “Ripley.”
Credit: Lorenzo Sisti / Netflix

With striking black-and-white cinematography and a cast that was more compelling than accurate to the source material‘s descriptions, Steven Zaillian’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s delectably deranged novel The Talented Mr. Ripley was as bold as it was slyly seductive.

The series as a whole proves a showcase for leading man Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers), who transforms from a timid social climber to a sleek killer. But episode three, when the eponymous anti-hero gets his hands dirty, is the best of the batch. Here, Tom’s relationship with the carefree American heir Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) sours, so a day trip in Italy turns from mirthful to murderous. Yet the violence isn’t as disturbing as the aftermath, which delves into ASMR in a brilliant way. Tom, left to his own devices, is surrounded by the sounds of covering up his crime. And we are bound to him, a silent witness — or accomplice — left to wonder if we’re rooting for him to be caught or get off scot-free. —K.P.

How to watch: Ripley is now streaming on Netflix.

3. Interview with the Vampire, Season 2, episode 3, “No Pain”

Three men walk along the banks of the Seine at night.

Jacob Anderson, Assad Zaman, and Sam Reid in “Interview with the Vampire.”
Credit: Larry Horricks / AMC

Sure, the second half of Interview with the Vampire Season 2 has fans of the series — as well as the source text by Anne Rice — salivating for more, more, more. Rightly so, as Rolin Jones’ daringly different adaptation has brought fresh blood to the toxic romance between vampires Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat (Sam Reid). But with “No Pain,” Jones teased some details that would come back to haunt us as we watched those biting latter eps. 

In “No Pain,” human journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) meets a member of the Talamasca — a secret society that’s getting its own spinoff series. This episode also touches on the heart-wrenching tragedy of Lestat’s lost Nicki. Not only that, but it pulls details from The Vampire Armand, The Vampire Lestat, and The Tale of the Body Thief, and it introduces the perspective of Louis’ current curious paramour, Armand (Assad Zaman). The reveals of episode 5 and beyond wouldn’t hit as hard if you didn’t know the shared heartache and hatred Louis and Armand have for Lestat. Plus, this episode gives us those two in goo-goo couple mode — much to the annoyance of the deeply unsentimental Daniel — and the vampire Lestat in full theater kid mode, flashing his smile and his ass with equal panache. To top it all off, there’s the hopefulness of Claudia joining the theater coven, a move we all know will come to no good. There’s a lot of bangers this season, but “No Pain” is the one that lingers. — K.P.

How to watch: Interview with the Vampire is now streaming on AMC+.

2. Baby Reindeer, Season 1, episode 6, “Episode 6”

A man in a plaid suit sitting down.

Richard Gadd in “Baby Reindeer.”
Credit: Ed Miller / Netflix

Many Baby Reindeer episodes could have found a home on this list, including a tragic, flashback-centric fourth episode that lends new context to comedian Donny Dunn’s (Richard Gadd) relationship with stalker Martha (Jessica Gunning). But it’s the sixth episode where Baby Reindeer reaches a fever pitch, as Donny delivers a barn-burning, 10-minute monologue about his trauma and shame onstage at a comedy show. Long, unbroken close-ups and Gadd’s arresting performance make this confessional one you can’t look away from, no matter how painful it gets. — B.E.

How to watch: Baby Reindeer is now streaming on Netflix.

1. Shōgun, Season 1, episode 9, “Crimson Sky”

A woman in a white kosode kneels on the ground in front of a crowd of kneeling people.

Anna Sawai in “Shōgun.”
Credit: Katie Yu / FX

Do you ever watch an episode of TV and think, “What in the world could possibly top that?” Well, that was my reaction to Shōgun‘s “Crimson Sky,” a perfect hour of television that reaches peaks of heartbreak and suspense that have yet to be replicated this year.

The entire episode centers on Toda Mariko’s (Anna Sawai, giving the TV performance of 2024) final diplomatic mission for Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada). It’s a mission that requires her to face down her own mortality at several points, including a sharp-tongued royal audience and a gate encounter that is a masterclass in tension. Add in poetic, deeply felt conversations between Mariko, Lady Ochiba (Fumi Nikaido), and John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), and there’s no way you’ll escape this episode unshattered. 

As unwavering in its brilliance as Mariko is in the face of death, “Crimson Sky” is the send-off Mariko deserves, and proof that she is Shōgun‘s central figure. As showrunner Justin Marks told Mashable in an interview: “If you thought it was about anyone else, then you probably weren’t watching closely enough.” B.E. 

How to watch: Shōgun is now streaming on Hulu.

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