Best and Worst Game Changing Moments in TV History 

1
'Homeland'
'Homeland'
Showtime
After Saul discovered the video confessional from Brody that he was planning an act of terrorism against the U.S. under the orders of Abu Nazir, we wondered how long Carrie would have to play cat-and-mouse with the traitor, not to mention her ex-lover? Turns out, not very long at all. Carrie blew the lid on Brody and had him arrested, changing the dynamic of the show, but the relationship between Brody and Carrie forever. VERDICT: We'll just have to wait and see.
2
'LOST'
'LOST'
ABC Television Network
"We have to go back!" Sorry, Sad Beard Present Day Jack, but there was no going back for Lost once the flash forward storyline was introduced in the Season 3 finale. The reveal that the survivors of Flight 815 would eventually get off the island would make way for the time travel storyline and the sideways world, changing the course of the show for good. VERDICT: Split. How you feel about the Lost finale likely stemmed from this shocking switcheroo and the events that followed. Still, last three seasons of Lost were the lowest rated of the series, compared to the first three which all took place pre-flash forward.
3
'Twin Peaks'
'Twin Peaks'
ABC Television Network
While 'Twin Peaks' didn't quite pull the trigger quite as quickly as 'The Killing' eventually did revealing Laura Palmer's killer in the middle of Season 2 would have felt immensely more satisfying to find out (or not find out) in the series finale. VERDICT: Split. While the show has maintained a feverish cult status since it went off the air, even the most fervent fans are torn on this one.
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4
'Fringe'
'Fringe'
FOX
The mind-bending show often evokes the phrase "Whoa" from viewers but never more so than when it was revealed in the Season 3 finale that after Peter disappeared was "erased" and was forgotten about by both sides. VERDICT: Winner. The Peter erasure storyline reinvigorated the already cultish fan following and continued interest in the low rated show helped it get another season out of Fox.
5
'The Office'
'The Office'
NBC
You can argue that 'The Office' really shifted gears when Jim and Pam became a couple, and subsequently, the most insufferable people at Dunder Mifflin. (No small feat with folks like Dwight, Angela, and Ryan around). But 'The Office' truly turned a corner with the departure of Michael in Season 7 (for the aptly titled ep "Goodbye Michael") the crazy glue that held them all together. The show struggled to replace Michael, but as any fan of Steve Carell can attest, the guy is irreplaceable. VERDICT: Loser. Even the most devoted fans have jumped ship with ratings continuing to plummet into its final season.
6
'Alias'
'Alias'
FOX
So long, SD-6! J.J. Abrams sure does like switching things up on his singularly named shows, as evident by the Season 2 episode of 'Alias' when Sydney successfully brought down the anti-government cell the SD-6, more or less rebooting her character's role and the show itself. VERDICT: Winner. While no episode of Alias ever had higher ratings than "Phase One", the reboot was a risk that paid off. Regarded as one of the best TV thrillers of the past decade, Alias maintained strong ratings in Season 3 and 4, though 5 dropped off.
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7
'Dallas'
'Dallas'
CBS
Who shot J.R.? Who cares! The biggest head scratcher Dallas ever came up with was the Season 9 finale twist that not only was Bobby still alive...but he was taking a shower in Pam's bathroom! VERDICT: Loser. A soapy twist, in every sense of the word, but the show never quite creatively recovered and ratings slipped during its final years.
8
'24'
'24'
FOX
'24' seemed like it had jumped the cougar, but by the time episode 19 of Season 5 rolled around with the reveal that President Logan was crazy evil, it came as a welcome change of pace. The realization that anyone on 24 could be a villain set a new tone for the series and gave it a much-needed second life. VERDICT: Winner. The show maintained steady ratings until its last season and that particular twist made us forget all about that cougar. Almost.
9
'MASH'
'MASH'
CBS
The focus of the show shifted entirely during the classic Season 3 finale "Abyssinia, Henry" when Col. Blake died in a plane crash going home and the horrors of war hit home with not only the characters, but millions of viewers. VERDICT: Winner. The Col. Blake storyline was not only daring, but kept the show one of the most-watched, and critically praised, series of all-time.
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10
'Dexter'
'Dexter'
Showtime
Fans of ‘Dexter’ thought they'd seen it all from the dark serial killer drama, but nothing could have prepared anyone for the Season 4 finale, when Dexter found Rita's bloody, lifeless body in the bathtub. Her murder not only flipped a switch in Dexter Morgan, but the show itself. VERDICT: Loser. While it was one of the most unexpected twists in recent memory, the decline in quality in the show and character development that followed Rita's murder was a real killer.
11
'Friends'
'Friends'
NBC
While some fans of the beloved series will point the finger at Monica and Chandler for being the couple that truly undid the ‘Friends,’ it was the nonsensical choice to try and hook up Rachel and Joey in the Season 9 finale. The odd coupling never took off and with good reason: Rachel was always supposed to wind up with Ross. The whole thing felt like a last-ditch effort to keep fans interested as the show headed into its final stretch. VERDICT: Loser. ‘Friends’ always stayed a ratings giant, but the contrived Rachel/Joey romance tainted the tail end of the hit show.
12
'Breaking Bad'
'Breaking Bad'
AMC
For four seasons, Gus Fring ran things with Walter and Jesse. That was, until the Season 4 finale when an explosion set off by Hector horribly disfigures, and eventually kills Gus, leaving the empire to be ruled over by Walter. Since then, the show has taken an even darker (if that's possible) turn, making Walt a full-on villain. VERDICT: Winner. 'Breaking Bad' has never been better.
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13
'Frasier'
'Frasier'
NBC
Building sexual tension between two characters is a tricky thing. While Ross and Rachel hit the right amount of time on ‘Friends,’ sometimes you can jump the gun too early like Pam and Jim did on ‘The Office.’ Or, you can run the risk like ‘Frasier’ did and wait seven seasons to hook up the long-suffering Niles and his crush Daphne. By the time they got together, the thrill was long gone, and the show never regained the same spark. VERDICT: Loser
14
'I Love Lucy'
'I Love Lucy'
CBS
We'll always love Lucy. Little Ricky is a different story. Though the Season 2 episode of 'I Love Lucy' in which Little Ricky was born was a ratings smash, it forever changed the feel of the show from screwball comedy to cutesy. VERDICT: Loser. The introduction of Little Ricky set the standard for babies being sitcom killers. (See: ‘Mad About You,’ ‘Murphy Brown’).

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