“The Sopranos” is one of the greatest drama series ever made, but it was not immune from clunkers. (When Tapper made that joke, several followers protested that episodes featuring dreams, Vito in New Hampshire and/or Janice’s love life all were more deserving of the Comic Book Guy-esque scorn.) “Breaking Bad” managed to make it through 62 episodes without a bad one (though your mileage will vary on that depending on your feelings about “Fly”), but that’s the exception more than the rule. Sometimes you get the stinkers early on, when a show is still figuring itself out (say, during “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” season 1). Sometimes, they come much later in the run, when the writers are starting to run out of ideas (say, a certain “ER” helicopter crash). Comedies tend to have a much higher variance than dramas – I could very easily come up with a list of 10 terrible episodes of “The Office” while sticking only to the Steve Carell years, and I loved “The Office” – so it stands out more when a great drama has a bad outing (whether at the time you’re watching or in hindsight) than when a comedy stumbles.
So before Columbus Day is too far in our rearview mirrors, I thought I’d take a look at some of the weakest episodes of some of the best dramas over the last few decades.