Peak TV makes granular TV analysis and obsessions like best episodes harder—but not impossible. It's one thing to highlight the best TV series from a decade, but zooming in on seasons is much more fun and at times, deepens the story. After all, a season of television is like the journey a series goes on just minituarized. There are narrative arcs, self-contained beginnings and endings, and, in the best of the best, a rollercoaster ride bottling the greatest qualities that series has to offer.

A great season is sometiems a window of an amazing show at its creative peak, or perhaps the one time the stars aligned for a series that never got the juice back again. They showcase the potential of a failed or canceled series at a moment in time, or the instance when things clicked and a now storied series grew into itself. Some of these series wouldn't be eligible for a best of the decade list as a whole (at least, a truncated one) but in the context of seasons, their flashes of brilliance will live on memorably forever. But in most cases, the entries on this list represent when one of the gems of the small screen shone brightest. Here are all of the highlights within the highlights.