And so we start with…
The Adama Manoeuvre, Exodus Part II, Battlestar Galactica
Easily the coolest moment on this (or any) list, the Adama Manoeuvre is without a doubt one of the most powerful images of recent TV history. Watching the Galactica fall like a rock through the atmosphere, launch fighters mid freefall, and then jump out with a mighty thunder clap only about 100 feet from the ground is an amazing moment. In isolation, it might just look like another action scene, but with the previous 4 episodes in the New Caprica arc (and hell, most of the series thus far) behind it, it’s a real punch the air, hell yeah moment of Cylon arse kicking, and an extremely cathartic moment too after all the settlers have gone through. The Galactica has come to save the day. As Hotdog says “This oughta be different.”
Runner up: The pre titles part of He That Believeth In Me. Adama shot fake out, massive space battle, Anders eye glowing red.
“Second best,” Enemies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Faith (now evil) has taken Angel’s soul turning him into evil Angelus once more, or has she? I remember watching this for the first time on BBC2 back in 1998 (whoa!) and it hasn’t really lost any of its impact. The moment Angel says ‘second best,’ after Faith claiming she’s the best actor in the world, you can’t help but smile. It actually still gives me goosebumps, as for the whole episode I really did believe that they’d turned Angel again. It’s a neat clever twist; one that normally doesn’t happen mid season in TV shows, and for that reason it makes the list.
Runner up: “I’d like to test that theory.”
“Guys? I know kung fu,” Chuck versus The Ring, Chuck
I think we all know why this makes the list. If you weren’t smiling as Chuck takes out a room of bad guys, after uploading a new fancier Intersect in the season 2 finale, then there’s something wrong with you. It’s a gloriously silly moment in a gloriously silly spy show, and it references one of the coolest movies of the past 20 years. In fact, it knows it’s such a cool moment that it does it again in the fourth season.
Runner up: From the same episode actually, Jeffster performing at Ellie and Awesome’s wedding, while a shootout is going on in the other room, marrying together the silly and the serious perfectly.
“And yet somehow, I just can’t seem to care,” Reunion, Angel
“Angel’s gonna save the day, all is well. Wait, what? Oh damn, that’s cold.” Pretty much my reaction to viewing this episode; it takes Angel (the character) to the darkest we’ve ever seen him while not Angelus, as well as sets up the theme for the rest of the series. It’s a great moment because you know the Wolfram and Hart lawyers deserve what they’re getting, but still you don’t expect Angel to just close the door on them and walk away. Or walk to his car and then drive away. And this is the hero of the show.
Runner up: “Can you fly?”
Alternate credits, Peter, Fringe
Fringe isn’t really a show that lends itself to coolness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic show, but it’s not what anyone would call cool. But when the show had a flashback episode to 1985, the makers decide to mix up the credits a bit to give them an eighties feel. So instead of the usual Fringe titles, which have phrases like ‘precognition’ and ‘teleportation,’ we have a nifty little then-fringe science terms like ‘virtual reality,’ ‘genetic engineering’ and ‘personal computing’ as well as the Fringe logo being in Asimov font as opposed to the usual typeface.
Runner up: the introduction of the Over There Fringe division in the first part of the season 2 finale, complete with cool Broyles, an alive Charlie, and a gorgeous redheaded Olivia.
‘Clark’ flying, Exodus, Smallville
Ok, so it’s not actually Clark, it’s Kal-El (sort of), but it’s a great moment, finally seeing him take to the air. And it neatly sidesteps the no-tights, no flight rule of Smallville by it not actually being Clark. The FX are top notch in this sequence, as we see Clark flying alongside Lex’s plane, rip the door off and retrieve a crystal (or something, I can’t remember), and it continues the tradition of Smallville having great season openers (and finales). They even get a paraphrased ‘is it a bird?’ bit in.
Runner up: Clark rushing into the tornado to save Lana. Awesome.
Jack takes down Gaines, Day 1 11.00-12.00, 24
We’ve seen Jack do some cool thing so far into the first series (in fact just an episode before we’ve seen him threaten one of Ira Gaines’ men with a towel), but this is the first time we’ve seen Jack properly in action, guns-a-blazing. And it’s awesome. I reckon this scene has more impact because of that very reason, it’s our first big Jack Bauer action scene, which would become common place for the next 8 series, but this whole sequence ending in the killing of Gaines is superb.
Runner up: Jack shooting Nina in cold blood in the spot she killed his wife two seasons previous.
The Oncoming Storm, Bad Wolf, Doctor Who
"This is what I'm gonna do - I'm gonna rescue her! I'm gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet, and then I'm gonna save the Earth, and *then* - just to finish you off - I'm gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky. Rose? I’m coming to get you.”
Runner up: Rory’s message to the Cyber fleet. “Do you want me to repeat the question?”
“See you in another life, brother,” Man of Science, Man of Faith, Lost
Alright, season 2 of Lost. Let’s see what’s in the hatch. Wait, what’s this? Some dude waking up, pushing some numbers into a computer. Well, it’s an old computer, and he’s just put a record on; this must be a flashback. Hmmm, he’s injecting himself with something, what’s that logo say? Dharma? Oh, there’s a loud bang from somewhere. He’s tooling up, some heavy duty equipment in this place. Wonder who’s trying to get in…holy shit, its Jack and Locke. Well played, Lost. Very well played.
Runner up: “We have to go back”!