While there have been many weird TV shows over the years, the shows that have the strangest episodes are often those that start relatively normal. It’s easy to be weird from the start, but these aren’t always the shows we remember. The weirdest episodes are those that seem at odds with the episodes around them, shows that seem to be regular dramas, comedies, and thrillers that suddenly throw crazy curveballs at their audience.
Weird episodes happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, a show’s success means that showrunners and writers are granted more leeway to experiment with the format. Other times, the writers are running out of ideas and throw in some strange episodes to keep things interesting. And some episodes are simply weird by accident, often when an attempt to do something interesting goes hilariously wrong.
However, with the rise of streaming services and increased competition for audience attention, showrunners have more freedom than they used to. Many modern shows are ambitious in a way they weren’t two decades ago. A show like the original run of Twin Peaks, which seemed so radical at the time, no longer seems that strange. When something like the recent interactive Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch is seen as mainstream entertainment, it’s clear that the definition of what is considered “weird” has shifted. As the upcoming list shows, it still takes a groundbreaking maverick like David Lynch to truly push the boundaries of modern TV.
So here are 12 of the weirdest TV episodes ever screened. All of these seemed like complete oddities when first broadcast, and in many cases leave us wondering how they ever ended up on TV in the first place. And don’t forget to let us know your favourite weird TV episodes in the comments afterwards!