The Best Musical Episodes Of Non-Musical TV Series
We just learned that with its episode set to stream on Paramount+ on Thursday, August 3, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will join the distinguished list of TV series whose characters usually refrain from breaking into song and dance, but nevertheless made a musical out of a single episode. It’s a big swing for any series, but it’s hardly the first time. Here are some of the most impressive examples of TV series that delivered amazing musical episodes.
30 Rock "Kidney Now!"
In “Kidney Now!” the Season 3 finale of NBC‘s 30 Rock, in hopes of saving his newly found bio dad Milton (Alan Alda), Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) pulls together an impressive assemblage of recording stars for the very We-Are-The-World-esque tune “He Needs A Kidney.” The crooners — sober and otherwise — include Clay Aiken, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Mary J. Blige, Adam Levine, Michael McDonald, and more. Not longer after “Kidney Now!” aired, the music video was sold on iTunes, and the proceeds donated to the National Kidney Foundation.
Psych "Psych the Musical"
With its musical episode, Psych didn’t kid around. “Psych: The Musical” aired in 2013 as a two hour event, with over a dozen original songs. In typical musical fare, the episode veers into stranger territory than your average Psych story, including visions of the afterlife. The two-parter included Anthony Rapp, who at the time was best known for the stage and screen versions of Rent.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Once More, with Feeling
With “Once More, with Feeling,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave fans one of the few musical episodes whose plot offered a reason for everyone breaking into song and dance — Xander (Nicholas Brendon) inadvertently summons the demon Sweet (Hinton Battle) to Sunnydale. Sweet’s powers force the townsfolk to abruptly compose songs about everything from their doubts about their relationships to whether or not their dry cleaners did a good job. Set in the show’s often maligned sixth season, “Once More, with Feeling” is usually a well-regarded outlier.
Supernatural "Fan Fiction"
In its fifteen seasons, the dark fantasy show Supernatural had a lot of interesting episodes, including “Fan Fiction.” Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) are investigating the disappearance of a teacher when they discover the school is making a stage play based on their lives, starring the students. “Fan Fiction” was the fifth episode of Supernatural‘s tenth season, and the 200th episode overall of the series.
Xena: Warrior Princess "Bitter Suite"
With its Season 3 episode “Bitter Suite,” the heroes of Xena: Warrior Princess find themselves in Illusia — a land that is literally fueled by singing and dancing. The episode finds Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renée O’Connor) at something of a crossroads with neither saying what they need to. Much like the heroes of Buffy‘s “Once More, with Feeling,” the mystical song and dance of Illusia gives the pair what they need to be able to say what they normally wouldn’t.
Scrubs "My Musical"
Like Buffy, the hit sitcom Scrubs used the very premise of the show to explain their musical episode titled simply, “My Musical.” Stephanie D’Abruzzo guest stars as Patti, a patient at Sacred Heart who’s suffering from a mysterious ailment. The signature symptom of her illness is that everyone around her appears to be singing and dancing, regardless of what they’re actually doing.
Futurama "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings"
Futurama‘s musical episode, “The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings,” was actually intended to be the series finale. After Fry (Billy West) makes a deal with Beelzebot (Dan Castellaneta) for new hands, the twentieth century goofball is able to become a successful professional Holophonor. During his new career, Fry composes an opera for Leela (Katey Sagal).
How I Met Your Mother "Girls vs. Suits"
In How I Met Your Mother‘s fifth season, it earned itself a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics with “Girls vs. Suits.” Neil Patrick Harris leads the award winning musical number “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit” as Barney. His fan-favorite character is looking to get the bartender Karina (Stacy Keibler) in bed, but her biggest turn off is men in suits.
Community "Regional Holiday Music"
Community used its third season mid-season finale to unveil its musical episode, “Regional Holiday Music,” to fans. Hitting in multiple directions at once, “Regional Holiday Music” is a Christmas episode, a musical episode, and a blatant parody of Fox’s Glee. In fact, the first of the five original songs in the episode is named simply “Glee.” Later comes the Chevy-Chase-burning tune sung by Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi), “Baby Boomer Santa.”
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia "The Nightman Cometh"
One of the most beloved episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia remains the Season 4 finale “The Nightman Cometh” in which the gang helps Charlie (Charlie Day) produce a stage production of the titular rock opera. The name is a reference to the actual Eugene O’Neill play The Iceman Cometh. Considering O’Neill’s production was about alcoholics wasting their lives with petty cons, it seems the perfect play for the It’s Always Sunny gang to reference.