Hi—my name is Alasdair, and I love time loop episodes. When done right, they’re a brilliantly efficient piece of storytelling, using the repetition of events and the accretion of knowledge to not only show us more about the characters but often give the writers a chance to have a little fun (and maybe let the production office save a little money). For years, my platonic ideals of this story have been “Cause and Effect” from Star Trek: The Next Generation and “Window of Opportunity” from Stargate SG-1. The former has the best pre-credit sequence ever (Ship explodes! Everyone dies! Cue the music!). The latter has O’Neill and Teal’c trapped in a loop which leads to wormhole golf, a magnificently terrible yellow sweatshirt, and a moment that made fans of a certain ship gleefully punch the air.
Both are immensely fun hours of TV, and recently they’ve been joined among my favorite time loop episodes by three more excellent examples of the form at its absolute best. Here they are: