Top 10 TV Episodes Where It Was All a Dream

Script Written by Nick Spake. It’s time to close our eyes and go to the place where our dreams eternally rest. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 TV episodes where it was all a dream. For this list, we’re taking a look at episodes where a majority of the story took place within a character’s dream or nightmare. Oh and seeing how we’ll be talking about endings and surprise reveals here, a SPOILER ALERT is probably in order! Special thanks to our users Nick Spake, Jo Gute and Nicholas Defrance for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 TV Episodes Where It Was All A Dream


Time to wake up and get back to reality. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 TV episodes where it was all a dream.

For this list, we’re taking a look at episodes where a majority of the story took place within a character’s dream or nightmare or where the plot revolved around a dream or nightmare. We’ve excluded episodes like “Lois Kills Stewie” because, as Stewie points out, that was technically a simulation. Oh and seeing how we’ll be talking about endings and surprise reveals here, a SPOILER ALERT is probably in order!

#10: “The Sting”
“Futurama” (1999-2013)

After throwing himself in front of a giant space bee to save Leela, Fly is stung through the gut and killed instantly, after which he receives a sendoff worthy of Mr. Spock. Consumed by guilt and space honey, Leela endures a series of dreams suggesting Fry might still be alive. Matters only become more surreal as she attempts to decipher what’s reality, what’s an illusion and whether she’s losing her mind. In the end, the entire experience turns out to be a coma-dream induced by the venom from the bee sting. And, loyal as he is, Fry remained beside Leela the entire time, encouraging her to finally wake up.

#9: “The Test Dream”
“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)

In this “Sopranos” episode, Tony examines his regrets, insecurities, and a future he isn’t prepared for through one of his many bizarre dream sequences. Along the way, he crosses paths with several deceased characters, some of which died by his hands. We also get references to everything from “The Honeymooners” to “Bugsy,” even working Annette Bening into the equation. “The Test Dream” is all over the place and seemingly makes little sense, following the same conventions as real dreams. But, also like an actual dream, there’s a ton of truth waiting to be interpreted underneath all the insanity.

#8: “Perchance to Dream”
“Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95)

As much as Bruce Wayne likes to play the martyr role, part of him will always long for a carefree reality where he can be happy. In this episode, named for a line from a well-known speech in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Bruce gets his wish when he wakes up after being knocked out during a villain battle to learn his parents are alive, he’s engaged to Selina Kyle, and somebody else is filling in as the Dark Knight. As enticing as this life seems, the detective in Bruce can’t let his suspicions go. This episode is an ingeniously plotted mystery that amounts to a thrilling final confrontation in which Bruce discovers the stuff that dreams are made of.

#7: “And Then There Was Shawn”
“Boy Meets World” (1993-2000)

Shawn Hunter lives and breathes horror flicks, and his knowledge of horror tropes comes in handy throughout this episode of “Boy Meets World.” The gang’s locked inside John Adams High with a “Scream”-inspired killer. In a story that goes on to parody other franchises like “Scooby-Doo,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and more, one kid’s impaled through the head with a pencil, Mr. Feeny is stabbed in the back, and some heavy books pummel poor Jennifer Love Hewitt. The episode is of course a dream, but it still cleverly plays into the ongoing story concerning Cory and Topanga’s recent breakup.

#6: “G.I. Jeff”
“Community” (2009-)

Everybody remembers a particular Saturday morning cartoon that takes them back to a simpler time. Unable to handle the idea of turning 40, Jeff envisions a fantasy world based on “G.I. Joe.” The dream is complete with advertisements, rehashed animation, and Jeff’s friends revamped as Joes. Eventually Wingman decides he needs to grow up and ascend to a place where Cobra Commander can’t follow. As we’ve come to expect from “Community” and their various out-of-genre episodes, “G.I. Jeff” is wildly inventive, overflowing with smart meta humor, and poignant in its message about getting old.

#5: “The Impossible Dream”
“Frasier” (1993-2004)

When most heterosexual guys have gay dreams, they usually try to forget them and move on with their day. But since Frasier Crane is a psychiatrist, he simply can’t ignore an intimate recurring dream involving his flamboyant coworker, Gil Chesterton. Frasier analyzes the purpose behind his dream from every angle, considering his recent diet, childhood trauma, and an uncomfortably Oedipal attraction to his mother. At last he comes to a conclusion that the dream was his subconscious’ method of challenging him as a therapist. With that mystery solved, Frasier now must turn his attention to his seemingly repressed crush on Sigmund Freud.

#4: “Normal Again”
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003)

If you were the chosen one destined to slay vampires, you’d probably assume you were dreaming at first. Several years after accepting her role as the slayer, however, Buffy Summers is awoken to the possibility that her life in Sunnydale has been a lie. Instead, she’s a delusional mental patient locked away in an institution, who must kill all the friends and family she’s invented in her subconscious to become healthy once again. What makes “Normal Again” especially brilliant is its ambiguous conclusion, which never tells us which reality is the true one. Depending on how you interpret it, Buffy’s fate is either incredibly triumphant or absolutely tragic.

#3: “Da Boom”
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)

This is without a doubt one of the strangest episodes of “Family Guy,” which is saying a lot. Yet, it’s also one of the most popular and classic. Having survived Y2K, the Griffin family embarks into an apocalyptic world of giant rats, cannibalism, and nuclear waste that mutates Stewie into an octopus-type thing. But hey, at least a Twinkie factory and Randy Newman survived. It doesn’t come as a massive surprise when the episode is revealed to be a dream. What is surprising is that the person having the dream was Pam Ewing, parodying a classic episode of “Dallas.” Speaking of which…

#2: “Return to Camelot, Part I”
“Dallas” (1978-91)

Even if you’ve never seen this classic primetime soap, you’ve at least heard about Bobby Ewing’s infamous revival. When Bobby met his demise at the end of season eight, fans were heartbroken. But death’s inevitable and there’s no coming back from it, right? Not in TV Land. Following a shocking cliffhanger in which Pam discovers her late fiancée in the shower, we learn in “Return to Camelot” that Bobby’s death and all of season nine was merely her dream. Talk about cheating death, not to mention the audience. But whatever, Bobby’s back. Hooray!

Before we awaken our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Satan, Darling”
“Roseanne” (1988-97)
- “The Midnight Sun”
“The Twilight Zone” (1959-64)
- “Stevil”
“Family Matters” (1989-98)
- “Dreams”
“M*A*S*H” (1972-83)
- “Phantasms”
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-94)
- “Treehouse of Horror V”
“The Simpsons” (1989-)

#1: “The Last Newhart”
“Newhart” (1982-90)

Having a single episode turn out to be a dream is one thing. Having a whole season turn out to be a dream is another. “Newhart” takes the cake, though, when they revealed in the series finale that the entire show was a dream, because, let’s face it, this could have been a slap in the face to loyal viewers. The last scene of “The Last Newhart” is nothing short of comedy gold, however, as Bob Newhart wakes up beside his TV wife from his previous series subsequent to one crazy dream. It’s an unforgettable twist that brings both Newhart sitcoms full circle and delivers the ultimate practical joke.

Do you agree with our list? What TV episodes were beyond your wildest dreams? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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