Highlights "The Big Bang Theory" had numerous highly-rated episodes throughout its twelve-season run, with over 100 episodes receiving at least an 8 out of 10 rating on IMDb. The best-ever episode of the show, according to IMDb reviews, was "The Stockholm Syndrome," which received a 9.5 rating. Many viewers considered it a flawless finale for the series. The finale episode of "The Big Bang Theory" was not only the highest-rated, but also the most-watched, attracting a total of 23.44 million viewers and solidifying the show's position as the most-watched non-sports program of the season.
Over the course of its 279 episodes, The Big Bang Theory hit plenty of them out of the park. Yet the series wasn't without its controversies. Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco weren't thrilled with one particularly controversial storyline, while viewers sometimes questioned whether the female characters were even that important, to begin with.
Fortunately, though there was one worst-ever episode, there was also one that ensured the series redeemed itself, both from the viewers' perspectives and that of critics.
After twelve seasons on the air, it's clear that The Big Bang Theory had plenty going for it. Even though some episodes weren't huge hits with all audiences, there are too many highly-rated episodes to count.
From epic unscripted moments to unexpected guest stars, including some that the cast members themselves insisted upon tracking down, the show had a lot going for it. Tons of episodes earned high ratings, with over 100 hitting at least an 8, minimum, out of 10 on IMDb.
IMDb isn't necessarily a critics' system, of course, so most opinions come from actual viewers of the show via very casual ratings; select between 1 and 10 stars.
Some notable high-ranking episodes include season three's episode 22; "The Staircase Implementation" finally addressed the broken elevator conundrum (and earned a 9-star rating).
"The Opening Night Excitation" (season nine, episode 11) had the gang diving into the Star Wars fandom, while "The Change Constant" was the next-to-last episode (season 12, episode 23) and had Sheldon and Amy receiving big news.
But one specific episode earned higher than a nine-star rating, and is still marked as the best-ever episode of the show—for a good reason.
Based on an amalgamation of reviews on IMDb, the clear winner for the best-ever Big Bang Theory episode is "The Stockholm Syndrome." The season 12, episode 24 plot was apparently flawless, as the show's IMDb rank hit 9.5 thanks to over 10,000 ratings.
Of course, The Big Bang Theory's best-ever episode was also its last, which could very well have been the reason why so many rated it highly. Rather than rating that particular episode, viewers might have been reflecting on the series as a whole in their judgment.
Many reviewers said as much, with one featured review stating that they had clearly invested 12 years into the show "wisely."
Viewers applauded the characters' growth, particularly Sheldon's, and appreciated the "heartfelt" sendoff. One reviewer summed up by saying, "There's no better way to end this series."
That was an impressive evaluation after some episodes were less than spectacular, according to fans.
Specifically, the lack of science in Howard's NASA storyline left some fans feeling frustrated, but it was only the odd episode out that really annoyed fans... even if none ever stopped watching completely.
Because it's somewhat unfair to label the very last episode of the series its "best," it's prudent to mention the runner-up. While "The Stockholm Syndrome" ranked at 9.5 stars, "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" was a close runner-up with 9.1 stars, thanks to nearly seven thousand ratings.
The highlight of "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" was, of course, Sheldon receiving a signed napkin from Leonard Nimoy, courtesy of Penny.
Each character also experiences a bit of growth and a relevant plotline in the episode, but the season two, episode 11 piece was also a Christmas special and was effectively delivered wrapped up in a bow.
The episode wasn't the only holiday special over the years (The Big Bang Theory wound up with 17 of them in the end), and some other holiday specials did come close to beating the record.
"The Thanksgiving Decoupling," for example, earned an 8.8 score from over 4,000 ratings.
That episode featured the crew spending the holiday at Howard's house, where drama erupts thanks to the news that Penny once married her ex-boyfriend on a whim (while turning Leonard down multiple times).
In addition to being its highest-rated episode, the finale of The Big Bang Theory was also its most-watched. According to Nielsen data reported by The Wrap, "The Stockholm Syndrome" episode attracted a total of 23.44 million viewers.
Those figures cemented TBBT as the most-watched show (outside of a sports program) for that season. CBS also showed a re-run of the episode, which wasn't included in those figures. It's possible that many more millions of viewers watched the episode during the replay.
Fortunately for viewers, Young Sheldon began before TBBT ended, so they still had a familiar show to tune into while TBBT ended (and still got to enjoy Jim Parsons' participation as the narrator).