Anthony Bourdain has another episode from this year that I would submit for consideration: his Manila, Philippines episode.
Bourdain had a specific story he wanted to tell here, but he doesn’t let you in on it right away. Instead, he lets the hour run by like any normal “Parts Unknown” episode, only dropping small bits throughout to slowly set you up for where he’s going. Unexpectedly, he finally reveals the emotional wallop, a gigantic burst of humanity, love, struggle and nobility. It was the most life-affirming moment of television I’ve seen all year.
Coupled with that unexpected but great interview with Barack Obama in a non-descript cafe in Vietnam. Bourdain has had a sneaky great banner year.