Best: Season 3 Unrated, 9 hrs., 2000 (HBO) The glory of this season can be summed up in one episode: ''Easy Come, Easy Go.'' Miranda and Steve were broken up, but he was still sleeping on her couch. After her previous announcement (while drunk on the Staten Island Ferry) that she'd get married this year, Charlotte proposed to Trey, who responded with the classic ''All righty.'' Samantha, ever the trouper, struggled with some ''funky spunk.'' And while the devoted Aidan was refinishing her floors, Carrie began an affair with the married Big. As the smoke of their postcoital cigarette cleared, the series shifted from harmless single fun into a complex, mature portrait of these women's lives plus, the snappy banter and tastemaking fashions (remember giant pin-on flowers?) were never better.
Worst: Season 5 Unrated, 4 hrs., 2002 (HBO) While it's hard to fault the producers for a short run (eight episodes, due to SJP's real-life pregnancy), it's disappointing to see how listless they allowed their ladies to become. Miranda was lost in the throes of motherhood; Samantha, attempting a reconciliation with Richard, became uncharacteristically desperate; and even the arrival of Carrie's future flame Jack Berger was haunted by past relationships. Only Charlotte's life shined shaking off Trey, she was strangely attracted to her (bald, hirsute, Jewish) divorce lawyer, Harry. But the fab four no longer functioned as a unit, and it was the dissolution of those bonds highlighted by a disastrous trip to Atlantic City in ''Luck Be an Old Lady'' that made this season a bitter Bellini to swallow.