Say what you want about J. Michael Straczynski, he understands story structure.
There were always questions about the way Babylon 5 was conceived as a story. The networks weren't sure that a television audience would have the patience for a tale that asks you to hang in there for five seasons to see the payoff. In the age of binge watching Netflix shows, it seems that this is still an active question.
By creating a story framework with definite events mapped out, Straczynski freed up the writers to hang fun, self contained stories off of it and made it possible to add touches of foreshadowing all throughout the show as well.
One episode about halfway through season one of Babylon 5 literally shows you something that will happen in season five. It's completely without context, adds a sense of urgency and foreboding to earlier seasons, and is extremely cathartic in the season five payoff. It rewards careful watching and re-watching.
That sound you hear is Chechov's Gun chambering. It's a trope for a reason and when handled well, it is emotionally satisfying for the watcher (or reader).
(It also allows for time travel plots that are handled in a far more believable way than some more recent shows have done. *coughcoughDCcoughcough*)
I love it. I wish more shows were made in this fashion.
What are some other shows or writers that do structure well, either within episodes or over series?