May 30, 2012 4:32pm PT by Tim Goodman
The Power Rankings! It's the Magnificent Seven Version! No Sympathy, No Freebies, Just Fighting!
Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending May 27. A lot of great shows had their season finales in the previous version of The Power Rankings! so we're scaling back for this version of The Magnificent Seven. Why seven? Because that's all that we thought were truly great this week. No padding! This isn't some sympathy card to shows that try hard. Be great or get out. We trim the number based on quality, not available quantity.
Still a very, very bloody battle this week because despite everybody flipping for Mad Men, it could have very easily gone the other way. It's nice to see everybody bringing the heat this week, plus the return of two beloved comedies. FYI: The Power Rankings! are where television series are ranked on a weekly basis according to their most recent episodes and the ever-changing-moods of yours truly. If you want to learn how The Power Rankings! started and the methodology behind them, check out the link to the Bastard Machine post on those issues of great import. Also: The Bastard Machine is on Facebook. And Twitter.
This might have been the most difficult pick in many weeks. Yes, I know that people adored this episode of Mad Men (and were also repulsed by some of the decisions in it), but you can't disregard what Game of Thrones delivered, either. Another great day to own a television. Anyway, in this Mad Men we saw a lot of things that were shocking (to some), but very little has been said about the smile on Peggy's face as she steps into the elevator and departs SCDP for what appears to be the last time. All told, a great episode (as I mentioned in the Spoiled Bastard deconstruction of it) and fine work from the writers and actors. Way to retain the top spot.
Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage for the Emmy. But you already know that. Fantastic acting, great storytelling, always compelling and essential viewing. Game of Thrones was nominated for best drama series last year at the Emmys and should be a lock this year as well. Hail to the littlest warrior.
To be on this show, you can't be afraid. I love that it remains raw but real and is not afraid, in that rawness, to be sweet. Because we know that one of the things that gets the most laughs in Girls is the very direct, very painful truth one person tells (or yells) to the other. But there's always a moment in here of some kind of compassion. Hey, do you want to know who is fall-down fantastic in this series? Adam Driver (as Adam). He might end up being the MVP of the series.
It's the acting, people. Don't know how many times I have to say it. Here's hoping the Emmy folks are paying attention (though, in fairness to them, there's a lot of exceptional work being done by actors on TV right about now).
There seems to be some chatter that Veep isn't everybody's dream comedy. Sure, we get that. But don't say it's not funny. Say it's not funny to you. Put the onus on yourself. For the rest of us, Veep delivers. Some episodes more than others, sure, but pretty much every character gets something hilarious to say, and that merits a tune-in every week. I particularly liked the photo montage at the end the last episode. Still laughing.
It's a testament to the often brutally tough competition to crack into The Power Rankings! that a show like Modern Family can get left off depending on the week. This is a series that is top-tier when everything clicks and yet still really good when only part of it works. That's the nature of the business for sitcoms. Comedy is hard. If you can be counted on to reliably make people laugh three or four times really hard ever week, hell yes, you're here. This was a nice season finale even though the show tends to dip itself into the emotional end of the pool more often than not. But that's fine -- it's part of the DNA. I think they made the right decisions on plotting and can't wait until next season.
Don't Trust the B-- In Apt. 23
See the above comment and just subtract all the stuff about having a heart. Apt. 23 was one of the most surprising comedies this season, and seven episodes simply wasn't enough. This is a comedy that got the tone right from the first frame and kept developing chemistry (especially with minor characters) as the season went on. I have no doubt that Season 2 will be a continuation in strength and applaud the fact that the show made it into The Power Rankings! a number of times. Also, Krysten Ritter? The whole package.
Out: Mod Fam and Apt. 23 are done for the season. And The Borgias and Magic City had the week off. So even if the list stays as The Magnificent 7, I think the shows will, indeed, be magnificent still.
In peril: Pretty much anyone who had to go is gone.
In the mix: Might have to cast the net wider. But don't worry: There are no freebies. If the shows aren't there, the list just stays shortened.