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MAY
24
2 YEARS

The Power Rankings! Return of the Elite Eleven! Shock! Sadness! Farewells! Atta-Boys!

Back to full strength, season finales cause flux and even very good shows are left out. Again.

Amy Poehler in "Parks and Recreation"
Ron Tom/NBC
Knope We Can! Amy Poehler, 'Parks and Recreation'

Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending May 20. We have the Elite Eleven back in the house this week because, well, we absolutely had to given the amount of greatness out there.

One week after the upfront-shortened version of The Power Rankings!, where we did the Fab Five, a whole bunch of series are ending their seasons and still other Elite Eleven mainstays had killer episodes. This has been such an incredibly competitive run the past month or so, but no doubt with the soft, blue-sky summer series arriving, these rankings will have to scale back in sadness (and in fear of and repulsion from mediocrity). But not this week. One quick note: Because there were only five ranked shows last week, we're going to have a lot of "not applicable" sideways arrows. And yet, still chaos. So, tell your gods to ready for blood! 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.

 

RANK  SHOW  PREVIOUS  TREND  COMMENT
1

Mad Men

3

I'd argue that might be the most fun Mad Men episode to watch this year. Not overburdened with thematics, fast on its feet, funny and touching. I could watch four or five episodes where Don and Joan sit in a bar and talk and flirt and put money in the jukebox.

2

Game of Thrones

1

A series this consistently great and so immense in its storytelling leaves viewers enriched every week. But it probably also leaves them scratching their heads about why there are only 10 episodes per season. We demand 13, HBO, or we'll take some animated characters from The Ricky Gervais Show and pretend that we've burned them. Now make it happen!

3

Parks and Recreation

N/A

A great season, a fantastic season finale. I normally don't much like warm stuff mixed in with my funny, but Parks does that brilliantly as well. A show we're all lucky to have.

4

Community

N/A

I've had my say about Dan Harmon's situation, so let's just look what he left us. Three really funny episodes on one night, culminating in the season finale (which very likely could have been the series finale, which means they wrote the hell out of it as a valentine to fans -- as did Parks, which also did not know its fate). That NBC believes it has so much excellent content that it can hold Community episodes and then burn three off in a row says a lot about NBC. And not the lot that anyone wants said about them. But as for the show itself, a nice farewell, despite coming back for another season with someone else in charge.

5

Girls

4

Over at THR, we're starting to think about and write about the upcoming Emmys. You can bet that this brilliant show is on my mind. A lot. It will get its due. At least from me. Who knows about those statues. They have a funny way of ending up in the wrong hands.

6

Veep

5

See above. Add exclamation points. Unless there's an HBO backlash, I know a certain channel that should bring a very large shopping bag to the Emmys.

7

30 Rock

N/A

I'm not sure there was confusion on 30 Rock and with Tina Fey about whether the show was coming back before they shot this one, but it doesn't really matter. It was as funny and weird as ever (OK, maybe even more so with the Kenneth stuff). I'm obviously glad it's coming back for a final 13 episodes. In my book, 30 Rock is one of the all-time greats (and, like Parks and Recreation, the first four episodes were not very good at all, then it found its force and never looked back). Here's to next season.

8

Sherlock

2

If ever there was a drop in ranking that had to be explained. Well, obviously, the Fab Five from last week had this gem at No. 2. But this week, the comedies that were left out last week all came back strong, and many for their season finales, thus the drop. But there was no dip in quality, I can tell you that (but if you watch the series, that's something you know). All I can says is, more episodes. (This may be the "More Episodes!" version of The Power Rankings!)

9

The Killing

N/A

As I noted in last week's Fab Five version, had there been an inkling to expand to six, The Killing would have been that show. Listen, I still have the same frustrations and even some of the doubts I had last season -- there's plenty of annoyance -- but if you just focus on the acting performances and especially tune in for Linden and Holder, then it's impossible not to come away thinking The Killing is absolutely killing it right now. Great stuff. Just ignore the plot for now.

10

Magic City

N/A

People who doubted Magic City before won't be now. That is, if they ever watched much of it in the first place. There's an excellent show here, and it's blooming. We can keep our worries about The Starz Way out of the equation for now. I have high hopes the channel will continue to push for greatness and not fall just short by taking the easy way out. Magic City is proof that people are paying attention to their franchises over at Starz, so that's a relief. For those who haven't watched this, put it on your list of soon-to-be rentals and catch up.

11

The Borgias

N/A

Pretty much everything said about Magic City could be said about The Borgias, except that The Borgias found its greatness faster. This is a show that grows up and gets better a little bit every week. It's also quite fun to watch. The improvement that was noted in the first couple of episodes ran true the rest of the way so far. Bravo.

Out: As  mentioned above many times, a lot of these shows are over. Sigh. Next week will be a shorter list, I'd assume. For those leaving, you will be missed. We can never have enough great television to offset the rest of the dreck.

In peril: Well, the standard line for the last month or so was that every show was in peril because there was an excess of greatness. But I believe with the onset of summer, the wave has temporarily washed over us. If you put up a great episode, you could be here next week. Opportunity has arrived. 

In the mix: Modern Family, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Bob's Burgers, and maybe one or two more who want to be elite. There's a vacuum to be filled.