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MAY
27
6 MOS

The Power Rankings! Shocker! Bloody Shocker! Plus: Hugs! And Cheating!

The Americans TV Still - H 2014
FX
"The Americans" completes an impressive season.

What an incredible finishing run for a couple of the best series on television - which resulted in a very difficult, very tense and very tight selection process for this week's Power Rankings! It also allowed for what some might think is a shocker. But hell, you bring your best stuff every week and you leave the weak stuff at home. It's all we ask. This is not a cumulative score here at The Power Rankings! This is week-to-week bloody episodic battling. And anything can happen. For example, because HBO essentially benched three series -- three that always appear on this list -- it really opened the doors for others. That's fun, if not tidy. And more proof that we live -- all together now -- in amazing times. Reminder, as always, that this list is for the week ending May 25. That means anything that aired on Monday is not eligible. Sunday, people. Sunday the 25th. OK, let's do this. On my command, unleash hell! (Wait, as a reminder, these are for the week ending May 25. OK, got it?) 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

The Americans

2

That was a killer finale, in more ways than one. A fantastic, disturbing twist. A revelation (and an order) even more unsettling than the twist. A season that wrapped up some great arcs. Acting that slayed and surprised. And, not surprising at all, exceptional writing. Well done, The Americans. All hail the king!

2

Fargo

5

The beauty of Fargo, or at least a significantly impressive part of its whole -- is how it balances humor and evil. The show is funny consistently and very dark in well-chosen spots. "Buridan's Ass" was an episode that brilliantly and sometimes shockingly combined the two and took one of its most underappreciated elements -- the use of white in its visual palette -- to new heights in a painful white-out scene that remains haunting long after witnessing it. You could say Fargo got a lot more serious in this episode, but all it really did was show how in control it is of polar-opposite tones.

3

Mad Men

1

This is no judgment on the Mad Men midseason finale. It was superb on many levels as I stated in my weekly deconstruction. Yes, I had issues with the song and dance scene at the end but even that didn't detract from my love of the hour. No, the reason Mad Men tumbled a bit -- and yes, it may be a shocker for some that it did -- is because the level of competition right now is insane. And that's wonderful for viewers.

4

Orphan Black

3

Helena on a road trip, FTW. Life is good. Hell, any time we get lots of Helena, I'm good.

5

Louie

6

Shows that air on Monday are particularly confusing when The Power Rankings! doesn't get up that day. So, as a reminder, this ranking is about "Elevator 2" and "Elevator 3" - both of them typically impressive Louie offerings. (And, yes, it does muck up the process a bit when this fine series runs back-to-back episodes, which I'm ranking here as a single entity, rather than two separate half-hours.) Anyway, funny, emotional, touching, weird, introspective = all the hallmarks of Louie, in spades.

6

Moone Boy

8

This is my happy show. I find myself saying (and writing), variations on that each week. Why stop? It's true -- I watch this show and the world seems like it's going to be just fine. That's a real gift.

7

Hannibal

N/A

Happy now? OK, let's discuss in brief: I appreciate Hannibal more than I actually like watching it. This was a crazy and heart-stopping episode and I marveled at how disturbing (as usual) it was while watching it and after it was over as well. The season finale delivered. I like shows that take risks with characters. But let's be clear on one thing: The series does have plot issues and character motivation/response issues that, for me, leave it well short of greatness.

8

Inside Amy Schumer

N/A

And now for something completely different. Welcome back, Amy.

9

Penny Dreadful

7

Don't pull a hamstring pointing out the deficiencies here if you're a fan of Hannibal. I get it. I just like this show in a different way. And I'll stay on board until it loses me.

10

In the Flesh

N/A

Yes, I'm very late to this BBC American zombie drama, but I'm rolling with it. I will play catch up if you do, too. It's fun. It's creative. It's worth a look.

11

Comedy Collection

N/A

If you're scratching your head about that show title, save your hairs. Since Game of Thrones, Veep and Silicon Valley had the week off, it allowed me a chance to let a few newbies in, plus go back and examine some shows I've perhaps overlooked. I decided that I'd use this last ranking slot as a catch-all appreciation of Modern Family, which just finished its two-part wedding finale, plus a few series that I didn't get much of a chance to tout when the Power Rankings! were revived. They are: The Goldbergs, which was one of my favorite freshman comedies (along with Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and it gave me a lot of laughs during its run; Parks and Recreation, a longtime fave and a series that has been in this rankings many times in the past, but which suffered from my criminal negligence this season, so apologies there; and Bob's Burgers, which along with Archer is my favorite of animated comedies and a show that I adore. So, they all finished their seasons at various times, but this is my farewell thank you. And yes, it's cheating. Deal with it.

Out: The Americans, Mad Men, Hannibal and Modern Family all finished their seasons in this week.

In peril: There's always peril. Period. But watch out when the HBO trifecta returns, and Halt and Catch Fire is eligible.

In the mix: Salem, DaVinci's Demons, Turn.