March 28, 2012 11:28am PT by Tim Goodman
The Power Rankings! A New King! Departures, Beheadings, Flux and Fear!
Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending March 25.
Oh Lord, it's on. What we've been preaching for weeks is upon us: Power Rankings Armageddon. Hell yes we have to keep it as the Elite Eleven. How could we not? Last week Justified dropped out of the No. 1 slot for the first time all season -- by the season finale of The Walking Dead -- only to get up and have to face the two-hour premiere of Mad Men. Hell, it doesn't get any easier going forward. To riff on a great line in an upcoming episode of Game of Thrones: The Power Rankings! are dark and full of terrors. Let's do this!
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.
What, you thought one of television's greatest series would pop up at, say, No. 5 after a 17-month hiatus? Well, it was certainly feasible. But it didn't happen because Mad Men came back strong. Times are changing. The series is working on a new vibe. And yes, "Zou Bisou Bisou" is an ear worm. And Megan's performance of it was eye-popping. Welcome back, you mad men and women.
Look, it's been a tough two-week draw for this great series. You've got a doozy of a season finale from The Walking Dead last week and the two-hour premiere of Mad Men this week. Tough calls, but had to be done. It's not as if I don't utterly love Quarles going insane and snorting oxy before he's about to go all medieval on some poor bastard in his bathroom. It's just that being No. 1 and holding onto it is never easy business. There are no rubber stamps. This is war.
What is with every show trying to leave? I promised blood on the ground and I want it! Well, fine, the Southland season finale gave me all I wanted. Namely, cops in crisis. What kind of cop are you going to be? Do you hide the orange-tipped dart? Do you shoot a pimp to death? Or do you take that dart, swallow hard because there's a code, and put it on your keychain as a reminder of what some people will do? Great stuff as usual, in one especially troubling episode.
Oh, I see, everybody's going to bail? Well, there's a lot of sadness here. Not only was this Luck's season finale, it was also the series finale as most of you know. We didn't get enough resolution in the Ace vs. Mike story, but everything else simmered down to an acceptable end. I still think Gettin' Up Morning has the better legs and the better future (though I do love Irish horses - good closers). Anyway, sad to see Luck run out.
Damn. Archer is ending, too. But only for the season. And what a season -- fittingly it concludes in the Top 5. Brilliant show, big laughs, unexpectedly hilarious riffs, etc. We'll miss this until it returns. Or we'll watch it again in reruns.
Do not read anything into this small drop. Because only good things -- like huge laughs, tears of joy, world peace, etc. -- can come from a double-episode of 30 Rock. Also, I'm writing this while wearing one of Kenneth's suits.
Even with a wine cooler, nailing your great-grandmother is a deal-breaker! (Shows are dipping not because they had weaker episodes but because there's so much goodness above…and not to put too fine a point on it, but Raising Hope is hilarious. You need to watch.)
I am of the belief that you are what you are. And by that I mean that if new viewers came to Community two weeks ago and then freaked out this past week because its goofiness spilled out, forget about them. Community will always be Community. It will do things that "normal" people may find weird rather than funny. But if Community starts trying to play the straight and narrow sitcom game, it would be untrue to itself.
Life's Too Short
Has Life's Too Short proven, over the course of this season, that all the whiny and belittling reviews were mostly just people annoyed with Ricky Gervais and not a reflection of the show's actual merit? Yes, it has.
Look who's one step clear of falling off! Isn't she…no, won't say it. But still, for all of you doubters who tuned out early, come back. The show has really found itself and there's reason to find a slot for it on your weekly viewing list. Besides, it's not going anywhere. At least not this season.
This show is proof that if you fall off, you can come back. Even in a tough week of great shows duking it out, this little gem returns. Awwwww. Now, everybody in the pool!
Out: A clarification: I decided to put Frozen Planet into the Instant Hall of Fame. It just is. Plus it frees up space for scripted fare. But the series is must-watch. And now Southland, Luck and Archer all leave. By the way, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation had the week off.
In peril: Everyone is in peril, haven't you heard? War is coming. Mad Men is already here, and we'll get Game of Thrones, The Killing and Magic City next time. That's…dangerous.
In the mix: House of Lies, Shameless, Suburgatory.