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The Power Rankings! A New King On The Throne. Plus, No More Hugging, Just Blood.

Two shows quit, three bow out, another skips a turn. See, nobody wants to fight the heavyweights.

Power Rankings

Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending April 17. And yes, winter has arrived. The much-anticipated Game of Thrones is here, many of television's best sitcoms are back after a short hiatus and all that blood we've been mentioning for weeks? It's on the ground. It's rolling down the sidewalks. Plenty of very good shows did not make the list this week and, barring better performances, might find it hard to return. Of course, every show has an episode that tanks, right? Right? And next week, welcome to the Thunderdome, Treme. See, it just gets more dangerous as we go on. So, somebody call a cleaner. We're gonna need to mop this mess up. Now, on to 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

Game of Thrones

N/A

Hello, winter. We heard you were coming. And you did not disappoint. Dense, ambitious and visually stunning, Game of Thrones takes viewers to another world. And, with one swing of the sword, the two-week run of The Killing gets, well, killed. Just doling out the sentence, that's all. And to everyone else on this list -- don't bring the weak stuff. Because it is on.

2

The Killing

2

Just a short tumble and nothing at all related to quality. The Killing still manages to be intense and riveting while taking its sweet time. The attraction, in fact, rests within the pacing. If it's too slow for you, then off with your head. (See, Thrones has an influence…) Also, while you're at it, can I borrow your Halloween outfit? I'm going down to the basement. (Shudder.) By the way, it's probably way too early to believe you've found a suspect, but I have two in mind.

3

Justified

3

Let's use Justified right here and right now as a testament to the power in these Power Rankings! Here is a series that has consistently been either No. 1 or No. 2 in its run. It churns out yet another high-quality episode and ends up as No. 3. Again. How does that happen? Great television. There's suddenly a lot of it. I have no doubt that Raylan will continue to bring it. I'm not worried about Justified. I'm worried about everybody in the lower half of the Elite Eleven. Up here? It's all great.

4

The Borgias

5

Here's a series performing better than I thought it would. And this week it puts some separation between it and another historical epic (and yet remains a very difficult journey, creatively, away from the No. 1 slot that Game of Thrones holds). Maybe if it just had a secret passageway to the top. In any case, The Borgias has yet to give off that whiff of guilty pleasure that now permeates each airing of Camelot. Instead, it's making a case to be taken noticeably more seriously.

5

Friday Night Lights

N/A

Please welcome to the fold one of the fan (and critic) favorites from the last five seasons. No surprise then, it kicks off in the Top 5. That said, the premiere wasn't the strongest episode of this acclaimed series and so it can't yet make a serious run at the top three slots. In due time, I'd imagine. In due time. If we've learned anything about life in Dillon, it's that there's always time to be patient. And turn that radio off!

6

Parks and Recreation

N/A

This episode had me at Ron Swanson pulling his own tooth out and the hilarity that ensued. You know that if you laugh out loud before the credits, life is good. But Andy and April getting married? Without thinking much -- or at all -- about it? Fine. And let's not forget Jerry. And Jerry's shirt. "Jerry, I'm glad you came. That shirt his hilarious." And what about Ann out in the dating world? "Are you Nell? From the movie Nell?" Awesome sauce. This was an episode that had a lot of heart but didn't give you any toothaches.

7

Archer

7

I want Adam Reed, who writes the hell out of every Archer episode, to not just get nominated for a writing Emmy, but to win it. And when he accepts, I want him to lip sync to H. Jon Benjamin as Archer going on a huge rant about the Emmys, with the word "ass" used no less than 23 times. Make it so.

8

Camelot

6

Sometimes after you've watched The Killing and Game of Thrones, you just need to sit back and be entertained with not a lot of heavy mental lifting or emotional devastation. Sue me, I'm liking Camelot, but it did slip down a couple of spots, mainly because it wasn't the greatest (or funniest) week for all the sitcoms I love.

9

30 Rock

N/A

If it wasn't for torture/horror/porn turned into PSAs and travel plugs, 30 Rock might not have landed so high. Yes, high. It's been much funnier in the past and I'm confident it will return there soon. For the record, I didn't laugh much at Modern Family this week, either. And I can remember both of them at one time battling for supremacy. All told, 30 Rock is having a funnier year.

10

Community

N/A

Welcome back? Dunno. Maybe I'm feeling a little cranky about how average some of our best sitcoms were this week. Outside of Archer and Parks and Recreation, which had big laughs, there wasn't much to get excited about. The Middle was good, not great. Modern Family was too broad. Bob's Burgers and Raising Hope, unfortunately, were taking the week off. So, yes, Community had enough merit to land here. But hell, Nurse Jackie, Parenthood and Chicago Code have all been left off this week. Maybe I should have been harder on the funny ones. Maybe I'm just being a dupe for this whole sitcom resurgence. Let's nail it next week, people.

11

The Office

N/A

It's a strange sensation watching this last handful of episodes featuring Steve Carell. The Office has stepped up its game as it's going out -- or rather Carell is going out -- but the resurgence only reminds you that it was better in the past. And that there seems to be no real point in continuing. Will Ferrell as a Michael-like replacement boss in sheep's clothing may or may not continue to bear fruit. Guest stars will populate the remaining episodes. But there's that looming question: Another season or more? Really?

In Peril: Winter is here, but Treme is coming right behind it to wipe out some of these shows, so someone else has to go. With Lights Out over and Mildred Pierce done, this was still a very competitive week that may have, as I said above, been too kind on the comedies.

In the Mix: Since Nurse Jackie, Parenthood and Chicago Code all fell off, they'd have to be considered front-runners to return. So too are Bob's Burgers, Raising Hope, Lights Out, United States of Tara and The Good Wife.

Out: Lights Out and Mildred Pierce ended their runs. There's only one more Parenthood and other shows are counting down as well. But we've got enough bloody noses and egos to go around, so no need trying to stir up more competition or make vague threats.