June 16, 2011 11:08am PT by Tim Goodman
The Power Rankings! Blood, Death, Animation! All Hail The King?
Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending June 12, where we see the triumphant return of the Magnificent Seven and will suffer no guff about the list being longer -- say, an Elite Eleven -- if we had spent less time by the pool with margaritas. That is just hearsay. And heresy. But this was indeed a big past week in television so we should waste no time getting to it. Especially since this is Thursday and all. I give you the Magnificent Seven. 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 (free ponies and beer to those who like and follow!).
Game of Thrones
If you haven't watched last week's "Baelor," skip right now to the No. 2 show in the rankings. Seriously, stop reading. OK onward: Wow. Just…wow. Since I haven't read the book, I did not see that coming. And no, I didn't think they'd go through with it. My first reaction was, oddly enough -- "fantastic." I love when shows shake it up without fear. Second reaction was, oh, damn. I really liked Ned Stark. And beyond that, Sean Bean has been exceptional this season. He was killed too early in Lord of the Rings and too early in Game of Thrones as well. But hey, according to those who have read the books, his death is essential to the rest of the story. Beyond that, another great episode. The season finale is Sunday and this has been a tremendous run for Game of Thrones, dominating The Power Rankings! during its run. Well done.
An excellent, tense episode that has possibly revealed the killer. It certainly looks that way, but with this show it's foolish to jump to any conclusions. And for those who say they predicted this earlier in the season, let me remind you of the difference between a good guess and a belief in the facts presented. The Killing has done a nice job making everybody look guilty. Early on I also thought it was Richmond. But in subsequent episodes, red herrings and real clues pointed to others. It was hard to make a definitive guess that was anything other than a guess until later episodes. That said, I figured last week it was Richmond. May not be, but I'm sticking with that. So, surprise me, Killing. By the way, this was one of the better episodes all season.
In a season that is strong both conceptually and with character development, Treme continues to impress. I think there's a lot to mother-daughter angst (over death) that is best expressed wordlessly, and you may not see a better scene about family all season across the dial. Even if, at times, viewers can justifiably ask themselves, "Where is this going, again?," Treme manages to take you on a story-line stroll that eventually pays off -- and there's ambiance, music and food to entertain you along the way. In many ways, it's a fresh approach to traditional television storytelling.
Men Of A Certain Age
You would think by now that with so many critics preaching the top-notch quality of this show, it would become the new Friday Night Lights. I'm not sure the numbers are changing much, but I sure do hope TNT keeps this gem going. Every week it delights and surprises, thanks in no small measure to Ray Romano's acting. This week I wrote a THR Emmys column saying it's time for him to get nominated. Yes, he's that good. Still room on the bandwagon!
After semi-mocking it most of the season, I finally had to admit that I actually looked forward to Camelot, silly parts and all. Call it a guilty pleasure if you will, but the story was compelling and there's absolutely nothing wrong with watching Eva Green take off her clothes all season (and, in fairness, she's riveting clothed as well). A couple of key deaths in this season finale and a lot of action, so all told quite entertaining. With Friday Night Lights pre-empted by hockey, it was easy to move Camelot up -- and it actually deserved the promotion.
I doubt that "You're Getting Old" was a series finale, but like a lot of other people believe it would have been a pretty great one. (Though, come on, they could really go out with guns blazing if they wanted). Sentimentality is not something that is overt in South Park, but when it pops up, it's always effective. So yes, this was a great episode. But part of the reason I don't often include South Park here (though it has been in previous seasons) is that I think almost every episode is surprisingly great. At some point, making lists about greatness forces you to put a show or two (or a band or three) into some secret and magical Hall of Fame, where you don't talk about them anymore, you just presume everyone agrees on their brilliance and move on. That's where South Park is for me (and I will admit to missing out on a lot of the middle seasons because I thought, incorrectly, that it had run its course as a pop culture phenom; I was lured back and realized what a terrible mistake I made - though I have all the DVDs so, no, it won't be forgotten). Anyway, I've got South Park in the Hall of Fame, but this episode elicited so much chatter that I had to include it here. Hilarious and sad, "You're Getting Old" is another classic. As wonderful as it was, don't go away just yet, boys.
I love this show. You should too. I've already apologized for missing nearly two seasons worth of inspired weirdness, but I'll do it again if necessary. Adult Swim. Midnight. Set the DVR. No, really, go do it now. It's that good. Angry kids, strange clowns, brilliant cameos - have you recorded it yet? Damn it people, get the lead out! And yes, I do believe it will be here next week.
In Peril: Both Game of Thrones and The Killing end this weekend. Ugh. That's gonna hurt. And it's going to put a serious dent in The Power Rankings!
In the Mix: Friday Night Lights, returns, of course. And I'm already on record as loving Falling Skies, which premieres on the 19th (go back to the DVR, set it again). But don't look for a lot of that "blue sky" programming I talked about last week to get a shot here. I don't think we broaden the list just to make it fatter. Quality dictates length.
Out: Camelot is over. Long live Arthur.