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MAR
16
4 YEARS

The Power Rankings! Return Of The Champ; Reruns Let In Newbies

In a week of more flux and reruns, the FX show rules while “Mad Love” makes it’s debut on the list.

Power Rankings

Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending March 13. If you're guessing that reruns are gumming up the works again, you're right. But look at it this way -- three slots opened up. Of course, you could look at it another way as well - if everybody went to work and did their jobs on these shows, then those three wouldn't stand a chance. Debatable, but I like your thinking. Oh, and our good friend flux is back. So buckle up. 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 last Bastard Machine post on those issues of great import. In the meantime, let's rank those players who weren't afraid to suit up.

 

RANK SHOW PREVIOUS TREND COMMENT
1

Justified

4

Raylan reclaims the No. 1 spot this week and it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. First, number one shows that dip down are usually the victims of a good, not great episode while some other fine series has a great week. Bouncing back, then, is not front page news. Besides, Boyd just broke bad again. Or at the very least, he's stopped looking for redemption and realized who he really is. I have a feeling that Boyd embracing the dark side might lead to some dangerous things, like a nut tazer hootenanny.

2

Lights Out

1

This last run of episodes could create an epic battle in the Power Rankings! and add a lot of uncertainty to the Top 5. Lights Out continues to be as strong as ever creatively and even showed a small spike in the ratings, which is probably too little too late but any blip is good. And as much as it pains me to say it, I'll take 12 or 13 weeks of high-end quality without a second season in place of two or three merely "good" seasons from another show. I don't want FX to blink when it comes to going for it. Anyway, as some viewers have noted, possibly signaling their willingness to accept the end, what happens if Leary gets his big fight in the final episode and we're left with a series about a boxer with pugilistic dementia instead of a boxer making a valiant comeback. And yet, I could definitely see Leary winning the title back and then heading into the next couple of seasons battling against his own brain. A little slow developing tragedy can make for a fine drama.

3

Southland

2

Call it better late than never that I got rebooked on this series. Now all TNT needs to do is renew it, which I think they will. How does the season (please don't be series) ending episode slip a notch? Well, for starters, see above. And then give a good look to the episode at hand. A very good one, yes. But I didn't like the romance angle at all because it brought up all kinds of emotions for the characters that I'm not interested in watching them work out (and I think they play better on the job - just saying). Of course, the rehab storyline is a good, if familiar, one. The emotional wallop coming when a big man must admit defeat. Well played. And now we wait for renewal. The bad news is Southland leaves the Power Rankings! The good news is, because of you, it got our attention back.

4

Archer

N/A

Holy Hollywood spy movies, Batman. Er, Archer. Talk about a popcorn-spewing comeback. From off the boards to No. 4 - with a bullet. I love this series, even though I can't for the life of me do a credible Archer imitation. Damn you, H. Jon Benjamin and your great, oddly paced, voice genius! Anyway, "Movie Star" was a great return to form and having it tear up the rankings lessens the need to explain why it had gone away for a spell (flux, if you must). Oh, Malory, don't ever change. You want what you want. Don't be embarrassed about it. Cheers to Archer for the stunning comeback.

5

Raising Hope

7

Reverse gender polygamy? Brother husbands? "No need to spray cheese on anything." Hey, you know what? "Booyah!" this show rocks. First of all, fantastic idea (and weirdly connected to the return of Sister Wives on TLC). Next - how many layers of ironic snark in "booyah" is there? And lastly, pretty much every jokes works on this show. If you're not watching it, you're insane. Or, it could be that you need to think that insane is funny before watching it. One of those. But you're still missing out.

6

Mr. Sunshine

11

Sweet jump up the rankings. And do you know why? Because the show is finding its groove. You may have had some preconceived notions coming into it, but put them in a drawer and pull out the remote, snobby. Mr. Sunshine is funny. Better yet, it's moving beyond the need for Matthew Perry and Allison Janney to carry it each week (though they did excellent work yet again this week - culminating in Janney on ice skates with a Smurf). The extended cast is getting more great lines and their characters are fleshing out. That's always an excellent sign for a comedy - laughs available in multiple directions. Mr. Sunshine, which is whimsical and hilariously mean and gratifyingly weird, has managed to turn the premise of owning a multi-purpose events center into a very flexible vehicle for comedy (Smurfs and porn…). But right now I'm particularly loving the way the writers are using the mascot (who works full time when he's only supposed to be there for games). It's a great running bit that I hope continues. If you haven't already, start watching this show.

7

Shameless

8

Not a lot of laughs here, of course. And not my favorite episode of the run. But making nuance and chaos work every week is hard to do. A fine drama, holding steady, without any real threat of dropping out of the rankings during its run.

8

Fringe

N/A

See: Shameless. Add magnets. (As for last week, well, blame flux).

9

Traffic Light

5

Bit of a drop here, but nothing to worry about. Like a lot of shows on this list, last week's episode was better. But Traffic Light has already shown enough to merit its place here and one slightly directionless episode with a gigantic product placement in the middle of it will not ruin it for me. But a bigger drop is coming if we get another one like this.

10

Mad Love

N/A

How about a round of applause (or just cue that CBS laugh track) for the Power Rankings! debut of Mad Love. I'm already on record saying this is a worthy comedy ala CBS's other gem, How I Met Your Mother. And I've given up my Gavin & Stacey bias and moved forward. I like the cast. I like a lot of the jokes. Every week it has been consistent and this week, with a bunch of slackers continuing to rest while they give us reruns, Mad Love has taken the advantage it was given. The question is, can it hold steady? Well, given that there are more reruns coming elsewhere, sure. But don't just think Mad Love got a free pass here. I think there's more going on in this sitcom than it gets credit for. Top 5? Probably not. But worth your time to record at the very least.

11

Chicago Code

9

Nobody likes episodes that are out of order. It rankles those who have been there for the show. But networks will be networks and the practice isn't uncommon, no matter how heinous it can be. The thing about this show is that you can't look away when Delroy Lindo is on the screen. When he's not? Well. On the other hand, Jason Clarke can almost do no wrong (go rent the Brotherhood series from Showtime). Everyone else here - maybe an episode like this will help establish their characters. But there are no more numbers on this list, so look out below.

 

In Peril: A lot of shows. Reruns are keeping some series on the list, no doubt about it. And a fresh batch of series -- plus the Mildred Pierce miniseries on HBO -- are just around the corner. Let's tighten up this scripts, people. Polish the jokes, hone the action. Let's go.

In the Mix: The Good Wife, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, other shows not in rerun patterns. Grrrr.

Out: Parenthood is taking an extended break. The Middle and Modern Family were in reruns. Southland has ended its run. Shameless is in the final stretches. So, yeah, things are going to get very competitive very soon.