The Power Rankings: A New No. 1! Carnage! Newbies!

And it's only going to get more bloody next week with 'Mad Men' coming.
Isabella Vosmikova/Fox
No, this isn't the show that knocked off "Justified." Relax.

Welcome to The Bastard Machine's Power Rankings! for the week ending March 18. Down goes Frazier! Well, well, well. We've got our first new No. 1 since, well, since we started this latest incarnation of The Power Rankings! And there's plenty of upsets elsewhere, plus some newcomers and vigorous battles. Perhaps this is just an ax sharpening week for the carnage that's going to appear in the coming weeks. Tell your god to ready for blood!

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 Walking Dead

2

After rising from 4th to 2nd a week ago, The Walking Dead puts an arrow in Justified's head with a superb season finale. Yes, this series has issues it needs to work on -- like making Lori's character more consistent; like making the gang seem less like super marksmen when shooting zombies, etc. etc. But the series still has a lot of heft. And the finale was epic. A mystery helicopter. Zombie mayhem. The riveting and freaky introduction of the Michonne character. The we're all infected revelation. The Prison in the last shot. Can't wait for Season 3.

2

Justified

1

In fairness to Justified, which has whooped ass on everybody since the return of The Power Rankings!, it was going agains the season finale - not just a normal episode - of The Walking Dead. And equally important -- this episode was setting up the race to Justified's own finale. Sometimes setting things up can seem a little, well, less exciting than, say, rampaging zombies. No doubt Justified will rally back next week. Um, unless Mad Men has something to say about that.

3

Southland

4

A nice jump up from Southland in its penultimate episode. Look, "An asshole with a small carbon footprint is still an asshole." We get that. We like lines like that. And at least now Lydia won't have to hide her pregnancy or get assigned cases with kids in peril. And, oh yeah, what the hell is up with smashing Sammy? A major character shake-up? That would be harsh. That scene was harrowing, by the way. Excellently done. Shocking, powerful. Everything we've come to like about Southland.

4

Luck

3

A little dip here, despite another fine (and surprisingly gruesome) episode that set up the finale. Still, as Justified has seen, set-up episodes can fall prey to rivals who go all in. And Southland went all in. Still, the worse news for Luck is that HBO has canceled the second season because of a third horse death (and no assurances that the problem won't pop back up again). It's unfortunate on a lot of levels, but Luck was really hitting its stride, too. One more, then done.

5

30 Rock

6

The comeback continues for 30 Rock, which not surprisingly completely nailed its St. Patrick's Day episode. It never misses something that easy. From the return of Dennis (just the appearance of Dennis in any episode makes 30 Rock hard to beat) with his pager and Sega references and the always funny "Hey dummy" line, to the ridiculously over-the-top and hysterical send-up of the Irish (the Irish and Irish-Americans, including this one, understand humor and also have thick skins). God that episode was great.

6

Raising Hope

8

Once again, the best comedy you're not watching continues its fantastically funny season. You know what I want? I want to see Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt and Lucas Neff on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Come on, EW, take a risk for once. Celebrate the underdog. This show has its own self-assured world view and the characters in it are as quirky and fun as those on Parks and Recreation (which had the week off). Start watching.

7

Archer

5

"Danger zone."

8

Community

N/A

Welcome back, oh critical darling! It's always nice to have new episodes of Community (and the ratings were good!). And hey, if people tuned in for the first time, they got a great introduction to the characters and a mostly sane episode. Well done, Greendale.

9

Life's Too Short

7

"Now, if I were to join your cult" -- you had me right there. But the humiliations of Warwick Davis and his (fictional) self-centered world know no bounds and still create tons of laughs. "She's a dwarf!" Nothing like being outraged with irony.

10

Frozen Planet

N/A

Complete, riveting brilliance. Once again. BBC/Discovery have turned out another fantastic nature series. The camera work here (not to mention the dedication) is off the charts. Essential viewing for the whole family.

11

New Girl

N/A

Who would have thought, given my endless adorkable-related fascination with Zooey Deschanel (and her voice) that it would take this long for New Girl to break into The Power Rankings!? Well, look at it this way -- some shows take a bit to fully establish themselves. Right now, New Girl is hitting its stride as a comedy. If you wrote it off, come back. Lots of laughs as well as charm here.

Out: Bob's Burgers, House of Lies. Ouch. But really, it's no fault of theirs. Both shows are strong and funny and unique. This is just a hard list to crack and also to hang onto. By the way, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation had the week off.

In peril: Well, The Walking Dead is over. That will free up some space. The bad news is that Mad Men returns on Sunday and it's going to do some damage. The week after that we get Game of Thrones, The Killing and a sneak preview of Magic City on Starz. Translation: Blood on the ground.

In the mix: House of Lies, Bob's Burgers, Shameless, Suburgatory.

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