The Power Rankings! Was The Killing Of 'Lights Out' Justified? Plus, Flux!

Winter is coming, so this week's trickle of blood is about to freeze. But not before 'The Killing' kills again.

Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending April 10. For those keeping track at home, our cries of "On my command, unleash hell!" have been put on hold because pretty much every great sitcom on the air decided to take a spring break. Oh, there's plenty of great shows - and at least two heavy hitters about to do damage in next week's rankings. But as for the touted carnage and blood rolling in the street? Mere flesh wounds. So, to recap: Next week. Blood everywhere. In the meantime, this is the last Power Rankings! for Lights Out and Mildred Pierce, which ended their runs. Now, onto 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.

 

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1

The Killing

1

That's two weeks in a row, people. The Killing has either hooked you or it hasn't, but based on the ratings and the buzz, a lot of savvy viewers have bought in and are loving it. If, it should be noted, you can love a show that completely guts you emotionally. The loss here is visceral and painful and prolonged. And that's a testament to how The Killing is grounded in reality, not some Law & Order TV swiftness. What elevates this series is how death and loss plant their flags while every other element -- who did it, who is hiding what, how are the pieces connected, all take a few tentative steps forward. The Killing is luring us with the promise of something not quite apparent, and we should all be on that ride. Talk to someone else about it being slow.

2

Lights Out

3

And so it ends. A great pilot that struggled to follow up early and then caught fire midway and never looked back has now come and gone (though it is being shopped to other channels, so who knows). Let's just go by what we know: It's over. And now you can see that the fighting aspect had little to do with the emotional impact this story delivered and, more important and sad, could have delivered with more seasons. It may have felt rushed to get to the "War" stage, but how the writers framed the fight made it work. Spoiler alert - no, really, if you haven't watched, look away -- the fact that Lights won was barely the point. He'd damaged goods now. Or more damaged. Not even a 10 percent cut for boxer's health can save him now. As usual, the fight scenes were not my favorite (sweet science realism being a difficult thing to get right), but this finale perfectly closed out the pilot. You do what you love. You do what you have to. And you know fate will never go for your feint. Would love to see how this story plays out from the last shot onward. Lights Out, indeed.

3

Justified

2

Well, well, well. If Maggs Bennett wasn't as scary, ornery and dangerous as advertised from the moment she killed a man with stealth heartlessness, then her take down of anybody in her path in this episode should have sealed it. She seems to know what she's doing, yes? Not a lot of bluff in that body. And when she cried at the end, only to break it off mid-way and turn stone cold again, well, that should have sent a shudder down your spine. Raylan attracts trouble like a magnet attracts paper clips. Maggs is coming. Get out the apple pie. (Oh, and if Margo Martindale doesn't get a best supporting actress Emmy for her role, well, the Emmys will just remain the Emmys now won't they?) But she's damned good.

4

Mildred Pierce

7

Holy naked daughters, Batman, that is some kind of hatred for mommy dearest. That there still seems no traceable logic to Veda's behavior ultimately marred this remake, but at least Parts 4 and 5 moved a lot faster than the others. The melodrama was pushed to the limits, the unrequited love element from Veda to Mildred was ratcheted beyond comprehension, but at least it was all pretty damned entertaining. And Monty. The best of both worlds. If you're going to be a cad, you might as well go all in. And getting both Pierce women wasn't too shabby. Ultimately, this miniseries was one of the most disappointing of all hoped-for shows this season.

5

The Borgias

5

I might have to say this for at least two or three more weeks until it sinks in: Don't let the nitpicky historians give you a headache. The Borgias may not get everything right, but it's pretty entertaining. Another good hour on Sunday. And it clings to life in the Top Five.

6

Camelot

6

Basically, just reread The Borgias comment. Camelot can be a lot of fun if you don't expect the world. Intrigue, sex and sword play. What's not to like? Besides, Eva Green (as Morgan) has more acting chops than a lot of this cast. She's fun to watch plot revenge. And when the writers get tired of writing about her coming revenge, they just have her disrobe over and over again. Duh, winning.

7

Archer

4

Forget the dip. It's just flux. Archer has done nothing to fall out of favor. Besides - Formula 1 cars? Yes, for the win. And in my house, we talk about situational awareness all the time. So keep on what you're doing. It's a banner season. But I'd also be willing to watch a whole season of Archer making fun of shows like Camelot and The Borgias (even though I like them). In fact, close your eyes when you're watching those shows (except in the gratuitous Eva Green disrobing moments) and imagine the voice of H. Jon Benjamin in one of those roles. Funniest thing ever. Sure would beat Your Highness.

8

Bob's Burgers

N/A

Welcome back to the Elite Eleven, you filthy little show. You are wearing down my resolve to make you stop going for the easy joke. Would I rather you be more ambitious than fascinated with the inner workings of a 13-year-old-boy's mind? Yes, I would. Am I laughing despite it all? Yes, I am.

9

Nurse Jackie

8

As long as Jackie continues to be called out, yes. It adds more dimension to the series. It makes it more watchable. So, two weeks into the new season, two appearances in the Top 10. We will watch for signs of telling the same story over and over again with no movement, but until then, it's all good.

10

Parenthood

11

I wonder if Parenthood will the the Friday Night Lights of family series. Almost every time I watch it, I like it. But I'm not compelled to press play when I see it on the DVR. But when I do, I like it. I'm also worried that the constant fight to stay alive and not be canceled will exhaust the audience as it has exhausted me. But if it gets renewed, I'd like that, too. And this episode? Sweet. Like the prom. But not all proms are sweet. They seem to be, for some people, a life experience to hurdle. You just hope - as a teenager and a parent - that nobody trips and hurts themselves in a way they won't ever forget. Oh, wait, that last part may play out next week. Here's to the latest Little Show That Could.

11

The Chicago Code

N/A

It's been a strange season so far with Chicago Code. Lots of expectations - some met, others not. Good shows, average shows, some strange scheduling. But there's something to be said for the series when you miss watching it. Press play on the DVR if you haven't. There's still a lot of hope left here. Good to see it back. But ah, "winter is coming." Next week is going to be very, very hard on some shows.

In Peril: Who isn't? Game of Thrones arrives for next week's Power Rankings! So does Friday Night Lights. And a week after that -- Treme. When all of the missing sitcoms return, Lord, it's going to be brutal. In the Mix: The usual suspects. Out: Lights Out is out. That's no fun. And the Mildred Pierce miniseries has ended its run. Traffic Light took the week off and got bounced into the pile of Missing Sitcoms. And United States of Tara failed to make the cut. And so it begins.

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