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FEB
23
3 YEARS

The Power Rankings! Are Here. Those Killed, Well, It Was 'Justified'

The Elite 11 arrive and there's no "Glee" in cutsville. Maybe next week.

Welcome to The Power Rankings!, 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, there's blood on the ground and bitterness and disagreement in the air as I give you the first Elite Eleven of The Hollywood Reporter Era. A lot of good shows got left out, but these are the ones that are in. At least for this week:

 

 

RANK SHOW PREVIOUS TREND COMMENT
1

Justified

N/A

Don't mess with Raylan. Don't touch the hat. Don't sass back. And when he says he's going to shoot you, believe it. Timothy Olyphant continues to be great in the lead role here and the fact that Justified is more intriguing than its impressive freshman season is cause for joy. Margo Martindale was a superb casting choice, Walton Goggins is a gem and just think of all the Boyd Crowderisms we've got left this season. At least for a while, the main competition for Justified will come from comedies.

2

30 Rock

N/A

The Kabletown idea has continued to reap gold but what works best for 30 Rock is as true now as when it started -- Tina Fey's fearlessness when hunting a laugh and Alec Baldwin's impeccable timing and delivery. Liz's desperation and Jack's exasperation are wonderful to behold week to week. However, it's pretty clear that a lot of really funny comedies are in the Elite Eleven and we could have major flux week to week.

3

Raising Hope

N/A

Rolling along in its stunningly funny freshman season, Raising Hope continues to really nail the combination of clueless ferocity and unexpected sweetness. The casting on this show is excellent, with Garret Dillahunt's mastery of dopey, irritable and sensitive being one of the comic surprises of the season. Under appreciated as well.

4

Community

N/A

Oh for Christ's sake, I've already apologized for leaving this series off my Best of 2010 list, so give me some room, already. I'm not sure having Pierce torture everyone is the greatest arc the show has ever done, but it's also true I'm liking Chevy Chase a lot more this year. He's settled into the character quite nicely. Besides, Community has a string of exceptional episodes prior to the Pierce-centric bits and this is just showing off a bit on the ability to make pretty much anything funny.

5

Shameless

N/A

Here's a show that still seems to split the audience one way or the other, but you have to respect a lot of the solid work being done by the disparate cast. Putting aside all comparisons to the Brit original -- because, honestly, that's already tired -- through trial and error this show is really coming together as something solid and dangerous (at least as far as the impact on the rankings go). Still a bit bumpy, tone-wise, but Emmy Rossum continues to be outstanding. That's Emmy-worthy work, people.

6

Lights Out

N/A

The odds of this series being renewed are off the board in all respectable gambling establishments, but that doesn't concern us as far as the rankings go (but it's galling to think this didn't catch on). Don't be surprised if Holt McCallany gets an Emmy nod (though you should also not be surprised if the Emmy folks botch this). He remains a tour-de-force from pilot onward and can take some solace at the end of the run in that Lights Out should create plenty of film work going forward, even as the show becomes Terriers 2. Like that series, Lights Out may become a wonderful 13 part miniseries, but until then, each episode counts. And this show is still connecting with its punches.

7

Archer

N/A

The one show we can honestly and with great pride say is ridonkulous. Come on. Season 1 was like an insanely funny and twisted promo for what we're getting now. The voice cast, led by H. Jon Benjamin, is first rate, the writing both filthy and funny and sublimely juvenile. More, please.

8

Modern Family

N/A

Once it was clear that there wouldn't be sophomore slump to last year's best and most surprising comedy, the trick was spreading out the story lines and fleshing out some of the characters (the kids mainly) a little better. Done. And, like 30 Rock, there's a distinctive rhythm to the jokes that, as opposed to becoming weary, gives a real brightness to the punch lines. You want these people to be funny and when they deliver, you're happy. Because they're well-written characters.

9

Episodes

N/A

The Power Rankings! almost started too late to give some love to this Showtime series and nice leap of faith from Matt LeBlanc. But here's hoping it gets renewed because there's a lot of truth in there. You know it. You see people who fit the mold. Hell, you might even see yourself. Admit it, or I'll throw a bottle of "Joey" at your head. In any case, Episodes was both funny and surprising and will be our first guaranteed open spot for next week.

10

Parenthood

N/A

Here's proof that you shouldn't give up on a show with potential, even if it squanders it at times. This is a surprisingly good season of Parenthood in that it's starting to hit on all cylinders and is taking advantage of reduced competition from other dramas. The hard part now is to get more people to watch it, with its enormous ensemble cast and myriad stories. And yet, people should make the leap of faith. Because those people who stuck with this show (and it should be noted that NBC did as well) have already been rewarded.

11

Parks and Recreation

N/A

Look, don't bitch at me like I'm Jerry. I love this show. Just because it comes in at No. 11 doesn't mean it will get stuck there (or worse, drop off). Listen, this is the Elite 11. There's no weak stuff here. We don't pass out hugs and attaboys for showing up. This is about quality. And wait until you see which shows didn't make it. Which is to say, there's no shame in No. 11. You could always freak out and start a media blitz (or vice-versa) to improve its standing.

In Peril: Don't think a show can't drop from 5 to 12. Just saying. But most of the episodes this week, and certainly all of the ranked shows, were strong. And it really depends on how they do next week -- and how those below do, creatively, as well.

In the Mix: Hey, it's the first week, so line up the contenders: Chicago Code, Glee, Fringe, The Good Wife, Traffic Light (yes, Traffic Light), The Middle, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Mad Love, Mr. Sunshine and The Office. Those were all quite seriously considered and will be again next week. If you've got others, let it be known in the comment section.

Out: Well, Episodes is over, so that will slide off.