The Power Rankings Are Back! Chaos And Blood Everywhere! All Hail No. 1!

THR's chief TV critic rates his favorites of the week, with six dramas and five comedies in this mix.
Hi stranger, what are you doing? "Mad Men" is back, just like the Power Rankings!

As a matter of fact yes, I am taking The Power Rankings! out of mothballs on a Friday without much interest in explaining where they've been for, oh, um, a really long time. Just go with it. They're back. At least in part, I will say, they are back because there are a lot of great dramas and comedies on simultaneously and I think that provides a good mix. And yes, it's more proof that television is better than when your mom watched it. So the Elite 11 returns -- triumphantly as expected -- with a badass collection of shows to rank in order of how tremendous they were in their last episode.

PHOTOS: 'Mad Men' Season 7 Premiere

I'm toying with the idea of running them on Fridays now, so that's something to remember (though don't bother writing it down because I may change my mind - as you know I will). So, welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending April 18. On my command, unleash hell! 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.



Mad Men


Welcome back, Don. Close the door, your existential crisis is freezing our balls off! Oh, hey Megan - don't get too friendly with that other actress in Benedict Canyon -named Sharon. Roger - WTF? (True, I could do this all day.) This was a tremendous start to Season 7, a visually-stunning, well-written one hour that kicks off the beginning of the end for Mad Men. And is really the driver for bringing back The Power Rankings!


The Americans


The Americans is hitting on all cylinders right now. It's probably got more cylinders than anyone ever thought. This show has stepped confidently into the top tier of all dramas. It continues to make the lives of Russian spies Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings as tense and complicated as possible. Every episode this season so far has been a revelation. This week the FX series keeps at bay several excellent dramas and nudges up agains the No. 1 slot. The Americans is one of the shows I look forward to most each week.




Admit it, you were just like everyone else when you heard there was going to be a Fargo TV series. The words "terrible idea" rattled around your brain. And yet, the pilot proved definitively that this is something truly special. A limited, 10-episode anthology, FX's Fargo captures the dark humor of the film perfectly while expanding on the narrative and giving drama fans something fresh and original. Billy Bob Thornton FTW.


Game of Thrones


When a perennial Power Rankings! No. 1 like HBO's Game of Thrones is in the No. 4 slot, you know times are tough out there. Dramas are nailing it. Television is winning. And this position has nothing to do with the fact that -- you stop reading here if you haven't seen the episode -- whiny and hateful bastard Joffrey was killed off so obviously. He's been the weakest character on the show -- all malevolence all the time. In a show where killing off people is shocking, this was not. This was expected by the fact he's just a poorly written character. And the wedding nonsense played out too long. That said, Game of Thrones is still a magnificent gem and I expect it to compete strongly throughout the season.


Orphan Black


It's always good to find out that a little show that could -- with a great actress -- can keep up the quality in its second season. BBC America's Orphan Black has done just that, continuing where Season 1 left off but doing so in a manner that suggests the creators are even more confident in what they're doing and what they have. I've missed this show so much. And yes, Tatiana Maslany is as brilliant as ever.


Silicon Valley


I would put HBO's latest comedy right up there as one of the best, if not the best, currently on TV. Silicon Valley is an exceptionally well conceived and written wide-appeal series. The characters are spot-on portrayals. Everyone has something to offer. And here's something to think about - on Sunday, you'll get to see the best episode yet.




Here's another show just killing it. Veep has always been funny, but as it too gains confidence and as the characters blossom and expand in front of us, the humor just gets that much more searing and is that much more resonant. I love this season. HBO has one hell of a comedy block here.


Bates Motel


What Bates Motel is doing in its second season is what you hope all shows do - grow, develop, play to strengths, continue to surprise and not coast. Check all of those boxes. And this week we might have seen the best episode yet of the entire series. It's an hour well spent with Norma and Norman. Jump on the bandwagon.


Inside Amy Schumer


Yes, this Comedy Central series is as funny as the internet keeps telling you it is. Time to watch.




We may have entered a time when Portlandia has been so great that we all demand too much of it. Honestly, the consistency and joy it brings puts ever more pressure on the next episode and the next season. But the show always delivers. And like any good comedy, when it hits and hits hard, you forgive it all of the lower points. Still strong after all these years (yeah, it hasn't been that long, but still). Respect.




The whole Archer Vice thing has been interesting but it seems as if the show is returning in the form we know it, even though this last episode was darker than normal. It still provides a handdful of loud, gut-cinching laughs and that's pretty rare even among the best comedies.

Out: Well, nothing yet. We just got back. Give me a week to upset the standings and create our beloved flux.

In peril: I'd normally say all of them, but you know the first seven aren't going anywhere. They may shift -- but it's highly unlikely they'd fall all the way off.  We're living in amazing times.

PHOTOS: 'Game of Thrones': 20 Best Quotes

In the mix: Hannibal, Blacklist (returning Monday), Elementary, The Goldbergs, Legit, Vikings, Da Vinci's Demons. Turn. Also, Moone Boy drops on Hulu on April 24.

Twitter: @BastardMachine