8:11pm PT by Tim Goodman
The Power Rankings! And Then There Were Six
Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending May 29, aka Implosion Week. So many shows have ended their seasons, and others have yet to begin (that will be remedied next week) that we could only muster six shows. Now, before you start shouting Nurse Jackie, United States of Tara and stuff like that, remember this: no. We've given up on Jackie and Tara. For good reasons. We're not going to go back on those reasons now just to flesh out the rankings. Forget it. No padding. We took a look at the field and came away with this special-edition grouping. The Special Six. Yeah, we know. Alright, onward. 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 this Bastard Machine post on those issues of great import. Also: The Bastard Machine is on Facebook. And Twitter.
Game of Thrones
"I told you not to trust me." Well, sure, but who knew it would be so inconvenient? Then again, you win or you die in the Game of Thrones. While it's doubtful that Ned Stark is dead, the twist that Petyr (maybe his nickname "Littlefinger" is a better way to address him) plotted could turn things bloody. Can't wait. Good night to King Robert (and I'll really miss Mark Addy's wonderful performance). Good morning King Joffrey? Ugh. In any case, Game of Thrones continues to be as rich and rewarding as anyone could have hoped for (note: this from someone who hasn't read the books), and each passing hour toward season's end feels depressing. This is a series to be devoured, and suddenly it seems like the season is regrettably short.
Most Treme fans would probably agree that Season 2 is already better than Season 1 (though you must always give first seasons extra credit for being the original, the template, the compilation of episodes that hooked you). There's quiet ambition in this series, and it jumps deftly from visceral musicality and storytelling to anguish and outrage.
If, as Holder has said, everybody's hatin' on the po-po, they're definitely hating on aspects of this series. Vocal minority or majority? Well, people are still watching. I think that's the nature of the hook -- to find out the mystery at hand. Will we find out in a fashion that's both compelling (I still think the show is almost always compelling) or will it be some deus ex machina moment that turns all those red herrings green with envy and fans blue from rage? Reserving overall judgment until then and still excited to watch each episode.
Friday Night Lights
You're sensing a trend here? Yes, all four of these shows were, in order, the first four shows from last week. That happens a lot in The Power Rankings! and it's a sign of stability (yes, you could say laziness on my part). But if a show is going to move up, it has to supplant the one above it with a superior episode. Beyond that, it just means the best shows are getting it done, creatively. It's nice to see FNL come alive, and I'm eager to see whether it ends its run as triumphantly as others have stated (having watched it on DirecTV, which I did not). Not all of the episodes have floored me, and I'm worried that nostalgia/grandfathered quality might play a part. Just a back-of-the-brain nagging worry. In any case, FNL still easily merits Top Five consideration.
The season finale had all the elements we've come to expect from Modern Family. Lots of great jokes, a handful of ones you wish they wouldn't have used (including the go-to joke about the stair, which has really run its course) and a nice patina of sweetness. The show forced more situations than usual this season and lacked the overall pop of its freshman go-round, but it remained consistently funny all season. And now Mitchell and Cam might adopt a boy? Hmmm. Count me in.
Here's the thing with Glee -- it's a roller coaster of quality, and this season it's been down more than up, mostly because it's been relying on the old tropes, too many guests and a feeling of been-there, seen-that. But the series can sometimes cash in on its audacious pursuit of multiple genres, and the finale, "New York," did just that.
In Peril: We only had 6 this week. What additional peril do you desire?
In the Mix: Well, Camelot will return, Childrens Hospital starts Season 3, and the wonderful Men of a Certain Age is destined to make the list, so we've got shows eager to step up.
Out: Modern Family and Glee wrapped their season and thus drop off. So are there seven series ready to round out the Elite Eleven? Doubtful.