The Power Rankings! Are Back! What? Where Have They Been? Why So Many Questions and Exclamation Points?

The Walking Dead 315 Merle - H 2013

The Walking Dead 315 Merle - H 2013

Yours is not to wonder -- and by that, I mean poke around about where The Power Rankings! have been. These are not the answers you're looking for. Move along. Let's just celebrate the return of the Elite 11, Drama-Only Version by saying, yeah, we missed some damned good shows of late.

Girls, which was more drama than comedy this season, definitely would have made it. I really enjoyed Banshee on Cinemax. Oh, and Ripper Street on BBC America. But nostalgia is a mug's game. Let's look forward only. Because we're still in the midst of some great shows, and when they leave, others will take their place.

PHOTOS: 'The Walking Dead's' Most Shocking Deaths

So, welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending March 24. We're going all-drama here. Why? Because I said so (also, I'm behind on some comedies).

And to relaunch The Power Rankings!, I'm going to tweak the rules a bit to allow one show on the list even though it didn't air this week. Hey, it's catchup time, people. We do this on the fly.

So tell your god to ready for blood (remember that?). And 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.



The Walking Dead


A funny thing happened while we were gone. Zombies ate the networks! This series just gets better every season -- sometimes every episode. It remains compelling and scary and has some of the best characters on television. If you're gonna take a piece, you'd better come hard. One week left.


The Americans


What a fantastic new series. Great acting, great writing, taut episodes. On the heels of a creatively disappointing season of Homeland, The Americans was the perfect remedy. Who knows where the future will take it, but right now The Americans is hitting on all cylinders, like those in the hilariously retro cars that populate the streets in 1981. Lots of steel on those babies. And lots of potential in this series.




If last week's episode, "Decoy," doesn't get an Emmy for best writing, we're going to beat someone senseless. And that someone will be in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. So many people who say they never rewatch any show rewatched this episode. I'll bet Elmore Leonard rewatched it three times just to smile at the dialogue and how well the Justified writers get his patois. A lot of fun, this series. Also: Patton Oswalt, FTW!


Top of the Lake


This Sundance Channel miniseries from Jane Campion has been outstanding in the first two hours. Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter and the riveting Jacqueline Joe as Tui, the young pregnant girl -- excellent. Some of the best cinematography and location shots you'll see. Sundance is getting serious (and it has Rectify coming in April).




The Last Great Cop Show might not be breaking any ratings records at TNT, but that channel's best show remains as gripping and enjoyable as ever. Yes, also relentlessly depressing. But what do you want -- Chicago Fire? Don't answer that. Southland looks to be in its last season, which would be a real shame.


House of Cards


Hey, remember this show? You either gorged on it via Netflix or didn't watch at all. But this high-profile David Fincher-Kevin Spacey drama would have, in a "normal" (read: old school) TV time frame, just finished its eighth episode. So you can expect the political thriller to hang around a bit on this list. Did you hear me? I was looking right at you when I said it.




It takes a certain kind of person and a certain kind of willingness to endure things if you're going to float Shameless for a full season -- or three. But every time the Franksanity gets a little off, just think of two lovely words: Emmy Rossum. We're in.


Bates Motel


Look at A&E in the game! I like this series a lot, not only for the powerful way it began and the can't-look-away performance of Vera Farmiga but for the potential stories it has to tell in the "contemporary prequel" guise. Let's keep White Pines Bay weird.




I'll say it again: The world could use more Vikings. We've got zombies and superheroes. Why not more marauding sociopaths who like sailing? Nice work, History.




Holy network show, Batman! And yes, I'm fudging the rules a little bit here as Elementary goes through the standard operating procedure of odd network scheduling practices. But I don't care. It's been the best freshman drama of any network and has been thoroughly entertaining since the pilot. Fine work by Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn. Way to represent, CBS.




What the what? Two network shows? Well, sure. Why not? Probably could have been four if I had more of the taste buds of the masses. But I've always liked Grimm from the pilot onward. Why? Because it's a show that knows what it is, what it's supposed to be and how to do that well every week. It entertains. It scares. It makes you laugh. It makes an hour go by nicely. And it's NBC's biggest deal.

Out: Well, nothing yet. We just got back. Settle the hell down with your blood lust. There will be plenty of shows left off next week.

In peril: Well, given that Orphan Black on BBC America, Game of Thrones on HBO and Mad Men on AMC are right around the corner, I'd say no show should get comfy in its slot.

In the mix: There's a possibility that I'll begin mixing the comedies back in. And when that happens, look out. Blood on the floor!