I’m not the biggest fan of the old adage “save the best for last,” but it’s clear it’s a popular one in the TV realm. Prior to their summer hiatus, shows always trot their best goods like a recent divorcee headed for her first single night. Obviously, this idea makes sense. You want the fans talking and excited about the following season. Some shows have done a very successful job of that over the years. That trend is continuing this year with shows like
Awake, Fringe, The Mentalist, Parks and Recreation and others.
However, the strong end of the season also leads me to believe that 22 episodes of a network show is too much. It’s hard enough for some of my favorite cable shows to put together 13 great episodes, so how could we expect someone to throw together 22 hours of genius? It’s absolutely amazing what some of these writers are able to do on a weekly basis. For the love of Tyrion, everyone’s slurping Joss Whedon for managing to put together a competent 2 ½ film with a ton of lead time. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be impressed by his work, but the work that some of these TV writers are doing these days is astonishing.
Alright, time to climb off of my soapbox and get to this week’s edition of the Power Rankings.
1. Parks and Recreation (Last Week: 5)
The little show that could strikes again. What a fantastic end to a fantastic season. It’s amazingly rare to watch a show like Parks and Recreation. It has mastered the ability to function as a comedy with the perfect mixture of dramatic tone and plot. I feel like Dirk Diggler talking to Jack Horner, “It’s a real show, Jack.” (It saddens me how many deaf ears that just fell on.)
I won’t recap the show, plenty of people have done a nice job of that. Instead, I’ll let Ron Swanson play them out for this season.
No comedy has been better. I’ll forever remain baffled that more people watch Whitney than this show. Thankfully, I’ll be seeing it next year.
2. Game of Thrones (Last Week: 2)
I feel as if our good friends of the Game of Thrones writing staff are running out of ways to remind us that Joffrey is evil. This week, the J-Dog decided to call for the death of an entire rabble of peasants who had the temerity to express their displeasure with him. I guess teenagers shouldn’t rule a country after all. Still, great joy will come to my face and the faces of millions who watch this show when young Joffrey finally gets his comeuppance. Hell, it may be the reason some people are still sticking around after Westeros went all magic-y.
Another thought, I know I’m supposed to be rooting for Robb Stark, Dany, and some others, but I can’t help but like the Lannisters. I like every single one of them. Cersei’s power-wielding brand of villainy is quite enjoyable, Jaime’s turn as a quippy, arrogant prisoner of war has been amusing, Tywin is all kinds of awesome, and Tyrion just continues to do Tyrion things. For crying out loud, Tyrion’s female-dog-slap of his nephew was more satisfying than seeing Joffrey covered in manure. Long live the Lannisters… I guess.
|By far the Czar's favorite Lannister.|
3. Awake (Last Week: 10)
After a two-week slowdown, Awake let loose with an episode that nearly matched the television brilliance of its premiere. We finally had a break in formula that provided some more fascinating insight into the nature of Britten’s issues. Getting stuck in the red world finally made Britten confront the idea that one of his loved ones is dead. Jason Issacs was absolutely tremendous throughout his time in the red world and the grieving process. Everyone’s work in this episode should be commended.
I know a lot of people probably checked out with the cancellation news, but hopefully they’ll find their way back before the finale. Instead of crying over the loss of our beloved show, we should take the time to enjoy what little there is left. I’ll be sad to see it go, but I’ll forever be glad I watched it.
4. Mad Men (Last Week: 1)
I know I’m probably overlooking several people, but I’m kind of fan of wild, exaggeratory statements so here it goes: Has anyone ever stepped into a TV show and completely dominated the proceedings like Megan Draper? If your answer is no, then give yourself a gold star. What Jessica Pare has done as Mrs. Draper has been impressive. All the men want to sleep with her, all the women are jealous of her, and all she wants is to follow her dream. Unfortunately for Don, that dream is not playing naughty secretary in his office after lunch hour. Sadly for Don, his tether to youth has broken from him, and he’s left to sit in his chairs and try to comprehend the dopey mumblings of a British rock group.
(For the record, I don’t like The Beatles either. You heard me.)
Fresh off the “drugs are good” message from a few weeks ago, we got another important Mad Men life tip: Make sure your wife works. Time and again, we have seen these 1960s housewives get bored with their lives in suburbia. When that happens, there is only one logical step: Start sleeping with everyone in sight. Poor Pete just happened to get caught up in the typhoon of the bored housewife. Clearly, the unseen portion of that episode was Trudy jumping the bones of the meter maid outside of the grocery store.
Guys, you’ve been warned. Send your wives to work and thank me later.
5. Veep (Last Week: NR)
It’s absolutely startling to watch this show after watching Girls. Girls stumbles along with fits and starts while trying to be as awkward and ugly as possible. (Somehow, I mean all of those things as compliments.) On the other hand, Veep is sharp, fast, and always shooting for the big joke. There is no time for sweetness. Even Selina’s daughter’s visit was used for comedic device instead of humanizing our star. Furthermore, I’m impressed by the syntax of their cursing. As something of a cursing connoisseur, I appreciate good swearing. If you are also a fan of creative swearing, then you will probably enjoy this show as much as I do. Though the cursing is great, it’s certainly not the only reason to tune in. This show is hilarious and should be watched by many people.
6. House (Last Week: 7)
|Good job finishing strong, House.|
The steady climb continues as we push onward toward the end. This past week, we got to watch Robert Chase finally leave Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. It’s clearly time for him to move forward. My favorite aspect of Chase has been the constant evolution of his character. Just in case this is the last time we see him (though I doubt it), I want to send off Chase with my blessing. Go with Draper, my son.
7. 30 Rock (Last Week: 8)
I’m really starting to enjoy the capabilities of Tracy Jordan’s iphone. It makes me want my own version of that phone just so I can ask Siri to do ridiculous things. No, I probably won’t try to make her revive Jessica Tandy (as Tracy did), but I could see a world in which I use Siri to help me rob a bank.
8. Fringe (Last Week: 9)
Here’s the problem with Fringe doing the future episode from a month ago: We now know exactly who September is referring to when he says that “they are coming.” Now, the real question becomes are they going to resolve the future episode during next season? How can they possibly cover all that ground in 13 episodes? I can already see a final season that feels rushed and somehow still ends up with Olivia’s dad giving her a speech in a non-denominational church where all of her friends are waiting for her. Don’t screw this one up, Abrams!
9. Modern Family (Last Week: NR)
I really like episodes like this one. It reminded a lot of their earlier work. It was all about fun, nobody behaved like caricatures of themselves, and Jay gets to have the last laugh. Following last week’s emasculating admittance that he wasn’t a stud football player, Jay bounced back by explaining that the universe rewarded him for putting up that long with his first wife. She definitely seems like a pill, but I would think that Sophia Vergara is worth a bit more than some petty arguments, regardless of footwear.
10. Girls (Last Week: 4)
Watching this show can be gross, hilarious, awkward, uncomfortable, and sexy. Potentially all within the same episode. Come with me and join backlash to the backlash to the backlash about the backlash.
Dropped from the Rankings
After such a strong close, New Girl decided to cram a month’s worth of plot into 22 minutes. Needless to say, it didn’t always come out just right, but it’s obvious that this crew is here to stay. It turned out to be a well done first season. We can build on this one.
The Good Wife
On Summer Break
Others Receiving Votes
That will do it for this week’s edition of the Power Rankings. I will hope you come back throughout the week, and remember: If you’re a king, it’s probably not wise to shout “Kill them all!” while in the middle of a peasant filled street. It’s probably for the best.
The TV Czar