Welcome to The Power Rankings! for the week ending April 29. So, what have we learned so far? If you answered, "We are in a time of great shows that do no take kindly to other great shows trying to out rank them, so there's blood," then yes, you guessed correctly. And if you wondered out loud who could possibly upset this Elite Eleven, then I'll tell you straight up that it's no one. We have the same Elite Eleven this week that we had last week, but they're in a new order. Because flux is what The Power Rankings! are all about. What I'm most impressed with is that all the episodes this week were strong - like the writers flexed their muscles in the face of the competition. Bravo - TV is pretty outstanding right about now. OK, let's do this. 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.
Now that's how you hold off the banshees. After a rousing return to No. 1 last week, Mad Men holds the position with a sublime episode about the inherently complicated communications between men and women, women and women, plus grown up children and their parents. This is a series that moves best on the whispered subtlety of the characters -- which means it moved very crisply indeed this week.
Game of Thrones
Here's what's absolutely the most inspiring thing about doing The Power Rankings! How do you delicately balance two great series doing fabulous work and pick one over the other? Because what we're talking about with Mad Men is one of the preeminent series of our time really nailing it in Season 5 -- a feat unto itself. And then we have Game of Thrones, just barely into its second season, giving amazing depth and power for viewers to devour. Very tough choice. But as the hacks say, it's all good.
It's now officially tiring to talk about people who don't get or have issues with Girls. This is a free country. You can be as closed-minded as you please. For the rest of us, let's continue to bask in what is a rare, naked gem.
Not to hammer this too deep into the wood, but I'm so happy that Veep was never a network show. It's a perfect fit for HBO because Veep is an adult series, where people swear. I really, completely honestly, don't get people who are offended by swearing. They're just words. You only give them power if you cringe. And often they are funny. Don't act like a shut in. Beyond the swearing, there's consistent humor here. And I get the feeling that Veep, which was just renewed (along with Girls) will only get better as each episode rolls out.
The live episode was classic. Those kinds of things can seem gimmicky or forced but the silly self-awareness of the stunt helped fuel virtually everything they tried. This series is going to be Hall of Fame, first ballot. So just soak up these kinds of episodes. They'll be talked about forever.
Big jump here and well deserved. This is where we talk about how Community can spoof anything, do anything it wants with aplomb and then come back the next week with something more normal or tradition. This is one hell of a creatively flexible series. And for that, we ask if maybe the writers could write Law & Order -- every spin-off included -- each week until NBC gives up the ghost? Please?
Parks and Recreation
"Leslie Knope is literally overflowing with ideas for this town."
Yeah, still watching. What of it?
How much fun is this series to watch? And now, Lucrezia's coming of age and her willful grabbing of power is a bonus element. This is a woman who can full-on govern (as well as do what she wants while she has the power). More of her. And more of this.
Don't Trust the B-- In Apartment 23
Nice rally! Kiernan Shipka. Actress of her generation. That is all.
Big drop for sure and that's a little disconcerting for a series that needs to establish its footing. Probably the weakest episode yet, but I'm not going to worry that to death right now. I'm going to…(well, you had to see it - and hear it).
Out: Nobody. Just a lot of flux.
In peril: Everyone. It's our new slogan.
In the mix: Really, it's a matter of who wants to step up. This isn't the kind of deal where you might creep into the lower third on a decent episode. You're either great or you go home. So, who's going to be great enough to unseat one of these Elite Eleven?