This week’s Power Rankings cover television shows that aired between Sunday, September 26th and Saturday, October 2nd, 2010.
10. “Boardwalk Empire” — The new HBO drama, starring Steve Buscemi, is still finding its way, but after the blood-filled opening episode, the second of the season was something of a letdown. Still beats 90 percent of what’s on television.
9. “Glee” — Do I feel good about putting “Glee” on this list? No. Am I a little embarrassed about watching it? A little. But we asked for more Brittany and Santana, and we got more Brittany and Santana. And Britney Spears. The Artie number was humiliating, but they did work in a “Kids, Incorporated” reference and a Britney Spears Sex Riot.
8. “Dexter” — A decent opening episode, which wrapped up the death of Rita and set the stage for Dexter’s single-parent turmoil.
7. “Modern Family” — A consistently funny sitcom, “Modern Family” actually sells its sentimentality better than most, as was deftly demonstrated in this week’s episode dealing with public displays of affection.
6. “Terriers” — I had my doubts about Donal Logue’s F/X series after the pilot, but he’s made good on his promise that the show would get better. Much better, as it turns out. Hank’s actions continue to have darker and darker consequences, and the interplay between Logue and MIchael Raymond-James is working excellently.
5. “Raising Hope” — This second episode of “Raising Hope,” illustrated the the pilot wasn’t a fluke; this is the best new comedy of the season, not that there’s a lot of competition. Still: Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt are sitcom magic.
4. “Sons of Anarchy” — This Gemma episode was the best of the season, and demonstrated why Katey Sagal is the most underrated actress on television.
3. “Community” — Jeff Winger returned to his old law firm, “Heather Pop-and-Locklear” won the break-dancing contest, and Rob Corddry “quit doing blow,” but he didn’t “stop being rad.”
2. “30 Rock” — Normally, “Community” wins top honors on Thursday nights, but “30 Rock” came on strong this week. Liz wore a Kiss FM cowboy hat, Paul Giammatti guest starred, and Jack made videotapes for his son: “”The secret to a strong healthy head of hair is dove blood.” But my favorite moment of the episode? Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell’s report on Liz Lemon’s love life.
1. “Mad Men” — Another amazing episode in the best season of a brilliant series. Don Draper’s terror at the prospect of having his identity uncovered was palpable, the Lucky Strike news was devastating, and Joan’s abortion was heartbreaking. Don Draper is a machine, but right now, it might be Roger Sterling who is stealing the show.