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A Super-Sized Weekly Power Rankings: Hard Times Come Again No More Edition

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 25, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 25, 2011 |

(Off Weeks: “Castle” and “The Good Wife.” “Top Chef Masters” I just couldn’t fit in.)

27. Glee: See Kayanne’s recap. Also, yeesh.

26. Mad Love: There are so many good half-hour comedies on television now, why do I bother with this one? Oh, yeah: Taylor Labine, Sarah Chalke, and Judy Greer, which makes “Mad Love” the biggest waste of comic talent on television.

25. Amazing Race: Awww, damn. The eliminated team was my second favorite team remaining. All that’s left now are Big Easy and Flight Time. If they’re eliminated next week, I’ll throw in the towel on the season. I only watch this one because the wife turns it on while she’s working.

24. Chuck: Gary Cole makes everything better. But even the added benefit of Gary Cole doesn’t give the now dismal “Chuck” much of a kick. Kill it. Kill it with fire (but save Yvonne Strahovski. She’s pretty. Make her Wonder Woman’s nemesis on that show.).

23. The United States of Tara: “Tara” is a well-written show, but it does’t really go anywhere. It just spins its wheels with different iterations of the multiples. Eddie Izzard has been the only real reason to tune in this season.

22. Survivor: At least until the final five, Boston Rob has this locked up. His hold on his alliance has taken a lot of the drama out of this season, but I like Boston Rob enough that I don’t really care. I’d love to see him pull out an easy victory, not just for his benefit, but to demonstrate to the network how ill-advised it was to pit a four-time All-Star against a bunch of “Survivor” novices.

21. Fringe: I’m glad that “Fringe” finally turned again to the main storyline, even if the last few weeks have made it a little more difficult to care. The religious symbolism is a little heavy handed, and John Noble’s speech in the church felt like it was ripped out of “The West Wing,” minus the brilliant dialogue, but at least the show returned to the business of being “Fringe” this week.

20. Raising Hope: There have been so many excellent comedies in the latter half of the network season that “Raising Hope” has actually fallen a little out of favor. Still a funny show with excellent performances from Garret Dillahunt and Martha Plimpton, but like “My Name is Earl,” it’s too constrained by its premise.

19. Borgais: A huge drop this week, and it may not be the show’s fault so much as it’s unfortunate time slow, right after the superior “Game of Thrones.” Also, the part of this show that should be the most interesting — the part involving Machiavelli — is not nearly as interesting as the relationship dramatics of Lucrezia, who is married to a horrible man than rapes her nightly, and Cesare, who bested the husband of his soon-to-be-mistress and the man who called his mother a whore. Not cool, dude.

18. Treme: Here’s a Dan Carlson tweet that sums up “Treme” fairly well: “Didn’t get a chance to watch Treme yet, so I just put on some jazz and felt smugly superior to everyone else. Same effect.” It’s such an amazingly acted show, and it’s sense of place is truly remarkable. But David Simon is almost obstinate in his refusal to make the show entertaining. It’s not just a smug show, it’s smug in its approach, as if Simon is saying, “I’m using my clout from ‘The Wire’ to ram this history lesson down your throat, not because you want it, but because he thinks you need it.” Matt Zollersetz has a brilliant write up over at Salon , and the general reaction to the show he describes describes my own: “respectful yet unmoved.”

17. 30 Rock: There really was a brilliant 22-minute episode contained within the 44 minute show, but the 100th episode simply dragged in parts, typical of super-sized event episodes.

16. Traffic Light: Over the course of the season, this show has really grown on me, so much so that I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t return next season. And fuck you: I thought “Bonebag” was great and I have a little crush on Aya Cash, who plays Callie.

15. Community: A solid and sweet send up of clip shows, but as of this writing (Monday), I’ve already pretty much forgotten about the episode.

14. Modern Family: A joy to watch, as always, even if it dallies with the same themes week after week.

13. Happy Endings: Two episodes this week, and I really liked them both. Adam Pally’s Max is like no other gay character on network television: A straight gay man who is also terrible at being gay, and did you catch the hilarious meta moment with Elisha Cuthbert’s character? “What if your Dad was the head of a counterterrorism unit who only had 24 hours to save the planet?” (Also wise: That Cuthbert’s is the least used character on the show). Sadly, the ratings don’t bode well for renewal.

12. How I Met Your Mother: “HIMYM,” as always, is an on-again, off-again sitcom. This week was decidedly on, thanks in part to another appearance from John Lithgow and a little personal growth from Barney: “I love my life, but I’m not sure I like loving it.” Woah! How does Barney recover from that?

11. Archer: A little disappointing for a season finale, but I’m really glad I caught on to this show, and look forward to the summer when I can finally watch the first season.

10. The Office: It was super-sweet callback to the Dundies, and as much as Michael Scott has worn on me over the last two years, he’s starting to get that break-up glow right before he departs. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the Dundie for best-looking went to Danny Cordray, an admission that Timothy Olyphant’s character still works for Dunder Mifflin?

9. Breaking In: Go screw. This show is hilarious. And look! Christian Slater is casually dropping lines from his 80’s movies every week. The real gem of this show, though, has been Michael Rosenbaum’s Dutch, the best douchebag on television.

8. The Killing: The political campaign is bogging down the show a little right now — it feels too disconnected from the murder investigation. I was happy to see that this week’s episode didn’t stick to the formula of the last two, focusing on only one suspect — Bennett. Obviously, it’s too early to pin the murder on him, but did anyone else cast immediate suspicion on Bennett’s pregnant wife, who not only had access to that chemical but, presumably, has motive, if Bennett was indeed sleeping with the victim?

7. Chicago Code: Two months ago, before “Game of Thrones,” “The Killing” and the number one show below, had begun to air, this was one of the best dramas on television. It’s still as great as it was, but the competition has picked it up, and “Chicago Code,” for better or worse, is trying to be a little more self-contained for the benefit of its ADD network audiences. Still, another solid episode.

6. Cougar Town: Two masterful episodes this week, lots of penny can, and Busy Phillips’ spectacular Walk of Awesome. Right now, as far as consistency goes, only “Parks and Recreation” tops “Cougar Town” among comedies.

5. Game of Thrones: Not as brilliant as the opening episode,but they’re still setting up the conflicts that will play out over the course of the season. See TK’s recap.

4. Parks and Recreation: For the second week in a row, “P&R” took the title of this week’s best comedy, thanks mostly to Ron Swanson’s plain burgers and Aziz Ansari’s list of nicknames. Chicky catch!

3. Justified: The way they cherry-picked the “previously on” scenes kind of gave away the identity of the man behind the shootings of Raylan. The best part of this week’s show was the feud between Dickie and Boyd, which ended in one hell of a (probable) shocker.

2. Parenthood: Jason Katims, as was his custom on “Friday Night Lights,” ends another season on a bittersweet note. The subplot with Amber was amazingly well done, especially that scene with Zeek. Katims went sweet and low-key with the Crosby subplot. Sarah’s play? I never really cared much for that subplot, but it weaved into the Amber plotline well. But, really: That last scene with Adam was masterful. Just masterful. As far as the networks go, this was the best drama of the season, and I hope it returns next year.

1. Doctor Who: I don’t know if it’s ranked number one because it was an amazing season opener (because it was) or because I’m just so happy to have the Doctor back (because I am). Either way, it’s a good feeling to leave my scratching my noggin at the end of the episode wondering what the hell is going on. Bonus good news: C. Rob’s “Who” recaps are back.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.