Ranking the ten best television episodes from October 16th to October 23rd.
10. Community: I have to agree with a lot of the sentiment about this week’s episode: It wasn’t one of the best. Still, a weak episode of “Community” is better than a great episode of the other 97 percent of network offerings.
9. The C Word: I have to confess, I don’t really like this show very much. I liked the pilot, but since the opening episode, it’s been kind of aimless and weirdly smug. I love Laura Linney, but her character — no matter how many times she lives for the day — continues to be selfish and stuck up (and the son on this show is intolerable). However, I love Oliver Platt in this (and recent episodes have picked up with Idris Elba), and this week, Platt finally showed some spine and, in doing so, took away Linney’s temporary get-out-of-jail free card. It was a nice Hell Yeah moment.
8. The League: Most weeks, “The League” is a show I kind of aimlessly watch. It’s decent, though it really wants to be the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” of fantasy football (that said, I adore Katie Aselton). This week had probably the best episode since the first three of the first season, and it involved one of the guys compiling a wedding video to almost destroy Nick Kroll’s marriage in an effort to fuck up his fantasy game. That’s good stuff.
7. Sons of Anarchy: This season has been frustrating; the show is spinning its legs, putting off the visit to Ireland until near the end of the season, and spending an enormous amount of time setting it up. They’re finally almost there, and it looks to be a total shit-storm once they arrive. It’s taken long enough, but the moment of reckoning seems to be arriving.
6. Terriers: I love “Terriers,” and this week was a good episode, but, what’s going on? Shawn Ryan turned attention to Hank’s sister and Britt’s relationship, and the season-long arc has kind of fallen away. For now. I’d like it to get back to it, and drop a little of the relationship drama.
5. The Good Wife: I wasn’t sure how well “The Good Wife” would do once the first-season’s premise — that Alicia’s politician husband was in prison — was exhausted. But, putting him in the midst of a comeback campaign for state’s attorney general has actually improved the show. I love the way the many conflicts of interest seem to come into play, and how everyone in Chicago seems to be connected in some way. Plus, Matt Czuchry’s deposition scenes this week were phenomenal — Rory Gilmore’s old boyfriend is making for quite an excellent devious, holier-than-thou villain.
4. The Office: Best episode of the season, by far. And all it took was bringing on Timothy Olyphant. “Fuck me,” indeed.
3. Modern Family: In a week of mostly average episodes, “Modern Family” stayed at the same level of greatness. And now we know what trumps a gay couple with an adopted Asian baby. Disabled, interracial lesbians with an African kicker.
2. 30 Rock: The Reaganing episode! Jack solved Tracy and Liz Lemon’s problems, and for once, Kenneth had a decent subplot, here with Kelsey Grammar in a Carvel Ice Cream scam. A near perfect episode that also featured a young Liz Lemon wearing a Pete Rose haircut, in roller skates, with her panties around her ankles, struggling to get out from under a Tom Jones poster. One hell of a brilliant sight gag.
1. Mad Men: See Sarah’s phenomenal season finale recap, especially the connection she made between “I Got You, Babe” and the Groundhog Day arcs of the characters.