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The 10 Best Episodes of the Week: Some of You Are Horrible People

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 9, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 9, 2012 |

(Publisher’s Note: I’m sorry. I don’t watch “Downton Abby,” and it is therefore not part of this week’s rankings. Please don’t make me watch another show. You’re going to make me watch another show, aren’t you? Goddamnit. And on Sunday, too? Like there’s not enough to cram in on Sunday night.)

10. The Firm: Sarah will have our official review of “The Firm” up tomorrow, and I’m guessing she won’t like it very much. But I’m also guessing she doesn’t have a home-state affection for Josh Lucas. That said, I doubt you’ll ever see the show in the weekly top 10 again.

9. Revenge: I’m not going to bail on “Revenge.” I have every intention of following it through until the end of the season. But, it has lost a lot of its magic. The revenge-of-the-week conceit the first few episodes promised us has fallen by the wayside and now it’s just another nighttime soap opera with pretty people. It’s OK, but not all that compelling anymore, and this “game-changing” episode didn’t do a lot to change that dynamic.

8. The Middle: I watch maybe every other episode of “The Middle,” and they’re all middling to pretty good. This week’s — “The Year of the Hecks” — fell into the pretty good category, and thanks to little competition, makes its first entrances into the top 10.

7. House of Lies: I completely agree with Seth’s review of the new Showtime dramedy. Not a very good show, but I really liked it anyway, mostly because of the presence of Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. I’m definitely in for the season.

6. Modern Family: “Modern Family” may now be the worst show I will never miss, and this is one of the increasingly infrequent episodes that demonstrated exactly why. It’s mediocre on most weeks, but when it’s good, it’s really good.

5. How I Met Your Mother: Ted is still a huge douche, as the Puzzles subplot re-confirmed, but Marshall continues to make “HIMYM” ever so heart-warming.

4. Happy Endings: The only thing missing from Max and Jane’s outstanding storyline this week was Weezer’s “The Sweater Song.”

3. The Good Wife: “The Good Wife” didn’t miss a beat, delivering another solid episode in its winter premiere that brought back the awesomely quirky redheaded lawyer, who forced Wendy Scott-Carr to indict Will Gardner. The episode also explored one of my favorite things about “The Good Wife”: The ongoing office politics.

2. Shameless: Not a perfect episode, but a really good introduction to season two that opens up a lot of possibilities. See also my review.

1. Parenthood: Look, I’m not going to say that if you didn’t mist up at this week’s episode of “Parenthood” that you are soulless, but I will say that you are a horrible person. I mean, Jesus: What is wrong with you? Oh, and look, not-horrible-people: The New Yorker has now validated our love of the show.

Week after week, “Parenthood,” on NBC, risks corniness, tiptoes up to the edge of conventionality, then delivers real emotion. Its strength is arguably as valuable as the ability of other series to agitate their fans: it manages to be warm, even sentimental, without being dumb.

(Phantom #1: Sherlock Holmes — I am not watching “Sherlock” right now because doing so would be wrong. But if I were, the last two episodes would definitely be number one, and I’d totally endorse the handling of Irene Adler.)

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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.