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The Pajiba Power Rankings

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 17, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 17, 2011 |

Another short week without NBC’s Thursday Night line-up. So that this list means something (and by that, it’s limited enough so that “Castle” doesn’t make an entrance), there’s only five episodes again in this week’s Power Rankings, and neither of Showtime’s new shows, “Shameless” or “Episodes,” make an appearance. Hopefully, both will get better and make a run for the top 10 next week, when NBC’s Thursday night-ers return (including “Parks and Recreation”), as does “Chuck” and, over on HBO, “Big Love.”

5. Top Chef: spoilers. Finally, fucking finally: Jamie Lauren gets the boot, along with Tiffani Faison, in the double elimination challenge, which took pains, it seems, to avoid eliminating either Richard Blais or Marcel, since — along with Fabio — are the three most interesting to watch (even if Marcel is an evil little troll). I really couldn’t abide one more episode of the whiny Jamie, though, so I’m glad to see her go.

4.Lights Out: I haven’t had a chance to review the pilot episode for this yet, but I did catch the premiere of the new F/X show, and I actually liked it quite a bit. It’s a boxing drama about former heavyweight champion forced back into the ring because of financial problems. The lead, Holt McCallany, is a little wooden, and it looks to be rife with the usual boxing-comeback cliches, but it’s a well executed show. Bonus: It also stars Pablo “Nick Sobotka” Schreiber. Ratings-wise, it’s already trending toward “Terriers” territory, but don’t let that dissuade you — it may mean only one season, but it looks to be a good one.

3. Friday Night Lights: The bottom dropped out this week. It’s time the healing begins (please), as we head into the home stretch (and see the return of Tim Riggins).

2. Modern Family: This week, “Modern Family” managed to turn a few sitcom tropes on their head a little, or at least infuse them with a refreshing sense of humor. The Mitchell/Cameron plotline — which had Mitchell fearing that he had a 10-year-old child he didn’t know about — had disaster written all over it, but rewarded us with some uncomfortable hilarity once we learned the identity of the “child.” Phil’s man-child (“”Why do I have to watch a French movie? I didn’t do anything wrong.”) dominated Claire’s need to prove herself (“It’s an obsessive-compulsive thing, I read like a hundred things about it.”), and Jay did what so many of us want to do when being forced to pretend to be friends with people we don’t care for. That is, refuse to pretend.

1. Parenthood: An superb, outstanding episode of “Parenthood” this week that not only pitted Peter Krause’s Adam against his new, younger pot-smoking boss, but brought Mae Whitman back into the fore, showing off her singing abilities and hitting a mother-daughter nerve already raw from the interactions between Kristina and Haddie, who is now sneaking off to be with her older boyfriend. Michael B. Jordan’s plotline arcs are mirroring each in both “FNL” and “Parenthood” right now, and I don’t I can stomach watching the good kid taste reality much longer on both shows. It’s killing me.