This week’s Power Rankings cover television shows that aired between Sunday, October 3rd Saturday October 9, 2010.
10. Rubicon: All those that stuck with “Rubicon” through the first six episodes finally began to see payoff. It was this past week, after the had solidified itself as a good drama for a few weeks running, that those with an immense amount of patience began to speaking up about the merits of “Rubicon,” only to be shot down by those that ditched the show after the second episode.
9. Dexter: This was the second episode, the one that introduced Boyd Fowler and ended with the discovery that he liked to dispose of women in barrels of formaldehyde. A slower episode, but we have to remember that every season of “Dexter” starts off slow. The payoff is usually worth it (save for the Jimmy Smits year).
8. Fringe: I really dig “Fringe,” but it’s entrance into the top ten this week speaks more to the fact that it was a down week for television, while “Fringe” remained consistent. I like the way they are switching between universes, one episode at a time, although when they are in the alternate universe, I find myself missing Joshua Jackson. But I really liked the Fringe villain this week — a guy so freakishly autistic smart that he could predict human probability to such an extent that he could drop a ball-point pen and cause a woman to walk out in front of a moving bus.
7. Sons of Anarchy: Not a better episode of “SofA,” this slower installment focused on how Jax is going to save Gemma, rescue his baby, and save SAMCRO from criminal charges. Plus, we learned that Agent Stahl is a lesbian (we may have already known that, but I’d forgotten). It was a modest episode redeemed by the Jax/Stahl face-off in the final minutes, and the setup of something huge: SAMCRO vs. the IRA.
6. The Good Wife: This CBS legal drama is one of the most consistently good shows on television, although it rarely achieves levels of stellar. Again, “The Good Wife” is here because of the down week, but it was a strong episode, one that featured Lou Dobbs and a nifty case where Josh Charles (the show’s MVP) strategically elicited a contempt charge in order to manipulate a continuance. I also liked that they got the law right on double jeopardy where it concerns military personnel. If you’re not watching this show, here’s another reason: Alan Cumming is deliciously slimy.
5. Modern Family: Phil was on fire this week with his clueless sense of humor (“I’m like Shirley Temple and that black guy”) in wake of the Earthquake and the stunt-casting of Nathan Lane as Pepper — .the man who did “the impossible, he’s made two gay men hate brunch” — was pitch perfect
4. Mad Men: This was the episode that dealt with the aftermath of losing Lucky Strike and only felt like something of a letdown after a remarkable episode where the always cool Don Draper had a panic attack. It was a thin episode — a transition between the loss of Lucky Strike and last night’s episode, where they more immediately dealt with the consequences.
3. Community: How good was this episode? So good that Abed delivered a woman’s baby, and it wasn’t even the focus of the show (Confession: I had to watch the episode a second time to pick up on all the Abed bits). Meanwhile, Pierce dealt with the death of his mother, and Annie and Britta had an oil fight. Skinny bitches, indeed.
2. Terriers: Each week, “Terriers” gets better and better, as Shawn Ryan darkens the humor, and Hank and Britt are forced to make increasingly immoral decisions to keep themselves out of jail and avenge the murder of Mickey Gosney. The addition of Steph (Hank’s sister, and Donal Logue’s real-life sister) has added another dimension to the series. The only thing it’s really missing right now is a seriously credible reason for why Mickey Gasnor — a next-to-homeless drunk — was worth all this trouble. Fucking fantastic show, though. I hope people are watching after a lackluster pilot episode, though I suspect it’s going to be one of those shows that finds its audience on DVD between seasons.
1. 30 Rock: “30 Rock” has rebounded hugely from a mediocre last season, and right now, it’s running neck and neck with “Community” for the best comedy on television. After three episodes, I give “30 Rock” the narrow edge this season. They still don’t quite know what to do with Kenneth, but otherwise, everything is running at top form, and this last episode, where Jack had to deal with blowhard Congressmen, was damn near perfect.