A few notes about those that missed the cut this week:
10. Chicago Code: Alderman Ronin Gibbons returned this week, and the noose tightened around him. I’m certain he’ll pull out of this predicament, but I’m curious as to how he’ll manage it. And I know that few of you are paying attention to this show, but Jason Clarke is brilliant in it, as is Matt Lauria for those of you looking for a post-“FNL” fix. For as much attention as “The Shield” received, I’m perplexed as to why “Chicago Code” is not receiving similar acclaim.
9. The Good Wife: I liked this episode as much for itself as for what it portends: A major shift. Peter Florrick looks to be the chief antagonist, with Cary being his right hand man. This is going to be fun, and I look forward to watching Alicia take down her soon-to-be ex-husband this season and next, although I like Cary so much that it’d be nice to give him a win every once in a while, too.
8. 30 Rock: I thought the season finale was hilarious, notwithstanding the creepy subplot between Jack and Kenneth. Overall, I thought this season was better than last, but short of the almost perfect season two.
7. Game of Thrones: I am really enjoying “Game of Thrones,” but — as someone with no knowledge of the novels — I’m a little anxious for the dragons and wizards to arrive. They’re going to arrive, aren’t they? It’s that kind of show, isn’t it? And those evil creatures beyond the wall that were introduced in the first scenes of the pilot — where are they? Bring them back! See also TK’s review.
6. The Killing: Another solid episode, but I have to admit that I’m getting a little frustrated with the drama. The murder investigation at the center of the show is still gripping, but the side plots — the engagement, the political campaign, and even the grieving family, have lost a lot of their interest. Plus, there’s been no growth of character. And I hate to say it, because I think Mireille Enos is doing a bang-up job, but, I’d really appreciate it if the Sarah Linden character betrayed some emotion occasionally. The grim listlessness is making her a hard character with which to sympathize.
5. Cougar Town: It was one of those weeks where the dramas hit lulls, while the comedies soared, and “Cougar Town” was once again brilliant. I want to be friends with these characters. In fact, I only just realized that, of the 10 or so “celebrities” I follow on Twitter, eight of them are connected to “Cougar Town” or “Scrubs.” Clearly, Bill Lawrence creates people we want to Twitter-drink with.
4. Happy Endings: Immediately after the two episodes this week aired, there was some real consideration to putting it above “Parks and Recreation.” They were hilarious, starting with the gaycist episode and ending with one of my favorite sitcom episodes of the season. If you’re not watching “Happy Endings,” the second episode brilliantly hit a lot of Pajiba touchstones, not just mocking hipster douchebags but likening them to zombies in a hilarious homage scene that had hipsters Romero-shuffling after a food truck. Fantastic. Get thee to the bandwagon.
3. Parks and Recreation: Perhaps the comparison to “Arrested Development” was misguided, but it is achieving the same brilliant success that early seasons of “The Office” accomplished, and it’s doing so without making us feel intensely uncomfortable. I wonder, though, how much I’d love the show without Ron Swanson, who Paul Southworth brilliantly compared to “Oscar the Grouch with a meat fetish.”
2. Community: I thought “Parks and Recreation” was funnier this week, but “Community” was slightly more entertaining, plus it gets bonus points for degree of difficulty. It was one of those episodes that I appreciated even more on a second viewing.
1. Justified: I’d be a fool not to put the season finale of the brilliant second season of “Justified” at the top of the rankings this week, although it wasn’t a completely satisfying conclusion for me. I thought they did a great job with the Mags Bennett storyline (although not putting a bullet in Dickie’s head was an opportunity missed), but there was no real resolution to the Art/Raylan/Winona tension. It’s like there was a scene missing, where Winona confessed to Art that she was behind the robbery/return, which is what provoked Art to bring out the cavalry to save Raylan. Plus, the pregnancy “bombshell” was dumb, and not because of Winona. I’m apparently the only fan of the show in existence who actually likes Winona. I understand her motivations. But the pregnancy was just useless to the story, and if it is part of next season’s arc, then just hold it until next season. See also Agent Bedhead’s finale review.