Monday, November 02, 2009

This Week's TV Power Rankings

Monday Oct. 26th - Sun. Nov.1st

1. Mad Men (Last Week # 1)(JFK, JFK, JFK! Admittedly not this season's finest hour, but in a series so concerned with historical time and place you just had to tackle JFK head on and it was about as well done as you could expect. Kudos to the writers for getting to JFK before the season finale, leaving us all wondering where we're going to be left at season's end.)

2. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Last Week #3) (Sunny leaps past 30 Rock this week out of the sheer superiority of it's storytelling. Whereas other comedies have an irritating tendency to simply try too hard, Sunny has the unique capability to allow both story and humor to emerge from a simple premise, flowing naturally through the utter selfishness and dysfunction of the main characters. As with Dee's realization that she's rejected a perfectly able bodied soldier, the characters are almost always aware that life's cruel jokes are on them, but are completely oblivious to the fact that these jokes are a direct result of their narcissism and inhumanity. My favorite line of the night: "Frank, no one wants to watch a 60 year-old man eat garbage." Actually, that's exactly what we want.)

3. 30 Rock (Last Week, #2) (30 Rock slips because of some sloppy storytelling. I loved Liz's message that whether New Yorkers or Middle America, we're all terrible people, but having her get sick from her southern sandwich was a rather tired plot device that cut against the themes of the rest of the episode.)

4. Dexter (Last Week, Not Ranked) (The only reason it's took Dexter so long to crack the top ten is that I only got caught up with Season 4 this weekend, having steamrolled through the show's first three seasons over the past month. Of course, while the week I jumped in was good, it wasn't nearly as the cliffhangers from either of the last two weeks, with the surprise shooting and the revelation of the Trinity Killer's real identity. Season four is halfway done and color me impressed, although the family theme, from Harry's constant badgering in Dexter's vision and the use of the baby to portray both calm and chaos, has been a bit heavy handed.)

5. Fringe (Last Week #4) (Fringe returns this week, but will need a strong showing to keep it's spot.)

6. Californication (Last Week #5) (Kathleen Turner's Sue Collini has me cracking up with every raunchy line she delivers. For all the strength of it's main cast, what really keep Californicaton interesting is it's supporting players.)

7. Parks and Rec (Last Week #6) (Pikitis! There was something endearing about Leslie's feud with teenage vandal Greg Pikitus, in a Scott Tenormon sort of way, minus the evil Cartman element. Unlike the Office, where only a few of the characters have any real depth, Parks and Rec has done a great job of slowly setting up our supporting cast as real people, not just caricatures.)

8. South Park (Last week, #7) (The first great South Park of the new season. My wife watched Whale Wars this summer and I can see Trey and Matt must have done the same and must have been thinking exactly what I was thinking: Why don't these hippies fucking do something. You couldn't watch Whale Wars and not feel something for those whales, so it's hard to imagine caring about whales so much to actually be out in the South Pacific and not wanting to blow shit up and kill some bad people. That all being said, this was one of those rare moments where South Park acknowledged a truly complex issue of conflicting values and morals with no clear cut answer.)

9. Flash Forward (Last week #8) (Now that was more like it. The series has been so driven by the mosaic investigation that it was nice to finally see the characters have a chance to take a breath and just be themselves for a bit. Simon's introduction as the show's seeming villain has been rather drawn out, but it was nice to see Dominic Monaghan back in action. Because I was relatively happy with this week's installment, I'll keep the complaints to myself and focus instead on the fun aspects of the show. My big question now is about the kid's flash forwards: What else did Charlie see to get her so freaked out?)

10. House (Last week, #9) (House wasn't on the air last week, not for a baseball-related reason, which would be understandable, but for a "So You Think You Can Dance" results show. I imagine they had left the day open in case there was baseball, but come on.)

Not On The List:

# Curb Your Enthusiasm (Last Week, #10) (This was much closer to classic Curb than the past few week's, with the story flowing from several classic Larry incidents. But a black swan? Remember what I said a few weeks ago about Curb being hard to relate to? Things don't seem to be improving on that front.)

# The Office (Last Week, Not Ranked) (It's interesting that a few years ago the Office excelled at doing hour long episodes when the past few years it's been at it's best in doing 1-2 minute comic strip type productions, like last Thursday's haunted warehouse. Not a bad episode about Michael's fall into Koi pond, but- continuity check- it seems as though there should have been more follow up with Pam and Michael after last week's revelation.)

Coming Soon: V premiers on ABC this Tuesday night and the AMC's the Prisoner starts up in two weeks, on Sunday. Nov. 15th.


Blogger McMc said...

Curb - The Black Swan didn't bother me. The unrelatable aspect to me was Larry's cousin's wife getting mad that Larry wouldn't put her through beauty school. Maybe there are tons of ungrateful people out there who would get mad at a man who offered to put their kid through college, in fact I'm sure there are. But in the world of Larry it just seemed like such a forced thing and the anger showed toward him was so out of line.

I will say this though, the best part might have been Larry getting mad at Funkhouser for not getting introduced to the stone mason. That's the kind of stuff that doesn't happen enough, Larry immediately realizing how the tables were turned on him.

The Office - I just don't know what they are trying to accomplish anymore. I feel like they want us to sympathize with Michael and turn on Jim a bit but they are failing epically at doing so. I'm just tired of Michael. I desperately want to see Dwight being Dwight and I want to see Jim and Pam doing cute goofy things. I want to see Kelly annoy people, Kevin be an idiot, Andy sing and Stanley do nothing. What I don't want to see anymore is Michael acting like a two year old. His character was growing into something more. He was becoming sympathetic (all because of Jan really) and I felt like he was becoming a better, less annoying boss. That has been completely thrown out the window though and he is more obnoxious than ever and it's just not funny anymore. And because Jim and Pam are already married, there is just no more emotional element. I don't care if Michael finds love, I don't care if Dwight and Angela get back together and I don't care about the paper company anymore.

The Office used to be the highlight of my week. Now it's 30 minutes of nothing.

Oh, and by the way, I definitely think you gave up on Community too soon. That show got better and better every week and the last two episodes had me laughing out loud several times. It's not the funniest show on TV, I'll admit that, but it's just a goofy enjoyable comedy that has me liking the characters and has me smiling the entire time.

1:30 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Good points on Curb and The Office - I've got 5 comedies ranked ahead of them and I've got to say, I look forward to those 5 more than I do either Curb or the Office.

And Community is still on my DVR- Larissa hasn't been that interested and it hasn't been high on my list of priorities, so I think I've got four piled up there. I plan on catching up with that and Bored to Death, which I enjoyed the first few episodes of.

10:04 AM  

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