Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Brief TV Power Rankings

I'm way behind, but there's just too much good stuff on right now to resist.

1. The Pacific (Currently two episodes behind)

It's just really, really good. I can't remember a war story that's been so broad in it's focus as to the consequences of war. The fighting has been terrifying, but the human cost has been even scarier and provided such depth to a genre than can, at times, be too focused on the immediacy of combat.

2. Breaking Bad (Currently caught up)

Bryan Cranston is really, really good. And so is Aaron Paul (Jesse) and Dean Norris (Hank). Sunday night's conclusion was shocking and all the more visually gripping because of the abrupt change from the 40 minutes of drama that had proceeded it. The Mexican cousins remind me a bit of the bad dude from No Country For Old Men, but Larissa had a better take: They're creepy-scary killing machines like the alien bounty hunter from the X-Files.

3. Lost (Do you really have to ask?)

I'm all in, obviously. Lost is the most ambitious television project ever, the likes of which we'll probably never see again on network television. Yes, I'm overflowing with critiques and nitpicks in the show's final season, but just keep in mind, that's only because the show's set up has been so good. I'm not sure about what will or what won't get answered, but I think we're headed for a tremendous final five hours.

4. Treme (Currently two episodes behind)

Don't take Treme's ranking as somehow indicative of it being at all lacking. I love that the show is real, a real place, populated with real people, and all sorts of real music. Yes, it's a bit slow, but it's a character piece and that's sort of the point. Just sit back and appreciate the intricate tapestry that David Simon is weaving.

5. South Park (All caught up and done for the spring)

Last week's finale was a mixed bag, but overall, this has been a great run this spring. It occurred to me the other day that South Park at this point has surpassed the Simpsons in terms of numbers of quality seasons. The Simpsons fizzled out after a decade, but South Park is still going strong.

6. Parks and Rec (All caught up)

NBC's little comedy that could, the most unappreciated of it's Thursday night offerings that just keeps getting better. While the Office continues to flounder with poor writing choices and a lack of characters with any depth, arks and Rec continues to prove that you can add layers while still keeping things funny.

7. 30 Rock (All caught up)

Will Forte's performance of Jenna's Muffin Top song was hilarious.

8. Community (All caught up)

They did an entire episode centered round chicken fingers. Nuff said.

9. Fringe (Currently three episodes behind)

The continued development and improvement of Fringe is why I've stuck with other sci-fi shows like Flash Forward. If there's any doubt that writing is what makes or breaks television shows, just look at how Fringe has been transformed from a midling sci-fi procedural to a much broader drama. I've heard some good things about the episodes over the last few weeks, but the last one I saw, the story about Peter and Walter, was just amazing.

10. Flash Forward (Currently three episodes behind)

I'm only just now catching up, but I continue to be impressed by Flash Forward since it's return from hiatus. It's a lot of little things, but the writing is just plain better. The mystery and intrigue seem a bit more organic and the dramatic tension between characters seems a lot less forced. I was on the verge of dropping Flash Forward, but I'm certainly all in now.


Blogger McMc said...

I'm just so in love with The Pacific right now. One of the reasons why is the realism and not just the war scenes. Most of these "characters" are real people and while there is some fictionalization, the producers/writers/directors try to stay as true to the real stories as possible. It just adds a little extra flavor to everything and a lot of legitimacy. It's easy to write a bloody, gruesome war tale, it's another to show Snafu doing some of the things he did.

With that said, the war scenes have been amazing and not knowing much about the Pacific theater going in, I fully understand why the U.S. had to drop the bomb on Japan now. The fighting on Peilulu (and now Iwo Jima, but you're not there yet) has been horrifying and it makes you wonder how anyone on either side could have survived.

Just fantastic TV.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous rhofulster said...

LL - Good to see you're back in business. I don't comment often, but I think I've read every word you've written on this blog.

12:05 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

I don't know whether to thank you or feel sorry for you ...

9:55 AM  

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