by Matthew Thompson
I decided to take the month of February off from these power rankings due to the Olympics sidelining so many of the shows I watch for the bulk of it. But with a huge slate of returning and new shows airing this past week, it was time to jump back in. With a busy month ahead, I may move to doing these every other Sunday, but I will see how I feel in a couple of weeks. As I spoke about in the first installment, these rankings take in the current season as a whole with a greater emphasis on what they’ve done lately particularly since the last rankings. With that in mind, here are the top five shows for me airing at the moment (Note: These descriptions contain spoilers for recent episodes, so if you haven’t watched the show in question, it might be best to gloss over it. Also in parentheses next to their current rank is their previous rank, if they were not ranked last time I put NR for not ranked).
1. (2) True Detective: Assuming it can stick the landing in the final two episodes, True Detective might be the show to beat for me at year’s end. And McConaughey’s acting performance as Detective Rustin Cohle will certainly be the leader in that category going forward. Since the last time I did power rankings, the show has skillfully wrapped up the 1995 flashbacks, transitioned smoothly through 2002 and is positioned to tie everything together in 2012 here at the end. Fantastic acting and direction including episode 4’s riveting long take in a Texas project and a narrative that has me pondering all sorts of little facets of it throughout the days that follow each episode has made True Detective the highlight of my TV week.
2. (1) Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Brooklyn Nine-Nine drops from the top spot this time around, but it is more because of the excellence of my number one choice than anything it did wrong.This past month we’ve gone “Full Boyle” and seen Charles start a successful relationship despite his troubling tendencies. We’ve seen a different side to Gina as light was shed on her childhood growing up with Jake which worked despite seeming to come out of left field. And we are introduced to Holt’s husband as he meets the various members of the precinct. Of course, the reason B99 continues to shine is that it kept on delivering barrels of laughs while it delved into these various character relationships and histories. And because of this, the show remains the best comedy of the season during its sure-footed freshman campaign.
3. (NR) Parenthood: My biggest debate last time I did these rankings was whether or not to include Parenthood. As much as I was enjoying the show, it had a few storylines that were driving me crazy. I’m happy to say that the Drew/Amy plotline has been seemingly put behind us in a fairly successful fashion. Zeke has realized the error of his ways and things between him and Camille seem to be in a good spot going forward. And while the most troubling plot, Julia and Joel’s separation, has not been resolved, it gave us one of the more wonderful moments in the series in recent memory. When Julia is having a rough go of it while her kids are staying with Joel at his new apartment, all three of her siblings come to her aid and we get to see all the Bravermans have a fun night together. On top of this, I’m still loving what they’ve done with Ray Romano’s Hank character.
4. (NR) The Americans: A very good premiere episode is enough to get one of the best new shows of last year a spot on this list. Most of this hour was spent checking in with all the major cogs in this spy drama. We see Beeman dealing with both Nina and his wife (I liked how he ended up watching the same movie with both and seeing their different reactions). We see Phillip and Elizabeth spending time with their family as well as doing some work for the KGB. We see what is going on at the FBI. If I had a complaint it was the heavy dosage of the kids we received. Paige’s snooping could get annoying, but I’m hoping the eyeful she got going into her parents’ room will settle her down a bit. The awkward breakfast that ensued also added a little levity to the episode.
5. (NR) Arrow: I struggled to choose between a handful of shows for this last spot. They are all worthy choices but also feature some things I’m not particularly fond of. I’ll give the nod to Arrow if for no other reason than I caught up on a lot of episodes of it during the past month since my previous rankings and it is fresh in mind how strong of a season it has had. Just like my other candidates for this spot, it has a giant glaring flaw. In this case, that flaw is Laurel. Though kind of like I mentioned with Parenthood, Arrow‘s latest episode may mean that Laurel is a little more tolerable going forward. Otherwise Arrow has delivered plenty of great superhero action with Ollie and company. The latest episode’s cliffhanger was pretty bad-ass too which I think helped its cause for today’s rankings.
That will do it for my latest set of TV Power Rankings. Which shows would top your list at the moment? Let me know in the comments below. I will be back with a new set in a couple of weeks or perhaps towards the end of the month (I’m still working out the best spacing for these). Thanks for reading!