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the bastard machine’s top 15

Today, Tim Goodman begins a new feature, Power Rankings, an ever-changing list of the top 15 shows currently on television. I doubt I’ll have something to say about the list every week … among other things, you’re always better served just reading Goodman … but a look at his first list points to my own taste preferences, so here goes:

1-3: Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Glee. I watch all of these shows, and think enough of Mad Men that I’d put it #1, #2, and #3 and let the other shows fight over the scraps. Sons is a solid show that hasn’t yet convinced me it is a great show. Glee has my attention now, but is a prime candidate for eventual boredom.

4-7: Modern Family, Bored to Death, Community, Parks and Recreations. Goodman likes comedies more than I do. I fell asleep halfway through the pilot to Community, never bothered with Parks and Recs, recorded Bored to Death but don’t know why I’d want to watch it, and have no desire to see Modern Family. In other words, if comedy is your game, read Goodman, because I’m unlikely to have anything interesting to say.

8: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Of course, there are a few comedies I like. “Larry David” exists so the rest of us don’t have to act out on our anti-social impulses. And I’ve said it before, but J.B. Smoove is comic gold.

9: FlashForward. A new series that hasn’t yet aired, this one intrigues me. I’ll give it a shot.

10: Dexter. I’d put this at #2. It’s a bit of a cheat to have it on this list, since it isn’t quite “currently” on television, but the season begins soon.

11: Cougar Town. No interest in this one.

12: The Office. Another comedy I like, although sometimes it sits on the DVR for awhile before I get around to it.

13: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. See 4-7 above. Never seen it.

14: House. Kinda surprised to see this on the list. Goodman tends to lose interest in series as they get a bit long in the tooth, and to be honest, I didn’t realize he thought so highly of House in the first place. Like me, he loves Hugh Laurie.

15: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Goodman loves Ken Burns. I’ve never gotten through any of them except Baseball.

Goodman also lists a few shows that might be “rising” and a handful of others that are “sunk.” I’d note Fringe (rising), which I watched for awhile and which I am convinced is a fine show, but … and I am definitely in the minority here … I find John Noble so gratingly annoying that I can’t stand to hear his voice in the background when my wife watches. Noble singlehandedly makes this unwatchable for me, which lies solely in my own flaws, I’m sure. I’d also note Lie to Me from the “rising” category … it’s House with Tim Roth instead of Hugh Laurie, not because the shows are similar, but because both shows are just a notch above pedestrian, but compelling nonetheless because of the skills of the lead actor.

I don’t know what I’d add that Goodman missed. Sports don’t count, I guess. Off the top of my head, only Mad Men makes me want to drop everything to watch, the only one I anticipate throughout the week. Dexter will also be like that unless it somehow got crappy, and if Dollhouse fulfills the promise of its DVD-only “extra” episode, it will make my must-watch list.

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