The one question I get asked every single day: “Stewart, what TV shows should I be watching?”, and I’ll be honest it changes from week to week and I feel bad when I recommend a show that happens to have a dud episode that week or whatever. So we had this crazy idea over at TVFR Towers; what if every week we ranked our top 20 best shows? That way we can keep everyone up to date on what new shows are worth picking up, how consistent the big names are and most importantly how they all stack up against each other. Hell it works for sports, why can’t it work for us?!
So through a complicated series of votes and calculations, we’ve finally come up with our list for this week, valid from March 26th (to include some recently finished series) up to April 7th when we finalised our votes. There are a couple of exceptions such as Netflix originals, so they can stay in as if there was a new episode every week until it’s over (i.e. Orange is the New Black has 13 episodes so has 13 weeks in the charts).
Are you ready? You’re sure…? OK, let’s kick off with…:
20 – House Of Lies (Showtime (US)/Sky Atlantic (UK))
Showtime’s dark dram-edy about management consultants dived head first into it’s 3rd season at the start of this year giving protagonist Marty Kaan a fresh start away from Galweather & Stearn as he started up his own firm but with his ‘pod’ split up and spread apart. Of course things work out between them in the end but that’s only the start of the drama as the team get into bed with gangsters, junkies, each other and, as we’ve seen in the last couple of episodes, the law. House Of Lies has given us a solid 3rd year in business and is maybe even a little under rated at #20 on our list, expect it to jump up as we near the season finale.
19 – Vikings (History Channel (US)/Amazon Prime (UK))
An underdog with a bit of attitude and a favourite of some of our editors comes in at #19 in our power rankings in the form of History Channel’s Vikings. Don’t be fooled by it’s home network, this isn’t a documentary or anything super educational (although some people might learn something from it…nothing good, but still…), instead Vikings offers up some gritty Nordic drama and action in a Game Of Thrones ‘lite’ style. Currently around the halfway point of it’s second season and proving popular among those who have found it, Vikings has plenty of time to shoot up the rankings over the next couple of weeks.
18 – Nashville (ABC (US)/Channel 4 (UK))
Just when Glee’s star of musical drama TV series started to fall, ABC’s Nashville jumped right in there to replace it in the hearts of distraught fans. Now nearing the end of it’s second year Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere and co. seem to be going from strengh to strength, having established the show as one of the most consistent drama series on air. Now taking a very lopsided midseason break before the final three episodes, Nashville beat out some fierce competition to make it as our 17th best show to be watching right now. Fair enough it finished up a fortnight ago now but we thought we’d be lenient and give it a shoutout anyway.
17 – Broad City (Comedy Central (US))
Webseries-turned-sitcom about two girls living in New York City produced by SNL and Parks & Rec alumnus Amy Poehler had some great critical success in it’s debut season this year…well for the most part. For those of you who haven’t seen it and are missing your fix of HBO’s Girls, Broad City could be worth going back to catch.
16 – The Good Wife (CBS (US)/Channel 4 (UK))
Currently in its fifth season, The Good Wife has been going from strength to strength this year, and has really shaken things up. One recent episode with a spoilerific plot is a prime example. The acting from all those involved was superb, while the outcry from fans was huge, and with the many excellent guest stars from Chris Noth to Nathan Lane regularly featuring the show, The Good Wife more than deserves to be on our list.
15 – Arrow (The CW (US)/Sky 1(UK))
The CW’s follow up to the incredibly successful DC superhero series Smallville, this time revolving around Oliver Queen a.k.a The Green Arrow has been a smash hit since it debuted last year. Now midway through it’s second season and it still seems to be giving the people what they want, so how could we do anything other than recommend it? It may feel a little bit too ‘teen-drama-y’ for some, but lets be honest, we all need a little bit of that in our lives. Based on this season so far and the last few episodes, Arrow reaches up to #15 on our power rankings, can it continue to climb next week?
14 – Suits (USA (US)/Dave (UK))
What a season it’s been so far for the USA Network’s 3rd year lawyer drama, a real roller coaster of emotions going on for fans who have been there from the start and a whirlwind of intrigue for those just starting their journey into the lives of Harvey Specter and Mike Ross. Is Harvey starting to soften up? Is Mike about to be caught? Will Louis ever be an outright good guy? These are the questions that the last few episodes have asked us and the suspense of waiting for the answers is what has propelled the show up to the #14 spot for this week. Expect even higher placement as we’re dragged kicking and screaming toward a seemingly inevitable conclusion and the season finale…
13 – Community (NBC (US)/Sony (UK))
It seems like Dan Harmon’s return has propelled Community back to it’s best, although we’ve lost a few big names along the way. Despite the departure of Donald Glover a few weeks ago, the show is still going strong in it’s fifth year and continues to deliver the same crazy shenanigans every week, including an awesome GI Joe cartoon-based episode last week (clearly they’ve been listening to our TVFR Podcast!)
12 – The Blacklist (NBC (US)/Sky Living (UK)
What is the reason for The Blacklist being so high on our list? Well, none other than James Spader who clearly relishes his role as Raymond “Red” Reddington, one of the FBI’s most wanted men who is now helping them find and capture other criminals. Even if you aren’t a fan of procedurals, there is another of an on-going storyline arc regarding FBI agent Elizabeth Keen and her husband, that it keeps you hooked week in, week out. And with that storyline hotting up, we expect the show to rise in our rankings over the coming weeks.
11 – Shameless US (Showtime (US)/More 4 (UK))
Last weeks season 4 finale was apparently enough to convince our editors to rate the US version of Shameless as the 11th best show you should be watching right now, and network Showtime to renew it for a fifth season. Whether you’re a converted fan of the UK original or a loyalist to the US remake, you probably agree that everyone should at least give Shameless a try.
10 – Justified (FX (US)/Netflix (UK) *Seasons 1-3 only*)
Sadly we were just a bit too early to rate Justified on it’s season finale which aired last night, so last weeks episode was only enough to take the show up to 1oth place in the TVFR Power Rankings. However, that means that next week we can hopefully look forward to a higher place for one of my favourite shows on TV right now. Possibly the series’ strongest season yet and it’s gotten better every week, if you’re not hooked already you absolutely should be. After the recently finished True Detective, Justified is easily the most impressive crime drama on TV.
9 – Orange Is The New Black (Netflix (US/UK)
One of the critically acclaimed Netflix Orignal family, prison dramedy Orange Is The New Black actually aired way back last year but if you haven’t caught it already this is definitely one to watch. The second series is actually due out pretty soon so you could be seeing this in our top 20 for quite some time, and since it cracked our top 10 it’s obviously justified…
8 – House Of Cards (Netflix (US/UK)
Another Netflix Original in the top half of the chart? Wow those guys know how to do it! House of Cards is on to it’s second season and the political drama seems to have the world gripped, including most of our writers and editors. It’s gripping and clever and incredibly well done, but is it worth the cost of Netflix? It’s not for everybody, but we love it, definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.
7 – The Goldbergs (ABC (US))
What’s not to love about The Goldbergs? Every single family member is comedy gold, from mother Beverley’s controlling to Adam’s geekiness to Barry’s….Barryness, the comedy continues to go from strength to strength. Not only that, but it provides some great 80s nostalgia (the recent The Goonies episode is a prime example) and has a killer soundtrack (if none of the 80s music has you singing along, you are dead inside), we are more than happy to remain an honourary member of The Goldbergs family for the foreseeable future.
6 – Modern Family (ABC (US)/Sky 1 (UK))
In my experience Modern Family is the definitive family sitcom, the only one that nobody can dislike. Sure it’s very broad comedy but it’s done to the highest degree, usually very well written and doesn’t need a laugh track to tell you when it’s funny (thank god!). It’s crazy to think it’s in it’s fifth season with over a hundred episodes already, but I guess that just proves how successful it’s become.
5 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX (US)/E4 (UK))
For whatever reason I took ages to give Fox’s 1st year cop comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine a watch, but I’ve been hooked ever since. The folks at the fictional ninety-ninth precinct are some of the best comedic cast on air right now and the procedural element that accompanies so many police-centric shows works so well in the sitcom genre. It finished up a few weeks ago in the States but is still airing in the UK, if you missed it make sure you catch up asap, it’s worth every minute.
4 – Trophy Wife (ABC (US))
Another family-centric ABC comedy that has delivered the laughs, Trophy Wife focusses on Kate, who marries Pete, and inherits his crazy family. There are many great moments to enjoy in the show, with no weak links in the cast (Albert Tsai as Bert is a particular delight), it continues to deliver laughs week in week out. Fingers crossed for a season two!
3 - The Walking Dead (AMC (US)/FOXTV (UK))
Even though I’ve fallen out with what has quickly become AMCs flagship series, fans of The Walking Dead have continued to rave about the show’s fourth season up to the finale 2 weeks ago. Credit where it’s due, the showrunners appear to have turned the ship around since the disaster that was the midseason finale, so much so that our writers have chosen it as the 3rd best show to watch!
2 – Game Of Thrones (HBO (US)/Sky Atlantic (UK))
The undisputed king of TV dramas returned this week with yet another superb episode (it’s becoming the standard now really isn’t it?). We won’t spoil anything here but if you’re a fan and haven’t caught up yet, know that you won’t be disappointed. Plenty of characters to love and hate and the GoT trademark of surprising you with unforeseen deaths and mind blowing plot twists, mixed in with gratuitous nudity and spectacular violence (or gratuitous violence and spectacular nudity, you say tomato and all that…), what doesn’t Game Of Thrones bring to the table?!
We’re finally here! Our writers have voted and the number one show that you should be watching right now is……………
1 – Parks & Recreation (NBC (US)/Netflix (UK) *Seasons 1-5*)
Yes Parks & Rec lands the #1 spot for the first ever TVFR Power Rankings. The smash hit NBC sitcom feels like it’s going from strength to strength every year and this one is no exception. Laugh out loud comedy from the writers of SNL, King Of The Hill, The Office and the aforementioned Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a family tree that nobody can really argue with (well, some could I guess). The show has been a launch platform for Hollywood golden boy and girl Chris Pratt and Rashida Jones, as well as showcasing the talent of a now all-star cast that includes TV veterens Nick Offerman and Rob Lowe and comedy headliners Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari. Can you really argue with our selection for Parks & Recreation as our #1 show this week?
What do you think, did we make the right decision? Let us know what you thought in the comments below and hit us up on Twitter with your top 5 episodes of the week if you want to get involved in the vote for next weeks Power Rankings, just use #TVFRPowerRankings.
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Stewart Scott - @TheStewDog
Liam Kearney – @crisp_packet