FanSided TV Power Rankings: Eat the rich

Elite season 2 episode 1 / Netflix
Elite season 2 episode 1 / Netflix /

Hi, hello and welcome to Week 1 of the FanSided TV Power Rankings. Here’s how it’s going to work.

These are the FanSided TV Power Rankings. Like NFL power rankings, except about TV and even more subjective.

Every Tuesday (yes, I know today is not Tuesday), I, your friendly FanSided entertainment associate editorial director, will be highlighting the 10 most notable shows on TV and streaming.

What does it mean to be notable? Airing an exceptional episode is certainly notable, but so is being extremely popular, or just dominating my Twitter timeline. An old(er) show might break onto the list when it hits Netflix or is otherwise discovered (by the internet, by me), even if it isn’t currently airing new episodes. Alternatively, a premiere or a finale is likely to raise the profile of a network show that might otherwise fade into background noise. This is not just a list of the 10 shows I want to talk about, but it’s also not not that.

In any case, let’s begin.

Here are the 10 most notable TV shows for the week of Sept. 9.

'Xaman-Ek' (season 2 episode 2). FX. MAYANS MC . 10.

Congratulations to Mayans MC for…being on TV right now. The Sons of Anarchy spin-off series just began its second season and is supposed to be good! contributor Bruin Belisle found the premiere very promising and also it stars Danny Pino, a guy who once starred in a CBS crime show called Cold Case I watched a lot as a kid and thus, a decade later, knew was the correct answer at trivia.

9. . . Packers at Bears, Army at Michigan. FOOTBALL

Hey, football is back! My interest in football is never greater than early September when I think maybe it is a good use of my viewing time. I watched two (2) football games last week and they were Packers vs. Bears and Michigan vs. Army and I have to say, neither was a particularly enjoyable experience, but so it goes before Fall TV truly returns.

. 'The Camera Loves You' (season 3 premiere). HBO. THE DEUCE . 8

Another shout out to early premieres and another admission that I have…not actually seen a single minute of The Deuce. But I am willing to guess that the premiere, bringing presumably high new season energy and based on a pretty fun trailer full of ’80s jams (Talking Heads!) and ’80s clothes (shoulder pads!) and neon, was a better viewing experience than the Bears game.

To be clear, as a big fan of Gyllenhaals generally and Maggie specifically, as well as period dramas and HBO, I am interested in watching The Deuce. Maybe one day!

TV Land. YOUNGER . 7. . 'Forever' (season 6 finale)

I used to love Younger. The first, mmm, four seasons blurred together for me because I binge-watched them all in a fit of pure TV love but it has become a bit of a slog. Season 6, which concluded last week, continued a few rather tiresome trends that developed in season 5. The main problem is that, rather than inventing new storylines for its largely delightful characters, the show keeps picking at previously resolved plots like nasty scabs, which is a gross but unfortunately fitting analogy. The season 6 finale really did not help matters in this regard.

That said, the show’s veiled author/literary trend send-up game is still top-notch. I will watch season 7 just to see a Caroline Calloway type.

6. . Episode 11 and 12 (season 6 episode 11 and 12). ABC. BACHELOR IN PARADISE

Something is different about this season of Bachelor in Paradise and I don’t know what it is because I do not actually watch the show. But a noticeable number of people whose opinions I trust have been gushing about it so I have to imagine something entertaining is happening. I asked a pal and she said:

"In my opinion, the producers became self aware this season and are now in on the joke. In response they’ve been playing absolutely dirty this time around, in a good/entertaining way. Orchestrating ships-passing-in-the-night scenarios, savage lower-thirds for Chris Bukowski, cartoonish first kiss montages, and rose ceremony public humiliation (Chris Harrison asked the group if anyone would like a rose from Luke S. after his pick rejected him AND NOTHING BUT CRICKETS)."

That’s the kind of innovation and creativity I would have liked to see on Younger.

'Wicked Lips' (episode 4). HBO. THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES . 5.

The Righteous Gemstones feels destined to be a cult classic. Danny McBride’s HBO show about a ludicrous televangelist family, starring McBridge, Adam DeVine and John Goodman, is buck wild and a bit of a red herring. Through four episodes, it’s not so much a religious satire about megachurches as a hijinks-driven black comedy about siblings who accidentally [redacted].

While it’s also not quite funny, clever or well-constructed enough to be an easy recommendation, last week’s episode hit a certain stride. I found “Wicked Lips” to be routinely funny, thanks largely to plenty of screen time for the delightfully strange Keefe (Tony Cavalero), while also advancing and escalating the increasingly violent plot that’s been responsible for the show’s best moments thus far.

I’m not fully convinced, but I’m warming to Righteous Gemstones‘ uncut weirdness.

4. . 'Manifest Destinee' (episode 4). Showtime. ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA

Two weeks ago, what feels like a lifetime ago in internet time, Kirsten Dunst received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Reuters’ posted a supremely dumb tweet describing the actress as Spider-Man’s girlfriend. It was not received well by her appreciators, who quickly took to Twitter to cite her impressive, beloved resume, and also remind everyone that she is currently starring on a rad new show about a woman breaking bad as a multi-level marketing natural in the early ’90s.

I feel strongly that On Becoming a God in Central Florida is an alligator, lying low in the swamp of potential TV options, but nonetheless ready to totally consume you body and soul when you casually and/or accidentally fall into its path, not unlike the gator in the swamp that eats [redacted] at the end of the pilot.

“Manifest Destinee,” in particular, was an awesome episode, giving Dunst so much to work with as Krystal gets knocked down, goes on a feverish journey that includes meeting someone who “makes music to die to” and ultimately comes to dominate in more ways than one.

3. . Season 2. Netflix. ELITE

God, Élite is so good. It was my staff pick for pure pleasure show and the second season might even be more ludicrously silly than the first. Picking up in its primary timeline after a summer that began with casual end-of-school-year manslaughter, our highly dramatic, eternally emotional and frequently awful Spanish rich kids are now also grief-stricken and traumatized, three months out from another flashback-looming mystery — this time a missing person.

Élite got a back-to-school glow-up for season 2, from new characters (including an incest-inclined half-brother) to new hairstyles (for everyone but Polo) to a new hangout (shout out to the Netflix budget boost giving us club life) to the aforementioned new crime. But, blessedly, the show doesn’t lose what made season 1 so much addictive, soapy fun, i.e., unhinged drama, hot ships and truly terrible, occasionally criminal, teen decision making.

MTV. ARE YOU THE ONE? . 2. . 'All or Nothing' (season 8 finale and reunion)

I have been an Are You the One advocate for y e a r s. So I am just delighted that this current season, for reasons I will get to, has raised the profile of the whole shebang. AYTO is an MTV dating show involving a number of singles who “suck at love” trying to find their perfect match, i.e., the person in the house MTV has determined by way of personality quizzes, interrogating exes and matchmaking is The One. (If the group gets it right, they also get a share of a million dollars. Love and! Money.) There are also competitions and a matching ceremony involving light beams, something called the Truth Booth and something else called the Boom Boom Room. There’s a little Bach to it, a little Real World to it, a little Challenge to it, a little math to it.

It’s chaos by design and alcohol, but this season featured an entirely sexually fluid cast too — meaning everyone was in play for everyone. It was a truly beautiful, surprisingly heartwarming, mess, perfectly punctuated in this week’s finale and reunion show.

1. . 'Tern Haven' (season 2 episode 5). HBO. SUCCESSION

I am hyper cognizant that the Succession hype, particularly regarding season 2, is reaching alienating levels for anyone not already on board the Roy schadenfreude train. However, I am also hyper cognizant of the fact the distance between “Tern Haven” and the next best thing on TV this week is the same as the wealth gap between families like the Roys and Pierces and you or me.

Sorry, I know you’re tired of hearing it, but Succession rules and this week’s episode was not only peak Succession, but arguably a perfect hour of television! “Tern Haven,” in which the Roys head to the have their “moral character” evaluated by a family of theoretically better rich people, is the complete package. The script is sharp and biting and the performances are award-fodder across the board, but it’s also an example of exceptional storytelling construction. The episode has serious stakes, with big picture implications and reveals, but also small moments that weave and tug threads the show is not yet ready to unravel. It works not only as an individual unit but also as an instrumental part of the second season’s arc. (Succession understanding of its form as a television show and not a 10-hour movie is deserving of an essay all its own.)

Each episode of Succession has been better than the previous, but regardless of what next Sunday brings, “Tern Haven” is an instant contender for the best episode of the year’s best show, and, as such, well, an obvious No. 1 pick on these inaugural TV power rankings.

All right, that’s it. That’s the ranking. Check back Tuesday, Sept. 17 for a pre-Emmy.

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