Power rankings: the best TV shows of October

22:49, Nov 06 2013

An unprecedented seven shows make a debut and TV2 has taken hold of the top two spots for the first time ever - welcome to the craziness that is the Power Rankings for October 2013! Here are my Top 13 shows of the past month ...

Honourable Mentions:
Rebound (Les Revenants) (Rialto) and Arrow (TV2) only aired their final episodes during October; Nothing Trivial (One) has lost a bit of its lustre; Last Tango In Halifax (One) is cute and well-performed, but also drab and lacking something; and Survivor: Blood vs Water (TV3) has been entertaining as hell, mostly thanks to Colton, but I couldn't bring myself to put it in the Top 13.

13: Raising Hope (Four)
Last month: 11 | finished

The final stage of the third season featured two of the best episodes of the show to date: Making The Band, in which Jason Lee guested as a washed up rock star to form a kids entertainment group, and Burt Mitzvah - The Musical, in which Burt (played by the incredible Garret Dillahunt) comes of age. Brilliant stuff from one of the most under-rated comedies on all of television.

12: Scandal (One)
Last month: 10 | Tuesdays, 9.30pm

I think I'm almost ready to induct Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) into the pantheon of greatest female leads ever - but I'm still waiting for Scandal to turn into the Greatest Of All Time contender critics and fans rave about. Scandal is a good show, but it isn't there. At least, not yet.


11: Downton Abbey (Prime)
Last month: n/a | Mondays, 8.35pm

Season 4 is off to a good start but the show is far from the heights of its fantastic first season. I like the dynamic between Mary and Robert, with Mary taking over part of the estate. But it feels like too much time is spent on frivolous stories that entirely take place downstairs. Too many minor characters down there, perhaps?

10: The River (TV2)
Last month: n/a | Tuesdays, 10.30pm

I know, I'm as surprised as you are - but through four episodes, The River is one of the most entertaining shows on television. Sure, some of the dialogue is horrible, matched by some of the key performances. But the show is saved by an interesting premise, a unique setting in Brazil (as filmed in Hawaii), and a propensity for creepiness. Good times!

09: Nathan For You (Comedy Central)
Last month: n/a | Tuesdays, 9.45pm

I'll be honest: Nathan For You had me at "here is your free pizza": in one of the early episodes, Nathan Fielder - who attempts to help struggling businesses with zany marketing antics - promises a free pizza if delivery is too slow, but fails to tell customers that the free pizza is an inch wide, leading to angry customers and an odd heart-to-heart with the delivery man. Nathan For You is a hilarious exploration of stupidity in the marketplace - and it works.

08: Ray Donovan (SoHo)
Last month: n/a | Sundays, 8.30pm

I'm not as high on Ray Donovan as I was after the first couple of episodes, but the story and premise are keeping me hooked, and the performances of Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight get better every week. Check out my review of the show, written after the third episode, here.

07: Community (Four)
Last month: n/a | Mondays, 8.30pm

Only one episode aired in October, but it was a good'n: Abed gets upset by a Cougar Town hiatus and gets hooked n Cougarton Abbey, we meet Inspector Spacetime for the first time, and we got fun guest spots from John Goodman and Michael K "Chalky White" Williams. A great start to Season 3; this will be a regular on the rankings.

06: Masters Of Sex (SoHo)
Last month: n/a | Wednesdays, 8.30pm

Check out my review of the premiere here.

05: Boardwalk Empire (SoHo)
Last month: n/a | Mondays, 8.30pm

The fourth season of Boardwalk seems to have figured out a few of the problems from last year - namely, how best to use Al Capone and Van Alden (their fledgling friendship has been a lot of fun) and how to expand the world of the show, achieved nicely by the rise of Chalky and the inclusion of Florida as a business destination. A nice season so far.

04: Parks & Recreation (Four)
Last month: 04 | Mondays, 9.55pm

Parks goes from strength to strength in its fifth season - and by pitching Leslie against the evil councillor Jeremy Jamm, the show has introduced a villain that can provide a semblance of consistency in what Leslie is going up against. Her battles with Jamm aren't quite as fun as the city council campaign, but they're getting damn close.

03: Jono & Ben At Ten (TV3)
Last month: 03 | Fridays, 10pm

This month's #JABAT Moment Of Brilliance: Guy Williams reads out his abusive tweets in real life, to the people the tweets were about. Hilarious.

02: Orange Is The New Black (TV2
Last month: 05 | Mondays, 11.45pm

Let me put it this way: Orange is so good that I've already started my Best New Show blog post for later in the year, and Orange is right at the top. Between the settings, the characters and Jenji Kohan's brilliant writing, OITNB has emerged as one of the best of the year. If you haven't seen it yet, please make every effort to do so.

01: The Walking Dead (TV2)
Last month: n/a | Tuesdays, 9.30pm

A new Number 1! Check out my review of the premiere here.

What were your favourite shows from the past month of viewing? What are you looking forward to in November?

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