Power rankings: the best shows of November

21:05, Dec 02 2013

TV2 manage to hold on to the top spot for the second straight month, even though we have a new champion at the top of the monthly power rankings!

* Make sure to share your favourite shows from the past month in the comments section below - but before you do, here are my Top 13 shows of November 2013 ...

Honourable Mentions:
I reckon Nothing Trivial (One) has been good, though not as good as last year; even Olivia Hope couldn't convince me that Scandal (One) deserves a place near the top; the Schreiber-Voight show continues to entertain but Ray Donovan (SoHo) doesn't quite have enough to keep me engaged; and Doctor Who (Prime) was one of the best things I've seen all month, but fails to make the grade because of my shows must air more than one episode rule.

13: Downton Abbey (Prime)
Last month: 11 | Mondays, 8.35pm

I joked about this on Twitter, but why wouldn't writer Julian Fellowes just end every episode of Downton Abbey with Carson and Mrs Hughes wrapping up the events of the past hour and discussing the goings-on among the staff while swilling a strong drink and puffing on a cigar, kind of like how Alan and Denny wrapped up episodes of Boston Legal? It could only improve a drama which has lost its sheen.

12: Life's Too Short (One)
Last month: n/a | Fridays, 11.15pm


There seems to be a fair few jokes made at the expense of Warwick Davis' fantasy film Willow, which I recall was one of the better live action films of my childhood (it had a three-headed dragon!). Aside from that one niggle, Life's Too Short is an interesting, funny piece of awkwa-comedy from the Stephen Merchant-Ricky Gervais machine. Plus, anything that can get the stink of Merchant's Hello Ladies off my television is a welcome addition to the line-up.

11: Luther (UKTV)
Last month: n/a | finished

Sure, it might be a morbid exploration of the inner workings of a detective, but Idris Elba is fantastic - the guy absolutely commands your attention whenever he is on the screen. Season 3 of the crime drama, written by Wellington-based Neil Cross, was short but sweet, and a brilliant ending for the series.

10: The Good Wife (TV3)
Last month: new | Tuesdays, 11.15pm

The biggest silver lining from Mediaworks' losing their content deal with Fox: in a race for content, it forced them to put The Good Wife - which I would argue is better than 90% of the Fox content anyway - back on the air! Welcome to the Power Rankings, Mrs Florrick!

09: Masters Of Sex (SoHo)
Last month: 6 | Wednesdays, 8.30pm

It's all very nice to look at, and all very titillating, but is there real substance behind the interesting story? I can see a little development taking place in our main characters, but the show too often goes with a paint-by-numbers approach, letting events rather than characterisation dominate much of the running time.

08: The River (TV2)
Last month: 10 | finished

Check out my review of The River here.

07: The Walking Dead (TV2)
Last month: 1 | Tuesdays, 9.30pm

I'll tell you why The Walking Dead dropped from 1 place to 7 place: it was those two episodes dedicated entirely to The Governor's antics since the end of Season 3. Why, oh why, did we have to spend two hours with a character who is surely one of the least interesting villains ever foisted on such a large viewing public? More on this tomorrow ...

06: Orphan Black (SoHo)
Last month: n/a | Tuesdays, 8.30pm

I had a crazy idea - one that may never come to fruition - to write a review of Orphan Black that was only a couple of hundred words long, then repeat it using different characters. I wasn't trying to be cute. I just don't know what more to say about Orphan Black, other than it is one of the most unique new shows of the year, it's exciting and intense and engrossing, and Tatiana Maslany is absolutely phenomenal, no matter who she plays. Any more in-depth analysis of the show, or of its storyline, will just have to wait until the end of the season.

05: Community (Four)
Last month: 7 | Mondays, 7.30pm

Sometimes I watch Community and I think it's the cleverest comedy on television. Other times I watch Community and I think it's no wonder the network decided to give creator (and resident crazy writer) Dan Harmon the sack. But no matter which way I lean, I always laugh my ass off. Hilarious, week after week.

04: Boardwalk Empire (SoHo)
Last month: 5 | Mondays, 8.30pm

The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire has been incredible by the shows own standards, and pretty freakin' good by any other standard you'd care to mention. The writers seem to have a handle on Nucky, the supporting characters are working in concert - especially Capone and Van Alden - and moving the focus to Chalky White, and moving some of the action to Florida, has given the show a freshness it sorely needed after last year.

03: Parks & Recreation (Four)
Last month: 4 | Mondays, 8pm

Parks probably deserves to be ranked this high just for giving us a pair of fantastic Ron Swanson episodes in Bailout (Ron gets too much satisfaction from Leslie accidentally funding a porn shop) and Partridge (Ron gets sued for punching Jamm). If you don't enjoy Ron Swanson laughing, you're probably not alive.

02: Jono & Ben At Ten (TV3)
Last month: 3 | Mondays, 10pm

This month's #JABAT Moment(s) of Brilliance: 1) Jono covers Ben's car in post-it notes, a la Pulp Sport, but has a surprise waiting when Ben gets home, and 2) "The cat scan has revealed that under your hat, there is a cat!" "Well, fancy that!" "They also found a brain tumour. Sorry that bit didn't rhyme." Dr Seuss MD needs to be made now.

01: Orange Is The New Black (TV2)
Last month: 2 | finished

Head writer Jenji Kohan crafted one of the better season finales in recent memory, bringing everything to a head in the final acts of that last episode - which forced Piper into a situation she wasn't emotionally prepared to face -and setting up a fantastic cliffhanger that has me gagging for the next season (due sometime in 2014, probably mid-year). Orange is the best show of the past month, and maybe the best new show of the year.

What were your favourite shows during November 2013?

(*) Sadly, this is also the last edition of the Power Rankings to run here at Stuff: your correspondent has resigned his post and will be making his final comments this coming Friday. And by "your correspondent", I mean me. I'm very sad to be moving on, but it feels like the right time - and this is in no way connected to the closing of multiple blogs last month. This decision was mine, and Stuff have been nothing but supportive of me and On The Box during my time here.

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