Hollywood Reporter TV critic Tim Goodman has finally decided to reconstitute his weekly sports-style “Power Rankings!” column that he wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly a year. Goodman hasn’t done any rankings for THR yet, but he did promo the column today on The Bastard Machine.
The methodology remains as simple as it ever was, as the idea sprung from (and winks at) fantasy sports power rankings. But unlike fantasy baseball there is no WHIP, no ERA, no VORP. Unlike fantasy football there is no kicking category, fumbles or defense. These rankings are based on creative performance for scripted series from week to week. (Unscripted series can make the list, but there’s a bias here for scripted material, which is inherently more artistic.) A strong episode makes you rise, a tepid one makes you slip. Several bad ones and you’re off the list. It also hurts to have a rerun or two (It should probably go without saying, but a particular show needs to be on the air to make the list — not on hiatus or between seasons). So the writing, acting, directing, humor, pathos or whatever better be excellent each week. I’m also going to incorporate “the viewer’s vote” from suggestions/pleadings/admonishments made in the comments. That is, if enough people believe Big Bang Theory deserves to be on the list or NCIS is having a great year, I will consider the selection as the so-called water cooler chatter or trending topics rise. But if I tune in and the show is awful, it doesn’t make the cut. Beyond that, there’s nothing. It’s not about ratings or demographics or ad sales. It’s about great television. I’m a professional critic. I created the rankings. I’m the Commissioner, so to speak. End of story.
We’re surprised Goodman decided to bring the column back as soon as he did, with the season premieres of the cable heavyweight shows all months away, including arguably his favorite show “Breaking Bad.” How accurate can power rankings be with AMC, HBO and Showtime’s rosters relatively dormant? Nonetheless, we’re looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.