Once upon a midnight dreary, The Following made all other shows look weak and weary 

Once upon a midnight dreary, The Following made all other shows look weak and weary 

TV Club Power Rankings are The A.V. Club’s way of demystifying television ratings—while also claiming some of the authority of those ratings for ourselves. The power rankings formula pulls the numbers from TV’s most-trusted ratings source, Nielsen, and combines them with our own community and editorial metrics. It’s not a method of predicting what TV shows will be canceled or renewed, but it does demonstrate the series that have staying power in the eyes of The A.V. Club and its readers.

Its strength will appear diminished when it stands side by side with the returning CBS and ABC comedies next week, but in its second week on the air, The Following has amassed enough, er, followers to shoot to the top of the TV Club Power Rankings. Total viewer numbers were down for the second episode of the Kevin Bacon-led thriller, but a minor increase in its rating among adults under 50 (3.3, up from the première’s 3.2) was enough to rip the heart out of the competition and bury it under the floorboards. “Classic Poe,” Kevin Bacon wryly remarks from somewhere offscreen.

And as good as it is to see a Power Rankings Top 10 that most accurately reflects what you, The A.V. Club readers, are watching (and reading about—“I Watched This” numbers boosted the Power Rankings for all of this week’s top shows), the way things shook out this week only illustrates how severely adrift the broadcast networks would be without their biggest hits. One Modern Family-sized hit couldn’t subsidize the costs of a Last Resort or a Don’t Trust The B---- In Apartment 23, but its lack of a new episode and some well-received installments of New Girl and 30 Rock certainly inflate the impact of shows with relatively lightweight Nielsen showings. Of course, that’s kind of the idea of the TV Club Power Rankings (Shh! Don’t tell anyone!), so keep a snapshot of this week’s Top 10 in your mind when the heavy hitters return next week to put The Following back in its place.

THE TOP 10

  1. The Following (10.1 million total viewers, 3.3 18-49 rating, 26 TV Club Power Ranking)
  2. New Girl (4.7 million total viewers, 2.6 18-49 rating, 24.6 TV Club Power Ranking)
  3. 30 Rock (3.8 million total viewers, 1.4 18-49 rating, 24.2 TV Club Power Ranking)
  4. Parks And Recreation (3.9 million total viewers, 1.7 18-49 rating, 23.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
  5. The Office (4.2 million total viwers, 2 18-49 rating, 21.7 TV Club Power Ranking)
  6. Saturday Night Live (7.3 million total viewers, 2.7 18-49 rating, 20.9 TV Club Power Ranking)
  7. The Good Wife (9.4 million total viewers, 1.5 18-49 rating, 19.4 TV Club Power Ranking)
  8. Bob’s Burgers (4.1 million total viewers, 2 18-49 rating, 15.5 TV Club Power Ranking)
  9. American Dad (4.3 million total viewers, 2.2 18-49 rating, 13.8 TV Club Power Ranking)
  10. Happy Endings (2.9 million total viewers, 1.3 18-49 rating, 9.4 TV Club Power Ranking) 

BEYOND THE TOP 10

DEBUT: The Americans is off to a strong start, pulling 3.22 million viewers in its initial airing, a number that increases to 4.7 million with two encore airings of the pilot episode factored in. There’s some sort of “Soviet illegal juicing” joke to be made here, but it’s Friday and we’re exhausted so we’ll save the wit for next week.

FAREWELL: Last Resort, meanwhile, saw no major boosts for its series finale—understandable for the final chapter of a highly serialized program. It went out with 5.5 million total viewers and a 1.2 in the demo, diminished marks compared to a première (7 million total viewers, 2.2 18-49) that didn’t fare that well either.

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