How meaningful can the Nielsen ratings system be if the shows that draw the biggest ratings are awful dreck?

How meaningful can the Nielsen ratings system be if the shows that draw the biggest ratings are awful dreck?

Here are three shows - including one on premium cable that's so good it's worth paying for the channel - that more people should be watching.

And just for fun, I've listed three popular shows that epitomize the aforementioned dreck and should be relocated to the ninth circle of TV hell.

The good:

"Shameless"

Sure, one of the central characters is Frank, an amoral, unlikable drunk, but he's wonderfully played by William H. Macy.

Still, the best reason to watch Showtime's "Shameless" is Emmy Rossum's delicate - and Emmy-worthy - performance as Fiona, the woman who holds the Gallagher family together.

Throw in some stellar work from younger Gallaghers played by Jeremy Allen White and Emma Kenney and you've got the best show on television right now that's not "Community" or "Parks and Recreation."

"Raising Hope"

This cast is doing some of the best comedic work on television right now, especially Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt. And when the unfit parenting reaches an absurdist level, "Raising Hope" displays some sentimental wisdom that's never too saccharine.

"Fringe"

Again?! Why the best network drama is consistently suffering from low ratings and possible cancellation is beyond me. The romance is beginning to reach soap-opera levels, but Anna Torv is turning in a powerful performance that's both badass and vulnerable. Plus, Walter (John Noble) rules!

The bad:

"Hawaii Five-O"

Another bland procedural from Grandpa's favorite channel (CBS) that draws huge ratings. Sigh. Scott Caan is fun, but Alex O'Loughlin may be the worst actor on the planet.

"Glee"

I'm not a "Glee" fan, but I could understand its commercial and critical popularity last season. Now things are so far off track in Season 2 - Sue Sylvester comes across cartoonish and Will Schuester acts like a douche - that I predict even Gleeks will turn their backs on this hot mess. And, oh yeah, a Bieber episode - you suck!

The ugly:

"Harry's Law"

The absolute absurdity of this "legal" drama combined with its strong ratings means that America is either the dumbest collection of people on the planet or drug use is at an all-time high. Creator David E. Kelley has finally hit rock bottom with this trash.