Alvey opts for another tie in the third episode, unable to decide between the 197-foot-tall Colossos at Germany's Heide Park (the tallest wooden coaster in the world) and Skyrush at Pennyslvania's Hersheypark (the most intense air time in the U.S.)

You know it's a stacked episode when the powerful 2012 Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland, one of the fastest (92 mph) and tallest (306 feet) coasters in the world, can't muster more than a bronze medal in Alvey's eyes.

Also ran: The Griffon floorless dive machine at Busch Gardens in Virginia with a pair of vertical drops each topping 100 feet.

Episode 4 (June 30)

In the most stacked episode of the season, Dodonpa at Japan's Fuji-Q Highland (the world's fastest launch at 0 to 107 mph in 1.8 seconds) can do no better than third best while New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas (a top five coaster in both the Hawker and Amusement Today polls) must settle for silver.

Alvey's pick: The 2001 Expedition GeForce at Germany's Holiday Park, the No. 1 steel coaster in the Hawker poll.

Out of the money: The 80 mph Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, a 2001 B&M mega currently the No. 3 steel coaster in the Amusement Today poll.

Episode 5 (July 7)

In the fifth episode, the seven-inversion Takabisha at Japan's Fuji-Q Highland (the world's steepest roller coaster with a beyond vertical 121-degree first drop) and the lightning fast and ground-hugging Furius Baco at Spain's PortAventura (the world's only launched winged coaster) are forced to battle for no better than second place.

Alvey's pick: Maverick at Cedar Point in Ohio, which combines multiple launches, dual inversions and loads of air time for what he calls the "most well-paced ride in the world."

Bringing up the rear: The 1998 Volcano: The Blast at Virginia's Kings Dominion, the world's first launched inverted coaster and a one-time record-holder for the tallest inversion at 155 feet.

Episode 6 (July 14)

The sixth episode features a pair of unique rides in the Superman Escape dark ride-coaster combo (one of Alvey's all-time favorites) at Australia's Warner Bros. Movie World and X2 (a fourth-dimension coaster with rotating seats) at California's Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Alvey's pick: iSpeed at Italy's Mirabilandia, the European cousin of Maverick with a magnetic launch, 180-foot-tall top hat element and plenty of airtime hills.

Out of the running: the 2012 X-Flight winged coaster at Six Flags Great America outside Chicago.

Episode 7 (July 21)

The season finale includes Magnum XL-200 at Ohio's Cedar Point, a 1989 Arrow Dynamics hyper that many enthusiasts still consider one of the greatest coasters ever built.

But Alvey opts instead for Katun at Italy's Mirabilandia, a relentless inverted coaster built in 2000 with six inversions that he calls a "bat out of hell."

That leaves the Behemoth mega coaster at Canada's Wonderland and the Batwing flyer at Six Flags Maryland to fight over third place.

Related theme park stories and photo galleries

Disneyland: Fantasy Faire | Mickey & the Magical Map

Universal Studios Hollywood: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Six Flags Magic Mountain: Full Throttle

Knott's Berry Farm: Timber Mountain | Coast Rider

SeaWorld San Diego: Aquatica

U.S. parks: Top 13 for 2013 | Disney World | Cedar PointTop 10 water coasters

International parks: Top 13 for 2013 | Shanghai Disneyland | Disneyland ParisTop 20 water parks

> Follow the Los Angeles Times Funland theme park blog on Twitter, Facebook and Google+