'Chuck,' 'Mad Men,' 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Dollhouse' plus at least four new comedies made the cut
No. 10: 'Parks and Recreation'
The comedy that premiered in April wasn't good, but NBC showed faith in creators Greg Daniels and Mike Schur and leading lady Amy Poehler. Right out of the box, the second "Parks and Recreation" season has rewarded that trust. This fall, "Parks and Recreation" has regularly delivered more laughs than its more hyped NBC Thursday comrades thanks in no small part to the expanded contributions from what began as a supporting cast, but has become an ensemble. Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson has become TV's most reliable scene stealer, with his jazz alter ego, painful bunions and love of breakfast foods. With episodes like "The Stakeout" and "Tom's Divorce," Aziz Ansari have proven capable of carrying whole episodes. And the budding relationship between Chris Pratt's Andy and Aubrey Plaza's April is one that I actually want to see develop. And even the background players have begun to shine, including Jim O'Heir's hard-luck Jerry, who I've crowned my favorite tertiary character on TV. And even while stepping back and letting her colleagues shine, Poehler has been funnier and more likable this season, making Leslie Knope into the kind of character you can look forward to spending half-an-hour per week with. It's been a remarkable turnaround for "Parks and Recreation," a show that's sure to be far higher on my list next year if it continues on this trajectory. For now, "Parks and Recreation" can be satisfied with finishing just ahead of "Modern Family," "Better Off Ted" and "Community" in the Best New Comedy of 2009 sweepstakes. Bravo.