Last week I posted the Best Television Drama Series Currently On-Air and as promised, here is the Comedy list.
I'll once again give the caveat that these are not in order and it doesn't necessarily mean that they are on television right now, but it means the series has not ended and if not airing now will be sometime in the near future. The interesting difference on this list is the presence of network shows. On the drama list there was only one, and on this there are four. Much of that will change after 30 Rock goes off the air in January and the fate of Community is decided. However, for now, the broadcast networks are doing much with the funnies.
I'm not sure if I was able to appropriately express why each show is so damned funny, so I hope you just take some time to watch and see if they tickle your fancy. "Smiling is my favorite" and laughing is even better...get ready.
|1. Parks and Recreation|
With Leslie Knope's innocent charm, Ron Swanson’s swagger (and alter ego Duke Silver), Tom Haverfords misguided money motivations, fake FBI agent Bert Macklin...what more could you want from a comedy? The show followed in the footsteps of The Office and adopted the mockumentary format, but has created its own style with multiple camera angles and fast jump cuts. The show revolves around the parks department in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana and the members of the small office and mainly Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). Knope might be the star, but all the characters are so great I’m not sure if I could choose a favorite. The first season was uneven and by far the weakest of the series, so if you start from the beginning and have trouble getting into it, skip ahead to season 2.
The first four seasons are available on Netflix Instant and the fifth season is currently airing on NBC.
It is common to have a dramatic show that it is comedic, but I would say it is fairly rare to go the opposite way and have a comedic show that is also dramatic. Louie executes this uncommon blend in an amazing way as he tells stories that are loosely based on Louis CK's own life as a recently divorced father of two girls. This makes sense as Louis, wrote, created and stars in the show. The format of Louie is interesting and unexpected. Oftentimes there are two segments that sometimes thematically connect to each other, but other times completely stand alone. This allows Louis to tell the stories that he wants without any real constraints. The material is oftentimes dark, but the comedic spin that put on it is priceless. Oh, and I can’t forget the theme song, it should be watched simply for that. "Louie, Louie, Louie. Louie, Louie Louie."
The first two seasons are available on Netflix Instant and the third season just concluded airing on FX and should be available on Netflix soon.
|3. 30 Rock|
It’s hard to believe the series is ending in less than two months. The comedy has been a critical darling and beloved by anyone who watches it. Too bad that audience is limited to only about 10 people. It has won Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three times and Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey both won many awards for their performances. The show follows the behind the scenes happenings of the sketch show, TGS with Tracy Jordan show. However, because the writing is so clever and funny it doesn't feel trite or annoying as many “inside Hollywood” as shows before it have. If you weren’t one of the 10 people to already watch, I implore you to do so now.
The first six seasons are available on Netflix Instant and the seventh and final season is currently airing on NBC.
The other best comedy on NBC that nobody watches. Well, when looking at the ratings. I suspect that when counting DVR and online viewing the numbers are much higher for Community than usually reported. The show is centered on a concept as simple as a group of students at a community college. Together they form the best and funniest group of misfits this side of The Breakfast Club. Much of the humor comes from Community’s very meta references to pop culture (and the show itself) and it is a type of comedy that continues to get better and better the more you watch. It is Joel McHale’s biggest starring role since he first became known for The Soup. The fate of the show is sadly undetermined at the moment. It has a huge cult fan base, but since that hasn’t transferred into ratings, the next season could be its last. Originally, it was scheduled to air on Friday nights, but NBC later announced it would be delayed.
October 19th is now on February 17th when the show will return to the Thursday night line-up. The first three seasons are available on Hulu.
Animated shows have come a long way from being aimed at children on Saturday mornings. While many shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy started a trend of appealing to both children and adults, Archer is different in that it is made for and appeals solely to people of an older age (hopefully the kids aren’t watching). The show is set at the International Secret Intelligence Service aka the ISIS. The titular character, Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) is a one of the worlds most dangerous secret spy’s. After watching a few episodes this fact becomes fairly shocking as he is really only in it for the woman, alcohol and rich lifestyle he gets to live because he is a member of the ISIS. The agency is run by Sterling’s mother Malory (Jessica Walter) who wants more sex than he does and I am thankful the show is animated cause the images would just be disturbing.
Currently, the first two seasons are available on Netflix Instant. The fourth season will begin airing on FX on January 17th, 2013 and hopefully season three will be available on Netflix shortly before that.
Californication is one of my favorite shows that I always always forget about. In fact, I almost forget it on this list and rescued it at the last minute before I woefully didn’t include Hank Moody on one of the best comedies. This could be due to the fact that I no longer have Showtime and forget that it is still on air or that the last few seasons have gone down in quality and this has made me only want to remember it in its glory days of the first few seasons. With that being said, the first few seasons comprise some of my favorite episodes of a 30 minute episodic show…ever. Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is an author who lives in Venice Beach, CA and just can’t seem to do anything right. He drinks too much, he has too much sex and he is oftentimes accompanied by his even more troubled agent, Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler). Say Runkle out loud twice and just start laughing. The two greatest things about the first few seasons is that at its heart it is a beautiful love story. Hank loves Karen and his daughter, but just can’t seem to get himself together enough to have a stable life with them. It’s an incredibly realistic tale, which makes you love Moody even more despite the fact that he is a sex addict. Some of the situations are more outrageous, but it also gives glimpse into life in LA that is more accurate than other show I have seen (like Entourage.)
The first five seasons are available through Showtime and the sixth season premieres on January 13th, 2013.
|7. Eastbound & Down|
Kenny Motherfucking Powers! While really that is all you need to know, I will attempt to expand. Danny McBride stars ast Kenny Powers, a former professional baseball player must return to his hometown in North Carolina. Day to day Powers does everything he can get back to his former life and make a comeback in the big leagues. He is a crass womanizer who is utterly hysterical. In fact, many things on the show must be seen to be believed, so stop reading and just go watch already.
The first three seasons are available through HBO and the surprise fourth season will be airing sometime in the near future.
|8. Modern Family|
I’m gonna be honest here, I don’t really even like Modern Family. However, I wasn’t prepared for the barrage of comments complaining about its absence on a best comedy list. I know there has to be something funny that I am missing, but it doesn’t do the number one thing I expect from a comedy – make me laugh. If it does you – good on ya and enjoy!
The fourth season is currently airing on ABC.
|9. Curb Your Enthusiasm|
This one is a bit iffy if it actually belongs on this list, as it is undetermined if it is actually a current on-air series. Larry David is the creator and star of the show who will determine if there is more Curb, but Larry David is a quirky guy. After 8 seasons, he has yet to decide if he would like to continue to make episodes and the show has been so successful on HBO, they are willing to let him decide. Improv is one of the most difficult formats to transfer to a television show and the fact that one is good and funny makes it extra brilliant. The show has given the world a glimpse into the comedic life of Larry David, and for that, we should all be thankful. It revolves around Larry as a semiretired writer and producer and follows his struggles as a man who makes many faux paus and really just has trouble functioning as a normal member of society.
The first eight seasons are available through HBO.
|10. Bob's Burgers|
Sandwiched in between Family Guy and The Simpsons during FOX’s Animation Domination block, Bob’s Burgers has become the stand out show. Bob owns a burger joint that he runs with his wife and 3 children who shall we say are “challenges.” Louise will never take off her pink bunny ears and Tina is one of the most awkward teen characters. Just ask her about her dreams about boys. The show was nominated for an Emmy this year for Outstanding Animated Program and it is easy to see why. H. Jon Benjamin voices the main character of Bob, and the fact that he shows up on two shows this list sense a lot about his talent for comedy. Also, if you have never had the pleasure of having one of Bob’s “Thanks A Brunch Burger” I highly recommend one.
The first season is available on Netflix Instant and the third season is currently airing on FOX
|11. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia|
I'm not sure if there is a group of television characters that are more incompetent and insane but oh so very lovable than the gang of It's Always Sunny. They find themselves in the most asinine situations and it is so much fun to watch. The show centers around twins Sweet Dee and Dennis, Charlie Mac and the twin's adoptive father, Frank. Dennis co-owns the bar, Paddy's pub and many of the antics revolve around this. However, really nothing is off limits. The rest of it has to be experienced to be believed. Season eight is currently airing on FX.