It was a rough year for network TV. Many of the most talked about shows continued to appear on cable and through streaming services (Netflix’s Arrested Development and House of Cards). NBC cancelled most of its new shows (Go On). But like any other season, there were some welcome additions (Elementary) and some unwelcome ones (Guys with Kids). Some long overdue goodbyes (Rules of Engagement) and some shows we said goodbye to before we ever really got to know them (Ben & Kate). Here are some of my picks for the best, and worst, of the TV season.
Best Comedy: Parks and Recreation
This season featured a funny yet emotional wedding, guest star Patton Oswalt fillibustering the Pawnee City County with the proposed plot of Star Wars: Episode 7, and a ban on large, sugary drinks. If you aren’t watching, you’re missing the greatest ensemble of characters on TV.
Runner-Up: The Big Bang Theory
Best Animated: Archer
Not totally enthused by the newest Arrested Development Netflix episodes? Then check out the gloriously inappropriate FX show featuring the voices of Arrested actors Jessica Walters (Lucille) and Judy Greer (Kitty). Sploosh.
Runner-up: Bob’s Burgers
Best Actor/Actress: Nick Offerman, Parks and Recreation
From Tammy II to Tammy III, from Snake Juice to the Pyramid of Greatness, Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson is one of the greatest sitcom characters of all time. Hopefully this year, he will finally get a long overdue Emmy nomination.
Runner-Up: Connie Britton, Nashville
Best New Show: The Mindy Project
It usually takes until the second season before a new sitcom finds its legs. But by the end of season 1, Mindy Kaling’s Project was nearly there: many wonderful moments, memorable one-liners and greater definition of characters. (If only it would get a new theme song …)
“If Only Another Network Would Pick It Up!”: Happy Endings
It pains me that Happy Endings might not return to TVs this fall. Yes, in its recent episodes it was going a little too wacky, a little off the rails, a little too Community (which actually did get renewed). But it was one of the few shows that provided genuine laughs week after week. So, please TBS, pick up this hilarious show. It would be great paired up with Cougar Town!
Runners-Up: The New Normal
Best Season Moment: How I Met Your Mother
After eight seasons, we finally meet the mom in the final moments, portrayed by the talented, Tony-nominated actress Cristin Milloti (Once).
Runners-Up: Jim giving Pam the DVD chronicling their relationship, The Office; Mindy trying to rip down the stripper pole at the frat party, The Mindy Project
Best Show You Shouldn’t Watch by Yourself at Night: Hannibal
Perhaps it’s a slight exaggeration to say that NBC’s Hannibal is the most violent thing I have ever seen on TV. But it comes close: recent episodes have featured bodies that have been flayed, dismembered, and even turned into mushroom gardens. Yet in spite of the gore, it is one of the best acted and most beautiful shows currently on (largely due to the fact that it was created by Bryan Fuller, the man behind the lush and luminary Pushing Daisies). Regardless, this newest take on one our greatest fictional villains, is worth some sleepless nights.
Runners-Up: American Horror Story, The Following