Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody Watch: Ellen Page And Kate Mara Are 'Tiny Detectives' In Hilarious 'True Detective' Parody 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" Miles Teller Says Role In 'Divergent' Made Him Feel "Dead Inside," And He Took Movie "For Business Reasons" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" First Look At 'The Dying Of The Light,' Paul Schrader Quits Film Over What Nicolas Winding Refn Calls "Artistic Disrespect" New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' New Images From 'Interstellar' Arrive, Christopher Nolan Says The Film Is A "Mirror" Of 'Inception' Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Watch: New Trailer For ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson & Taron Egerton Star Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World Chilly New Banner For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Explores A Cold New World 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit 15 Films That Failed To Hit The 2014 Fall Festival Circuit Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Steven Soderbergh Re-Scores And Changes Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' To Black-And-White Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack Watch: Have A Threesome With Very NSFW Clip From 'Maps To The Stars' With Julianne Moore & John Cusack First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' First, Mostly Rave Reviews Arrive For David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Watch: New Hilarious Red-Band Trailer For 'The Interview' Starring Seth Rogen And James Franco Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

TV Vs. Film: Ten Shows Worth Skipping The Multiplex For

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist May 26, 2011 at 9:58AM

The Playlist's brief flirtation with television continues... Yesterday, we dipped our toe into the murky waters of the debate around whether the quality of television has now surpassed that of contemporary film (conclusion: it's a silly question), and now, as the TV season wraps up this week, we're examining the evidence, the shows that keep The Playlist team going on weekends when movie theaters are bereft of anything that doesn't insult our intelligence.
26


1. "Parks and Recreation"
Originally envisioned as a spin-off of NBC's most successful comedy, "The Office," and undoubtedly a kind of spiritual successor (it uses the same mock-documentary, talking-head filled format), "Parks and Recreation" had a fairly unpromising first six-episode season. It wasn't bad -- the cast, including Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones and Paul Schneider, were too talented for that -- but it was a little awkward, a show visibly trying to work out what it wanted to be. But it hit the ground running in its second season, and for its recently-completed third, it managed that rarest of TV feats, pitching a no-hitter, pulling off 16 excellent half-hours without a weak episode. The sitcom, which focuses on a government branch in Pawnee, Indiana, has essentially become the closest thing we have to a live-action "Simpsons," creating a living, breathing world populated with dozens of gut-busting recurring characters, most notably the Vince Vaughn-loving douchebag prince Jean-Ralphio, local TV anchor Perd Hapley, and iPod/vacuum cleaner hybrid DJ Roomba. New additions, namely "Party Down" refugee Adam Scott and Rob Lowe (never better than he is here) have bolstered the cast, and those that survive have settled beautifully into their parts. In particular, in Nick Offerman, as man's man Ron Swanson, and Chris Pratt, as the boundlessly enthusiastic Andy, it has secret comedic weapons powerful enough to form the basis of the invasion of a Middle-Eastern country. But what really separates it from the rest is its big, beating heart: it's a show that loves and cares about every one of its characters, who love and care about each other. If its fourth season can keep it up, it'll cement its place in the hall of fame.
Must-Watch Episode: "Fancy Party," which sees Andy and nihilistic receptionist April impulsively tie the knot. It was a bold move, but the hilarious, touching episode entirely justified what could have been a ratings-chasing move. Plus it featured an absolutely lovely use of Simon & Garfunkel's "April Come She Will."

Honorable Mentions: It speaks to the strength of the work being produced on the small screen these days that we easily could have run a list twice as long, and there's some tremendous shows that, for one reason or another, we couldn't fit in. AMC's duo of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" are among the best dramas being produced in any medium, but both last aired in the summer of 2010, so it was just too far away for our list, aside from the fact that both have already been praised to the skies in every quarter (the same goes for "Party Down," which aired its second and, sadly, final season a year ago). Still, if for some reason you've yet to get involved, now is the time: "Breaking Bad" airs its fourth season in July while "Mad Men" will return at the beginning of 2012.

This article is related to: Feature, TV Networks, Comedy Central


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates