Best of Television

Bill Records / NBC

1. Louie

Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Really, each episode of Louis CK's intensely personal FX show is more like an essay: a set of anecdotes, vignettes, stand-up routines and outtakes that add up to, contra Seinfeld, a show about everything. Death, war, divorce, masturbation, parenting, unrequited love--no subject is beyond its reach or ambition. In Louie's second season, Louis CK's confidence as a director, writer and performer elevated the low-budget DIY series to the best thing on TV: an R-rated, painfully funny meditation on life as something ridiculous, terrible and beautiful.

2. Parks and Recreation

Pawnee, Ind.,...

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