I thought it had been longer, but it was March 5, 2013 when I last shared the list of shows I’ve been watching. With the fantastic return of “The Americans” last night, it seems like the perfect time to offer up my current list. Last season’s rank in parenthesis.

  1. “The Americans” (4) A year ago it was too new to put this high, but season one was phenomenal and, as I’ve already said, last night’s season two debut did not disappoint. Two amazing scenes (Philip meeting with the Afghanis, and then Philip and Elizabeth discovering their comrades in the hotel room) were fan-freaking-tastic. And most of the rest of the show delivered, too. Just a brilliant show.
  2. “Community” (5) I gave up on the show after about three episodes last year. Dan Harmon’s departure as show runner and writer was painfully obvious. I heard there were some better points in the season, but I was never tempted to watch again. But with Harmon’s return, I decided to give it another shot. And it was great from the first episode. I loved the way they handled the departures of Pierce and Troy. I’m looking forward to its post-Olympics return tonight to see where they take things.
  3. “Parks & Recreation” (1) Another show that handled the departure of key cast members wonderfully. The show is just so smart and perfectly pitched and full of laughs. Great cameos nearly each week. And some of the best characters in recent sit-com memory. It’s a damn shame that this hasn’t won any Best Comedy Emmys.
  4. “Modern Family” (2) It just keep chugging along. Its Emmy streak was finally broken, which should have happened about three years ago. But just because it’s a B+ show now doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate it. My biggest complaint about the show is often things are wrapped up too nicely in the closing scene. But it is still consistently funny and sweet, if a step behind “P&R.” At least to me.
  5. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NR) The newcomer for 2014. I watched the pilot back in September, liked it a lot, and added the show to my DVR schedule. For some reason I never started watching it, though, and didn’t finally jump back in until the Holidays. Thank goodness I did. With some key members of the writing team coming from “P&R,” it’s no surprise that there are a lot of common elements. Humor that is right up my alley. Quirky characters aplenty. I think the Emmy win for Best Comedy was a reach, but this is surely a promising season one. Hopefully they can get stronger the way “P&R” and “The Office” did.

Honorable Mention:
“Archer” (3) I LOVED the premise for this year, moving to Miami and rebooting it as “Archer: Vice.” But as has always been the case with this show, one minute it’s brilliant, the next it is wildly uneven.
“The New Girl” (NR) S. has watched this show from the beginning. Often I would find something else to do. The whole “adorkable” thing put me off a bit. But eventually I caved and paid half-attention, which has turned into watching two of every three episode. A funny, fun show, but not top five material. Also worth noting this past Christmas was the first time I would watch Elf and think Zooey Deschanel looked wrong as a blonde.