A few TV notes.

First, I was a couple days late watching the series finale of Parks and Recreation. In fact, I was a couple weeks behind and watched the final five episodes in a two-night binge. And since that was two weeks ago, this is verrrrrry late. But still…

An absolutely perfect and tremendous end to a nearly perfect show. I enjoyed the flash forward gimmick that the final season was built upon, and then the further flashing forward in the finale that gave hints how each character ended up. The “Johnny Karate” episode should go into the Smithsonian. And the finale itself has to be one of the all-time great finales. As the show did in its seven seasons, it hit that ideal balance between silliness and sappiness. Ron Swanson paddling a kayak into the distance? Just a brilliant final image of him.

I’ve said this many times before: I have always liked Modern Family. But Parks & Rec was always a better show. And it’s a damn shame that Modern Family and its cast routinely won awards while the Parks & Rec crew was always looked over. Phil Dunphy is an American treasure. But Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson are pantheon sit-com characters.

So here are some things related to the end of the show I collected a couple weeks back.

‘Parks And Recreation’ Star Amy Poehler: ‘It’s Kind Of Ruined Me For Anything Else’

Knope Springs Eternal: ‘Parks and Recreation Ends Its Brilliant, Satisfying Seven-Season Run

Parks And Recreation: “One Last Ride”

You know, there’s a bigger, and frankly amazing, significance to Parks & Rec ending. With it gone, there are no more great comedies on NBC. And given that they passed on several shows that are on other networks and appear focused on dramas and reality TV, will we ever see the network embrace comedy again?

This is the network that gave us Cheers, Cosby, Seinfeld, Frasier, and Friends. Plus Family Ties, Night Court, A Different World, NewsRadio, Will and Grace, The Office, and Community. Four of the greatest series in TV history, a handful of other excellent ones, and some niche shows that pushed televised comedy forward. Plus about a 1000 shows they desperately wanted us to like but could not match the heavy hitters.

Today CBS is known as the comedy network, Modern Family is on ABC, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on Fox, and Tina Fey’s latest work is airing on Netflix. Meanwhile NBC offers up some half-assed comedies you can tell are terrible just by watching the promos.

Like a lot of folks, I don’t watch much network TV anymore. But, for the first time since the very early 80s, I have no weekly reason to turn on NBC. Or at least set the DVR to record something aired on NBC.

Since this seems to be a meme, given the show’s pitiful ratings, an obligatory reminder that you really should be watching The Americans. Best show on TV. And given that so few people are watching it, it appears best positioned to become ‘The Next The Wire’, a show that people who watch laud as one of the finest in recent memory that just can not seem to get traction with viewers.

While talking about US-Soviet relations in the 1980s, I just got around to watching the 30 for 30 about the 1980 Soviet hockey team, Miracles and Men, over the weekend. Man, was it fantastic.

There is another, more artsy, documentary about the same subject that recently came out. But to American audiences, this is a largely new topic: how did the players on that Soviet team, generally believed to be the most talented and finest “amateur” team ever assembled, react to losing to the young Americans on that Friday night in Lake Placid, New York?

The film begins by setting up how hockey became a tool for the Soviets to demonstrate their strength on the world stage. (I had no idea that hockey was not played in the USSR until after World War II.) Behind the brilliant Anatoly Tarasov, the Soviets slowly built up not only a formidable program, but completely changed the way that hockey was played.

It’s pretty amazing to watch the video from the 1972 series between the Canadian NHL All-Stars and the Soviet national team. After they were soundly beaten early, the Canadians began playing flat-out dirty hockey, pounding the Soviets into submission. Like The Americans, you suddenly find yourself rooting for the bad guys!

One of the coolest elements of the film is how no US hockey players are interviewed. This is only about the Soviet viewpoint. So we see how they were harassed when the got to America. How Lake Placid, to them, seemed like this fierce little village full of anti-Communist propaganda. And how their rout of the US team in New York a week before the Olympics set them for a massive fall two weeks later.

While there is original video and audio from the ABC broadcast of the US-USSR game, much of the audio is provided from a Soviet radio broadcast. The terseness of the announcer as he shares that the mighty Soviets have lost to “the host team” is a stark contrast to Al Michaels’ legendary exclamation on ABC. It’s easy to imagine people back in the USSR staring at the radios in disbelief after he abruptly ends his commentary.

While the piece focuses on Tarasov and future NHL player Slava Fetisov, the star is team captain Boris Mikhailov. He plays his role as the evil Russian to the hilt. His best line is when the producer asks him if he ever saw the movie “Miracle.” “No!” he spits out in Russian. “Why would I see that? If I want to see a movie, I’ll watch a good one where my team wins!” While he roars, there is also the slightest hint of a smile and twinkle in his eye. For an intensely proud man, that night in 1980 is an embarrassment. But it was still one moment in a lengthy, stellar career. And in that twinkle, I think he shows that he understands and accepts what the game meant to Americans. And that his job is to dismiss this blip on the historical record as one bad night for a legendary team.

Compare his knowing response to the one by a former TASS press official who was in Lake Placid, who snippily replies that for a random man to kiss Sofia Loren, it is the biggest moment in his life, but for her it is just a moment. There’s no humor or lightness hidden behind his annoyance in being asked to relive the upset one more time.

The final third falls off a bit, as it focuses on Fetisov’s attempts to fight the Soviet machine and come to America to play in the NHL.

But, overall, it’s a fine addition to the history of that epic night.