Another year, another Emmy Awards ceremony. Like a dutiful TV fan, I’ll be watching on Sunday night, cheering on my favorites and groaning at the by-now-inevitable Modern Family sweep. But I’m already prepared to be disappointed, because the Emmys have never honored what I love most about TV: the collaborative efforts of great ensemble casts. In a small effort to right that wrong, Flavorwire has rounded up the ten very best ensembles on television right now. And no, it doesn’t include Modern Family.
Parks and Recreation
Forget “right now”: Parks and Recreation has one of the best ensemble comedy casts of all time. Let’s count the ways: the generous earnestness Amy Poehler gives Leslie Knope; Nick Offerman’s gruff, DIY libertarianism as Ron Swanson; Aziz Ansari creates a Tom Haverford whose delusions are as endearing as his dreams; Chris Pratt transformed what could been a one-note deadbeat boyfriend into the vehicle for the show’s best physical comedy; Aubrey Plaza makes deadpan negs and apathetic eye-rolls into an art; and Rob Lowe’s character so closely resembles real-life health nuts that if you describe someone you know as “a total Chris Traeger,” everyone will instantly know what you mean. After five seasons, even characters who are often relegated to the background — Retta’s Donna, Jim O’Heir’s Jerry — or tend to play straight man to Parks and Rec‘s many oddballs — Rashida Jones’ Anne, Adam Scott’s Ben — have become beloved. That’s because what makes this cast magical goes beyond the talents of any individual actor; it’s about the way they translate the genuine fun they have working together to the screen.