Over in Books and Culture, America's Jake Martin has an excellent review of three worthy tv series: 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, both on NBC, and The Big Bang Theory, on CBS. He writes:
The landscape of television these days is a grim one, with little to appeal to a thoughtful, reflective audience. Even cable networks, which usually can be counted on to produce at least one or two offerings of particular relevance, seemed to have hit a dry spot both creatively and intellectually. Mercifully there are at least three shows that can be counted on to offer a much-needed oasis in a desert of crime.
To his list I would add ABC's Modern Family, a sitcom now in its second season. Today's New York Times has an analysis of the show, and what it might illuminate about society as a whole. From the article:
In the last two years, “Modern Family” has ridden timely premises like this to surging viewership and six Emmys, including outstanding comedy series. In a rare concurrence, the darling of the critics is one of the highest rated comedies on television, and is the 20th rated show over all this season. This unusual success for a family comedy raises questions: What aspects of contemporary life has it tapped into? What does “Modern Family” say about modern families?
From the beginning, the creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd (“Cheers,” “Wings”) conceived their show around a newfangled family tree: Jay Pritchett, the patriarch; his Colombian trophy wife, Gloria; and her son, Manny; Jay’s grown son, Mitchell; his partner, Cam; and their adopted Vietnamese daughter; Jay’s high-strung daughter, Claire; her goofball husband, Phil; and their three suburban children.