“One Mississippi” (Season 1 on Amazon)
Amazon broke into the awards race with poignant and thoughtful half-hour series like “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” That tradition was upheld this year with the premiere of Tig Notaro’s semi-autobiographical, “One Mississippi.” With whip-smart writing by Notaro and “Juno’s” Diablo Cody, this “traumedy” is a funny, heartbreaking bit of essential TV viewing.
“Girls” (Seasons 1-5 on HBO)
Lena Dunham’s love-it-or-hate-it HBO comedy is coming off one of its best seasons in years and will return for its final outing in February. That’s plenty of time to catch up on the series, one of the first — and best — depictions of millennial angst on TV.
“Steven Universe” (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu)
Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” has earned two Emmy nominations and a cult following in its three seasons for the way it has managed to incorporate LGBT themes and diverge from traditional gender norms in an animated kids’ sci-fi series.
“Bunheads” (Season 1 on Freeform App)
Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “Gilmore Girls” reboot for Netflix was a happy treat for fans of the original series. But at just four installments, “A Year in the Life” flies by. Those looking for more of Sherman-Palladino’s quirky, emotionally grounded style can turn to her short-lived Freeform series, “Bunheads” starring the inimitable Sutton Foster.
“Chewing Gum” (Season 1 on Netflix)
Netflix’s British import “Chewing Gum” has flown under the radar since it hit the streaming platform in November, but at just six episodes, the underrated gem is worth a watch. Written by and starring Michaela Coel, the raunchy comedy is the frank and sometimes uncomfortable story of a 24-year-old woman from a hyper-religious background who makes it her mission to lose her virginity.
“Freaks and Geeks” (Season 1 on Netflix)
When it comes to cult TV series, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow’s “Freaks and Geeks” set the standard. With a cast packed with soon-to-be stars like James Franco, Seth Rogen and Linda Cardellini, the high school comedy only lasted for one season, but it’s still referred to as one of the greatest series ever more than 15 years later.
“Atlanta” (Season 1 on FX App)
Few series air with as much confidence as Donald Glover’s outstanding new FX comedy “Atlanta.” Wickedly funny and emotionally resonant, the series will go down as one of the best of the year. It’s already been renewed for a second season, but those who haven’t yet tuned in can catch up on the FX website.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu, Season 4 currently airing on Fox)
Fox’s cop comedy won several Golden Globes for its debut season, but it’s only gotten better over time. Boasting one of the best ensemble casts on television led by Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” boasts the same heart seen in co-creator Michael Schur’s previous series “Parks and Recreation.”
“Angie Tribeca” (Season 1 on Hulu)
Created by Steven and Nancy Carell, TBS’s proudly bizarre “Angie Tribeca” is one of the best cop show parodies since “Police Squad!” Starring Rashida Jones and Hayes MacArthur, the series plays like a series of sketches sending up police procedurals like “Law & Order” and “CSI.”
“Happy Endings” (Seasons 1-3 on Hulu)
In an era when networks were desperately trying to recreate the magic of “Friends,” David Caspe’s “Happy Endings” turned the “group of thirtysomethings” format on its head, growing into an offbeat and profoundly funny comedy that now has imitators of its own.
“Parks and Recreation” (Seasons 1-7 on Netflix)
For seven seasons, Amy Poehler played the eternally optimistic Leslie Knope on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” a sweet and heartwarming comedy that was egregiously snubbed by the Emmys for its entire run.