23. Happy Endings (ABC)
Stars: Elisha Cuthbert, Damon Wayans, Jr., Zachary Knighton, Casey Wilson, Adam Pally, Eliza Coupe
When it premiered back in April 2011, Happy Endings showed all kinds of potential, leading sitcom experts to believe that non-cable programming had finally found its worthy Friends successor, albeit on a different network (ABC, not NBC) and an actual black dude (Damon Wayans, Jr.). But there was an initial downside: Happy Endings, at first, fancied itself as a series based around a failed relationship, that of Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert), and the other characters were basically just there for funny reactions and peanut gallery commentary.
But a funny thing happened to the year's most improved sitcom: Apparently realizing that the folks surrounding Knighton and Cuthbert were their strongest assets, the show's creative squad shifted the bulk of the material onto breakouts Adam Pally (Dave's gay yet frat-boy-ish pal Max), Eliza Coupe (Wayans' domineering wife), and Casey Wilson (who needs her own Judd Apatow-produced movie, stat).
Now, Happy Endings ranks as one of TV's best ensemble comedies, and its second season was a promising case study of an evolving boob-tube series figuring out its best assets and capitalizing upon them. The sky's the limit for season three.