Parks and Recreation

NBC, Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |

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COMEDY

If NBC's new 100-percent-sitcom Thursday lineup is an odd proposition-no one wants not to laugh, but who wants to laugh for three hours straight?-at least it brings back Amy Poehler's softly giddy Parks and Recreation. The underlying arc in the first seven episodes follows small-town bureaucrat Leslie Knope as she organizes the local harvest festival. (Rob Lowe is also on hand as a briskly cheerful state auditor, but he's trying too hard. He looks like a string bean braced for snapping.) The great event, when it finally arrives, hinges on a miniature horse named Li'l Sebastian. Parks, in a sense, is Li'l Sebastian: shaggy, small-boned, charming and lovably stupid. You won't get as much recreation out of Perfect Couples, the new relationship comedy NBC has launched on the same night. Airing at 8:30 ET/PT, it's well cast but conceptually unadventurous.

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Skins

MTV, Mondays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

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DRAMA

Based on a British series, Skins is one explosive little package. This scripted drama about American high schoolers depicts sex and drug use with a provocative casualness that suggests 90210 under the influence of Trainspotting. What keeps it from being exploitative-just-is the sense that these kids know such dangerous exhilarations won't, can't, lead to the happiness they're looking for. But for the love of Snooki, don't let children anywhere near it.

1 HAWAII FIVE-O

SUN. JAN. 23 10 P.M. (TIME MAY VARY) CBS

Airing on a special night-and there's a tsunami alert!

2 SHAMELESS

SUN. JAN. 23 10 P.M. SHOWTIME

William H. Macy tries to bluff his way out of a Social Security scam.

3 HELLCATS

TUES. JAN. 25 9 P.M. CW

Aly Michalka and the cheerleaders head off to sectionals. But is she truly happy? No.

4 ROYAL PAINS

THURS. JAN. 27 9 P.M. USA

Mark Feuerstein is called in when illness hits a reality-show house.

5 ARCHER

THURS. JAN. 27 10 P.M. FX

A new season of the smashingly deadpan spy-spoof cartoon.

Holt McCallany, who has the furrowed brow and muscled arms of the Incredible Hulk bleached of all his green, plays an ex-boxer tangled up with crooks on FX's stinging new Tuesday drama Lights Out. His big fight will be preserving his honor: Beneath the grit, this is a tale of chivalry.

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FUN WITH JANE

The Frasier alum, 49, finds success sweeter the second time around on her hit TV Land sitcom.

HOW IS IT HAVING ANOTHER HIT SHOW?

We're realizing there's another chapter to our lives. I'm more grateful for this than I have been for any other work I've ever gotten.

WHAT'S YOUR PASSION AWAY FROM WORK?

My kids [daughter Isabella, 10, and son Finn, 7]. Every minute I can, I want to be with them.

HOW DOMESTIC ARE YOU?

I'm a housewife. I spent the holidays cleaning out every cupboard, every closet in my house, freezing meals.

WHAT'S COSTAR BETTY WHITE REALLY LIKE?

Betty likes to be bawdy. She laughs the hardest at the dirtiest jokes. We're four salty women.