2009 | 6 Episodes
Season 1 of Parks and Recreation premiered on April 9, 2009.
The first season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network between April 9 and May 14, 2009. Produced by Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, the series was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who served as executive producers with Howard Klein.
The comedy series focuses on Leslie Knope, the deputy director of the parks and recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. The season consisted of six 22-minute episodes, all of which aired at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Daniels and Schur conceived the show when NBC officials asked Daniels to produce a spin-off of his comedy series The Office, on which Schur was a writer. During development, the creators decided the new show would be a stand-alone series, though it would share the mockumentary style of The Office. Like that show, Parks and Recreation encouraged improvisation among its cast members.
Early test screenings were poor, and many critics and industry observers were skeptical about the show's chances of success. The first season received generally mixed to negative reviews, and several commentators found it too similar to The Office. The premiere episode was watched by 6.77 million households, but the viewership declined almost every week in the Nielsen ratings. A season low of 4.25 million households watched the final episode, "Rock Show". Despite the low rating, "Rock Show" received the best reviews of the season and convinced some critics that the series had finally found the right tone.
2009 | 24 Episodes
Season 2 of Parks and Recreation premiered on September 17, 2009.
The second season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network starting September 17, 2009, and ended on May 20, 2010. The season was produced by Deedle-Dee Productions and Universal Media Studios, and series co-creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur served as executive producers. Like the first season, it focused on Leslie Knope and her staff on the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. The episodes were approximately 22 minutes long each, all of which aired at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
All of the members of the original principal cast were retained and Chris Pratt, who made guest appearances throughout the previous season, joined the permanent cast in the second season. It also featured guest appearances by Louis C.K., Megan Mullally, Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, Justin Theroux and John Larroquette. The writing staff made changes based on feedback from the first season and attempted to be more topical, with episodes touching on such topics as same-sex marriage, the arrest of Henry Louis Gates and the sex scandal of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.
Although the first season received generally mixed to negative reviews, the second season was critically acclaimed, with some reviewers declaring it one of the best comedies of the television season. Nevertheless, Parks and Recreation continued to struggle in the Nielsen ratings and averaged about 4.68 million household viewers per week, lower than Thursday night NBC shows Community, 30 Rock, and The Office. Amy Poehler was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and both the series and actor Nick Offerman received nominations from the Television Critics Association Awards.
2011 | 16 Episodes
Season 3 of Parks and Recreation premiered on January 20, 2011.
The third season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network between January 20 and May 19, 2011. Like the previous seasons, it focused on Leslie Knope and her staff at the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. The season featured 16 episodes, most of which were approximately 22 minutes long each and aired at 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
All of the members of the original cast returned for the third season except Paul Schneider, who previously played city planner Mark Brendanawicz. Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, who appeared as guest stars in the second season, began season three as regular cast members playing Chris Traeger and Ben Wyatt, respectively. The season also featured guest appearances by Megan Mullally, Will Forte and Parker Posey, among others.
To accommodate Amy Poehler's pregnancy, the first six episodes of the third season were filmed immediately after season two wrapped so they could be saved for a projected September 2010 air date. However, after the episodes were finished, NBC postponed the season premiere until January to accommodate their new series, Outsourced. The third season consisted of several major story arcs, including a complete shutdown of the Pawnee government for budgetary reasons, inspired by the real-life global financial crisis. Other storylines included the parks department's organization of a harvest festival, a romance between Leslie and Ben, and the dating and eventual marriage of Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate.
2011 | 22 Episodes
Season 4 of Parks and Recreation premiered on September 22, 2011.
The fourth season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network, and began on September 22, 2011.
As with past seasons, it focused on Leslie Knope and her staff at the parks and recreation department of the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. However, this season featured an overarching story arc, beginning in the first episode and culminating in the finale, where Leslie ran for the city council of Pawnee.
2012 | 22 Episodes
Season 5 of Parks and Recreation premiered on September 20, 2012.
The fifth season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network, from September 20, 2012 and concluded on May 2, 2013. This season consisted of 22 episodes.