Before “Friends” was even a spark of an idea, there was “Cheers.” The astonishingly popular series debuted in 1982, bringing together stars like Ted Danson and Shelley Long into the view of public cognizance. At first, the first season brought in poor ratings, and the show was almost axed, but the network carried on, and “Cheers” became one of the greatest comedies ever to grace our TV screens.
The show carried on for 11 seasons, scooping up awards across the board. The series would probably have continued for a lot longer if Ted Danson hadn’t decided to leave.
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" pursues the escapades of the hilarious detective Jake Peralta and his diverse, lovable collaborators as they police the NYPD's 99th Precinct. This involves a perfectly assembled cast of unforgettable characters, a pinch of workplace romance, and plenty of zippy dialogue.
The Nine-Nine shows that the day-to-day life in a police precinct is much more exciting than pushing paper, and in the deadpan department with head Captain Raymond Holt, the show has a comedy hero for all ages.
The Good Place
This show follows Eleanor, an average woman who enters the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of mistake; she is sent to "The Good Place" instead of where she belongs - the Bad Place. As she hides in plain sight from Good Place Architect Michael, she's determined to shed her old way of living and secure her place.
The afterlife-set comedy constantly reinvented itself over four seasons, yet always felt like there was some direction. By the time we finally had to say goodbye to the beautiful cast – the farewell episode proved to be one of the all-time grand sitcom finales.
"Community" is a situational comedy that makes fun of the fact that it's a sitcom. The show ran from 2005-2014 on NBC and never failed to make their audience laugh. Their jokes and references always land well, driving them to gain a fiercely loyal fanbase. As a new show, it was very self-aware, often having fun with classic television clichés and tropes.
Dan Harmon created the show, "Community" which caters to an audience that appreciates this kind of humor and is a fresh change of pace.
Let's be honest, sitcoms are seeing a decline in quality these days, but "Black-ish" is an exception and is perhaps one of the best sitcoms on television today. It's a funny show that hits on current and social issues rather well. Anthony Anderson is the star of the show, but his children are also great characters. The story is about an upper-middle-class African-American family, with each character having his own separate identity.
The jokes are moving, and themes are continually culturally relevant. It's a bright spot in the oversaturated TV market today.
3rd Rock From The Sun
With a more outlandish plot than most sitcoms we watch on TV, the premise of the show is that a group of aliens is sent to earth, disguised as humans, and made to experience what this planet is like and report back to their kind. This is what made it so entertaining. There proves to be a lot of humor when observing humankind in all of its ridiculous, and absurd wonder.
There's also a great cast, with John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, and a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Based on the British comedy with the same name, this renowned sitcom is told through the lens of a documentary film crew, but it's also filled with office pranks, romance, and general awkwardness at Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co. in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The cringe-comedy hit all the right notes, turning Steve Carrell and John Krasinski into beloved household names.
It took Americans a little while to catch on to the series, as it didn't fare particularly well in its first season. However, as it went on, "The Office" gained widespread appeal.
In this story of riches to rags, a wealthy video store magnate known as Johnny Rose loses his fortune, and together with his family, they move to Schitt's Creek, a dreary town he and his wife once bought as a joke. Forced to rebuild their lives from scratch, the spoiled Rose family has to learn the true meaning of survival.
The show is a rarity, instead of steadily shrinking over time, the Canadian-produced comedy has actually gotten bigger with age. It initially aired on Canada's CBC Network then got picked up by the Pop Network. Starring alongside Levy is his real-life son and daughter, Dan and Sarah.
The Big Bang Theory
Co-created by sitcom genius Chuck Lorre, the show follows a group of awkward geeks and their respective girlfriends as they squabble about everything big and small, and occasionally they solve the universe's greatest mysteries.
This comedy expertly blends old-school formulas with modern themes. It's a fresh take on a group of brilliant physicists who have no clue about how to interact with people.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
If awkward situations are what you find amusing, then "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is definitely something you will enjoy. The creator and lead actor Larry David succeeded in weave together comedic gold yet again. The cast is made up of David's friends, and a lot of their dialogue is improvised.
This kind of dialogue makes the punchlines not feel too predictable or conventional. It's truly a delight when a joke comes as a surprise, and that often happens in this show.
Malcolm in the Middle
"Malcolm in The Middle" continues to be one of the most enjoyable sitcoms of all with its unfiltered yet frank portrayal of growing up in a loud & lower-income family. Comedy pilots can be difficult to land because comedy heavily relies on the audience knowing the characters and being familiar with their quirks and how they would feel in certain situations. This can be hard to do when an audience is just being introduced to the cast of characters.
But the "Malcolm in the Middle" pilot was executed perfectly. The premise and characters are introduced quickly and effectively, and the episode never forgets to be funny.
How I Met Your Mother
"How I Met Your Mother" is a show that recounts how Ted Mosby, the main character, met his children's mother. Each episode is set on the backdrop of Ted tells his kids a story, which leads up to the so-called moment of meeting their mother. This framing method sets this show apart from others of its ilk and keeps the audience coming back, so they too will figure out how Ted met his wife.
Plus, the humor in it is clever enough to be quotable and clear enough to be put on in the background while we're busy with something else.
Fresh Off the Boat
"Fresh Off the Boat" may feel like a conventional sitcom that barely had any trouble adapting to modern taste, but at the same time, it also addresses very real and complicated issues surrounding American life. This is a fish out water, family show with topical humor, and it's all delivered at a quick pace. We can't believe it either, but it's also the first American sitcom to mainly feature an Asian-American family.
"Fresh Off the Boat" is as smart as it is funny and as heartfelt as it is current, w their number of jokes for every scene being impressive as well.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
One of the most beloved, sharply written, and well-performed sitcoms about the newswoman who could turn the world on with her smile. The show didn't shy away from more pressing issues and focused on something that had hitherto been ignored in TV: a single, career-centric woman.
Many spin-offs were generated on the back of its success, including one with Rhonda and Lou Grant. Moore and Grant Tinker decided to gracefully bow out after seven seasons, ending the show on a high in 1977.
Before "Friends" was even a spark of an idea, there was "Cheers." The astonishingly popular series debuted in 1982, bringing together stars like Ted Danson and Shelley Long into the view of public cognizance. At first, the first season brought in poor ratings, and the show was almost axed, but the network carried on, and "Cheers" became one of the greatest comedies ever to grace our TV screens.
The show carried on for 11 seasons, scooping up awards across the board. The series would probably have continued for a lot longer if Ted Danson hadn't decided to leave.
Jackie Gleason starred in the show he created alongside Audrey Meadows. Initially, the series had everything it took to be a success as it raked in the viewing numbers. Despite a promising start, ratings swiftly dropped, thanks in part to direct competition from NBC's popular program "The Perry Como Show."
Interesting fact, Gleason wanted to make "The Honeymooners" a success so badly that he paid the majority of production costs out of his own salary.
The subversive, animated satire about Springfield's unfortunate family soon became a favorite when it premiered in 1989. That was then; now it's the TV longest-running comedy. For a cartoon series to draw such a broad adult audience is quite a feat. with "Time" magazine calling it the best TV show of the 20th century in 1999.
It's been decades since it first aired, and the cartoon is still one of the most popular shows of its kind.
It's definitely a show worth a watch as it was very progressive for its time, and the writing is top-notch. The war comedy-drama was in equal parts moving as well as hilarious thanks to the efforts of Alan Alda and his cast of superb actors. The creators pulled the concept from Richard Hooker's 1968 novel and turned it into one of the highest-rated shows in history.
Viewers couldn't get enough of the exploits of Hawkeye and his crew. Just in the finale, over 125 million viewers tuned in to watch the spectacular 2-and-a-half hour conclusion.
"Roseanne" is an irreproachable comedy, while being a showcase for middle America's middle class. The show centers around the Conner family, who often felt lost in their own country that made them feel left behind. Viewers could relate as they saw their own financial concerns, family struggles, and job instability mirrored back to them, this time, but steeped with mischievous humor.
The show is bolstered by a cast of comedic pros, specifically John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, even after its too-long original run and then infamous 2018 return, the sitcom remains indispensable to the TV comedy conversation.
The Bob Newhart Show
Like many shows of its kind in the '70s, "The Bob Newhart Show" had to get the balance of comedy and likeability just right. The humor was gentle, sophisticated, and, at times, wonderfully surreal. The series ran for six seasons, following Newhart as he balanced life as a therapist while keeping his wife happy.
All 142 half-hour episodes were filmed in front of a live audience, which added to the overall quality of the program. "The Bob Newhart Show" did incredibly well in syndication, and even exceeded expectations.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
This is the show that is usually referenced for its catchy theme song, but just on its own, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" was really brilliant. Will Smith played the fictionalized version of himself, charming and fun-loving. This was one of those few sitcoms that starred an African-American family, and it managed to do so without placing too much emphasis on racial stereotypes.
It's a staple show of the '90s, and perfect to watch a marathon of on a lazy Sunday.
"Arrested Development" could arguably be the smartest and funniest sitcom ever made. Its fast-paced, with effective use of narration, and clever references make it different from anything else on television at the time. The show was cut early after only three seasons.
This meant that because the show knew it was being canceled, the writers were more creative and took liberties they otherwise wouldn't in its final season, and hilarity ensued. The show eventually did gain a cult following so strong that Netflix revived it in 2013.
We have all wondered what a day in the life of a Taxi driver would be like, right? Unlike most sitcoms of this era, "Taxi" focused on a group of blue-collar workers who—despite having higher aspirations—were never really meant to be anything other than cab drivers. The pioneering series didn't joke as much as derive humor from relatable situations, and the actors didn't project as much as portray.
This sitcom will not only be remembered for its clever scriptwriting but also its bittersweet storylines and genuinely quirky characters.
That '70s Show
This groovy sitcom was about a group of suburban teenagers approaching adulthood in the 70s. '90s it-boy Topher Grace starred on the show alongside Ashton Kutcher and his future wife, Mila Kunis. The show proved popular with viewers, who liked watching the exploits of the Wisconsin teenagers as they tried to maneuver through life in the '70s.
By the end of their seventh season, both Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher wanted to move on, but they returned for the final episode of season 8 in 2006.
"Friends" became a breakout hit when it aired in 1994, with witty scripts, excellent comic timing, and characters fit for the TV hall of fame, the series went on to become much bigger than anyone could've anticipated. "Friends" proves to be just as relevant today as it wast hen, with repeats always bringing in a good amount of viewers.
In 2020 it was announced the gang would be getting back together again for a one-off, unscripted reunion special.
Master of None
Based on the comedic perspectives of Aziz Ansari, the series observes the personal and professional life of Dev, a 30-year-old actor, as he has trouble settling on life's mundanities, not to mention its more significant challenges. Inspiring and humorous, the show explores many ordinary themes while being broad in scope and profoundly intimate.
It's a refreshingly quirky take on an otherwise familiar premise that manages a remarkable undertaking in storytelling.
The Addams Family
As spooky as it was, "The Addams Family" sure was delightful to watch. This 'ghoul comedy' was based on Charles Addams' cartoons, which featured characters like Morticia, Gomez, and Uncle Fester. "The Addams Family" focused on their clashes with "normal" people. After staying on air for just two seasons, the series was canceled in 1966.
It's widely believed that viewers began to tire of the monster premise as there was a similar show called "The Munsters" that was aired around the same time.
After Tina Fey worked as the head writer at SNL, she brought her talents and experience to her own series, "30 Rock," and it turned out to be one of the most critically acclaimed television comedies so far, earning a record-breaking 22 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2009 alone. The show is based on her time at SNL, so "30 Rock" is a show within a show. The writing is spot-on, and her offbeat humor shines in this sitcom made for broadcast.
"30 Rock" has an exquisite cast, fast-paced writing, and the perfect amount of silliness, and it all meshes together in this unforgettable, very quotable comedy.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
If it's possible to be hopelessly optimistic, this show is it, with Kimmy Schmidt as the lead character, she may just be the most resolutely positive and optimistic character anywhere on our list. After all, she's spent half her life confined in a basement by a cult leader, and yet she still manages to remain positive.
Fortunately, the cast around her – notably aspiring singer flatmate Titus Andromedon and her strange landlady Lillian – stop things from getting too sentimental as Kimmy adjusts to modern-day life in the bustling city of New York.
"Happy Days" was the sitcom we all needed, it revolved around the squeaky-clean Cunningham family and their dynamic with The Fonz, a motorcycle-riding Casanova. Over the course of its 11-season stint, the show covered a lot of ground while garnering a lot of laughs. The series went on to become a hugely successful show, not least because The Fonz was so popular.
A few spin-offs were made following "Happy Days," including "Mork & Mindy" and "Laverne & Shirley," with both of them being popular in their own right.
It's incredibly rare that spin-offs become as successful as this one did, but "Frasier" beat the odds. Producers pulled Frasier Crane out of "Cheers" and gave Kelsey Grammar his very own show, which was a great decision as the show became a hit. The series followed the stern psychiatrist as he made his way back to his home town of Seattle, introducing his father and his brother.
As with many beloved shows of its era, the possibility of a revival hangs in the air as reruns are still heavily watched, 16 years after the show ended.
The Dick Van Dyke Show
Dick Van Dyke may be most remembered as Burt, the winsome chimney cleaner in 1964's "Mary Poppins," but before that, he was a household name. "The Dick Van Dyke Show" lasted for six years before it wrapped up in 1966. During the course of its successful run, Dick and his crew scooped 15 Emmy Awards.
A few years later, Van Dyke and Moore reunited on-screen for a one-hour special, but that wouldn't be the last time they graced screens. In 1979, the audience also encountered the pair as they reprised their roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
This sitcom is set in the rapidly changing world of tech and follows computer programmer Richard Hendricks as he tries to stay afloat. The show energy comes from two semi-contradictory views: contempt for egotistic tech moguls and sympathy for the entrepreneurs struggling to unseat them.
Between that and the extensive amounts of research performed by the producers and writers before each season, "Silicon Valley" manages to deliver a staggering amount of authenticity.
The Andy Griffith Show
"The Andy Griffith Show" prepared the way for future comedy shows of the same genre. This modest sitcom looked back to a simpler time. Starring Andy Griffith in the role of Andy Taylor, the series followed the sheriff as he kept order in a small town in North Carolina, with gentle humor and genuinely likable characters made it a beloved fixture on the TV landscape.
The show remained popular right up to its cancelation in 1968.
"Maude" gave voice to an original kind of protagonist, this time with an outspoken feminist, who had no time apologizing when she went toe-to-toe with her opposers. "Maude" had snark, and with this show, CBS embraced the breadth of the 1970s Women's Movement.
Beyond that, "Maude" was innovative, playing with patterns and constructs even within the time constraints of sitcoms, staging many episodes as dialogues between Maude and husband Walter. The series welcomed taboo topics and made its mark by examining those concepts that we're too scared to discuss on our own.
"Scrubs" was a fantastic show not just because of the Turk Dance, but because it gave us authentic people who were struggling with real issues as well as the greatest bromance in the history of television, of course. The show was goofy, profound, and for Millennials growing up, there wasn't a better show than "Scrubs."
The medical comedy had it all, from oddballs to touching storylines and characters that you could really invest in. Although it was subject to some cast changes over the years, the heart of the series remained the same.
All in the Family
"All in the Family" may have been a sitcom, but the writers behind the scenes also used it as an avenue to address more serious issues. Back in the '70s, this was considered a risky position to have. Matters like the Vietnam War and gender issues were bound up in palatable half-hour spots. More importantly, it was still an enjoyable show to watch.
Although it took a little while to gain traction when it premiered, "All in the Family" went on to become quite a staple as the most-watched show during summer reruns.
Parks and Recreation
Leaning heavily on the mockumentary genre, "Parks and Recreation" went for more silly gags and slapstick comedy than "The Office." With Amy Poehler leading the cast, the show also starred Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, and Rob Lowe. The producers heavily researched politics before filming started, and frequently took onboard audience feedback throughout the series to make sure it's as relevant as possible.
The decision to end the show was the producer's decision, with Michael Schur describing their last season as "landing a plane to stick the landing."
The courtroom shenanigans were interesting enough to keep this show on the air for nine seasons. The sitcom revolved around a judge who had an unconventional manner; his Manhattan court staff; and the night people who appeared before him.
When the series was canceled, Warner Bros. hoped to sell it on to another company so it could continue. As a result, the finale episode wasn't exactly a touching farewell as producers hoped it wasn't the end.
Although NBC approached Jerry to produce a show, he actually came up with the idea himself. It's then that Jerry enlisted Larry David, and a winning partnership was created, leading them to strike gold. Unlike many other sitcoms at the time, "Seinfeld" focused on the small things in life, often leading it to be described as "a show about nothing."
The far-reaching influence of the series cannot be denied. Not only did it keep viewers addicted for nine seasons, but it also made very rich men out of its creators.
A poignant look into the mind of a dry-witted, passionate, grief-riddled woman trying to make sense of the world around her. The situations are intense, with every single character being profoundly flawed, and the lead character gives an impeccable performance.
Whether she's struggling to stay sane after the death of her best friend or struggling with temptation in a relationship, she's vulnerable, convincing, and incredibly entertaining. Her fourth-wall-breaking asides to the camera are also brilliant.
One Day at a Time
This is such a particular show; their own streaming service mourned its cancelation — even though they were dropping the ax. "One Day at a Time" was reimagined for modern audiences and introduced the Alvarez family, whose Cuban roots suggested this wasn't going to be like the typical family sitcom.
But it's not the family's heritage and culture that made them different; it was the tremendous insight instilled at every turn. Tackling issues of racism, immigration, mental illness, and prejudice, the series embraced the flaws of our world with wide eyes and open arms.
The IT Crowd
Consistently funny and inventive, this aptly titled UK sitcom centers around a group of misanthrope IT workers who work in the basement of a massive corporation, only leaving to go upstairs and fix computers by unplugging them and then plug them back in again.
The fizzy chemistry between the trio of loners makes for a clever laugh. It may only sound slightly interesting, but this gang manages to get into all sorts of buffoonery, mainly thanks to them all being especially reclusive and unequipped to socialize.
The Golden Girls
Despite being a show about three mature ladies, the series soon gained widespread popularity across many demographics. To this day, "The Golden Girls" is considered a prime example of comedic genius. Not only was the casting spot on, but the script was sharp and inspired.
The show continued for seven seasons straight before Bea Arthur quit and so they could not continue without Dorothy, so production came to a close.
The series created by mastermind Sherwood Schwartz reigned supreme for three seasons during the '60s, portraying the account of seven castaways trying to survive in the great, yet desolate outdoors as they have were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. "Gilligan's Island" garnered high ratings and has been described as hilarious.
Despite a critical blow, the show became a pop-culture sensation after it was released in syndication; and went on to spin off three TV movies.
Will & Grace
"Will and Grace" ran from 1998 to 2006, with Will and Grace, who dated in college briefly before Will came out of the closet. Will and Grace are roomies once again, and as expected, their friends Karen and Jack are never far away.
As the gang passes all the issues in this rollercoaster world, their enduring chemistry is alive and kicking- and full of razor-sharp jokes.
Married… with Children
This unpretentious sitcom about the Bundys flourished despite warnings the irritation of some critics, who objected to the show's offbeat and crude humor. Other reviewers praised the cutting, sharp dialogue, calling the series a remedy when compared to the 'sugary show that has surged across American screens since the dawn of television.'
After ten years on air, the show started to experience a decline in ratings, which ultimately led Fox to cut the show entirely.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
This show has an ensemble of characters with zero redeeming qualities, but despite that, it's difficult not to enjoy it for it's carefully crafted writing. The show has made it to fourteen seasons, which is remarkable for any sitcom, and we know that it has some value if it can keep audiences coming back for so many seasons.
Through the prism of the assorted cast, the show filters every modern-day issue possible, from racism to climate change, and even more! If nothing else, we cherish this show for the way it has unleashed DeVito as an actor.
I Love Lucy
Television's first great sitcom focused on a zany New York housewife who desperately wanted to get into showbiz and husband, a Cuban bandleader, who has his hands full, trying to deter her. "I Love Lucy" was just one of Lucille Ball's many endeavors, but it was arguably one of the most popular, too. The series debuted in 1951, ushering in a new wave of television.
After years of producing the show, Lucille and her co-star husband, Desi Arnaz, decided to move on to a different landscape.
With a show being titled "Absolutely Fabulous," it would have been quite awkward if this show wasn't exactly that. Fortunately, Jennifer Saunders' sitcom – inspired by a French and Saunders sketch about a PR executive who is still trying to live as she did in her younger years, up-all-night and always ready for a party.
There's lots of fun with the role reversal comedy of Eddy's relationship with her sensible teenage daughter Saffy. Still, the real standout is Joanna Lumley as a real force of nature that is Patsy Stone – a true comedy icon.