The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time


Summary

  • The best sitcoms have made a substantial impact on viewers throughout the decades, shaping pop culture and capturing slices of life.
  • Streaming platforms like Netflix, Max, and Amazon Prime Video offer a wide selection of the best sitcoms from different eras, allowing new fans to discover and enjoy timeless classics.
  • Shows like Scrubs, Peep Show, and Police Squad! are examples of the best sitcoms that have unique styles, memorable characters, and a perfect blend of humor and storytelling.


The best sitcoms of all time stretch back decades and feature stories from all facets of life, with characters that have made a substantial impact on viewers over the years. The best sitcoms have often been the most-watched shows on television, topping the ratings week after week for years at a time. Whether broadcast on traditional networks or a modern streaming hit, the greatest sitcoms on television have shaped pop culture and influenced trends, as well as hilariously captured slices of life in a variety of times and settings.

There are more places than ever to see the best sitcoms from any era thanks to the wide number of streaming platforms, like Netflix, Max, and Amazon Prime Video. There have been literally hundreds of sitcoms throughout the decades, though not all of them last. When it comes to the best sitcoms, the crème rises to the top. Most of the sitcoms that defined a generation in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond remain available to watch on streaming services and continue to find new fans decades later.

RELATED: The 50 Best TV Shows Of All Time, Ranked


50 Scrubs (2001-2010)

9 Seasons, 182 Episodes

The cast of Scrubs.

Scrubs

Release Date
October 1, 2001

Cast
John C. McGinley, Robert Maschio, Donald Faison, Christa Miller, Neil Flynn, Judy Reyes, Aloma Wright, Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Sam Lloyd, Ken Jenkins

Genres
Comedy, Drama

Seasons
9

Stream now on Hulu

While there are some viewers who feel Scrubs shares a lot with medical dramas like The Resident, it was also a very funny and quirky show. Taking place in Sacred Heart Hospital, the show follows the various staff members working there while narrated by intern J.D. as he observes the strange and sometimes tragic world they worked in. The show has an imaginative spirit, always willing to be absurd and ridiculous. This mixed with the moments of sadness surprisingly well, making for perhaps the best-ever sitcom with a medical setting. The show won a Peabody Award and remained popular until most of the cast left before the final ninth season.

49 Peep Show (2003-2015)

9 Seasons, 54 Episodes

Mark and Jez on Peep Show.

Peep Show is a British sitcom with a strong following. It centers around Mark and Jez, two roommates in their 20s with very different personalities who manage to incite mayhem through their attempts at living day-to-day life. The show has a unique style, often using point-of-view shots that help it stand out from the usual sitcom look and feel. There are many cringeworthy moments throughout Peepshow, and the show remains a cult classic despite receiving low viewing numbers during its initial run.

48 Police Squad! (1982)

1 Season, 6 Episodes

Leslie Neilson in Police Squad.

There are a number of great movies based on TV shows, and the comedy Naked Gun started out on the small screen. Like the movie, Police Squad! stars Leslie Nielsen as hard-boiled detective Frank Drebin as he solves puzzling cases. Police Squad! was similar to M Squad, which starred Lee Marvin in a crime drama series. However, it took the mysteries and replaced Marvin’s detective with the hapless Frank Drebin. Police Squad! only lasted for six episodes before it was canceled, but those episodes ended up strong enough to convince Paramount to bring it to the big screen, and the studio made three movies based on the show.

47 Mr. Bean (1990-1995)

1 Season, 15 Episodes

Mr. Bean trims a guard's mustache in Bean.

Stream on Prime Video

Known for its universal physical comedy, Mr. Bean follows Rowan Atkinson’s childlike title character as he causes all kinds of chaos and hilarious misunderstandings through simple everyday situations, like a dentist appointment or even just dining out. Three were only 15 episodes, but they ended up spread out over five years. The phenomenal success of the relatively short series led to Atkinson reprising the role for two movies after the series ended; the simply titled Bean in 1997 and Mr. Bean’s Holiday 20 years later.

46 Derry Girls (2018-2022)

3 Seasons, 19 Episodes

Derry Girls Erin, Clare, and Michelle react to something.

Derry Girls

Release Date
January 4, 2018

Cast
Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland

Genres
Sitcom

Seasons
3

Stream on Netflix

Though it ended following its third season, Derry Girls managed to gain a lot of popularity in a short time. It also won several awards, including Best Scripted Comedy at the British Academy Television Awards for its final season. The 90s-set series follows a group of female friends (and their one overlooked male friend) living in a small Irish town and attending a Catholic school. Though the show deals with the tension in Ireland at the time as well as the hardships of these girls’ lives, it is also hilarious with lovable characters, wild misadventures, and an undeniable charm.

45 Letterkenny (2016-)

11 Seasons, 75 Episodes

Jared Keeso as Wayne drinking in Letterkenny

Letterkenny

Release Date
February 7, 2018

Cast
Jared Keeso

Genres
Sitcom, Comedy

Seasons
11

Stream on Hulu

As a rare show that started on YouTube, Letterkenny became a breakout Canadian series outside its home country. It follows the lives of the various citizens of the titular rural Canadian town. Letterkenny features endless running jokes with a very distinct sense of humor, mixing Canadian culture with some brilliant wordplay. It also features a number of wonderful characters, led by the stoic yet hilarious Wayne (Jared Keeso), whose various sayings are the highlights of the show. The sitcom won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Series in 2017 and has been nominated every year since.

44 Archer (2009-2023)

14 Seasons, 142 Episodes

Archer

Release Date
December 28, 2010

Cast
Lucky Yates, Aisha Tyler, Adam Reed, Amber Nash, H. Jon Benjamin, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer, Jessica Walter

Genres
Animation, Comedy, Action

Seasons
13

Stream on Hulu

The spy genre has been ripe for parody with movies like Austin Powers poking fun at the tropes, and Archer brings the world of secret agents and world-saving missions to the animated sitcom format. Archer follows the exploits of Sterling Archer, a dim-witted, reckless, and self-involved spy within a dysfunctional top-secret organization. The show has a lot of fun mixing the action of these kinds of stories with the typical relationship troubles, misunderstandings, and wacky characters of the sitcom world. The animated series won four Primetime Emmy Awards and began testing different storytelling styles starting in season 8.

43 What We Do In The Shadows (2019-)

5 Seasons, 50 Episodes

What We Do in the Shadows

Release Date
March 27, 2019

Cast
Doug Jones, Natasia Demetriou, Matt Berry, Mark Proksch, Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillen, Kristen Schaal

Genres
Horror, Fantasy, Comedy

Seasons
5

Available on Hulu

It is surprising that one of the best vampire TV shows is also one of the funniest shows on television right now. What We Do in the Shadows is based on the mockumentary movie of the same name. The 21 time Emmy-nominated sitcom centers around a documentary being made about a group of vampires living together on Staten Island. The show has a lot of fun with vampire and monster lore, finding fun new ways to explore familiar ideas. However, the relationships between the characters in What We Do in the Shadows are even more interesting, with their love for each other, their petty disputes, and their misadventures making for some of the funniest moments.

42 The Thick Of It (2005–2012)

4 Seasons, 23 Episodes

Malcolm Tucker looks concerned in In The Loop

Stream on Brit Box

There have been many sitcoms with a political premise and setting, but The Thick of It was one of the first to show it as a truly mean, immoral, and hilariously vulgar business. It focuses on the “spin” team that is constantly doing damage control on political mishaps. The fast-paced setting of the show gives The Thick of It an intensity that most sitcoms don’t have. It is also endlessly hilarious to watch Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker relentlessly insult and berate those around him with endless anger.

41 The IT Crowd (2006-2013)

4 Seasons, 25 Episodes

Roy, Moss and Jen on The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd

Release Date
February 3, 2006

Cast
Katherine Parkinson, Richard Ayoade, Chris O’Dowd

Genres
Sitcom

Seasons
4

Stream on Prime Video

The IT Crowd is a British series that follows a three-person tech support office squatting in the basement of a larger company, the nerdy misfits being comprised of two traditional computer geeks and their largely computer-illiterate manager. The relatively small core group of the show was often joined by equally talented supporting characters, but the simplicity of the setup allowed the main trio of actors to really shine, particularly Richard Ayoade as the exceptionally awkward Maurice Moss, a character who would prove to be an interesting precursor to the socially awkward Dr. Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory.

6 Seasons, 110 Episodes

Community

Release Date
September 17, 2009

Cast
Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, Joel McHale, Jim Rash, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi

Genres
Comedy

Seasons
6

Stream on Netflix

Before finding great success with the animated comedy show Rick and Morty, co-creator Dan Harmon made a name for himself with sitcom fans with the highly self-referential series Community. Set in a fictional community college, the series follows the education of a close-knit study group made up of lovably eclectic characters led by an unscrupulous former lawyer who’s often more of a conman. Community is known for both its high-concept genre parody episodes and its focus on meta-humor, traits that ensured it picked up four Emmy nominations, winning one for Best Comedy Series in 2012.

39 Freaks And Geeks (1999-2000)

1 Season, 18 Episodes

Freaks and Geeks cast promo photo.

Freaks and Geeks

Release Date
September 25, 1999

Cast
James Franco, Busy Philipps, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley

Genres
Drama

Seasons
1

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

Freaks and Geeks is considered among the best sitcoms of all time despite the fact that it only got one season. It tells the story of a smart high school student who becomes friends with a group of slackers in Detroit during the early ’80s. The series was canceled for controversial reasons after its inconsistent scheduling damaged its viewership (via The Washington Post). Despite this, however, Freaks and Geeks is a notable project in the early careers of actors including James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, and Busy Phillips and ranks as one of the best cult classic sitcoms of all time.

38 Father Ted (1995-1998)

3 Seasons, 25 Episodes

The cast of Father Ted.

Father Ted is a great example of a beloved sitcom that didn’t get as much attention outside of Britain, as it was a huge smash in the UK without ever connecting with American audiences. It follows a well-meaning priest living in a small island community in Ireland. The show offers huge laughs as Father Ted deals with the congregation of colorful characters as well as his two fellow priests, who are a handful themselves. The series was named Best Comedy Series at the British Academy Television Awards twice, with several other notable nominations.

37 Silicon Valley (2014-2019)

6 Seasons, 53 Episodes

The Silicon Valley cast directly facing the camera

Silicon Valley

Release Date
April 6, 2014

Cast
Josh Brener, Amanda Crew, Thomas MIddleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, T.J. Miller

Genres
Comedy

Seasons
6

Stream on Max

It seems like the tech world of startups was ripe for satire and Silicon Valley brilliantly skewered this world and its figures. The sitcom follows a group of young tech entrepreneurs who struggle to stay afloat in the high-pressure world with things constantly going wrong. The series was elevated by some truly intelligent writing that crafted big laughs, interesting story developments, and more than a few surprises. And the terrific ensemble kept delivering laughs for six acclaimed seasons, as the show picked up five straight Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series.

36 The Phil Silvers Show (1955-1959)

4 Seasons, 144 Episodes

The Phil Silvers Show Sgt Bilko Steve Henshaw Rocco Barbella

There are a number of classic sitcoms based on life in the military, from Hogan’s Heroes to M*A*S*H. One show that might be forgotten but that still ranks among the best sitcoms of all time is The Phil Silvers Show, which was originally titled You’ll Never Get Rich. It follows the adventures of Sgt. Bilko, an officer overseeing an army camp who is far more interested in his various get-rich-quick schemes and working as a con man. The classic series has so much fun and charm, from its entertaining setting to its hilarious and likable lead character. It went on to win three straight Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series.

35 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–2021)

8 Seasons, 153 Episodes

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Release Date
September 17, 2013

Cast
Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher, Joel McKinnon Miller, Dirk Blocker, Terry Crews, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio

Genres
Comedy, Crime

Rating
TV-14

Seasons
8

Stream on Peacock Premium

Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows the exploits of a fictional NYPD precinct headed by a serious captain who must contend with the antics of his detectives, Andy Samberg’s immature Jake Peralta in particular. The show received widespread acclaim and developed a devoted fan base for its likable characters and the chemistry between the talented cast. Originally canceled after five seasons, the beloved sitcom found a new home on NBC, which continued the series for several more years before ending in the eighth season. The first season won two Golden Globes awards and in 2018 it won a GLAAD Media Award.

34 The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

1 Season, 39 Episodes

Ralph and Alice on The Honeymooners.

Few shows have been as influential in the history of sitcoms as The Honeymooners. The 1950s comedy was a truly ground-breaking approach to this type of story, and it is still being imitated all these years later. The series spun off from skits on The Jackie Gleason Show and focuses on a pair of blue-collar friends constantly looking for ways to get rich while their wives tirelessly put up with their shenanigans. From the domestic humor of married life to the relatable struggles of an unfulfilling job to the hilarity of the hijinks, it became a sitcom template. Art Carney won five Emmy Awards for his role as Ed Norton, the third for The Honeymooners.

33 The Office UK (2001-2003)

2 Seasons, 14 Episodes

The cast of The Office (UK).

Stream on Hulu

Created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, with Gervais starring in the lead role, the UK version of The Office only lasted for two seasons but made a huge impact, propelling Gervais in particular into stardom and eventually being remade into the beloved US version. Following the employees of a dreary office for a paper company, The Office is well-known for its cringe style of comedy, homing in on the most awkward aspects of workplace interactions and finding a lot of relatable humor in the process.

32 Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)

2 Seasons, 12 Episodes

John Cleese in Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers

Release Date
September 19, 1975

Cast
John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Ballard Berkeley, Brian Hall, Renee Roberts, Gilly Flower

Genres
Comedy, Satire

Network
BBC Two

Among the many British shows that have been named among the greatest sitcoms of all time, Fawlty Towers remains a beloved classic. The series stars John Cleese as the rude and hot-tempered owner of a hotel. Through his terrible mismanagement of the business, there are always countless disasters to deal with. Along with the typical British wit and some truly outrageous situations, Fawlty Towers provides so many laugh-out-loud moments that many viewers still find funny after all these years.

31 Broad City (2014-2019)

5 Seasons, 50 Episodes

Abbi and Ilana on a New York street in Broad City.

Broad City

Release Date
January 22, 2014

Cast
Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Hannibal Buress, Paul Downs, John Gemberling, Arturo Castro, Stephen Schneider, Chris Gethard, D’Arcy Carden, Susie Essman, Bob Balaban

Genres
Sitcom

Seasons
5

Stream on Hulu

With a show about two female friends living in New York City and navigating the worlds of love and work, Broad City might sound like a very typical sitcom. However, the almost cookie-cutter premise does not prepare viewers for how weird and wild the show is. Creators and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson have perfect chemistry as best friends and neither is shy about the hilarious and awkward things they do throughout the series. And as absurd as Broad City is, it was always about that central friendship in the end. The show picked up several awards from the Emmys, Critics Choice, MTV, and WGA Awards.



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