EntertainmentTV30 Best Sitcoms of All Time, Ranked

30 Best Sitcoms of All Time, Ranked


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Sitcoms have been a television staple for essentially as long as there have been television sets in most households. Everyone likes a laugh or two, and some would argue that humans may well need a laugh or two every now and then, given that old cliché of laughter being the best medicine and whatnot. And with sitcoms being a reliable and popular source of humorous entertainment (especially for viewers in need of a chuckle in the times before the internet), there have been plenty of great ones made over the decades.

The word sitcom is an abbreviation of situation comedy, essentially meaning a show where the same group of characters are continually shown being involved in amusing situations. For the purposes of ranking the best sitcoms of all time below, the term is applied loosely, as indeed, some of the shows below – while funny – do branch out into other genres, including drama (sitcoms don’t mind getting sad sometimes, after all). But the following comedic shows can all be labeled as sitcoms, representing this type of TV at its best, and are shown below from great to greatest.

Image via NBC Universal

Running for six seasons with a potential (and long-promised) movie on the way, Community might not sound like anything out of the ordinary right away, but it grows into something weird and wonderful as it progresses. It’s centered around Greendale Community College, following the eccentric staff and students who find themselves there, with odd yet endearing bonds forming between the people in the core study group, all of whom have experienced some sort of failure in their pre-Greendale lives.

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The infamous gas leak year (Season 4) is a bit rough, but much of Seasons 1 to 3 of Community make for comedic gold, and there’s also a good deal to like in Season 5. Season 6 may be spotty, but that finale really hits the mark and makes it all worthwhile, making fans of the show understandably excited to see where a grand finale movie might take the characters of Community.

29 ‘Schitt’s Creek’ (2015-2020)

Alexis and David from Schitt's Creek looking at something in shock and disgust.

Schitt’s Creek has a premise that sees an affluent family lose much of their wealth in an instant, in turn getting forced to move to a small town where life is far less lavish than what they’re used to. The show becomes about them rebuilding their lives and reassessing what makes life worth living, becoming better and more likable people in the process.

The reception to Schitt’s Creek got more favorable as the family at its center grew more lovable, making the show something of an underdog one, while also being – in a strange way – its own kind of underdog story featuring people who used to be top dogs. This culminated with a sixth and final season that aired in 2020 and became the show’s most beloved, especially when it came to awards recognition.

28 ‘Sex and the City’ (1998-2004)

Image via HBO

Though it’s had a divisive recent reboot, the original run of Sex and the City stands out as a classic sitcom for a couple of key reasons. One is that it helped establish HBO as a place for premium TV programs, given it began airing one year after Oz and one year before The Sopranos, and the other is that it tackled themes regarding sexuality and relationships from an honest and female-centered perspective.

You could critique it for any number of reasons, especially because times have changed, content doesn’t always age well, and some shows have pushed things even further than Sex and the City did (Girls, for example, feels like a grittier and more intentionally confronting take on a similar premise, centering on four slightly younger women in New York City). But Sex and the City‘s an important show, an undeniably popular one, and stands as a sitcom that still has plenty of fans to this day.

27 ‘Atlanta’ (2016-2022)

still of ernie in Atlanta season 2 (courtesy FX)

One problem with viewing the term sitcom in the broadest sense is that when you get to describing a show like Atlanta, calling it a sitcom feels a little inaccurate. It is a largely comedic show (with some dramatic elements), but it’d also have to be up there with the strangest and most surreal sitcoms of all time, if it does indeed count as a sitcom.

It takes place in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, and centers on a rapper and his manager exploring a version of said scene that seems to get more fantastical and bizarre as the show goes on. It bowed out gracefully after four seasons in 2022, and is so utterly singular and bold as a piece of television that it kind of has to be seen to be believed (good luck understanding 100% of it, but either way, it’s still a blast to watch).

26 ‘Freaks and Geeks’ (1999-2000)

Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir and Jason Segel as Nick Andopolis on 'Freaks and Geeks'
Image via NBC

Many fans of Freaks and Geeks will still bemoan the fact that it was canceled after just one season, though others may be thankful there was just one borderline-perfect season that never got undone by future (potentially inferior) ones. It’s hard to know what the show could’ve been, of course, without some sort of time machine.

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But speaking of time machines, it often feels like the makers of Freaks and Geeks genuinely went back in time to film this show, because it feels like it captures the early 1980s in an unbelievably authentic way. It follows various teens in a Detroit high school, and perfectly blends comedy, drama, and genuine heart while having a cast of flawed yet lovable characters to grow attached to.

25 ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ (2005-)

Still from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia': Dennis explains something to Charlie and Mac as they sit at a table.
Image via FXX.

For nearly two decades now, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has continually found ways to push boundaries within the confines of a typical sitcom setup. On paper, a show about five terrible people (or four in the first, Danny DeVito-less season) being terrible and alienating themselves from the world at large might not sound out of the ordinary, but with its execution, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is anything but ordinary.

It can be loud, crass, and wonderfully stupid, but its sense of anarchy is what makes it so compulsively watchable, and there are undeniably funny characters at its center. There’s little here to take seriously or get moved by; it’s just pure, chaotic comedy, finding ways to go to some extreme places and touch on sensitive subjects appropriately and fairly, given the terrible main characters are usually the butt of the joke.

24 ’30 Rock’ (2006-2013)

Tina Fey as Liz Lemmon with her staff writers in 30 Rock

From the late 1990s until 2006, Tina Fey was well-known for being a cast member and eventual head writer for the long-running sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. When she left the show, she developed 30 Rock as her next creative project, with it being a sitcom largely based around her experiences with working on Saturday Night Live.

It’s arguably one of the most successful cases of “write what you know,” because 30 Rock was a huge show between 2006 and 2013, maintaining a strong level of quality over seven seasons and 139 episodes. It pushes the odd things that can happen with working in the world of TV entertainment to bizarre, sometimes surreal heights, and in the process became a wonderfully meta and super fast-paced show, and one of the more novel workplace comedies out there.

23 ‘Friends’ (1994-2004)

Joey Tribani From Friends Making a Funny Face
Image via Warner Bros.

Love it or hate it, Friends is a behemoth of a sitcom, and perhaps the most popular show of its kind airing at the turn of the century. It’s about as straightforward as sitcoms get, following six young people who are indeed friends, tracking the ups and downs of their lives while they live in Manhattan, New York City.

It had a 10-season run, and in the end, it aired an impressive 236 episodes. It’s the sort of hangout show that can provide comfort and familiarity for viewers who get on its wavelength, making it understandable why its fans returned to the show, its characters, and its sense of humor again and again, all the way until its 2004 finale, which was the most-watched episode of any show during the 2000s.

22 ‘The Jeffersons’ (1975-1985)

Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford in The Jeffersons.
Image via CBS

Running for 11 seasons and having more than 250 episodes, The Jeffersons is one of the most groundbreaking sitcoms of its day, mainly owing to the representation it offers. It wasn’t the very first sitcom to focus mostly on Black characters, but it was an early one that did so while finding strong mainstream popularity and acclaim.

It centered on a Black couple who move from Queens to Manhattan after their dry-cleaning business, Jefferson Cleaners, finds considerable success. It was a traditionally presented sitcom that also proved unafraid to talk about racial and social issues at times, making it easy to admire and appreciate now, in hindsight, all the future diverse comedy shows it helped pave the way for.

21 ‘BoJack Horseman’ (2014-2020)

BoJack Horseman in a bridge full of black goo, holding a phone in front of the moon
Image via Netflix

There have been almost too many animated sitcoms to count that have been released in the 21st century so far, but something like BoJack Horseman does stand out from the crowd. It begins as a funny (and perhaps slightly too silly) show about an anthropomorphic horse who was a famous sitcom actor in the 1990s, but feels past his prime in the present. As it goes on, it gets considerably darker, more experimental, and almost uncomfortably introspective.

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It has some incredibly silly humor (much of it pun-based) and plenty of satirical swipes at Hollywood, while also exploring the dark side of fame and things like alienation, depression, and substance addiction that can come from it. It’s colorful and harrowing in equal measure, and at its best, provided some of the greatest dramedy episodes of the 2010s (and the first year of the 2020s, given that’s when its sixth season finished airing).

20 ‘Blackadder’ (1983-1989)

Blackadder Goes Forth - 1989
Image via BBC

There are few certainties in life, but the big two most people will point to are death and taxes. But the latter can be avoided by those powerful enough, so it should honestly be replaced with the certainty/inevitability that British sitcoms won’t last as long as American ones. Even something as beloved as Blackadder only has four seasons, with each season being just six episodes long.

Still, quality over quantity and all that applies, because besides a slightly awkward first season, Blackadder is gold. It has many of the same cast members across seasons, but in each one, they play a different set of characters at different times in history – the 1400s in Season 1, the 1500s in Season 2, the late 1700s or early 1800s in Season 3, and the early 20th century (World War I, more precisely) for the fourth and surprisingly devastating final season.

19 ‘Veep’ (2012-2019)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer pointing at something and smiling in Veep

Veep’s a hilariously vulgar political comedy that serves as one of many shows that demonstrates how fun it can be to watch bad people do bad things on a TV screen. It’s the kind of show where next to no one is likable, meaning that most of the time, when something bad happens to someone, they probably kind of deserved it.

Maybe it’s a somewhat cruel and relentlessly cynical show, but in presenting politics at its hypothetical worst, there’s ample opportunity to be hilarious and biting. Julia Louis-Dreyfus leads an amazing ensemble cast (she herself won six Emmys in a row for her role), and it’s easily up there with the funniest shows of the 2010s.

18 ‘Parks and Recreation’ (2009-2015)


Parks and Recreation is certainly a show that ended better than it started, with a very brief first season that ran for just six episodes while feeling like a warm-up for what was to come. It took the idealistic politics of The West Wing and transported them into a comedic show, and one with a much smaller scope, too, given that The West Wing took place in Washington D.C., and Parks and Recreation largely took place in the small (and fictional) town of Pawnee.

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It benefited from having a great cast of characters, and consistently having a bright tone and rapid-fire humor, with occasional heartwarming moments to instill an overall feel-good tone. It found its voice around Season 2 and stuck with it, making for an easy-to-watch and oftentimes enjoyable sitcom that ended up running for an impressive 125 episodes over seven seasons.

17 ‘Modern Family’ (2009-2020)

Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett from Modern Family
Image via ABC

It’s impressive to look back on Modern Family and realize it was on the air for the entirety of the 2010s (and one year either side of the decade, for good measure). It followed a family living in – unsurprisingly – modern-day America, and though it seems on paper to be another family-centered sitcom, its presentation added a layer to the proceedings to make it stand out.

While it wasn’t the first sitcom to be presented in a mockumentary style complete with staged interview segments, it did feel fresh by taking this style outside the realm of workplace comedies, and doing it with a family sitcom. It all resonated surprisingly well with viewers and critics, keeping the show alive for an impressive 11 seasons, with it hitting 250 episodes in total by the time it concluded in 2020.

16 ‘The Golden Girls’ (1985-1992)

Golden Girls

Many sitcoms over the years have centered on young and/or middle-aged characters, but The Golden Girls is perhaps the best sitcom to focus on older (let’s say “past middle-aged”) characters. Here, it’s four women who live in the same house together, as three of them are widows and one of them is divorced.

It’s a show that most people consider to have held up surprisingly well, especially given other comedies that aired during the 1980s and 1990s sometimes don’t resonate quite the same way with newer viewers as they did with viewers in the past. In unabashedly having fun with its premise, and ultimately having a good heart, The Golden Girls is one sitcom that certainly lives on and remains popular.

15 ‘The Honeymooners’ (1955-1956)

Ralph, Ed, Alice and Trixie on the Honeymooners.
Image via CBS

Unlike many old sitcoms from the genre’s early days that people still talk about, The Honeymooners did not run for very long at all. In fact, it lasted only a season, with a mere 39 episodes (single seasons were admittedly longer back then than they tend to be now) airing in 1955 and 1956 before it came to an end.

RELATED: Angry Populism in ‘The Honeymooners’ Set the Blueprint for the Modern Sitcom

Maybe it was ahead of its time to some extent, because nowadays, the show’s well-recognized for helping define what sitcoms became, and for being one of the first TV shows to center on a working-class couple. It may not appeal greatly to any viewers who try to get into it nowadays, but its influence and historical significance can’t be denied.

14 ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)

Michael Scott holding his
Image via NBC

For much of the time that it was on the air, the U.S. version of The Office was unavoidable, and to this day, it still can feel like it’s everywhere, thanks to fans continually rewatching it, the copious memes it’s inspired, and the popularity of all the GIFs that came from it. Broadly speaking, it’s a very simple show, too, following the various (often quirky) people who work largely tedious jobs at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.

It had a shaky first season, found great success between Seasons 2 and 7, had another shaky two seasons with 8 and 9, but ultimately concluded in a satisfying way come the series finale. Perhaps not all of its 201 episodes are gold, but many of them are fantastic and hold up, and it’s easy to see why fans of the show continually return to it, making it arguably one of the best comfort shows in recent memory.

13 ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ (1972-1978)

The Bob Newhart Show - 1972 - 1978
Image via CBS

The Bob Newhart Show, despite its somewhat generic title, really stood out among other sitcoms of the 1970s. Here, things revolve around the unusual life of a psychologist named Dr. Robert Hartley, with much of the comedy coming from his daily interactions with patients, colleagues, and friends.

It’s a straightforward premise that ended up carrying The Bob Newhart Show to six seasons and 142 episodes in total. Perhaps it helped pave the way for other TV shows that centered around psychology/therapy, like parts of The Sopranos and In Treatment (though admittedly, both of those are more serious shows).

12 ‘Cheers’ (1982-1993)

Cheers’ (1982-1993)

Of all the sitcoms that were popular in the 1980s, few are quite as endearing and close-to-timeless as Cheers. Like plenty of great sitcoms that came before and after, Cheers has a very simple premise that works as an instant hook, given it primarily takes place in a bar and centers on the people who frequent there as a place to relax, as well as the staff who work there.

RELATED: How Does ’80s Sitcom Classic ‘Cheers’ Fare Now?

It’s notable for being the first big role of Woody Harrelson‘s, as he joined the cast in Season 4 and became a significant movie star after his time on the show. Cheers also led to the creation of another amazingly successful sitcom, Frasier, which was a spin-off centering on the character of Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer (both Cheers and Frasier ran for 11 seasons each).

11 ‘All in the Family’ (1971-1979)

Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers and Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family.
Image via CBS

Just like Modern Family did some decades later, All in the Family makes it pretty clear what’s going to be focused on in this sitcom. It is indeed all about a family – in this case, a working-class one living in Queens, New York, with the main character of the bunch being the family patriarch, Archie Bunker.

It might seem quaint or old-fashioned nowadays, but All in the Family did push the sitcom genre forward in some key ways, ostensibly through sometimes dealing with serious issues while keeping things mostly comedic. In that way, it can be compared to The Jeffersons, which aired around a similar time (perhaps not coincidentally, both shows had Norman Lear attached as a producer, with him being a significant figure in the sitcom sphere throughout the 70s and 80s).



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