20 Best Modern Sitcoms, Ranked (2024)

Sitcoms, whether they conform to social standards or are defiant of them, have ruled television screens for decades. Some are informative, while others are straight-up raunchy. And yet all are produced for pure comedic relief. Regardless of style and demonstration, sitcoms all share one important thing in common — their immense cultural impact.

While we all know the timeless shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show or The Golden Girls, many of the most monumental hit series have been made within the last 40 years. From satire to sappy, here are some of our top picks.

Updated May 13, 2023: If you like modern sitcoms, you'll be happy to know this article has been updated with additional content by Amanda Minchin.

20 Married with Children

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Married with Children is a prime example of the sitcom's ability to push boundaries, to defy the norm. It just also happens to be one of the longest-running sitcoms on Fox, where it was broadcast from 1987 to 1997.

The series followed a once respected footballer turns women's shoe sales assistant, his loudmouthed and lazy wife Peggy, alongside their dim-witted daughter and mischievous son. With names like Katey Sagal and Christina Applegate at the helm, it's no wonder this show was successful! Known for flamboyant, edgy, and offensive prose, it continues to be among the most influential series today. Soon enough, the cast will be back for an animated revival.

19 Black-ish

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Education is a vital resource, and what better way to educate than through comedy? Black-ish thoroughly but delicately displayed the discrepancies between white and Black people and culture in America. The series, which was created by Kenya Barris, followed an upper-class black family as they touched on racial sensitivities that someone not of color would never think twice about. Dre Johnson, played by executive producer Anthony Anderson, narrates and, in doing so, portrays a prominent perspective held by modern-day Black men as the successful patriarch.

The series went on to spawn two spinoffs, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish.

18 Sex and the City

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Sex and the City is a modern manifesto for female empowerment, particularly in the realm of sexuality. Fashion icon, linguistic legend, and experienced s-expert, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica-Parker, narrates her promiscuous lifestyle and love affairs in the city alongside her three friends, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Next to Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, played by Kim Cattrall, sets a new standard for womanhood and open sensuality, encouraging women to embrace their provocative side instead of repressing it.

Related: Best Single Moms From 2000s TV, Ranked

This show is less of a laugh-out-loud experience and more of a rumbling chuckle. The content might bridge more on the raunchy and inappropriate, and, at times, of its age. That being said, this show is certainly a must-watch for anyone, regardless of gender. The show has gone on to include two spin-off series along with a myriad of films.

17 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is another long-running, quirky sitcom centered around a core group of friends. So what makes this one any different? It turns out, this group is not as wholesome as those at the typical coffee shop hangout. This neurotic gang instead prefers chilling at Paddy's Pub, which they all run together with hilarious results.

The talent is impeccable, from Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney, to Kaitlin Olson and even the legendary Danny DeVito. Their Philly flair is all there alongside a slew of suggestive jokes and degenerate shenanigans, creating some pretty memorable moments. With four more seasons ordered in 2020, this series shows no signs of slowing down soon.

16 Schitt's Creek

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Six seasons breezed right by with Emmy Award Winning series Schitt's Creek. The show follows The Roses, a family forced to uproot and start over in a small town they bought as a joke after losing all their money to a swindler. They move into the local motel and start life anew alongside some equally quirky neighbors.

Not only did this show have outstanding character development and feature eccentric family dynamics, but it also had an open-hearted representation of the LGBTQ+ community. It might be impossible to pick just one, but Dan Levy's character, David, has definitely won renowned recognition as a fan favorite. Anyone who avidly watches this show will go on to love it.

15 Rick and Morty

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Innovative story and epic cartoon animation meet clever comedy and smart science with the classic genre mash sitcom Rick and Morty. This Dan Harmon vehicle (loosely) follows the titular pair and their family across time and universes, through one science fiction trope after another.

Its canon has since turned iconic and has really set the stage for a newer, nerdier style that even someone who failed every science class would find funny. From "Pickle Rick" to "Morty's Mind Blowers," the producers do a great job of integrating the episode's intellectual ideas with vulgar innuendos and straight-up satire. Even better, new fans can pick it up anytime.

14 Family Guy

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Family Guy might even be more world-famous than the celebrities who do its voice-over work. Which means something, considering Meg has been played by Mila Kunis this whole time. Seth MacFarlane steals the show with his incredible range of voice acting. The series follows a middle-class Rhode Island family helmed by a dumber-than-rocks patriarch. Their antics are iconic and their set-up classic, taking note of show-stopping iconographies of old.

13 South Park

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One of the most long-standing animations on this list, South Park will go down in history for being well ahead of its time. Known for integrating satire with underlying societal concepts, this series' inability to not say whatever's on their mind is as mind-blowing as it is iconic.

Aside from dropping signature one-liners and amalgamating amazing character development throughout, creative producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known for integrating controversial, sometimes even political, themes in their episodes. Their execution is often even more clever than the jokes they make.

12 Curb Your Enthusiasm

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Larry David really does justice to the world of sitcoms with Curb Your Enthusiasm. While not his first foray in the genre (that comes later), David stars in this as himself. His dry, snarky sense of humor, supplemented by absolutely hilarious scenarios and interactions, makes for divine delivery. Not to mention, the show is also a Larry David creative production, thus explaining its ingenuity. The series plans to end with Season 13, which really, come to think of it, isn't too shabby.

11 Roseanne

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This show was on the edge from the start. Another sitcom well ahead of its time, Roseanne continues to be culturally impactful today, despite the finale having aired all the way back in 1997. Similar to shows like South Park, this series also served as a stirring pot for contemporary, controversial issues, including addiction, and eroticism. More than that, though, it made light of real-life struggles that the average middle-class family faces on a day-to-day basis.

Roseanne Barr is a comedian at heart, and with John Goodman at her side, this series just couldn't go wrong... until it did. Although its initial reboot failed in 2018 due to the comedian's insensitive remarks, the series still managed to live on in the form of The Conners.

10 The Big Bang Theory

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The Big Bang Theory is a sitcom that has become representative of the neurodiverse, intellectually gifted, and downright nerdtastic communities. These characters are equally relatable, a staple in creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady's projects. This series began with a fresh-faced neighbor and her high IQ, low EQ neighbors before expanding to include a whole new community after 12 seasons. For those who are in the mood for more sarcastic, dry comedy, as opposed to a more feel-good, wholesome vibe, this is definitely a top choice.

Related: The Big Bang Theory: Every Major Character, Ranked

9 The Office

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One of the first sitcoms without a staged audience laughing on the sidelines, The Office, which was derived from the British sitcom of the same name, was a cutting-edge program in more ways than one. Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, is the definition of dry humor and corporate unease. However, he is but one out of a long list of lovable, relatable, and downright hilarious characters.

The borderline creepy, though the iconic romance between Jim, played by John Krasinski, and Pam, played by Jenna Fischer, really pulls at the heartstrings of anyone watching with a pulse... almost as much as oddball Dwight. The use of mockumentary interview tactics brought this perfect blend of awkward humor to light through nine whole seasons.

8 Friends

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Whether you grew up watching it or picked it up in re-runs or on streaming, Friends is a show anyone can sit down and enjoy in any order. Also taken from a British sitcom (not of the same name), this charming and hilarious dynamic between members of this Central Perk coffee shop friend group, played by some of Hollywood's most influential megastars, is the only context needed to fall in love with the show.

Despite a scarce amount of diversity and equity inclusion, which is arguably in keeping with the times it originally aired, the series does an adequate job of demonstrating real-life human vulnerabilities and challenges that are still relevant to this day, all the while keeping a constant smile on your face. Just don't go thinking you'll be moving into their multi-million dollar apartment anytime soon.

From the ongoing on-screen, and now confirmed off-screen romance between Jennifer Anniston and David Schwimmer's widely adored characters, Ross and Rachel, to the revolving door NYC apartment they all hang out in, Friends has truly left an iconic impression on the industry today.

7 The Simpsons

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Easily one of the longest-running animated series of all time, this is one of those widely popular shows that seems like it has been on TV forever... because it literally has. The show premiered in 1989 and has been on the air since. The series has launched the careers of many a talent including the likes of Conan O'Brien.

Perhaps one of the most infamous characters to ever grace sitcom screens, Homer Simpson and his family have become nothing short of a household name in America, if not around the world, today. Their world has since been transformed into movies and even amusem*nt park rides.

Clever satire and crude humor are not all the producers have going for them though. Over the years, The Simpsons has accumulated a lot of attention for its so-called "psychic" abilities. From forecasting ex-president Donald Trump's election to office in 2016 years prior to Kamala Harris's inauguration outfit, there is a whole list of predictions that have been proven by fans to be correct.

6 Will & Grace

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broke both minds and barriers when it hit the air in 1998. Featuring Debra Messing as Grace and Eric McCormack as Will, the series had one of the first openly gay main characters on network television. This was just one short year after Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian (in both her show and in real life), inadvertently causing its cancelation in the process.

This relationship between a neurotic interior designer and an uptight corporate lawyer, however, was pure magic. The show took note of their roots from the start, stemming Grace and Will’s long-standing, borderline dysfunctional alliance from their having dated in college before Will came out. Will & Grace was perhaps just as well known for its ever-entertaining cast of side-kicks, from Sean Hayes as the ever-flamboyant Jack McFarland to Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, socialite extraordinaire.

Interestingly enough, the show didn’t just end with Season 8 in 2006. During the 2016 election cycle, the cast came together to release a short about election issues. This short propelled the series into a three-season comeback one year later… Not too shabby.

5 Arrested Development

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Arrested Development turned the adorably imperfect model of the TV family on its head when it premiered on Fox in 2003. Its story reads a bit like Schitt’s Creek but plays out more in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The series followed a formerly wealthy family whose patriarch comes under legal scrutiny. The current family is held together, somewhat, by son Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman, whose near-constant struggle to "do the right thing" alongside his delusional and dysfunctional family was pure comedy gold.

The show is also a near-literal who’s who of offbeat comedy legends, from Will Arnett and David Cross to Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, and Jessica Walter. Even Ron Howard, yes, that one, served as both executive producer and omniscient narrator for the series. This series, while far too short-lived, still managed to amass over a dozen Primetime Emmy nominations before its cancelation in 2006. Continued faith in the series was restored following a three-season reboot stint on Netflix.

4 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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Before The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith was just one-half of the rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince when he was picked to headline this groundbreaking '90s sitcom. Even the intro music, performed by the pair, outlined the main character’s origin story before each episode and became iconic in its own right.

Before he turned into the film juggernaut we know today, Smith headlined in this fish-out-of-water portrayal as a Philly Boy en route to Bel-Air following a schoolyard scuffle. The task of straightening him out came down to his extended family, who, it turns out, lived a very different life from his own. Smith’s breakout antics in each episode soon made him and his show a household name. The show also managed to touch upon many a social issue in its time, which may have inspired its recent resurgence as the drama Bel-Air on Peaco*ck.

3 Full House

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Full House was the epitome of the '90s sitcom. The series featured newly widowed father Danny Tanner, who takes on the role of raising his three young girls alongside his brother-in-law Jesse and his best friend Joey. Still, their ever-expanding family never quite managed to outgrow their impossibly priced San Francisco row home. The show arguably skyrocketed its cast to immediate stardom, from Bob Saget and John Stamos to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Related: Full House: The Best Episodes, Ranked

From its inception, sitcoms of the '90s tried and mostly failed to model this show. The episodes were structured as a life lesson in both morality and hilarity, and each one ended on an impossibly ooey-gooey moment that hit right in the feels. More modern re-interpretations like BoJack Horseman use the impossible sustainability of this indelible optimism to their advantage. Though the show closed its doors in 1995, a spin-off of the original series featuring two of the three daughters and their families rebooted it in 2016. Fuller House soon gained a cult following, airing on Netflix for five seasons.

2 Seinfeld

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Seinfeld is the original sitcom. Period. Yes, it was made in the '90s, but hear us out. Jerry Seinfeld paved the way for a new generation of entertainment with this paramount production about nothing. Its play on Freudian psychoanalytics had its characters pegged, hook, line, and sinker, right from the start. Jerry and crew's dialogue is as unforgettable as it is highly quotable.

The show started after the comedian joined forces with legendary Curb Your Enthusiasm mastermind, Larry David. Nine seasons later, its finale was an event to behold. It's for this reason, no matter how much time goes by, that Seinfeld will forever be included in any rankings involving sitcoms.

1 Modern Family

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Modern Family was a multi-hyphenate award winner, and for good reason. The show featured a multigenerational, multiethnic, blended, and extended family in a way that was both hilarious and real to the modern viewer. This had rarely been seen on TV outside of Full House, or perhaps a Norman Lear sitcom.

Even better, the show successfully used Q&A interview techniques taken straight from The Office playbook, a move that proved nothing short of delightful. After 11 whole seasons, it’s no wonder that this series amassed one of the highest clusters of wins in Emmy history. Nothing says "modern" quite like this reinterpretation of the modern nuclear family.

20 Best Modern Sitcoms, Ranked (2024)
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