The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (2024)

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The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (1)

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By Shawn S. Lealos , Brooke Bajgrowicz & Colin McCormick

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The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (7)

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.

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The Best TV Shows Of All Time, Ranked

The best TV shows of all time will be debated forever, but there are clear contenders. These are the very best TV shows of all time, ranked.

50 Scrubs (2001-2010)

9 Seasons, 182 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (9)
Scrubs

Comedy

Drama

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

Seasons
9

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.

It also dealt with the many relationships that came out of this environment with JD finding a best friend, an on-again-off-again love interest, and a reluctant mentor. The show has an imaginative spirit, always willing to be absurd and ridiculous.

This resulted in episodes that would break the fourth wall and even a musical episode. 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

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (10)
Peep Show (2003)

TV-MA

Release Date
September 19, 2003

Cast
Robert Webb , David Mitchell , Sophie Winkleman

Seasons
9

Though it might not have been the massive mainstream hit that other top picks in the genre have been, Peep Show is a British sitcom with a strong enough following to make it a beloved show. 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 that made it clear that the series was willing to make the audience feel very uncomfortable if it happened to result in the biggest laughs. The show remains one of those beloved series that truly only found its appreciation after it was already off the air.

48 Police Squad! (1982)

1 Season, 6 Episodes

There are a number of great movies based on TV shows, but many people might not know that 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. As a testament to the continued legacy of this wacky cop spoof, Liam Neeson will also be starring in a new remake of Naked Gun.

47 Mr. Bean (1990-1995)

1 Season, 15 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (11)
Mr. Bean

Bumbling and eccentric Mr. Bean navigates everyday tasks with hilarious and chaotic results. His childlike ingenuity often leads to unexpected and comical mishaps. Whether at home, in public, or on holiday, his adventures and misadventures showcase his unique problem-solving skills and endearing clumsiness.

Release Date
January 1, 1990

Cast
Rowan Atkinson

Seasons
1

Creator(s)
Rowan Atkinson , Richard Curtis

Many of the greatest sitcoms of all time excel thanks to a strong ensemble, a strong premise, or both. However, Mr. Bean was proof that a sitcom really only needed one great and memorable character to be a real gem. 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.

Looking back on the impact of the series, it is amazing to be reminded that there 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

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (12)
Derry Girls

Sitcom

Release Date
January 4, 2018

Cast
Saoirse-Monica Jackson , Louisa Harland

Seasons
3

Though it ended following its third season, Derry Girls managed to gain a lot of popularity in a short time, becoming one of the most acclaimed sitcoms of the past several years. 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. This effective blending of tones helped it to standout as a show that could be emotional while also have the viewers laughing out loud.

45 Letterkenny (2016-)

11 Seasons, 75 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (13)
Letterkenny

Sitcom

Comedy

Release Date
February 7, 2018

Cast
Jared Keeso

Seasons
11

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. There are various clashes in groups of people that make up this small community, but there is also a lot of support and charm to this collection of colorful characters.

Letterkenny funniest quotes have delivered endless unique sayings and 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), who is always quick to have a drink with his friends, fight some wannabe tough guy, and get some chores done. 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

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (14)
Archer

Animation

Comedy

Action

Release Date
December 28, 2010

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

Seasons
14

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.

Adding to the childish nature of the character, his mother is the one in charge of the organization and giving him the orders. 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.

It presents this international spy agency as the typical workplace with petty arguments and immaturity overshadowing the world-saving stakes of their work. 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

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (15)
What We Do in the Shadows

Horror

Fantasy

Comedy

Release Date
March 27, 2019
Cast
Doug Jones , Natasia Demetriou , Matt Berry , Mark Proksch , Kayvan Novak , Harvey Guillen , Kristen Schaal

Seasons
5

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, giving a glimpse at their dark and supernatural world while also becoming interested in various aspects of the modern human world.

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. Two of the standouts of the ensemble are Matt Berry as the sex-crazed Laszlo and Mark Proksch as the painfully dull energy vampire Colin Robinson.

42 The Thick Of It (2005–2012)

4 Seasons, 23 Episodes

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. This sets up the brilliant premise of satirizing the world of politics and exploring the shocking stupidity of it all as these stressed-out and short-tempered professionals clean up one mess after another.

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. The show ended up becoming a big enough hit that it earned a Hollywood spinoff movie with Tucker facing off with the American political world.

41 The IT Crowd (2006-2013)

4 Seasons, 25 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (16)
The IT Crowd

Sitcom

Release Date
February 3, 2006

Cast
Katherine Parkinson , Richard Ayoade , Chris O'Dowd

Seasons
4

There are certain shows that gradually found an audience in America and became more mainstream hits outside of their native countries after already having ended. The IT Crowd is a British series that follows a three-person tech support office squatting in the basem*nt of a larger company, the nerdy misfits being comprised of two traditional computer geeks and their largely computer-illiterate manager.

Similar to The Office, this show explored how funny mundane office life could be. 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.

40 Community (2009-2015)

6 Seasons, 110 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (17)
Community

Comedy

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

Seasons
6

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. The paintball episodes and movie homages helped it to stand out in the modern sitcom world. However, it also was a sweet and hilarious story about a group of strangers who form an unexpected bond in an unlikely place. Nearly a decade after the show ended, its popularity is still strong, leading to the much-anticipated upcoming Community movie.

39 Freaks And Geeks (1999-2000)

1 Season, 18 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (18)
Freaks and Geeks

Drama

Release Date
September 25, 1999
Cast
James Franco , Busy Philipps , Jason Segel , Linda Cardellini , John Francis Daley

Seasons
1

Freaks and Geeks is considered among the best sitcoms of all time despite the fact that it only has one season. Yet thanks to the audience eventually finding it and the big stars who came out of the cast, it has earned a popularity that eluded it when it was on the air. 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) and hurt its chances of ever finding a stable audience. Despite this, however, Freaks and Geeks is a notable project in the early careers of actors including James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Busy Phillips and ranks as one of the best cult classic sitcoms of all time.

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38 Father Ted (1995-1998)

3 Seasons, 25 Episodes

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 show deftly mixed hilarious and accessible low-brow humor with an examination of these oddball characters in their lonely and outcast positions in life. It made for a charming series that earned an iconic status despite only consisting of 25 episodes in total. The show 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 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (20)
Silicon Valley

Comedy

Release Date
April 6, 2014
Cast
Josh Brener , Amanda Crew , Thomas MIddleditch , Kumail Nanjiani , Martin Starr , T.J. Miller

Seasons
6

It seems like the tech world of startups was ripe for satire and Silicon Valley brilliantly skewered this world and its figures. Silicon Valley is a sitcom that follows a group of young tech entrepreneurs who struggle to stay afloat in the high-pressure world with things constantly going wrong. From their tech running into issues to not being prepared for the cutthroat competitive side of the business, it is one hilarious obstacle after another.

The series was elevated by some truly intelligent writing that crafted big laughs, interesting story developments, and more than a few surprises. However, even those who are not well-versed in this world will be engrossed with the wonderful underdog story. 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

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 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 is a series that might not get talked about as often as some others, especially among modern audiences. However, its influence on the sitcom genre is undeniable. It went on to win three straight Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series.

35 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–2021)

8 Seasons, 153 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (21)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

TV-14

Comedy

Crime

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

Seasons
8

Coming out during the period of time when workplace comedies with wacky ensembles were the most popular sitcoms, Brooklyn Nine-Nine sought to find a fresh setting for the formula. 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 cast also shines with the likes of Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, and the late Andre Braugher. 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, as the show features major LGBTQ+ characters and storylines that are handled with care.

34 The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

1 Season, 39 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (22)

Few shows have been as influential in the history of sitcoms as The Honeymooners, paving the way for some many more shows that would explore married life in a less wholesome and picturesque way than those other shows. 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

Another show that had a huge influence on the sitcom world is The Office which helped to popularize the mockumentary approach as well as showing the fun that can be had in truly uncomfortable situations. 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. Most of this came from Gervais' ego-less performance as the obnoxious and unlikable boss, David Brent.

32 Fawlty Towers (1975-1979)

2 Seasons, 12 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (23)
Fawlty Towers

Comedy

Satire

Release Date
September 19, 1975

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

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. Much of the show got its humor from how dire the situation was and how frustrating things could get for its cast of characters.

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. Though it is seen as a crowning jewel among British sitcoms, Fawlty Towers has also earned global popularity and influenced the writing on countless sitcoms that followed, leading with the example of sometimes everything going wrong is the funniest possible thing.

31 Broad City (2014-2019)

5 Seasons, 50 Episodes

The 50 Best Sitcoms Of All Time (24)
Broad City

Sitcom

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

Seasons
5

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. The series takes a look at modern city life, from work to dating to roommates, and how it is handled by these two people seeming unprepared for adult life.

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. However, 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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