Comedy

The 40 Best Sitcoms on Netflix Right Now

Comedy Lists Netflix
Share Tweet Submit Pin
The 40 Best Sitcoms on Netflix Right Now

A comprehensive guide to the best sitcoms on Netflix.

We’ve lost some good ones since we last updated this list. Archer? KIA. It’s Always Sunny? That sun finally set. The Carmichael Show, 30 Rock, The Bernie Mac Show? They’ve all gone to that great streaming platform in the sky—or maybe Hulu, I don’t know.

That doesn’t mean Netflix’s sitcom lineup is suddenly weak, though. It still has some of the most beloved network sitcoms of all time, from Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith to The Good Place and The Office. And its roster of original sitcoms continues to impress, with new shows like Big Mouth and GLOW and new seasons from One Day at a Time and Love. There are more great sitcoms than any one person could ever watch on Netflix, and these 40 are the best of the best.

todd-margaret.jpg 40. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
Original Run: 2009-12
Creator: David Cross 
Stars: David Cross, Sharon Horgan, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison, Jack McBrayer 
Original Network: IFC 

From the unique premise to the comedy itself, there are plenty of reasons to admire The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, the IFC sitcom co-created and co-written by David Cross, who also stars as its titular character. Margaret is a go-nowhere dolt working in the U.S. who is inexplicably promoted to run a London sales team promoting an energy drink called Thunder Muscle. Through a series of—you guessed it—increasingly poor decisions, that the viewer only learns about over time as they occur, he slowly gets into deeper and deeper trouble, while the worst decision seems to have been made by whoever promoted him to London in the first place. Rather than rely on straight-up punchlines, the show manages to maintain a level-headed humor throughout, ably going off the rails at one moment, only to bring it back to a quintessentially British cringe the next.—Austin L. Ray


netflix lovesick.jpg 39. Lovesick
Original Run: 2014-00
Creator: Tom Edge
Stars: Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, Joshua McGuire
Original Network: Channel 4; Netflix (seasons 2 and 3)

Lovesick thrives on gawkily funny and often sexually charged situations, handled in such a down-to-earth manner it doesn’t feel like your typical, canned-laughter comedy. Instead of being overly in-your-face with punchlines, the series relies on its well-defined protagonists for humor, and by introducing new characters and environments in every episode, Lovesick feels more elaborate than your average sitcom, allowing for the occasional surprise (see the episodes “Abigail” and “Phoebe”). By spanning the protagonists’ storylines over a period of seven years, we get to know the people and circumstances that shaped them into who they are at present. We witness various fashion trends and phases in their lives, personal issues and career triumphs, forging a bond with the characters that carries into their current situations.—Roxanne Sancto


netflix santa clarita poster.jpg 38. Santa Clarita Diet
Original Run: 2017-
Creator: Victor Fresco
Stars: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo
Original Network: Netflix 

Netflix’s horror-comedy follows normal couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant), a real estate duo attempting to raise their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) right. The neighborhood is good, problems are at a minimum, and the middle-class living is all the American Dream promised. Until Sheila hacks up a mysterious orb and starts hungering for human flesh, that is. Freckly neighbor kid Eric (Skyler Gisondo) has been roped into the scheme, too. Together, they put the “dead” in “deadpan.” Sheila’s fundead chipperness recalls Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s method of surrounding its dark, psychologically- or physically-upsetting narrative turns with hyper-sunny aesthetics, saturating each shot with catalogue color even when the gore flies. It’s as if the traffic-discussing members of the Saturday Night Live skit “The Californians” were in a Saw movie. —Jacob Oller


netflix inbetweeners.jpg 37. The Inbetweeners
Original Run: 2008-2010
Creator: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Stars: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, James Buckley
Original Network: E4

A spiritual cousin of sorts to the American Pie films, The Inbetweeners brought UK audiences a glimpse into the love/hate relationship between four high school friends and their pitiable attempts to score with the young women around them. If you’ve ever been a semi-geeky middle class, suburban white male, it will likely pain you to sit through each episode of this show even as you’re laughing at the wickedly funny dialogue and the fantastic chemistry that its four lead actors (Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, and James Buckley) maintained throughout. The Inbetweeners obviously struck a chord with a number of folks in the UK, as it scored great ratings for each of its three seasons and spawned two feature films that followed the four gents on vacations to Greece and Australia.—Robert Ham


netflix that 70s show.jpg 36. That ‘70s Show
Original Run: 1998-2006
Creator: Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, Mark Brazill
Stars: Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Tanya Roberts, Don Stark, Lisa Robin Kelly, Tommy Chong, Josh Meyers
Original Network: Fox

Just as the 1970s harkened back to the 1950s in the form of Grease and Happy Days, pop culture audiences of the 1990s demonstrated their own brand of nostalgia by popularizing Fox’s That ‘70s Show, a sitcom based on co-creator Mark Brazill’s teenage years as a smartass, Midwestern teen. Beyond highlighting the immense talent of its cast with sharp, punchy writing, the show also set itself apart by experimenting with visual structure, implementing split screens, dream sequences, drug-induced hallucinations and the show’s patented tableside panning for when the young teens found themselves “self-medicating.” In retrospect, That ‘70s Show’s biggest sin is that—like many promising sitcoms—it simply outstayed its welcome, chugging along even after two main cast members (Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher) had departed. Still, at its peak, it was an unmistakably engaging and altogether groovy program that more than earned its place as one of Fox’s flagship shows.—Mark Rozeman


netflix toast of london.jpg 35. Toast of London
Original Run: 2012-2015
Creator: Arthur Mathews, Matt Berry
Stars: Matt Berry, Robert Bathurst, Doon Mackichan, Harry Peacock, Tim Downie, Shazad Latif, Tracy-Ann Oberman
Original Network: Channel 4

Steven Toast is a perfect Matt Berry creation, a pompous, absurd, overbearing AC-TOR!!! who is completely oblivious about how much of a joke he is to everyone else in the world. If this was a Ricky Gervais show, that would pretty much be the main joke of the entire series. Berry and co-creator Arthur Mathews surrounds Toast with characters that are just as ridiculous, though, making the show so absurd that it never really turns into pure cringe comedy. If you love Matt Berry—or, just as importantly, his amazing voice—you need to watch this one.—Garrett Martin


netflix f is for family.jpg 34. F Is For Family
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Bill Burr, Michael Price
Stars: Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, Debi Derryberry, Sam Rockwell 
Original Network: Netflix 

Like the more celebrated BoJack Horseman, this animated Netflix original mines surprisingly stark and moving drama from its bitter comedy. Starring popular stand-up Bill Burr, F Is For Family is a jaundiced look at a broken family during the height of the 1970s malaise, but, y’know, funny, at least some of the time. There are only six episodes out now, but more should be on the way.—Garrett Martin


netflix maron poster.jpg 33. Maron
Original Run: 2013-2016
Creators: Marc Maron 
Stars:Marc Maron 
Network: IFC 

Marc Maron’s low key, slice-of-life sitcom will make you think of both his stand-up act and the introductions to his great conversation podcast WTF—all three pull from his struggle to remain steady and sane in the face of everyday anxieties. Like WTF, this sitcom featured a who’s who of guest stars, with Judd Hirsch standing out as Maron’s dad. It can be a little self-indulgent at times, but considering it’s basically a one-man show from a comedian whose entire career has been built on talking about himself, it’s not nearly as self-indulgent as it could’ve been.—Garrett Martin


netflix rhoh.jpg 32. Real Husbands of Hollywood
Original Run: 2013-2016
Creator: Kevin Hart, Chris Spencer
Stars: Kevin Hart, Nick Cannon, Boris Kodjoe, Duane Martin, Nelly, J.B. Smoove, Robin Thicke, Cynthia McWilliams, Dondré Whitfield
Original Network: BET

Somehow Kevin Hart’s reality show parody feels less fake than most reality shows. Hart and his costars play themselves, or at least versions thereof, as they navigate work, life and relationships in Hollywood, mimicking the hyper-edited style and blatantly artificial narratives of most reality shows. Hart’s shallow braggadocio only becomes funnier when he’s playing himself, but J.B. Smoove and, surprisingly, Alan Thicke during its first season might steal the show.—Kenny Herzog


netflix love poster.jpg 31. Love
Original Run: 2016-2018
Creators: Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Paul Rust
Stars: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O’Doherty
Original Network: Netflix 

If you’re a fan of Undeclared or Freaks and Geeks, you should make it your business to give Judd Apatow’s latest series, Love, a try. In a lot of ways, it feels like what would happen if Sam Weir and Kim Kelly wound up dating in their 30s—we meet Gus (Paul Rust), a dorky on-set tutor for the child star of a witch-themed teen drama, and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs), a radio producer struggling with her sobriety, as they’re both reeling from tough breakups and watch as they fall for each other. Like anything Apatow’s got his name on, there’s an underlying sweetness here and an incredibly strong cast (Claudia O’Doherty steals pretty much every scene she’s in as Mickey’s roommate, Bertie), and the addiction plot lends some dramatic muscle. The characters are complicated (and not always likable), but hey, so is love. Bonnie Stiernberg


netflix schitts creek.jpg 30. Schitt’s Creek
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy
Stars: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Jennifer Robertson, Emily Hampshire, Tim Rozon, Dustin Milligan
Original Network: CBC

Now’s the time to catch up with father-and-son duo Eugene and Daniel Levy’s winning sitcom. Season One mined plenty of laughs out of its fish-out-of-water conceit, with [bankrupt millionaires] the Roses transplanted to a poor, rural town run by Chris Elliott’s slovenly Mayor Roland Schitt, but its successive half hours go that much further beyond the title’s slapstick wordplay. The Roses, despite themselves, are assimilating to life outside La La Land, and incrementally coming to appreciate each other’s company. Schitt’s Creek isn’t particularly trenchant, nor is it simple or sentimental. Rather, it hits a sweet spot of ensemble humor that happens to offer a satisfying answer to post-presidential election rhetorical grousing about what would happen if middle and bicoastal Americans really could get along.—Kenny Herzog


netflix big mouth.jpg 29. Big Mouth
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin
Stars:Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph
Network: Netflix 

Netflix’s new animated series, from creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, follows four friends through the earliest stages of puberty: Andrew (John Mulaney) sports inconvenient erections; Nick (Kroll) awaits his first pubic hairs; Jessi (Jessi Klein) begins menstruating at the Statue of Liberty; Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) conceives rococo ways to get off with his pillow. It’s wickedly bawdy—one episode’s end credits roll over an extended description of Andrew’s dad’s testicles—and devilishly funny—another uses a note-perfect Seinfeld send-up to explain the blowjob “head push” and the term “mons pubis”—but as implied by its theme song, Charles Bradley’s “Changes,” the series is sweeter than it appears at first blush. Its goal is to cut through the humiliations of sex, to break through the shame shellacked atop our “gross little dirtbag” selves to reveal the perfectly normal yearning underneath: for pleasure, for touch, for emotional connection; for approval, confidence, intimacy, love. By admitting, as Andrew does in the series premiere, that “everything is so embarrassing”—and not only for teens—Big Mouth squares a space in which there’s no question that can’t be asked, and no answer that applies the same way to everyone. It’s the streaming version of your sex-ed teacher’s anonymous slips of paper, except the laughs aren’t sniggers—they’re hard-won, empathic guffaws. —Matt Brennan


netflix dads army poster.jpg 28. Dad’s Army
Original Run: 1968-1977
Creators: Jimmy Perry
Stars: Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn, John Laurie, James Beck, Arnold Ridley, Ian Lavender, Bill Pertwee, Frank Williams, Edward Sinclair, Janet Davies, Colin Bean
Original Network: BBC

This legendary British sitcom is almost unknown in the States, but in the UK it’s about as beloved and long lasting as Cheers is over here. This ensemble comedy about the World War II Home Guard highlights a part of history that was already being forgotten when the show launched in the late ‘60s, and today is itself an artifact of what British sitcoms were like 50 years ago. It might not hold up that well today, and it might not make a lot of sense to an American audience, but if you’ve ever been interested in British TV and comedy, here’s a crucial part of that history.—Garrett Martin


netflix episodes poster.jpg 27. Episodes
Original Run: 2011-2017
Creators: David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik
Stars:Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, John Pankow, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Mircea Monroe
Original Network: Showtime / BBC Two

When successful British showrunners Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) move to Los Angeles to remake their beloved comedy Lyman’s Boys for an American audience, they have no idea what they’re in for when their quirky comedy is put through the Hollywood wringer. Playing a heightened, fictional version of himself, LeBlanc is terrific in a role created for him by former Friends producer David Crane. The series is a spot-on takedown about how creativity is sucked out as TV comedies are produced to play to the lowest common denominator. I remain convinced that LeBlanc’s current CBS show Man with a Plan is just him trolling us.—Amy Amatangelo


netflix grace and frankie.jpg 26. Grace and Frankie
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Marta Kauffman, Howard J. Morris
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn
Original Network: Netflix 

Sometimes the only thing worse than a flat-out bad show is a woefully mediocre one that thoroughly squanders its vast potential. Indeed, despite its luminous cast, respected creative team (Marta J. Kaufman co-created Friends) and timely subject matter, Grace and Frankie never quite shakes the impression that it’s a broadcast comedy masquerading under a thick layer of “prestige half-hour” make-up. The story centers on the titular characters (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, respectively) who end up becoming roommates/reluctant friends after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they’ve been engaging in a long-term affair with one another and wish to dissolve their marriages to be together. Feeling tossed out to sea in the twilight of their lives, the two women attempt to rediscover life as newly single gals. Cue gags fueled by elder dating, elder sex and the ever-reliable, “elders try to use technology.” It’s essentially How Stella Got Her Groove Back for the septuagenarian sect. These creative shortcomings are all the more disappointing given the unmistakable chemistry between Fonda and Tomlin, not to mention that, as actresses of a certain age, Hollywood is not exactly bowling them over with the roles they deserve. Grace and Frankie is far from a bad show, but it has enough going for it that one wishes it was so much better. Mark Rozeman


netflix glow.jpg 25. GLOW
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Liz Flahive, Jenji Kohan and Carly Mensch
Stars: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Sunita Mani and Marc Maron
Original Network: Netflix 

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I did not grow up watching wrestling on Saturday mornings. But just as I didn’t have to understand football to love Friday Night Lights, I don’t need to know what an atomic drop is to adore GLOW. A nearly unrecognizable Alison Brie (credit the ‘80s hair and eyebrows for her transformation) stars as Ruth Wilder, an aspiring actress who finds her perfect role in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. What she lacks in skill, Ruth makes up for in pluck. Her frenemy, former soap star Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), becomes her perfect foil. Marc Maron is hilarious as their world-weary producer and Sydelle Noel is a stand out as stunt woman-turned-trainer Cherry Bang. Come for the ridiculous costumes, makeup and hair. Stay for the surprisingly poignant show about female empowerment. Amy Amatangelo


netflix green wing.jpg 24. Green Wing
Original Run: 2004-2007
Creator: Victoria Pile
Stars: Sarah Alexander, Sally Bretton, Oliver Chris, Olivia Colman, Tamsin Greig, Michelle Gomez, Pippa Haywood, Mark Heap, Katie Lyons, Stephen Mangan, Lucinda Raikes, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Karl Theobald
Original Network: Channel 4

Forget about ER and Grey’s Anatomy, Green Wing introduces a hospital that is more of an amusement park than anything else, and it wouldn’t surprise me if people would actually want to check themselves in voluntarily, whether they are sick or not. Starring some of the best actors known to British comedy such as Mark Heap, Tasmin Greig, Stephen Mangan and Michelle Gomez, this is the wackiest “hospital show” you will ever come across.—Roxanne Sancto


netflix friends.jpg 23. Friends
Original Run: 1994-2004
Creator: David Crane, Marta Kauffman
Stars: None
Original Network: NBC

Unlike its Must See TV neighbor Seinfeld, which intentionally tried to break traditional sitcom rules, Friends was the apex of the network comedy machine. It had a cast of young, attractive, capable actors, hand-picked by network executives, slinging out rapid-fire wisecracks and rejoinders as a studio audience roared along. During its decade on the air, no show better defined what networks wanted sitcoms to look like, or inspired more shameless knockoffs. The fact that it was pretty funny, and had characters viewers grew to care for, is what made it not just slick and popular but a legitimately OK show. If it wasn’t for its stature, longevity and sheer importance, though, it probably wouldn’t rank so high on this list.—Garrett Martin


netflix extras.jpg 22. Extras
Original Run: 2005-2007
Creator: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant 
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson, Shaun Pye
Original Network: BBC Two / HBO 

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s follow-up to The Office wasn’t nearly as groundbreaking, but it’s still a hilarious show that mines real pathos from the mediocre life of a self-important middle aged man. Andy Millman isn’t quite as cruel or pathetic as David Brent—he winds up on a successful sitcom, even if it’s a hackneyed one that he hates and winds up sabotaging—but he still deserves most of the scorn and embarrassment heaped upon him throughout the series. If you aren’t a fan of Gervais-style cringe comedy, maybe you’ll appreciate the persona-tweaking cameos by big name stars like Ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart and Kate Winslet, or Stephen Merchant’s ingratiatingly awkward performance as Millman’s agent, or Ashley Jensen’s likable presence as Millman’s equally awkward actor friend. It’s surprising to see this on Netflix, despite their relationship with Gervais—this was co-produced by HBO.—Garrett Martin


new-girl.jpg 21. New Girl
Original Run: 2011-
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone
Original Network: Fox

When New Girl started it was a sharp hang-out sitcom for the 21st century, updating the basic template of Friends into the modern day, but with a looser, more improvisational feel to the humor that makes it seem at least a bit less artificial. Like Friends, the show’s greatest strength is less the writing than the performances and chemistry of its cast—few shows can milk as much out of its characters lounging around a living room, or drunkenly playing a made-up game with no clear rules. Its best days might now be behind it, but they’ll live on through Netflix forever, or until the current rights agreement runs out.—Garrett Martin


netflix lady dynamite.jpg 20. Lady Dynamite
Original Run: 2016-2017
Creator: Pam Brady, Mitch Hurwitz 
Stars: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place
Original Network: Netflix 

Lady Dynamite’s opening episode is such a whirlwind of hyperactivity, even those viewers accustomed to Maria Bamford’s idiosyncratic brand of comedy may feel like they’ve overdosed on E numbers. But make it through the utterly exhausting pilot and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most weirdly wonderful sitcoms ever to grace the screen. Indeed, despite lurching wildly from showbusiness satire and surreal flights of fancy to painfully raw depictions of mental illness, Lady Dynamite‘s organized chaos soon becomes far more palatable and increasingly poignant. A game cast, including Fred Melamed as Maria’s strangely lovable but highly incompetent manager, Ana Gasteyer as her ghastly, no-nonsense agent, and former Supermen Dean Cain and Brandon Routh as her boyfriends past and present all add to the show’s random bizarre appeal. And if that hasn’t sold you, there’s also an adorable talking pug that sounds like Werner Herzog.—Jon O’Brien


netflix trailer park boys.jpg 19. Trailer Park Boys
Original Run: 2001-2008; 2014-
Creator: Mike Clattenburg
Stars: John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith, John Dunsworth, Patrick Roach, Lucy DeCoutere, Sarah E. Dunsworth, Tyrone Parsons, Jonathan Torrens, Jeanne Harrison
Original Network: Showcase, Netflix 

After 10 seasons and 16 years, Trailer Park Boys is an institution. For those completely unfamiliar with it, the show centers on the antics of Ricky and Julian, two idiot schemers, and their weird friend, Bubbles. The three live in a trailer park, where a whole bunch of other misfits, lunatics and drunks reside. Everyone fights and fucks up to laughter, the titular “boys” go to jail at the end of each season, and it all restarts once they’re released.

There are any number of things that can explain the enduring popularity of Trailer Park Boys. In a weed-friendly 21st century culture, its willingness to revel in the joys of pot smoking struck an early chord. There are the countless Rickyisms, puncta which enter the personal vocabularies of viewers. There’s the plain fact that faux drunk slapstick is always, always funny. And it’s got heart, clichéd as that is—the boys love the trailer park, their drunk nemesis Jim Lahey loves the trailer park, and so does everyone else there, even if nobody outside understands why.—Ian Williams


netflix kimmy schmidt.jpg 18. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane
Original Network: Netflix 

NBC has made any number of mistakes over the years, but few bigger than shelving Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s 30 Rock follow-up, before punting it over to Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wound up becoming one of the highlights of a great year for TV comedy. The fast-paced and flip sitcom featured breakout performances by Office vet Ellie Kemper as the titular former “mole woman” trying to make it on her own in New York, and Tituss Burgess as her flamboyant and put-upon roommate, Titus Andromedon. (NBC has recently tried to make it up to Kemper for dropping the ball on this by planting her in the guest host chair at Today—too little, too late, peacock peddlers.) Throughout the first season’s run, some writers and critics seemed dead set on finding some kind of flaw to pounce on with the show, zeroing in on how the minority characters are represented. This may be a wild generalization, but I think this was a natural reaction to one of the most overtly feminist sitcoms ever produced. Kimmy Schmidt is most certainly upsetting the natural order of your typical network sitcom. The show’s titular character is defining her life on her own terms and by her own standards. For some reason that still freaks some people out so they dismiss it or find some way to poke holes in the vehicle for that idea. That is what makes the prospect of a second season so exciting. Just as the show can go in a myriad of different directions, so too can Kimmy Schmidt. Now that she has put the awful time in the bunker to bed, she can face a new day with that infectious smile, bubbly attitude, and enthusiastic embrace of life experience. Sorry nitpickers and network executives; Kimmy Schmidt is going to make it after all. Robert Ham


netflix dear white people poster.jpg 17. Dear White People
Original Run: 2017-
Creator: Justin Simien
Stars:: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Giancarlo Esposito
Network: Netflix 

Based on creator Justin Simien’s 2014 indie, Netflix’s original series—narrated by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito—replicates the pungent humor of the film without ever seeming stale, or static: Its knives are sharp, and they’re pointed in every direction. Though its primary target is white privilege, in forms both egregious (blackface parties) and mundane (calls to end “divisive” politics), Dear White People, set on the campus of a fictional Ivy League university, is even funnier when it turns to the details of the black students’ personal and ideological choices, transforming the notion of the “problematic fave,” from the McRib to The Cosby Show into the engine of its entertaining, incisive comedy.—Matt Brennan


netflix one day at a time.jpg 16. One Day at a Time
Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Gloria Calderon Kellett, Mike Royce,
Stars: Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gómez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, Rita Moreno
Original Network: Netflix 

I can’t remember a time I loved something the way I love the new One Day at a Time. Part of my affection stems from the fact that the show was such a discovery. It arrived January 6 of this year with almost no hype. I write about TV for a living and I barely knew it was premiering. Almost immediately I dismissed the show as yet another ill-advised remake. How wrong I was. The comedy is a pure delight. A throwback to the defining comedies of the 1970s with a modern twist, the show deftly tackles some hot-button issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, wage inequality and teenage sexuality amid real conversations about generational differences and Cuban heritage and traditions. Justina Machado (Six Feet Under) is fantastic as the recently separated veteran raising her two adolescent children with the help of her mother Lydia (living legend Rita Moreno) and her landlord Schneider (Todd Grinnell). Moreno gives an amazing speech in the series 12th episode that should easily nab her an Emmy nomination this year. But above all the show is funny and grounded. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to watch this gem one day at a time. Amy Amatangelo


netflix what first day.jpg 15. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp / Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
Original Run: 2015
Creator: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Stars: Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Lake Bell, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Josh Charles, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau,
Original Network: Netflix 

When a follow-up comes along for any project with a huge cult audience, it seems doomed to disappoint. Arrested Development’s fourth season’s breaking apart of the cast was bound to frustrate, and Anchorman 2 could never reach the surprising joy of the original. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp obviously came with a certain amount of trepidation. But instead of trying to recreate the glory of the last day of camp, as seen in the 2001 film, First Day of Camp added a considerable amount of depth to the original film and explained aspects of Camp Firewood that never needed to be understood, but make the entire history of these characters feel more whole. The Netflix series managed to redefine these characters that we fell in love with over a decade ago, all while giving us laughs and immense heart as well. (The 2017 follow-up wasn’t quite as strong, sadly.) Ross Bonaime


netflix abfab.jpg 14. Absolutely Fabulous
Original Run: 1992-1996; 2001-2004; 2011-2012
Creators: Jennifer Saunders
Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
Original Network: BBC Two / BBC One

Jennifer Saunders’s scathing satire of modern excess, vanity and the pursuit of fame feels more relevant today than it when was made in the 1990s. Beyond the hilarity of its dark humor, Ab Fab’s legacy rests on the strength of the friendship between Patsy and Edina; no matter how horrible they might be, or how far they fall into debauchery, the two always have each other’s backs. Few shows, comedy or drama, have focused so fully on the friendship between two middle-aged women.—Garrett Martin


the-it-crowd.jpg 13. The IT Crowd
Original Run: 2006-2013
Creator: Graham Linehan
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
Original Network: Channel 4

Stuck in a small, chaotic basement office, IT nerds Roy Trenneman (Chris O’Dowd) and Maurice Moss (Richard Ayoade) are always happy to help—well, Moss is, Roy is a lot happier sitting on his arse doing nothing. Head of the IT department Jen Barber (Katherine Parkinson) really has no idea of what she’s doing and is convinced that typing “Google” into Google will “break the internet”. Moss is your typical school-yard-bully victim. While he’s extremely articulate and proper in his way of speaking and dressing, he seems to have been overly coddled by his mother with whom he still lives. You might not necessarily want these guys to take a crack at fixing your computer, but you should definitely reserve them a place on your screen.—Roxanne Sancto


5-90-of-the-90s-Frasier.jpg 12. Frasier
Original Run: 1993-2004
Creators: David Angell, Peter Casey, David Lee
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Jane Leeves, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Moose
Original Network: NBC

So many of the sitcoms of the ’90s are paeans to blue-collar family life, but Frasier was the odd show that made cultural elites and eggheads somehow seem like lovable characters to a mass audience. Both Frasier and his brother Niles can be infuriatingly snobbish, but audiences soon found that when their petty jealousies were directed at each other, they could also be hilarious. The show soon became an off-hand representation of the idea of “smart comedy” on TV, but it was also still a sitcom full of relationship humor. Viewers waited a hell of a long time in particular for the long-teased relationship between Niles and Daphne to finally come to fruition (seven full seasons). Frazier, on the other hand, is never really lucky in love, but he was always better as a semi-depressed single, turning his probing mind on himself.—Jim Vorel


netflix master of none.jpg 11. Master of None
Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
Stars: Aziz Ansari, Noél Wells, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, H. Jon Benjamin 
Original Network: Netflix 

Like its creator and star, Master of None is stylish, smart and clever—a half-hour comedy that ranks as one of Netflix’s best efforts in original programming. Following the trend set by Louie, Transparent, You’re the Worst and many other modern sitcoms, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang built a show that doesn’t mind the occasional laugh hiatus. Instead of pushing the joke quota to astronomical levels, Master of None is content to find poignancy amid the humor, and if the former outshines the latter, so be it. The result is a show that is fun to watch, emotionally satisfying and thought provoking. It’s also been paramount in furthering the discussion about race and representation on television, both with its own casting and the topics it addresses. There is so much to say about this show, and these few hundred words are a pathetic attempt to do it justice. Master of None is one of the most important shows in a long, long time. Eric Walters


netflix the good place.jpg 10. The Good Place
Original Run: 2016-
Creator: Michael Schur
Stars: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson
Original Network: NBC

Some of the best sitcoms in history are about bad people. M.A.S.H., Seinfeld, Arrested Development: It’d be hard to argue that the majority of their characters aren’t self-involved, intolerant or downright assholes. It’s far, far too early to enter The Good Place into any such pantheon, but it’s relevant in pinning down why the latest comedy from Michael Schur (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) feels simultaneously so cozy and so adventurous.

Fitting into a middle ground of sensibilities between occupational comedies like NewsRadio and the sly navel-gazing of Dead Like Me, The Good Place is the rare show that’s completely upfront about its main character’s flaws, creating a moral playground that tests Eleanor’s worst impulses at every turn. Played by Kristen Bell at her most unbridled, she’s a vain, impish character—the type of person who’ll swipe someone’s coffee without a second thought, then wonder why the universe is plotting against her. She’s a perfect straight woman in an afterlife surrounded by only the purest of heart, but the show doesn’t hold it against her. If anything, following in the grand tradition of sitcoms, the show knows that we’re all bad people at one time or another. Michael Snydel


netflix the office us.jpg 9. The Office (US)
Original Run: 2005-2013
Creator: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant; Developed by Greg Daniels
Stars: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, BJ Novak, Craig Robinson, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms
Original Network: NBC

At its peak, the US version of The Office could be the best show on this entire list. Seasons two through six or so comprise one of the genuinely great sitcom runs, a body of work up there with the best of Seinfeld or The Simpsons. It had a weak start, and became a sad parody of itself over its last few seasons, but during that sweet spot The Office was both hilarious and able to wring genuine emotion out of Michael Scott’s insecurities and Jim and Pam’s relationship. And in terms of sheer size and consistency, it might have had the best extended cast of any sitcom. It might not have the precision or laser focus of the original, but that’s the difference between American and British TV.—Garrett Martin


netflix bojack.jpg 8. BoJack Horseman
Original Run: 2014-
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Stars: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul
Original Network: Netflix 

BoJack Horseman is one of the most underrated comedies ever made, and it almost pains me that it doesn’t earn more praise. Right from the title sequence, which documents BoJack’s sad decline from network sitcom star to drunken has-been—set to the beautiful theme song written by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney—this is one of the most thoughtful comedies ever made. Which doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious, of course. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for BoJack, and Paul F. Tompkins, who is in my mind the funniest man on planet Earth, could not be better suited to the child-like Mr. Peanut Butter. This is a show that isn’t above a visual gag or vicious banter or a wonderfully cheap laugh, but it also looks some very hard realities of life straight in the eye. There are times when you will hate BoJack—this is not a straight redemption story, and the minute you think he’s on the upswing, he will do something absolutely horrible to let you down. (There’s a special irony in the fact that a horse is one of the most human characters on TV, and the unblinking examination of his character makes “Escape from L.A.” one of the best episodes of TV this year.) So why isn’t it loved beyond a strong cult following? Maybe it’s the anthropomorphism that keeps people away, or maybe it’s the animation, but I implore you: Look beyond those elements, settle into the story, and let yourself be amazed by a comedy that straddles the line between hilarious and sad like no other on television.—Shane Ryan


netflix andy griffith.jpg 7. The Andy Griffith Show
Original Run: 1960-1968
Creator: Sheldon Leonard
Stars: Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Frances Bavier, Jim Nabors
Original Network: CBS

Don’t scoff. Sure, The Andy Griffith Show is exceedingly old-fashioned, and its utter lack of black characters (in North Carolina!) or any recognition of the horrible racial climate of its day might be unforgivable today. But! This is both an important show, and more importantly, a deeply entertaining one, that remained fundamentally decent—and fundamentally about decency—while rarely falling to mawkishness. Despite its glaring failure in the most central moral issue of its day, it remains one of the most moral shows in TV history, but never feels preachy or didactic. It is a show that you can learn something from, no matter your age, station or background, without feeling like you’re being lectured to. And it only works because of its comedy, from the iconic fecklessness of Barney Fife, to the diverse idiosyncrasies of Mayberry’s citizens. (In its cultivation of an entire town full of vivid characters, Andy Griffith is a clear influence on The Simpsons.) Unlike most of CBS’s other “hick” shows, like The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Ares, Andy Griffith never made fun of rural, working class Southerners. If it had held them more accountable for the society they lived in at the time, or acknowledged the existence of the massive population of non-white Southerners that it pointedly ignored, it might seem less problematic today, but that failure doesn’t make the lessons the show does present, or the performances that did make it onto the camera, any less significant.—Garrett Martin


netflix the office uk.jpg 6. The Office (UK)
Original Run: 2001-2003
Creator: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant 
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook, Lucy Davis, Oliver Chris
Original Network: BBC Two

I consider Ricky Gervais’ version of The Office to be a perfect sitcom for the way it balances cynicism and sentimentality. The comedy is heartbreaking, dark, brutal and oppressive—it stares into the deadening abyss of modern capitalism, which for so many people takes the form of dreary office jobs that eat up our time and slowly kill our souls, and it viciously attacks the entire structure. At its heart is David Brent, the incompetent, pompous narcissist who is one of the least lovable, most insecure leads in sitcom history. He fancies himself a kind of guru, but is in fact a moron, and his interactions with his deadly serious underling Gareth are beyond delightful. And even in this bleak setting, Gervais manages to reach our heartstrings with the awkward, slowly budding romance between Tim and Dawn, which stops short of the soap operatic smaltz of the American version (for one thing, Gervais has the balls to cast average-looking leads in his show, which would never happen over here) and has the capacity to actually make you ache. This seminal comedy gives up nothing too easily—its default setting is disappointment and ennui, always striving to undercut its principles—and that fact makes each move toward something brighter feel truly beautiful and truly earned.—Shane Ryan


netflix dick van dyke.jpg 5. The Dick Van Dyke Show
Original Run: 1961-1965
Creator: Carl Reiner
Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Mathews
Original Network: CBS

Before Dick Van Dyke became the toast of Disney live-action films and the star of every senior citizen’s favorite crime procedural Diagnosis: Murder, he was the titular star of this fantastic sitcom. The classic half-hour gave viewers two shows in one: a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a TV variety show and a warm-hearted family comedy. The former allowed for plenty of sharp dialogue and fast-paced jokes courtesy of show creator Carl Reiner and co-stars Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie, all playing comedy writers. The latter took full advantage of the winning chemistry between Van Dyke and former dancer and TV bit player Mary Tyler Moore.—Robert Ham


parks-rec.jpg 4. Parks and Recreation
Original Run: 2009-2015
Creators: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur
Stars: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones
Original Network: NBC

After a short, shaky first season as a too-familiar Office protege, Parks & Rec quickly adjusted into one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. When you talk about the classic sitcom casts, where every actor was perfect for the role, and every role was equally important, Parks & Rec has to be near the top of the list. With equally strong writing and the most fully developed sitcom town this side of Springfield, Parks & Rec was the ideal sitcom during its six year run.—Garrett Martin


arrested-development.jpg 3. Arrested Development
Original Run 2003-13
Creator: Mitch Hurwitz 
Stars: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, David Cross, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat, Ron Howard
Original Networks: Fox, Netflix 

Mitch Hurwitz’ sitcom about a “wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together” packed a whole lot of awesome into three short seasons. How much awesome? Well, there was the chicken dance, for starters. And Franklin’s “It’s Not Easy Being White.” There was Ron Howard’s spot-on narration, and Tobias Funke’s Blue Man ambitions. There was Mrs. Featherbottom and Charlize Theron as Rita, Michael Bluth’s mentally challenged love interest. Not since Seinfeld has a comic storyline been so perfectly constructed, with every loose thread tying so perfectly into the next act. Arrested Development took self-referencing postmodernism to an absurdist extreme, jumping shark after shark, but that was the point. They even brought on the original shark-jumper—Henry Winkler—as the family lawyer. And when he was replaced, naturally, it was by Scott Baio. Each of the Bluth family members was among the best characters on television, and Jason Bateman played a brilliant straight man to them all. And after years of rumors, the show returned to Netflix for a fourth season—different in both construction and tone, but nevertheless, a gift to fans who had to say goodbye to the Bluths all too soon.—Josh Jackson


best-sitcoms-fawlty.jpg 2. Fawlty Towers

Original Run: 1975-1979
Creator: John Cleese, Connie Booth
Stars: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Ballard Berkeley, Brian Hall, Renee Roberts, Gilly Flower
Original Network: BBC Two

While we can’t say we’d ever want to stay at the titular hotel, run by the hapless Basil Fawlty (John Cleese), we sure do enjoy watching him struggle to maintain it. Cleese has said the show was inspired by his stay at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay and his encounters with its owner, Donald Sinclair, whom he’s described as “the most marvelously rude man I’ve ever met.”—Bonnie Stiernberg


20-90-of-the-90s-Cheers.jpg 1. Cheers
Original Run: 1982-93
Creator: James Burrows, Glen Charles, Les Charles
Stars: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Kirstie Alley, Rhea Perlman, Nicholas Colasanto, John Ratzenberger, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, George Wendt
Original Network: NBC

The idea of place where everybody knew your name was central to the success of Cheers, even as Coach (Nicholas Colasanto) was replaced by Woody (Woody Harrelson), Diane (Shelley Long) was replaced by Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) and Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) found his own stool at the bar. This was the idea of a “third place,” after home and work, where a community could gather to socialize. Tackling sometimes serious issues in an always hilarious manner, the show created a place without class, where Frasier could grab a bar stool across from Norm and Cliff with an equal sense of belonging. Anchoring it all was Sam Malone (Ted Danson), the womanizing former ball player, who grew a little more with each passing season.—Josh Jackson

ShareTweetSubmitPinMore