The 50 Best Sitcoms on Hulu (April 2018)

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30. Everybody Hates Chris

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Creator:   Chris Rock, Ali LeRoi
Stars: Tyler James Williams, Terry Crews, Tichina Arnold, Tequan Richmond, Imani Hakim, Vincent Martella
NetworkS: UPN, The CW

Chris Rock  is one of the funniest comedians of all time. This is far from a controversial stance. Upon developing a period sitcom about his Brooklyn childhood for the (now defunct) UPN back in the mid-2000s, however, the question emerged of whether or not his brand of knowing, acerbic comedy could survive the transition to network TV. The answer proved to be both yes and no. From the opening seconds of its pilot, Everybody Hates Chris positions itself as an incisive, utterly confident comedic tour-de-force that is perfectly in line with Rock’s brand. And yet, in the hands of co-creator/showrunner Ali LeRoi, the show aimed to be much more than simply the comedian’s stage work reformatted into TV storylines. The result was a family sitcom that both harkened back to the Norman Lear comedies of old, while still retaining the rapid pace and tight construction of the best single-camera productions. The show was never more successful, however, than when it came to its casting, with Tyler James Williams demonstrating immense charisma and comic timing as a young Chris; meanwhile, Terry Crews and Tichina Arnold would promptly enter the pantheon of great TV couples as Chris’ larger-than-life parental units. And though low ratings and frequent schedule shifts would ultimately snuff Chris out after four seasons, it quickly sketched out its place as one of the greatest sitcoms of the new millennium. Mark Rozeman


29. Blackadder

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Creators: Richard Curtis, Rowan Atkinson
Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie
Network: BBC1

Leave it to the Brits to find humor in World War I. The fourth season of this show—which featured comedy heavyweights like Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry—took place during that Great War, but each prior season was set in a different historical era, with the Black Adder cast poking fun at the Middle Ages, the Elizabethan age and the Regency period. Bonnie Stiernberg


28. Absolutely Fabulous

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Creators: Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French
Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julie Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
Network: BBC

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


27. Black-ish

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Creator: Kenya Barris
Stars: Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin, Jeff Meacham, Jenifer Lewis
Network: ABC

To enjoyBlack-ish is to enjoy all that the show has to offer in the name of entertainment. The sitcom about an upper class, black family is especially hilarious when the child stars (Marsai Martin and Miles Brown) are leading the plot. But when the show veers to address topics that reflect America’s race relations and systematic injustices, it shines brightest, because the writers are not afraid to be strikingly honest and come at an issue from different angles (without losing any of the writers room wit). Season Two’s “Hope,” stands apart, as the police brutality episode that examines the emotional tolls that arise as the Johnsons wait to see if a police officer will be indicted for the murder of a black child. Simultaneously conscious and comedic, it’s going to be pure joy to see what future season have in store for this series. Iris Barreto


26. The Carmichael Show

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Creators: Jerrod Carmichael, Ari Katcher, Willie Hunter, Nicholas Stoller
Stars: Jerrod Carmichael, Amber Stevens West, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Loretta Devine, David Alan Grier

The Carmichael Show came and went with barely any attention outside of critics, airing 32 episodes across the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2017 before coming to an early and disappointing end. It is, in this one writer’s mind, the most underrated TV show of the decade. As brave as it was hilarious, it regularly tackled serious social and political issues, including gun control, trans rights and Black Lives Matter, during one of the most contentious times in recent history. It was s an unapologetically black show about real life on a major broadcast network, and despite being shot as traditionally as a sitcom can (a studio audience, multiple cameras, a studio soundstage) it felt more daring and realistic than the flashier (and almost as great) Black-ish. If you miss the era of Norman Lear sitcoms that were about something more than just making you laugh, you should watch The Carmichael Show. It also had one of the best casts of any sitcom on TV, with hilarious work from Loretta Devine, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish (before and after her Girls Trip explosion) and Jerrod Carmichael. If the Emmys had any sense, David Alan Grier would’ve won two or three of those awards. Garrett Martin


25. Spaced

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Creators: Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Edgar Wright 
Stars: Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Nick Frost, Mark Heap, Julia Deakin
Network: Channel 4 (U.K.)

Prior to blowing the film world out of the water with Shaun of the Dead, the creative partnership of writer/director Edgar Wright and actor/writer Simon Pegg first crystallized back in the late’90s with the British sitcom Spaced. Conceived by Pegg and co-lead Jessica Stevenson with Wright directing every entry, Spaced centers on a pair of aimless Londoners who decide to fake a relationship in order to secure a “couples only” apartment. Over the course of its 14 episode run, the series gleefully subverted the popular image of twenty-somethings leading cushy, comfortable lives with burgeoning careers (as evidenced by the likes of Friends) in favor of depicting a world filled with squalid living spaces, drug use and various artistic aspirations gone to seed. More notably, Spaced arguably served as the first post-modern sitcom in terms of how it employed specific, cinematic vocabulary as an extension of the characters’ interior lives (i.e. a horrible work experience turns into a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest parody, while a competitive game of paintball escalates into a dramatic action sequence straight out of Platoon or Saving Private Ryan). In a landscape where older, out-of-touch TV execs were frantically trying to appeal to erstwhile, younger viewers, Spaced was a show all about the less savory experiences of being a broke twenty-something; adding to its authenticity was the fact that it was being written and produced by individuals who were going through these specific experiences firsthand. Mark Rozeman


24. The IT Crowd

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Creator: Graham Linehan
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Chris Morris, Matt Berry, Noel Fielding
Network: Channel 4 (U.K.)

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


23. Living Single

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Creator: Yvette Lee Bowser
Stars: Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander, T.C. Carson, John Henton, Mel Jackson, Kim Fields
Network: FOX

In a ‘90s kind of world, I’m glad I’ve got my girls! During a decade with many successful black sitcoms, Living Single was the flyest. It remained in the top five most-watched programs by black audiences throughout its five-year run and eventually knocked Martin out the No. 1 spot. The beloved series had unforgettable style, unparalleled verbal sparring between Kyle (T.C. Carson) and Max (Erika Alexander), and a theme song by Queen Latifah that has since become iconic. Yvette Lee Bowser, a producer on A Different World, drew on experiences from her life to create Living Single, which followed six single black twentysomethings living in a brownstone in Brooklyn, N.Y., and figuring out their personal and professional lives. The cast’s group chemistry produced comedy perfection, introducing a special kind of humor, personality, and heart to network TV that still hasn’t been exactly replicated. Ashley Terrell


22. Party Down

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Creators: John Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge, Paul Rudd 
Stars: Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen
Network: Starz 

Party Down boasts a formula so simple and ingenious, it’s absolutely insane that no one had attempted it before. The general premise centers on a gang of aspiring LA-based actors, writers and entrepreneurs who make ends meet by working at a catering company. This being Hollywood, their assignments veer from the mundane (corporate retreats, birthday parties, weddings) to the absurd (backstage concert parties, porn awards, orgies). No matter what the setting, however, the lackadaisical crew of Party Down catering can always be counted on to ruin the occasion, frequently in ways that leave the audience crying from laughter. Taking cues from the best Judd Apatow productions, however, beneath all the crass, scatological humor and cringe-inducing scenarios lies a bittersweet story of dreams deferred and the lengths people go to, in order to find validation and acceptance. Boasting an insanely talented main cast that included Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Lizzy Caplan, the show also employed its “new week, new location” structure to recruit guest turns from the likes of J.K. Simmons, Kristen Bell, Rob Corddry, Thomas Lennon and Steve Guttenberg. In the end, despite strong critical reviews and a devoted cult following, the show’s ratings were nothing short of anemic and Starz pulled the plug after two seasons. Though both fans and critics would bemoan the show’s short existence, there’s no denying that it lived fast and left a great-looking corpse. Mark Rozeman


21. Archer

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Creator: Adam Reed
Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Jessica Walter, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash
Network: FX

Archer has succeeded as a hilarious parody of both James Bond and Mad Men with the comedic sensibilities of FX’s best. Season Two was full of surprising twists like Archer’s breast cancer. The mini third season “The Heart of Archness” trilogy following Archer’s revenge on the man who killed his Russian love made Archer one of the few story-driven animated series that actually delivers. Ross Bonaime


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