One of the genres of television that people love the most is sitcoms. This is a term that has become commonly used to describe situation comedies. They are based on real-life situations and the majority of people can relate to at least one character in a sitcom.
Similarly, they recognize the personality traits and actions of one of the members of the cast and can relate this to the personality of a friend or member of their family. It is this connection to the characters and storylines that has made sitcoms such a popular genre of television series. Take a look below for 10 of the best sitcoms of all time.
Seinfeld is an American live-action sitcom created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld for NBC. The show stars Seinfeld as a fictionalized version of himself, and mostly focuses on his personal life with a handful of friends and acquaintances, including best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), friend and former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).
Seinfeld is set predominantly in an apartment building in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York City. It is often described as being “a show about nothing”, as many of its episodes are about the minutiae of daily life.
Seinfeld was produced by West-Shapiro Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment and ran from 1989 to 1998. In syndication, the series is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
Friends is an American television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons. With an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, the show revolved around six friends in their 20s and 30s who lived in Manhattan, New York City.
The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Kevin S. Bright, Kauffman, and Crane.
Kauffman and Crane began developing Friends under the title Insomnia Cafe between November and December 1993. They presented the idea to Bright, and together they pitched a seven-page treatment of the show to NBC. After several script rewrites and changes, including title changes to Six of One and Friends Like Us, the series was finally named Friends.
3. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory is an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom served as executive producers on the series, along with Steven Molaro. All three also served as head writers. The show premiered on CBS on September 24, 2007 and concluded on May 16, 2019, having broadcast a total of 279 episodes over 12 seasons.
The show originally centered on five characters living in Pasadena, California: Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, both physicists at Caltech, who share an apartment; Penny, a waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall; and Leonard and Sheldon’s similarly geeky and socially awkward friends and co-workers, aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali.
Over time, supporting characters were promoted to starring roles, including neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski, physicist Leslie Winkle, and comic book store owner Stuart Bloom.
4. The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical depiction of working-class life, epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition.
The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after his own family members, substituting Bart for his own name.
The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After three seasons, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and became Fox’s first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989–90).
5. How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother (often abbreviated to HIMYM) is an American sitcom created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays for CBS. The series, which ran from 2005 to 2014, follows the main character, Ted Mosby, and his group of friends in New York City’s Manhattan. As a framing device, Ted, in the year 2030, recounts to his son and daughter the events that led him to meet their mother. How I Met Your Mother is a joint production by Bays & Thomas Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.
The series was loosely inspired by Thomas and Bays’ friendship when they both lived in New York City. Among the 208 episodes, there were only four directors: Pamela Fryman (196 episodes), Rob Greenberg (7 episodes), Michael Shea (4 episodes), and Neil Patrick Harris (1 episode).
6. The Office
The Office is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005, to May 16, 2013, lasting nine seasons. It is an adaptation of the original BBC series of the same name and was adapted for American television by Greg Daniels, a veteran writer for Saturday Night Live, King of the Hill, and The Simpsons.
It was co-produced by Daniels’ Deedle-Dee Productions, and Reveille Productions (later Shine America), in association with Universal Television. The original executive producers were Daniels, Howard Klein, Ben Silverman, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant, with numerous others being promoted in later seasons.
The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. To simulate the look of an actual documentary, it was filmed in a single-camera setup, without a studio audience or a laugh track. The series debuted on NBC as a midseason replacement and aired 201 episodes over the course of its run.
The Office initially featured Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, and B. J. Novak as the main cast; the series experienced numerous changes to its ensemble cast during its run. Notable stars outside the original main cast include Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson, James Spader, and Ellie Kemper.
7. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American sitcom that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990 to May 20, 1996. The show stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight in his hometown. In the series, his lifestyle often clashes with the lifestyle of his relatives in Bel Air. The series ran for six seasons and aired 148 episodes.
The pilot episode began taping on May 1, 1990. Season 1 first aired in September 1990, and ended in May 1991. The series finale was taped on Thursday, March 21, 1996, and aired on May 20, 1996.
The theme song “Yo Home to Bel Air” was written and performed by Smith under his stage name, The Fresh Prince. The music was composed by Quincy Jones, who is credited with Smith at the end of each episode. The music often used to bridge scenes together during the show is based on a similar chord structure.
8. Modern Family
Modern Family is an American television mockumentary family sitcom created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan for the American Broadcasting Company. First aired on September 23, 2009, the show follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los Angeles. Pritchett’s family includes his second wife, their son and his stepson, as well as his two adult children and their husbands and children.
Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan conceived the series while sharing stories of their own “modern families”. Modern Family employs an ensemble cast. The series is presented in mockumentary style, with the characters frequently breaking the fourth wall.
The series was renewed for a 10th season on May 10, 2017, which premiered on September 26, 2018. The series was renewed for an eleventh and final season on February 5, 2019, which premiered on September 25, 2019.
9. Family Guy
Family Guy is an American animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog, Brian. The show is set in the fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island, and exhibits much of its humor in the form of metafictional cutaway gags that often lampoon American culture.
The family was conceived by MacFarlane after developing two animated films, The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. MacFarlane redesigned the films’ protagonist, Larry, and his dog, Steve, and renamed them Peter and Brian, respectively. MacFarlane pitched a seven-minute pilot to Fox in 1998, and the show was greenlit and began production.
Shortly after the third season of Family Guy had aired in 2002, Fox canceled the series with one episode left unaired. Adult Swim aired that episode in 2003, finishing the series’ original run. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns on Adult Swim convinced the network to renew the show in 2004 for a fourth season, which began airing on May 1, 2005.
10. Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men is an American television sitcom that originally aired on CBS for twelve seasons from September 22, 2003, to February 19, 2015. Originally starring Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones, the series was about a hedonistic jingle writer, Charlie Harper, his uptight brother, Alan, and Alan’s troublesome son, Jake. After Alan divorces, he and Jake move into Charlie’s beachfront Malibu house and complicate Charlie’s freewheeling life.
In 2010, CBS and Warner Bros. Television reached a multiyear broadcasting agreement for the series, renewing it through at least the 2011–12 season. In February 2011, however, CBS and Warner Bros. decided to end production for the rest of the eighth season after Sheen entered drug rehabilitation and made “disparaging comments” about the series’ creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre.
Sheen’s contract was terminated the following month and he was confirmed not to be returning to the series. Ashton Kutcher was hired to replace him the following season as Walden Schmidt, a billionaire who buys Charlie’s house after his death.