Sitcoms, or situational comedies, have an interesting storyline and a range of relatable characters whose flaws and characteristics make them seem wildly familiar. They give us bittersweet endings, love and heartbreaks, evolving relationships, while constantly reassuring us that life is not as bad as we think it is and we might have a chance at redeeming ourselves.
From watching a depressed humanoid horse talking about how meaningless and empty life is to six friends sitting at a coffee shop talking about their reckless behaviour, sitcoms have been the favourite form of entertainment for the audience.
To help you watch the best sitcoms, we have sifted out the very best for you to binge on. Here are 15 best sitcoms on Netflix that we have hand-picked for you.
Let’s get started.
The 15 best sitcoms on Netflix:
15. Alexa & Katie (Heather Wordham- 2018-2020)
Wordham’s endearing sitcom Alexa & Katie is not a typical high school movie with love triangles and mean teenagers; it is a story of two wonderful and brave highschool girls, Alexa and Katie, who have been friends for a long time. Surviving high school is difficult, but when Alexa is diagnosed with cancer and undergoes treatment, her best friend Katie stands by her like a rock, trying to uplift her spirits and help her win the battle. The girls conquer the problems that lie in their path together with hopes for a better tomorrow.
The show is goofy and set in a juvenile tone where the characters are exempted from the grim reality of life. It is a heart-warming story of friendship and love that stands the test of time. The actors are honest and hilarious in their performance. Alexa is an inspiring character with her indomitable spirit and enthusiasm despite all odds. The sitcom is aesthetically pleasing with its cute and quirky colour palette. It deals with poignant issues like cancer, panic attacks, anxiety and need for therapy. Although it has failed to depict cancer realistically, the upbeat tone asserts the positive aspects of life and everyday struggles.
14. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Tina Fey, Robert Carlock- 2015-2019)
Edgy and witty, Tina Fey’s vibrant and colourful eponymous feminist sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper as the protagonist. It chronicles the life of a 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt, who tries to adjust to normal life after a bizarre rescue from being held captive in a cult for 15 years. Despite being burdened with trauma, Kimmy braces herself with a positive attitude and starts over at New York City, where she befriends her land-lady, the smart Lillian, her roommate, a gay struggling actor Titus, and is hired as a nanny by an insecure socialite Jacqueline.
Quirky and hilarious, this sitcom deals with the tragedies of everyday life, including sexual harassment. Kimmy, whose past is laden with abuse and trauma, is an endearing protagonist; her resilience sets her apart. Having been held captive, Kimmy wants to experience everything that she missed out on. She explores New York with child-like glee. Her perception of the world is very different to the point of naivete. A celebration of girl power, the show is filled with humorous anecdotes. The ending of the show is quite touching as Kimmy finally finds purpose and gets what she deserves.
13. Big Mouth (Andrew Goldberg, Nick Kroll, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin- 2017- )
This sitcom, set in the suburbs of New York City, revolves around the lives of a group of teenagers who are overwhelmed by the arrival of puberty. This group includes best friends, Nick Birch and Andrew Glouberman, who along with their friends struggle on this cumbersome journey to come to terms with the mental and physical “changes”. They are aided by hormone monsters, Maurice, Connie and Mona, who often end up pestering them. As they grapple with the sudden “changes”, feeling disconnected with their bodies, the sitcom proceeds forward, delving deep into their daily lives.
Andrew Goldberg, who is well-known as the writer of the popular sitcom, Family Guy, manages to outlive audience expectations with this sitcom. A raunchy coming-of-age comedy show, Big Mouth is relatable and funny. The sitcom is not only wildly entertaining but also quite informative where puberty which is the most awkward and confusing phase has been depicted with a vivid imagination and depth; surprising, given the crass jokes and uncountable references to dicks. From raging hormones to sexuality and self-discovery, the show explores a variety of themes relevant to the struggles in this journey of self-acceptance. It deftly deals with the various issues middle-schoolers get entangled in; horny classmates, masturbation, menstruation, unannounced erections, personal drama, social media addiction, domestic disturbances, mood swings, academic and peer pressure etc. Bizarre and funny, Big Mouth is a sitcom that is a perfect blend of relatable characters, adult humour, drama, romance and creativity.
12. Master of None (Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang, 2015-2017)
Aziz Ansari plays the 30-year-old Indian-American Dev Shah, a struggling actor, trying to figure out what his purpose is in personal and professional spheres. With a focus on relationships, it explores those between families and friends, lovers as well as co-workers. It is a funny take on the idea of being brown and single in New York City, where life is not as simple as one would imagine.
The character of Dev Shah is based on Ansari’s personal experiences. Addressing the important issues of sex, gender, race, minorities etc., Master of None is well-scripted and neat. Phenomenal in his performance, Ansari manages to avoid various stereotypes, while satirising the modern world. His view of the world is unique, refreshing and artsy. Instead of taking the moral high ground, it addresses important issues in a calmer sense of fashion. Life is awful unless one finds their purpose; Ansari does not shy away from exposing his raw, vulnerable side and establishes an intimacy with the viewers via the screen. He is not hyper-masculine, nor is he trying to fit in the crowd. Ansari, and in turn Dev, is trying to find happiness in a myriad of moments while trying to survive in an urban jungle.
11. Arrested Development (Mitchell Hurwitz, 2003-2019)
Outlandish and wacky, Hurwitz’s sitcom is idiosyncratic and amusing. In the eccentric and dysfunctional Bluth family, the former patriarch is arrested for a white-collar crime. The middle son Michael has been entrusted with the responsibilities of keeping the family safe and put together while managing the family business and trying to economize the wealth amassed from the family banana stand. The family members are wild and get involved in bizarre, insane situations adding to the troubles of Michael. He is the glue that holds the show together, often struggling to put forward the best version of himself.
An incredibly talented ensemble deliver masterful comedy. Jason Bateman is sly and subtle in delivering his witty dialogues. Ron Howard’s dry omniscient voice adds to the humour of the series. The wordplay is extremely humorous and adds to the absurd gags and antics of the sitcom.
10. The Big Bang Theory (Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, 2007-2019)
What happens when four geeky and socially-awkward geniuses with a passion for science meet an attractive girl-next-door who teaches them to have fun? Chaos and unlimited fun ensue. That is the premise for this popular show. Based in Pasadena, Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Howard Wolowitz and Raj Koothrappali are scientists at Caltech (not Howard; he is an engineer, and his friends jeer at him jokingly). They are an endearing bunch who play video games, Dungeons and Dragons, visit comic book stores and comic conventions, argue over superheroes, dine at fixed restaurants and have a hard time socialising with people. With Penny, their new neighbour and a social butterfly, moving into the apartment opposite to theirs, the boys find their new social guide. The show follows the development of the characters and their achievements- personal and professional.
This sitcom is a favourite among science enthusiasts as well as ones who lack any passion for science. It emphasizes the beauty of friendship. The character arcs are wonderful and complete. Sheldon, who is an unfeeling control-freak, becomes less rigid and more empathetic and learns to value the people in his life. Penny finally finds herself a job she grows to love. Leonard, who lacked confidence and craved for his mother’s constant approval, learns to believe in himself. Raj improves his self-confidence and becomes content with the kind of person he is, while Howard goes from being a depraved sleaze to a loving and caring father and husband. Amy breaks out of her shell and lives her dream, while Bernadette prospers in her field as well. The show is quite important in the understanding of the position of women in the field of science. The show has lots of Easter eggs (Stephen Hawking, Leonard Nimoy and many more); the ending is probably the most heartwarming episode of the show.
9. Friends (David Crane, Marta Kauffman, 1994-2004)
Friends has been criticised for a lot of things, including lack of representation, casual sexism, homophobia, problematic representation of certain communities etc. Yet it is like comfort food; people watch and rewatch this sitcom on the rainiest of days to uplift their mood. This sitcom is famously set in Manhattan as six adults, who are the best of friends, are trying to find their way in the world. Their problems and flaws are relatable enough to make the audience crave for a friend group as close-knit and perfectly imperfect as theirs. It chronicles their comedic lives, romantic exploits and bitter-sweet experiences while struggling to achieve their dreams and aspirations. They keep each other grounded while helping each other navigate through the obstacles that lie in their path. The actors do a spectacular job; even after 16 years of the show coming to an end, it is incredibly popular.
The sitcom records a brilliant evolution of characters. Rachel Green, initially a spoilt brat, emerges to lead a fulfilling life after having a successful job in the fashion industry. Monica Geller, a rigid and uptight chef, finally finds her true purpose and falls in love with one of the best characters in the show, Chandler Bing, a sarcastic and self-critical…transponster(?!), who gradually grows more confident of himself. Joey Tribbiani, the most adored character on the show is slightly dim-witted; he is a huge foodie, womaniser and a struggling actor trying to make ends meet. Phoebe Buffay is an eccentric and quirky masseuse while Ross Geller is an insecure yet smart palaeontologist, who is irrevocably in love with Rachel. The storyline is beautiful; viewers are most likely to be left with truckloads of tears on viewing the last episode. As soon as the iconic theme song starts playing, nostalgia sets in: “I’ll be there for you… ‘cause you’ve been there for me too.”
8. South Park (Trey Parker, Matt Stone, 1997-)
“Love is like taking a dump, Butters. Sometimes it works itself out; but sometimes you gotta give it a nice, hard, slimy push.”
The sitcom follows the escapades of four boys, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick, in the titular town based in Colorado. The kids of South Park are unusually mature for their age. Stan Marsh is the stock character, his best friend Kyle is Jewish and an empath. EricCartman is loud, offensive, obnoxious and an antagonist; he is anti-Semitic, sexist and lacks morality. Kenny, who belongs to an impoverished household, has a muffled voice; his death in almost every episode is the running gag of the show. The sitcom focuses on the lives of other South Park residents as well, and the various predicaments they often get themselves into. With a blend of dark, offensive humour which is often a sarcastic commentary on social issues and the corresponding hypocrisy, South Park is undoubtedly one of the most controversial, yet wildly popular sitcom has consistently been one of the highest-rated TV shows.
This sitcom is not for people who get easily offended. The characters are pathetic yet relatable. Their flaws and complete ignorance if it makes them believable, their naivete makes them pitiable, their insensitive blunders make them detestable. Randy Marsh, Stan’s father, in particular, is a much-hated character due to his reckless behaviour and complete lack of respect for anything in particular. Cartman, though equally awful and terrible, manages to be one of the most loved characters on this show. Hilarious and wild, the sitcom is witty and philosophical where adults are silly while the children are smart. Consistently controversial in its mockery of the society, this sitcom is legendary and stupidly addictive.
7. Rick and Morty (Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, 2013-)
Roiland and Harmon’s ingenious quirky sci-fi adult cartoon revolves around the lives of the Smith family comprising Jerry and Beth and their children Summer and Morty. Beth’s father, Rick Sanchez, who lives with them as their guest, is wild, eccentric and a raging alcoholic. He is a mad scientist who rejects societal conventions. He is accompanied by his grandson, the 14-year-old Rick, who is a kind but anxious boy. Rick’s Machiavellian ego is juxtaposed to Morty’s grounded morales. Abound in dark, zany and irreverent humour, this sitcom follows the unlikely duo on their various misadventures across dimensions, planets and realities.
The streaming platforms are filled with insipid comedy shows; Rick and Morty provide a breath of fresh air. The humour is subtle, and Rick’s disdain for marriage, love, school etc. evolve from his philosophical bent towards nihilism. The show is surreal with a touch of metaphysical to its usual idiosyncrasies. Rick is humanised by his flaws and his general repulsion to all conventions. Morty is timid in disposition, however, thrives as a perfect foil to Rick. The characters have unimaginable depth; idiotic and endearing. The viewers need to be prepared for certain obscene jokes that are not only supposed to be funny but also deeply philosophical and intellectually stirring.
“Listen, Morty, I hate to break it to you, but what people call “love” is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed. It hits hard, Morty, then it slowly fades, leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it.”
6. Sex Education (Laurie Nunn, 2019-)
Insecure and vulnerable, Otis Milburn has wavering views about sex, which is fuelled by his mother, Jean who is a sex therapist, being unhesitantly frank with him. Otis is bullied by his classmates for his weird situation at home. However, he helps the school bully, Adam, with his sexual performance, Otis decides to seize this golden opportunity. With a quick-witted, free-spirited rebellious girl, Maeve, he sets up an underground sex clinic to assist his confused schoolmates and their raging hormones. However, caught in a web of love, insecurities and anxieties, Otis and Maeve try and grapple with various topical issues throughout the series. From sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, abortions to leaked pictures, the sitcom deals topical issues with maturity and empathy.
Light, funny yet educational, this asynchronous show is aesthetically pleasing and vibrant. The characters are well-rounded and spectacular. They are flawed yet delightful; their flaws, opinions, problems add dimension. Otis and Maeve are splendid on-screen. Otis is not the typical ego-centric white boy bubbling with fragile masculinity. The other characters play their part well and make Sex Education one of the best contemporary sitcoms; realism, subtle humour, evolving friendships make it an interesting and immersive experience.
5. Schitt’s Creek (Dan & Eugene Levy, 2015-2020)
Do not be fooled by the weird name, this show is wonderful and funny. It is a classic riches to rags story which focuses on the trials and tribulations of the affluent Rose family after they are victims of massive fraud and go bankrupt. They are stripped of their wealth and comfortable lifestyle and are forced to relocate to a quaint town named Schitt’s Creek which was their only asset. They move into a shabby motel and are forced to spend time together which leads to the hilarious unfolding of events. They are also at loggerheads with the more orthodox small-towners, including the Mayor, his wife and the motel manager, Stevie; later, however, through a series of misadventures, they grow fond of each other and the town becomes their home.
The story is perfect, and the show is an absolute delight to the eyes. The actors deliver stellar performances. Eugene Levy as the father is brilliant; Catherine O’Hara is an epitome of grace and perfection. Annie Murphy as Alexis is the spoilt and pampered daughter who finally settles down for good, and her performance is laudable as she adds a hint of relatability to the character. However, Dan Levy steals the show with his witty, emotional and heartfelt performance. He is incredible in his depiction of a pansexual struggling to adapt to the new situation. Amidst hilarious and awkward situations, the family grow closer to one another, finally finding comfort within themselves. A perfect balance of comedy and emotions, it is sure to tug at the heartstrings. the show ends on a bittersweet note, leaving the viewers hungry for more.
4. The Good Place (Michael Schur, 2016-2020)
Eleanor Shellstrop is an unscrupulous mercenary saleswoman who sold fake medicine to the elderly. However, after she dies she is mistakenly sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place which is a hub of amoral, obnoxious people like her. The Good Place is designed for good, honest and hardworking people with a strong set of ethics and morals. Eleanor, who is aware of the mistake yet wants to stay there, must conceal her past deeds without being noticed by the angel-architect who oversees their activities.
The narrative is effortless and lucid, based on the afterlife. It is a light-hearted take on the nature of human existence, sins as well as death. The sitcom hits home as it continuously urges the viewer to self-reflect and to be grateful. It puts special emphasis on friendship and love even in the afterlife, for love can salvage anything. The show further addresses the most important question; “Who is truly a good person?” Kristen Bell, as the outrageous Eleanor, is phenomenal on-screen, with her added quirks and effortless portrayal. With a diverse cast of incredibly talented actors, Schur’s creativity and unique imagination provide food for thought, is consistently funny and quite philosophical.
3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Dan Goor, Michael Schur, 2013-)
Schur is no alien to creating shows with hilarious plotlines and adorable characters. With Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the premise of which indicates a serious police procedural show yet turns out to be a goofy and comical sitcom, he takes it a notch higher. The lives of the detectives at the fictional 99th precinct of the NYPD is anything but mundane. The carefree young detective, Jake Peralta, is the most intelligent with the highest number of arrests, yet gets into trouble for his clownery. His colleagues include the buff gentle giant Sergeant Terry Jeffords, his best friend and a splendid cook Detective Charles Boyle, the competitive and hard-working Amy Santiago, the eccentric administrator Gina Linetti, the serious and disciplined Captain Raymon Holt as well the chubby, gluttonous sidekicks Hitchcock and Scully. Professional as well as personal dynamics are portrayed in the sitcom where the daily lives of the cops become the source of entertainment.
Light-hearted and comical, the show deals with certain grave topics and puts forward important messages with a touch of humour and sensibility. Adept at comedy, Schur presents a show devoid of stereotypes and inhibitions. As a gay black man fighting harder than the rest to maintain his position as the Captain, Raymond Holt is an absolute sweetheart. The white men in the show are not pompous and do not crack offensive jokes that make them look like jerks. Andy Samberg’s portrayal of Peralta is laudable and, by the time the sitcom is over, you will most definitely want a Peralta in their lives. The characters have distinct personalities which make them engaging. There are certain ongoing gags in the show which add a hint of personal touch and make them seem very familiar. If you have had a rough day and you need something to wind down with, Brooklyn Nine-Nine should be your go-to show.
2. The Office (Greg Daniels, 2005-2013)
Looking for a show with dry and sarcastic humour with surreal, heart-touching moments? A show where the Boss and the employees have a wonderful relationship? A show where co-workers are friends who have got your back? Then The Office is the show for you. Remarkable and hilarious, it is a workplace mockumentary that is sure to keep you hooked. With an insane amount of twists, suspense, drama, romance and pranks, the sitcom will make you cry about your mundane work lives. It is an adaptation of Gervais’ British series The Office, and the characters are quite similar to the ones in the original series.
Flawed yet perfect, the characters seem like people we meet in our everyday lives. Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, however, steals the show. Despite being the boss, he considers the office his home, the employees his family. He radiates positive energy and is the life of the show. Jim’s pranks on Dwight add extra humour to the sitcom. Dwight and Jim are frenemies; their constant banter is rib-ticklingly funny. The show highlights emotions, love and sacrifice as well as loyalty. With quite a few heartbreaking and heartwarming moments, The Office is an unforgettable journey across the course of nine seasons which gifts us legendary characters and memorable moments.
“That’s what she said!”
1. BoJack Horseman (Raphael Bob-Waksberg, 2014-2020)
“Just pretend you are happy, and eventually you’ll forget you are pretending!”
With hilarious cold opens and classic intro, this sitcom is a constant reminder of how meaningless yet important life is. The characters seem relatable yet distant. The show is centred on the theme of forgiveness; the ending is perhaps the most heart-wrenching endings in the history of sitcoms. The characters yearn for happiness, yet are unsuccessful in this pursuit. Quite effortlessly the sitcom delves deeper into the complexities of human emotions. You identify yourself with BoJack, a lethargic and hopeless alcoholic. The show is scarring in its sardonic yet comical portrayal of depression, alcoholism, nihilism, failure, drug abuse and childhood trauma. The vivid imagery and philosophical conversations make the show a tear-jerker.
BoJack is a cynical and self-loathing anthropomorphic horse who is the protagonist of this tragicomedy, BoJack Horseman. The sitcom is dark and there is a constant air of dread and depression looming large in the sitcom. The heartwarming moments provide solace amidst the gloomy, claustrophobic atmosphere. The six seasons form a legendary journey that makes the viewers revaluate their beliefs, priorities and demons. The show shatters hearts into a million pieces with its poignant, flawed and intellectually crafted characters. Raphael Bob-Waksberg creates a masterpiece; BoJack Horseman is the finest piece of literature in the history of sitcoms with well-rounded character arcs and deep, profound dialogues that force the viewers to ponder.
“I have poison inside me, and I destroy everything I touch.”