The 30 Best Sitcoms on Netflix – Winter 2019
Having been in the era of “peak TV” for what seems like a full decade now, it can be difficult to manage all the shows you’re “supposed” to keep up with in the cultural zeitgeist. There are plenty of critically-acclaimed shows that tell dark tales, human stories that make you think and make you question your own personal actions, whether it be in the mundane or in the extraordinary. That kind of television can be deeply compelling, and indeed, it’s always a good idea to use art to challenge the way you think about the world. That said, sometimes you get home from a long day of work with one thought on your mind: relaxation. Sometimes dark storytelling simply isn’t what you’re looking for on a Tuesday night after your boss had you stay late at work. You need something easy on the mind, something to unwind with to end your day.
While some will turn to the likes of cheap drama or a favorite movie, we recommend the classic sitcom for your viewing pleasure. The sitcom is one of the oldest television genres, built on the back of shows like The Honeymooners and the eternally-classic I Love Lucy. Sitcoms, like dramas, can be cheap and lazy, but the best shows find a middle-ground: something relaxing and comforting, but still smart enough to keep you entertained and occupied. Netflix is full of some classic and new sitcoms, and we’ve gathered thirty of the best to build out this list below. If you’re looking to add some comedy in your life, this is the best way to do it. In no particular order, let’s look at thirty of the best sitcoms on Netflix for winter 2019.
What started off as an unassuming, if not charming, sitcom following the life of Jess Day has evolved into one of the best comedies on television. While no one would ever call New Girl an innovative television show, it is one of the best hangout shows on the air today, featuring a fantastic cast and some hilarious writing. Zooey Deschanel stars as Jess Day, an outgoing, energetic, offbeat teacher who catches her boyfriend cheating on her in the pilot of the show. She moves into an empty room inside the apartment of Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr., who moves out in the second episode of the show only to return in the third season as a main character), and later Winston (Lamorne Morris), and together, they try to navigate both their professional lives, personal lives, and love lives. It’s a fantastic, comfortable show—don’t miss out. Seasons one through six are currently streaming.
Being a pro athlete didn’t pan out for Colt. Now he’s helping his dad and brother keep the family ranch afloat, and figuring out how he fits into the family. With a heavyweight cast including Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott, and Debra Winger, The Ranch has gained a reputation for sensitivity and strong performances, as well as a focus on red-state situational comedy. This also marks the second time Kutcher and Danny Masterson have shared the screen together, following their performances as Kelso and Hyde on That 70’s Show. The Ranch has aired two full seasons, with part one of season three—featuring the departure of Danny Masterson—premiered in June. The show was renewed for a fourth season.
Created by and starring Eugene and Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek follows Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy), a wealthy video store magnate who became rich throughout the 1980s and 1990s thanks to the success of video rental stores and his wife Moira’s (Catherine O’Hara) career as a successful soap opera star. When the family loses their fortune after failing to pay taxes, they’re forced to rebuild their lives with their final remaining asset: a small town named Schitt’s Creek, which Rose had bought his son David (Daniel Levy, Eugene’s real-life son) as a joke for his birthday years earlier. As the family tries to grow used to their life living in a run-down motel, all four of the Roses, including Johnny, Moira, David, and daughter Alexis (Annie Murphy) will have to learn to live with the changes.
One of quite a few shows picked up by Netflix for international distribution, only to be billed as a Netflix original, Crashing is a comedy-drama from Britain that follows the lives of four twenty-somethings in England, living together as property guardians in an unused hospital, affording cheaper rent by promising to keep the building safe and following certain guidelines brought on by their agreement. The show was originally conceived as two plays by creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars in the show as Lulu, and ran for six episodes in 2016 before being brought to Netflix later that year in the United States. Waller-Bridge has since moved onto creating and starring in Fleabag for Amazon, and considering that show is in the middle of production on a planned second season, we wouldn’t expect Crashing to come back anytime soon. The show should also not be confused with the US-based show of the same name, which airs on HBO and stars Pete Holmes.
The original One Day at a Time ran for nine years from 1975 to 1984, and was developed by TV legend Norman Lear (and created by Whitney Blake and Allan Manings). When Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce decided to recreate the original sitcom for Netflix, they chose to rework the entire show to focus on a Latinx family consisting of single-mother Penelope (Justina Machado), her children Elena and Alex, and her mother Lydia (played by EGOT winner Rita Moreno, one of twelve people ever to manage to win all four awards). Together, they help Penelope manage her love life, family life, and her difficulties adjusting to normal life after being involved with the military and going back to school. One Day at a Time is regarded as one of the best shows on television right now, and with two seasons currently streaming, you have plenty to catch up on. The show was renewed for a third season in March.
Romantic comedy fans, rejoice—you aren’t out of luck. While Crazy Ex Girlfriend takes the tropes of the classic rom-com and flips them on their head, fans of more traditional, if slightly raunchy, comedy set up by the likes of When Harry Met Sally will fall in love with Lovesick, a British import co-produced by Netflix with three seasons streaming on our favorite service. The show was probably best known for its original name, Scrotal Recall, which picked up a lot of flack when the first season premiered in 2014. Don’t let it fool you, though, because the name change was a good way to get new viewers onto this excellent love story about a man going back through his romantic history to figure out where it all gone wrong (and, well, also to let his past lovers know about a certain health concern). Lovesick has three seasons streaming on Netflix, which gives you plenty of time to fall in love with Dylan, Luke, and Evie if you haven’t already. Definitely check this one out; it’s the definition of a hidden gem.
At twelve episodes, Fawlty Towers is a show you can watch in a single day over six hours. The quintessential 70s British comedy, Fawlty Towers is often praised as one of the best TV comedies of all time. Created by, written, and starring John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth, the show aired for two six-episode series in 1975 and 1979, with a three-and-a-half year gap placed between series one and series two. The show revolves around Fawlty Towers, a fictional hotel in Torquay, England, with most plots following the tense and rude owner Basil Fawlty (Cleese), his wife Sybil (Prunella Scales), maid Polly (Booth), and Spanish waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs). American television shows like 3rd Rock from the Sun and Cheers have noted Fawlty Towers as a direct influence, and at only twelve episodes, it’s a must watch for all comedy fans.
In the Netflix Original sequel to 1990s TGIF-classic Full House, the series follows DJ Tanner, the eldest daughter of the original series, who moves back to her childhood home with her two kids in tow following the death of her husband. Joining her in the new house is younger sister Stephanie and her childhood best friend Kimmy Gibbler, who come to help raise the kids and take care of DJ following her lose. The three women, along with her kids, experience all sorts of life-changing moments together, from budding romances, holidays, and more, along with visits from their father and uncles, Danny Tanner, Uncle Joey, and Uncle Jesse. Three seasons are currently streaming, with a fourth on the way sometime this year.
Grace and Frankie is the ideal example of how you can start a show with a rocky beginning, and eventually—through finding your own footing as an independent show, become critically acclaimed and lauded for your representation and sense of humor. The show stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie, respectively, two retired women whose husbands work together as successful divorce lawyers. At the start of the show, their husbands—played here by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston—leave their wives after announcing they’ve fallen in love with each other, leaving the two women to deal with their incoming divorces with each other. Despite Grace and Frankie’s mutual dislike of each other, the two women band together to try and navigate the next phase of their lives. Four seasons are currently streaming, and the show was renewed for a fifth season in February.
Like Cheers and Frasier, Friends is a must-watch sitcom from the late 20th century of television when sitcoms were the most-popular shows on the air. The show aired for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004 and featured an ensemble cast, including David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry. Known as a hangout sitcom, the show follows six friends—Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross—as they try to navigate their lives while living in New York City. The show begins as Rachel flees from her wedding day, only to run into Monica, her childhood friend. Monica invites Rachel to move in with her, and slowly becomes acquainted with Monica’s group of friends, including Joey, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica’s brother Ross. With its own central will-they-won’t-they and some legendary writing, Friends is still considered a classic today.
One of the most popular shows on Fox during its run, That 70s Showbecame a phenomenon both during its eight-season run and in syndication on ABC Family and on Netflix. The show is set during the latter half of the 1970s, when the decade truly came to fruition (as they often do), and follows the life of Eric Forman, his family, and his circle of friends through high school and beyond. The show ran for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006 and has gained a massive following of fans, and features an all-star cast including Topher Grace as Eric, Mila Kunis as Jackie, Ashton Kutcher as Kelso, Danny Masterson as Hyde, Laura Prepon as Donna, and Wilmer Valderrama as Fez. The entire cast has gone onto varying projects, from long-running series on broadcast, cable, and streaming services to major blockbuster films. All eight seasons are streaming.
Cheers is not just a great sitcom—it’s considered one of the best shows of all time, consistently topping best-of lists by dozens of publications (TV: The Book by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, for instance, lists the show as number four, considering it in an “inner circle” show along the likes of Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, and The Sopranos). Starring Ted Danson as Sam Malone and Shelly Long as Diane Chambers, the show perfected the original will-they-won’t-they long before the likes of Friends and The Office. Cheers also managed to be one of the earliest examples of a sitcom with a serialized storyline, beginning in the third season with the introduction of Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane, Diane’s love interest at the time. In addition to Danson and Long, the show also starred Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger (known to Pixar fans for his cameos in each film), and Nicholas Colasanto; later seasons added Woody Harrelson, Bebe Neuwirth, and Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe.
Serving as one of two spin-offs to the critically-acclaimed Cheers (the other, of course, being the quickly-cancelled The Tortellis), Frasier may not live up to its predecessor’s long-lasting legacy as one of the best shows ever made. That said, Frasier is an excellent show in its own right, having won countless Emmys for its producers, writers, and stars Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, and the late, great John Mahoney. The spin-off follows Dr. Frasier Crane as he moves from Boston to his hometown of Seattle following his divorce. After allowing his father (Mahoney) to move back into his house, thus limiting Frasier’s ability to be a dedicated bachelor, he must adjust to life as a syndicated radio host while also putting up with his brother Niles (Pierce). The show covers the Crane family as they often clash, with Frasier and Niles’ blue-collar father often disagreeing with the upper-class, ritzy tastes of his sons. The show ran for 11 seasons from 1993 to 2004, and it is undoubtedly one of the best shows on Netflix today.
Based on a 1990 sketch from British comedy series French & Saunders, Absolutely Fabulous is a British sitcom that follows Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) as an alcoholic and drug-abusing PR manager who chases fads and other trends in order to stay young and hip. Joining her in misadventures of all sorts is her best friend and fashion magazine director Patsy Stone, who happens to act not just as an enabler for all sorts of bad decisions, but whose own self-destructive behavior overshadows Edina’s actions. Spread over five series between two decades (with the first three series airing in 1992, 1994, and 1995, the fourth in 2001, the fifth in 2003, and even a three-episode revival in 2011), the series is as grim and cynical as it is hilarious, developing a cult following and eventually leading to a full-length theatrical film in 2016. All five original series and the revival are streaming on Netflix; you’ll have to rent the movie from iTunes or Amazon.
Glow is one of the best new shows of 2017, founded on the same idea of comedy, drama, and the exploration of womanhood that made Orange is the New Black such a massive success at Netflix. In Glow, you’ll explore the world of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, or GLOW, an 80s wrestling expansion designed to appeal to fans of traditional male wrestling with over-the-top comedy and some sexualization of the wrestlers. Glow stars Alison Brie (Community) as Ruth Wilder, a down-and-out actress who stumbles upon an audition for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling league. While trying to manage her new life as a wrestler, Ruth must also deal with GLOW’s director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) and the arrival of her former best friend, Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin). Glow has been praised since its inception, having been nominated for several critics awards and making it onto a dozen best-of lists in 2017. A second season premiered on June 29th.
A romantic comedy developed by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust, Love is a down-to-earth look at dating that explores the nature of romantic relationships through a variety of characters. Stars Rust and Community‘s Gillian Jacobs are forced to navigate their newly-formed relationship. The series isn’t perfect—it suffers from a number of problems we’ve seen with other Apatow productions, including an overlong pilot—but if you’re in the mood for some dark romantic comedy in the vein of You’re the Worst or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you’ll find plenty to love here (no pun intended). All three seasons are currently streaming, with the third (and final) having premiered earlier in 2018.
No one can argue that Lady Dynamite isn’t one of the most original things on the air today. Created by Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) and Pam Brady and based on the life of comedian Maria Bamford, Lady Dynamite stars Bamford as herself, a comedian moving back to Los Angeles after spending six months of her life in recovery for bipolar disorder. Though certainly a sitcom, Lady Dynamite puts a focus on mental health issues and stability, and uses the visual effects readily available in this decade to create a truly remarkable sitcom. Bamford is one of the funniest comedians working today, with her cheery delivered able to cut deep with jokes about depression, suicide, and more. The show was cancelled in early 2018 after a two season run, but that doesn’t stop Lady Dynamite from being one of the best shows on Netflix today.
Over the last few years, the true crime genre has seen something of a renaissance in popular culture. Though true crime has been around for decades as both a film and literary art form (think Helter Skelter or Capote’s In Cold Blood, of which the latter has spawned three different film adaptations), both season one of Serial–a weekly podcast covering the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee–and Netflix’s own Making a Murderer have brought new fans to the genre. It was only time until someone stepped up to parody the tropes of a true crime series, and that’s exactly what American Vandal intends to do. Shot as a mockumentary, Vandal tells the story of a high school prank gone wrong, with several faculty cars tagged and vandalized. The series plays its subject matter straight-faced, with a sophomore from the school investigating whether the accused senior was responsible. American Vandal spawned from two creators who previously worked on Funny or Die and CollegeHumor, so if you’re in the mood for a full satire of the true crime craze, it’s a perfect show to binge. Two seasons are currently streaming. Despite critical praise and high popularity on social media, Netflix cancelled the show after its second season.
In all honesty, this show shouldn’t have worked. The original Wet Hot American Summer, first released in 2001 to middling reviews and poor box office returns before slowly but surely growing into a cult classic, is like lightning in a bottle. Nearly every line or action in the film is quotable (“You taste like a burger. I don’t like you anymore.”; “The phone! The phone! Where’s the—phone!”; several other quotes we can’t mention on a family-friendly site), the cast is filled with incredible names you’d recognize immediately (Amy Poehler! Bradley Cooper! Paul Rudd! Molly Shannon! Christopher Meloni! Elizabeth Banks! The voice of H. Jon Benjamin!), and it’s basically endlessly rewatchable. So when this prequel series set at the start of the 1981 summer covered in the film hit just as hard as the original, we were as shocked as anyone. Fans of the original must see this continuation of a cult classic.
…and once you’re done watching First Day of Camp, you can jump back in with Ten Years Later, the series that makes good on the promise set during the original film to reunite exactly ten years after their summer at camp, in 1991. Ten Years Later doesn’t hit quite as hard as the original film or First Day of Camp, playing almost like a greatest hits and a reunion special than even the original prequel series did. But for those fans of the original film, you can’t quite beat seeing what happened to your favorite character over the decade since they went to camp together. This is as much a sequel to First Day of Camp as it is to the original film, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve seen both before diving into the closing chapter of the Wet Hot American Summer story.
Don’t let the cartoonish-look of the show fool you—Big Mouth is very much an adult-animated sitcom about growing up as an awkward tween and teen. Created by comedian Nick Kroll (best known for The Kroll Show on Comedy Central) and writer Andrew Goldberg (Family Guy), along with Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, the show is based loosely on Kroll and Goldberg’s experiences growing up together in the suburbs of New York. Kroll plays Nick Burch, while close contributor and fellow comedian John Mulaney steps in to play Andrew Glouberman, along with an all-star cast of comedians and voice actors, including Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, Jessi Klein, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, and Jordan Peele. The show has received critical acclaim for dealing with teenage issues in a realistic matter while simultaneously not shying away from the gross parts of growing up. Two seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.
One of the hottest new series to begin airing over the last few years, NBC’s The Good Place tells the story of Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who’s woken up to find she’s dead and in heaven—or rather, “The Good Place,” as it’s called. Kristen Bell plays Eleanor, a woman who finds herself in a place she doesn’t deserve to be. Also starring is Cheers’ alumni Ted Danson as Michael, the creator of “The Good Place,” a man trying to make his residents as happy as possible in the afterlife. This series comes from creator Michael Schur, fresh off co-creating both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn-99. Any fans of his previous work—he also wrote and acted on The Office, where he played Dwight’s cousin Mose Schrute—will find plenty to love here. Just don’t read too much into the plot online—serious spoilers abound. Seasons one and two are streaming on Netflix, with season three currently airing on NBC.
One of the few shows on Netflix to have been revived from a different network, Arrested Development premiered on Netflix on May 26th, 2013, just a few months after Netflix debuted their first original show, House of Cards. Arrested Development‘s original run from 2003 to 2006 on Fox was critically acclaimed, but a low viewing audience (for the time) meant it squeaked by quietly unnoticed by much of its potential fanbase. Years of strong DVD sales and, yes, streaming on Netflix, meant that the show was able to be picked up for a fourth season distributed by Netflix, exciting the fanbase and continuing the adventures of the Bluth family. Though the fourth season is occasionally seen as a disappointment (the cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, David Cross, Portia de Rossi, and Alia Shawkat, have all gone on to do major film and television roles, which made scheduling the fourth season difficult), the show is absolutely worth watching in its entirety. In the past month, a recut season four, now titled “Fateful Consequences” with a reordered narrative spread over 22 episodes, and the first half of season five, have premiered on the service.
Though the UK version of The Office broke new ground and comedy and helped cement a new genre of television—the mockumentary—it was the US version of the show, adapted by Greg Daniels, that has found a lasting impact in the United States. Following a rough first season that essentially retells the stories from the first season of the UK show, The Office managed to find its feat in season two by lightening up on the cringe humor from boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell, in his breakout role) and focusing more attention on the love story between Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) and Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer). The show has found a lasting legacy with fans looking to fall in love all over again with the characters, and despite having run a full nine seasons on NBC, the popularity of the show online seems to be at an all-time high. If you haven’t checked out The Office, it’s a perfect binge-watch before the proposed (but not guaranteed) reboot airs next season on NBC.
This sitcom was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and stars Ellie Kemper (of The Office) in the title role. 29-year-old Kimmy was rescued from a Doomsday Cult after spending 15 years as an underground hostage, held by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (played by Jon Hamm). She moves to New York to begin her life as an adult, and we get to follow her as she discovers our weird modern world with enthusiasm and zany naivete. Any fans of Fey and Carlock’s previous show, 30 Rock will find plenty to love here, including actress Jane Krakowski, who played Jenna Maroney on Fey’s previous sitcom. The show has three seasons currently streaming on Netflix, and has been renewed for a fourth and final season, the first half of which (featuring six episodes) premiered on Netflix on May 30th.
BoJack Horseman is set in an alternate reality where humans and anthropomorphic animals co-exist together. BoJack is the washed-up star of a ’90s sitcom titled Horsin’ Around, a show similar to Full House in nearly every regard. Though early episodes deal with his plan to return to stardom and relevance by writing an autobiography, BoJack Horseman isn’t just another animated adult sitcom. This show focuses on celebrity culture, drug abuse, anxiety and depression in a way no other show has quite managed to do. Though we’re living in a golden age of dark comedies (see also: You’re the Worst, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), BoJack Horseman stands out not just as the best of the bunch, but one of the best Netflix original series to date. Despite a slow start in early episodes, the back half of the first season one sees the BoJack team find their footing, and season two onwards is must-watch television. The fourth season of this Emmy-nominated show just premiered on Netflix, and all five seasons are streaming on Netflix, with a sixth coming in 2019.
For those who have finished all nine seasons of The Office but want more from the same brilliant minds of writers will have to check out Parks and Recreation if you haven’t already. Developed by Greg Daniels (The Office) and Michael Schur (a writer on The Office, creator of The Good Placeand Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Parks and Rec started life as a spin-off to The Office before being developed into its own thing. The series follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the deputy director of the Parks and Rec department in Pawnee, Indiana, as she attempts to use her powers in the government to turn her town into a better place to live. Much like The Office, the first season of Parks and Rec is a rough start to what would eventually become an incredible series, with the writers refocusing Poehler’s character behind the scenes to make her more intelligent between the first and second seasons. Where The Office can occasionally seem cold or cruel, Parks and Rec has a massive, beating heart under the series, filled with compassion and humor. With an all-star cast including Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, and Nick Offerman, this is absolutely a must-see series.
If you’ve watched the American version of The Office, but never got around to seeing the original series from Britain, you owe it to yourself to check out the UK version. With twelve episodes and two Christmas specials, you can blast through the show in a matter of a few hours, following the adventures of David Brent (Ricky Gervais, who also co-created the show with Stephen Merchant and executive-produced the American version), Tim Canterbury (Martin Freeman), Dawn Tinsley (Lucy Davis), and Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook). Together, this cast of characters makes up the British versions of Michael Scott, Jim, Pam, and Dwight, respectively. The show has long been praised for its use of the mockumentary formula and for its cringe comedy, but be warned: the show’s humor is far, far dryer than that of its American cousin.
Master of None represents the culmination of much of Aziz Ansari’s stand-up, which focuses primarily on relationships and dating in the 21st century. Ansari, who also co-created and writes the show along with Alan Yang, stars as Dev Shah, an actor living in New York who hasn’t seen much success over his career. In the first moments of the show, we find him hooking up with a girl named Rachel, an incident that ends with a trip to the drug store for Plan B. The show revolves around Dev’s relationships with both his friends and women, including Rachel, and see him exploring career options, trying new things, and even travelling the world. With some incredible cinematography, acting, and specific standalone episodes like the Emmy-winning “Thanksgiving” or “New York, I Love You,” Master of None represents a must-watch. The first two seasons are streaming on Netflix; no word on a third season yet, but if it does arrive, it won’t be until 2019 or later.