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Best sitcoms of all time

  • Best Sitcoms of All Time

    Amidst a volatile and rapidly changing television landscape, the sitcom not only survives, it thrives. That’s thanks in no small part to a number of shows challenging, satirizing, and occasionally upending the genre’s conventions. Since the ‘90s there have been animated sitcoms, one-camera sitcoms, and a slew of sitcoms that ditched the laugh track and live audience. Meanwhile, peppered throughout are shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom,” which offer strikingly modern takes on the traditional formula and keep the laughs coming strong. “Fresh off the Boat” and “Modern Family” similarly shake up the “Leave it to Beaver” formula and use their diverse casts to tell powerful new stories about being a family in America.

    In the age of prestige TV dramas, “situational comedy” has grown to mean so much more than three cameras, one stage setting, a bunch of goofy characters, and a laugh track. Thanks to Netflix and other streaming services, it's easier than ever for these shows to convert new fans or find a network willing to take a risk on a funny new idea. With all the inspiration and new resources, what will those crafty, underpaid TV writers think up next

    Being that the sitcom is essentially as old as TV itself, there’s no shortage of winners and stinkers alike. Today, Stacker is singling out the winners. Specifically, Stacker has listed out the highest-rated sitcoms of all time, according to the people who’ve watched them: IMDb users. To qualify, the show had to be considered a situational comedy in the broader sense (meaning non-traditional sitcoms and comedy-dramas), and have at least 5,000 IMDb votes. For any rating ties, the show with more votes won. Will your favorite sitcoms of all time make an appearance on this list? Read on to find out.

    You may also like: The 100 best TV shows of all time

  • #50: Mary Tyler Moore Show

    Year: 1970-1977
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 5,251

    Co-created by James L. Brooks, who would go on to direct popular movies and co-create The Simpsons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show centered around a woman who moves to Minneapolis on the heels of a bad break up. There she lands a job at a local news station, suddenly single and struggling in a male-dominated world. The show remains an acclaimed and vital sitcom to this day, primarily for the skillful and humorous way it handled such poignant themes. It was plenty acclaimed in its time as well, with the most Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in history to show for it.  

  • #49: Legit

    Year: 2013–2014
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 7,072

    Between his observational prowess and acerbic delivery (and, of course, his huge fan base), it was only natural that comedian Jim Jeffries would get a series of his own. That series was called Legit and it ran for just two seasons, first on FX and then on FXX. Each episode of Legit dealt with Jim and his motley crew of friends learning how to be good people in the modern world. The laughs and acclaim were high, but the ratings were too low to warrant a third season.  

  • #48: Home Movies

    Year: 1999–2004
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 8,028

    True to its name, Home Movies was about an eight-year-old wannabe director who casts his friends in thousands of homemade films. Featuring kids but aimed squarely at teenagers and adults, the animated series ran for six episodes on the (now-defunct) UPN network before being abruptly dropped. Thankfully Cartoon Network swooped in to save the day, buying the rights to the show and making it the first ever to premiere on their Adult Swim block, where it found a much wider and more receptive audience.

  • #47: Big Mouth

    Year: 2017 – present
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 11,642

    Puberty has long been the stuff of comedy gold, and it certainly has no reason to stop now. Accordingly, the Netflix animated series Big Mouth mines the awkward phase in every growing boy or girl’s life for all the explicit laughs it can find. Co-created by comedian Nick Kroll, and featuring voices from fellow comics like Jordan Peele, Maya Rudolph, and John Mulaney, the show delivers the raunchy goods at hyperkinetic speed, with genuinely endearing undertones.  

  • #46: The Goldbergs

    Year: 2013 – present
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 20,252

    Set in the simpler era of the 1980s, ABC’s The Goldbergs is a semi-autobiographical show based on Adam Goldberg’s experiences as a nerdy 11-year-old. Armed with a video camera, young Adam captures the endlessly zany antics of his hilarious family one home movie at a time. While the show takes some liberties as far the family is concerned, it also goes to great lengths to authentically re-create Adam’s childhood. For instance, nearly all the posters in young Adam’s bedroom on the show were the same ones he had in his bedroom in real life as a kid.  

  • #45: Better Off Ted

    Year: 2009–2010
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 22,695

    Sometimes a great show slips through the cracks and doesn’t get the shelf life it deserves. Such was the case with ABC’s Better Off Ted, an absolutely bonkers workplace comedy that poked fun at the sitcom format and frequently broke the fourth wall. The backdrop for the series was Veridian Dynamics, a ruthless corporation that performs experiments on its own employees, among other terrible things. Meanwhile, protagonist Ted Crisp must do his best to retain a semblance of morality (and keep his job) while flanked by evil on nearly all sides.

  • #44: Workaholics

    Year: 2011–2017
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 40,144

    “Ya gotta be fresh.” So went the theme song for Comedy Central’s Workaholics, which did indeed offer a fresh take on your standard office sitcom. Detailing the exploits of three workplace stoners with bad ideas and even worse follow-through, the work environment itself was at best a distraction from each hairbrained scheme. Proving that the antics were just as wild behind the scenes, two of the show’s stars spent the first season living in the same house as they’re characters, just to save a few bucks in rent money.

  • #43: 30 Rock

    Year: 2006–2013
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 97,930

    Speaking of crazy workplace comedies, it didn’t get much crazier than 30 Rock. Created by and starring SNL alumna Tina Fey, the series took place behind the scenes at an SNL-like sketch comedy show. Between the off-the-wall characters and rapid-fire pacing, the show earned a reputation for squeezing jokes out of jokes and then layering those jokes with even more jokes. It’s no wonder that 30 Rock earned a whopping 22 Emmy nominations in 2009, the most nominations ever received by a comedy show in a single year.

  • #42: Family Guy

    Year: 1998– 
    IMDb Rating: 8.2
    Votes: 261,219

    Hit animated series Family Guy opens every episode asking, “Where are those good old fashioned values?” The answer might very well be, “Everywhere but Family Guy.” Co-created by Seth MacFarlane, the long-running series is as raunchy as primetime TV can possibly get. The fact that the show is so ubiquitous these days is somewhat of a miracle, and not just because the FCC hasn’t pulled it from the air. For starters, it was cancelled by Fox not once, but twice, before being brought back due to overwhelming demand from the fans. Furthermore, MacFarlane himself had a near brush with death after missing a famously ill-fated flight from Boston to Los Angeles on the morning of September 11, 2001.

  • #41: Sports Night

    Year: 1998–2000
    IMDb Rating: 8.3
    Votes: 6,242

    Even when iconic screenwriter Aaron Sorkin isn’t churning out Oscar-winning movies like The Social Network or acclaimed shows like The West Wing, he still puts up a downright formidable effort. For proof of that fact, look no further than Sports Night, a short-lived comedy that failed to score big numbers during its run, but has nevertheless retained a loyal following over the years. In the series, viewers went behind the scenes at a bustling sports news show. The dialogue was sharp and the laughs were dry, but hard-earned. Apparently Sorkin could have kept the show alive if he’d so desired, but he chose instead to focus his energy on The West Wing.

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