The 40 Best Sitcoms on Netflix Right Now (September 2020)

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The 40 Best Sitcoms on Netflix Right Now (September 2020)

A comprehensive guide to the best sitcoms on Netflix.

The ever-shifting sands of Netflix have stirred once again. The stream king’s sitcom lineup is restless and unsettled; shows that once towered over the field, giants like Cheers, 30 Rock and Andy Griffith, have long since decamped to other stomping grounds. Meanwhile the streamer’s own sitcom development is markedly hit or miss, an issue compounded by Netflix’s notoriously quick hook when it comes to cancelling shows. You’d think a company that has long capitalized upon the hundreds and hundreds of episodes of shows like The Office, Friends and Parks and Recreation would want to build their own cadre of insanely long sitcom runs, but nope; Netflix is totally cool with ending a show after 20 episodes, and only a handful of their original comedies have made it past 40. They’ve probably got all kinds of data backing up these decisions—data that, once again, nobody outside Netflix is ever privy to—and with their quick hook ways hitting hyperspeed over the last few weeks it’s even more likely that we’ll never see an original Netflix comedy hit the 100 episode syndication threshold that every American sitcom production in the past aspired to. They’re working in volume and variety, and not just volume, and presumably hope that people will want to stay subscribed because of that variety even after the legacy network hits and their hundreds of episodes have left for other streaming services.

The true mainstream classics might be gradually fading away, but there are still a lot of good sitcoms on Netflix. Parks and Recreation (which is on every single streaming service, I think) is still here, as is The Good Place. Never Have I Ever, which premiered earlier this year, is Netflix’s best original comedy in a long while. Schitt’s Creek, while not a Netflix original, became a pop culture phenomenon because of the streamer; its last season should be up on Netflix in the next month or two. There are still more great sitcoms than any one person could ever watch on Netflix, and these 40 are the best of the best.

40. The Guild


the_guild_netflix.jpg Original Run: 2007-2013
Creator: Felicia Day
Stars: Felicia Day, Vincent Caso, Sandeep Parikh, Amy Okuda, Robin Thorsen, Jeff Lewis
Original Network: YouTube, Xbox Live

Watch on Netflix

It’s no secret that we have a bit of a crush on Felicia Day. From her starring role in Joss Whedon’s straight-to-internet supervillain musical spectacular, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, to her nearly two million followers on Twitter, she’s an internet force to be reckoned with. She’s also a writer/co-producer/actress/etc. for a well-known and industry-defying web series called The Guild. Turns out, we might also have a crush on The Guild itself. The web series follows the sordid on- and off-line lives of a band of gaming misfits as they go from being anonymous avatars to being present in each others’ lives. The ensemble that Day and other producers scrabbled together are not only incredibly funny in their own individual rights, but they work together well—from snarky Amy Okuda as Guild dissenter Tinkerballa down to Sandeep Parikh’s obsessive, sheltered and socially-deficient gnome warlock Zaboo. Every character seems almost tailored to each actor/comedian’s strengths, which maximizes the potential for hilarity.—Whitney Baker



39. Lovesick


netflix lovesick.jpg Original Run: 2014-
Creator: Tom Edge
Stars: Johnny Flynn, Antonia Thomas, Daniel Ings, Joshua McGuire
Original Network: Channel 4; Netflix (seasons 2 and 3)

Watch on Netflix

Lovesick thrives on gawkily funny and often sexually charged situations, handled in such a down-to-earth manner it doesn’t feel like your typical, canned-laughter comedy. Instead of being overly in-your-face with punchlines, the series relies on its well-defined protagonists for humor, and by introducing new characters and environments in every episode, Lovesick feels more elaborate than your average sitcom, allowing for the occasional surprise (see the episodes “Abigail” and “Phoebe”). By spanning the protagonists’ storylines over a period of seven years, we get to know the people and circumstances that shaped them into who they are at present. We witness various fashion trends and phases in their lives, personal issues and career triumphs, forging a bond with the characters that carries into their current situations.—Roxanne Sancto



38. Great News


great_news_netflix.jpg Original Run: 2017-2018
Creator: Tracey Wigfield
Stars: Briga Heelen, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins
Original network: NBC

Watch on Netflix

I’ve come to the point in my career where I’m the lady shaking my fist and screaming, “Network TV is still good! It’s still good!” And while I’ll be the first to admit that network TV provides us with a lot of duds, you can often find a diamond in among the lumps of coal. Great News, from executive producer Tina Fey, debuted to little fanfare. But as the second season progressed, the story of cable news producer Katie (Briga Heelan) and her ragtag news team (which includes the incomparable Andrea Martin as her mother and the hilarious John Michael Higgins as her bombastic news anchor, Chuck) becomes a savvy and at times scathing comedy, covering everything from sexual harassment in the workplace to the pressures of social media. Oh, and did I mention that Nicole Richie is funny as cable news host Portia? I mean really, really funny.—Amy Amatangelo



37. Santa Clarita Diet


netflix santa clarita poster.jpg Original Run: 2017-2019
Creator: Victor Fresco
Stars: Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Netflix’s horror-comedy follows normal couple Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant), a real estate duo attempting to raise their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) right. The neighborhood is good, problems are at a minimum, and the middle-class living is all the American Dream promised. Until Sheila hacks up a mysterious orb and starts hungering for human flesh, that is. Freckly neighbor kid Eric (Skyler Gisondo) has been roped into the scheme, too. Together, they put the “dead” in “deadpan.” Sheila’s fundead chipperness recalls Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s method of surrounding its dark, psychologically- or physically-upsetting narrative turns with hyper-sunny aesthetics, saturating each shot with catalogue color even when the gore flies. It’s as if the traffic-discussing members of the Saturday Night Live skit “The Californians” were in a Saw movie. —Jacob Oller



36. The Inbetweeners


netflix inbetweeners.jpg Original Run: 2008-2010
Creator: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Stars: Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, James Buckley
Original Network: E4

Watch on Netflix

A spiritual cousin of sorts to the American Pie films, The Inbetweeners brought UK audiences a glimpse into the love/hate relationship between four high school friends and their pitiable attempts to score with the young women around them. If you’ve ever been a semi-geeky middle class, suburban white male, it will likely pain you to sit through each episode of this show even as you’re laughing at the wickedly funny dialogue and the fantastic chemistry that its four lead actors (Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, Blake Harrison, and James Buckley) maintained throughout. The Inbetweeners obviously struck a chord with a number of folks in the UK, as it scored great ratings for each of its three seasons and spawned two feature films that followed the four gents on vacations to Greece and Australia.—Robert Ham



35. That ‘70s Show


netflix that 70s show.jpg Original Run: 1998-2006
Creator: Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, Mark Brazill
Stars: Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Tanya Roberts, Don Stark, Lisa Robin Kelly, Tommy Chong, Josh Meyers
Original Network: Fox

Watch on Netflix

Just as the 1970s harkened back to the 1950s in the form of Grease and Happy Days, pop culture audiences of the 1990s demonstrated their own brand of nostalgia by popularizing Fox’s That ‘70s Show, a sitcom based on co-creator Mark Brazill’s teenage years as a smartass, Midwestern teen. Beyond highlighting the immense talent of its cast with sharp, punchy writing, the show also set itself apart by experimenting with visual structure, implementing split screens, dream sequences, drug-induced hallucinations and the show’s patented tableside panning for when the young teens found themselves “self-medicating.” In retrospect, That ‘70s Show’s biggest sin is that—like many promising sitcoms—it simply outstayed its welcome, chugging along even after two main cast members (Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher) had departed. Still, at its peak, it was an unmistakably engaging and altogether groovy program that more than earned its place as one of Fox’s flagship shows.—Mark Rozeman



34. Norsemen


norsemen_poster1.jpg Original Run: 2016-present
Creator: Jon Iver Helgaker, Jonas Torgersen
Stars: Kåre Conradi, Nils Jørgen Kaalstad, Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Silje Torp
Original Network: NRK1; Netflix

Watch on Netflix

This Norwegian comedy has slipped under the radar a bit in the States, but with a third season on the way this week its audience will hopefully continue to grow. It’s a dirty, irreverent, hilarious sitcom set in 8th century Norway, focusing on the daily foibles of a stereotypical clan of Vikings while also serving as a send-up of deadly serious blood ‘n guts period TV like Game of Thrones. And if you don’t feel like reading subtitles, don’t worry: they actually shoot every episode in both Norwegian and English, so you can watch it without having to read it.—Garrett Martin



33. Toast of London


netflix toast of london.jpg Original Run: 2012-2015
Creator: Arthur Mathews, Matt Berry
Stars: Matt Berry, Robert Bathurst, Doon Mackichan, Harry Peacock, Tim Downie, Shazad Latif, Tracy-Ann Oberman
Original Network: Channel 4

Watch on Netflix

Steven Toast is a perfect Matt Berry creation, a pompous, absurd, overbearing AC-TOR!!! who is completely oblivious about how much of a joke he is to everyone else in the world. If this was a Ricky Gervais show, that would pretty much be the main joke of the entire series. Berry and co-creator Arthur Mathews surrounds Toast with characters that are just as ridiculous, though, making the show so absurd that it never really turns into pure cringe comedy. If you love Matt Berry—or, just as importantly, his amazing voice—you need to watch this one.—Garrett Martin



32. F Is For Family


netflix f is for family.jpg Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Bill Burr, Michael Price
Stars: Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, Debi Derryberry, Sam Rockwell
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Like the more celebrated BoJack Horseman, this animated Netflix original mines surprisingly stark and moving drama from its bitter comedy. Starring popular stand-up Bill Burr, F Is For Family is a jaundiced look at a broken family during the height of the 1970s malaise, but, y’know, funny, at least some of the time. There are only six episodes out now, but more should be on the way.—Garrett Martin



31. Love


netflix love poster.jpg Original Run: 2016-2018
Creators: Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, Paul Rust
Stars: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O’Doherty
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

If you’re a fan of Undeclared or Freaks and Geeks, you should make it your business to give Judd Apatow’s latest series, Love, a try. In a lot of ways, it feels like what would happen if Sam Weir and Kim Kelly wound up dating in their 30s—we meet Gus (Paul Rust), a dorky on-set tutor for the child star of a witch-themed teen drama, and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs), a radio producer struggling with her sobriety, as they’re both reeling from tough breakups and watch as they fall for each other. Like anything Apatow’s got his name on, there’s an underlying sweetness here and an incredibly strong cast (Claudia O’Doherty steals pretty much every scene she’s in as Mickey’s roommate, Bertie), and the addiction plot lends some dramatic muscle. The characters are complicated (and not always likable), but hey, so is love.—Bonnie Stiernberg



30. Master of None


netflix master of none.jpg Original Run: 2015-2017
Creator: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
Stars: Aziz Ansari, Noél Wells, Eric Wareheim, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, H. Jon Benjamin
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Like its creator and star, Master of None is stylish, smart and clever—a half-hour comedy that ranks as one of Netflix’s best efforts in original programming. Following the trend set by Louie, Transparent, You’re the Worst and many other modern sitcoms, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang built a show that doesn’t mind the occasional laugh hiatus. Instead of pushing the joke quota to astronomical levels, Master of None is content to find poignancy amid the humor, and if the former outshines the latter, so be it. The result is a show that is fun to watch, emotionally satisfying and thought provoking. It’s also been paramount in furthering the discussion about race and representation on television, both with its own casting and the topics it addresses. There is so much to say about this show, and these few hundred words are a pathetic attempt to do it justice. Master of None is one of the most important shows in a long, long time. Eric Walters



29. The Last O.G.


netflix last og.jpg Original Run: 2018-
Creator: John Carcieri, Jordan Peele
Stars: Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish, Allen Maldonado, Ryan Gaul, Taylor Christian Mosby, Dante Hoagland, Cedric the Entertainer
Original Network: TBS

Watch on Netflix

Some wonderful things happened after this TBS comedy’s premiere was pushed back from its original fall 2017 launch date to April 2018. Creator and executive producer Jordan Peele won an Academy Award for Get Out and co-star Tiffany Haddish started having her moment. But this affable comedy about a man (Tracy Morgan) who gets out after 15 years in prison only to find his girlfriend (Haddish) married to someone else and his Brooklyn neighborhood nothing like he remembers is first and foremost a triumphant comeback for Tracy Morgan, who was gravely injured in a car accident in 2014.—Amy Amantangelo



28. She’s Gotta Have It


netflix_gotta_have_it.png Original Run: 2017-2019
Creators: Spike Lee
Stars:DeWanda Wise, Anthony Ramos, Lyriq Bent, Cleo Anthony, Margot Bingham, Chyna Layne, De’Adre Aziza
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

She’s Gotta Have It may not be the revolution it was in 1986, but Spike Lee’s serial remake of his own first feature is more refined in almost every way, while kicking the formal bravado into overdrive. There’s a ten-minute vigil mourning Donald Trump’s election. There’s Requiem for a Dream-like butt injections. There’s a full-on dance sequence to “Raspberry Beret.” Its lead is smarter, braver, and more complex than ever while tackling social threats with infectious energy and relatable vulnerability. If this doesn’t more than make up for a first-timer’s misjudged scene, I don’t know what does. Doing it again may be a rarity, but when Lee does it this well, I’d be happy for that to change. —Jacob Oller



27. American Vandal

american_vandal_poster.jpg Original Run: 2018-2018
Created by: Tony Yacenda and Dan Perrault
Stars: Tyler Alvarez, Griffin Gluck, Jimmy Tatro
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

American Vandal is the tongue-in-cheek antidote to the “true crime” craze: a “prestige docuseries” on the subject of dick-drawing, set on dismantling the form from within. After all, its understanding of the form is impeccable: With dramatic cold opens, floated theories and test cases; interviews, illustrations and re-creations; careful cliffhangers and a Jinx-style hot mic, it applies the genre’s commonplaces to absurd situations with aplomb. It’s a pungently goofy reminder that the history of “true crime” is dominated by “lowbrow” media—pulpy magazines, grocery-store paperbacks, salacious installments of Dateline or 20/20—and that its newfound sense of “prestige” is primarily a function of style. Still, American Vandal’s most surprising strength is not its satire but its steady construction of a narrative backdrop even more compelling than its creators realize. Call it Fast Times at Hanover High: The series’ amusing slice of schoolyard life. —Matt Brennan



26. Derry Girls

derrygirls_netflix.jpg Original run: 2018-
Created by: Adam Lee
Stars:  Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn
Original Network: Channel 4

Watch on Netflix

The lovely, silly, funny and emotional Derry Girls is just the craic we need. The brief series (each season only runs six episodes) focuses on a group of schoolgirls in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s, during the last days of the Troubles. But in Lisa McGee’s series, that darkness is relegated to the background. Instead, the more traditional teen conflicts of school life and being boy crazy take center stage, along with lots of incredibly specific language and jokes about both that region and that time (you will definitely want to watch with subtitles on). Derry Girls is a warm and funny time hop carried by a dreamy ‘90s playlist and the gigantic charisma of its wee leads. —Allison Keene



25. Sex Education


sex_ed_netflix.jpg Original run:2019-
Created by: Laurie Nunn
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

You’re an insecure, bright, sensitive teenage boy (Asa Butterfield) with a wildly uninhibited sex-guru mother (Gillian Anderson), an absentee dad (the epically hilarious James Purefoy), a chronically foot-in-mouth bully-magnet best friend, a limited social life and a clinically interesting fear of your own penis. You have a stealth crush on your school’s official Way Too Precocious girl, who’s hard up for money. So, naturally, you open a sex clinic for high-school students in an out-of-service school lavatory, right?

Of course you do.

Netflix’s Sex Education is a decidedly raunchy and thoroughly adorable coming-of-age dramedy. While it’s not exactly afraid of well-worn tropes, it also doesn’t rely on them to a detrimental degree… and it has Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist, which would be enough for a lot of us even if nothing else about the show worked. Luckily, that isn’t the case: A testament to the power of character development, the series is riveting. None of its superbly crafted characters waste a single frame. —Amy Glynn



24. Tuca & Bertie


netflix tuca.jpg Original Run: 2019
Creator: Lisa Hanawalt
Stars: Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Don’t let the similar art fool you: Lisa Hanawalt’s Tuca & Bertie doesn’t have much else in common with Bojack Horseman. (I mean, that’s just the way Hanawalt draws.) Netflix’s new cartoon looks at the stresses and joys of being a woman today, from lack of respect in the workplace to balancing romance with friendships, but in an absurd reflection of our real world full of talking humanoid animals. Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong voice the adventurous toucan and repressed songbird of the title, respectively, and between their great performances and the nuanced writing of Hanawalt and her team, Tuca & Bertie reveals a keen understanding of life without struggling to seem profound. Also it’s packed so full of sight gags and background jokes that you’ll probably keep your finger on the rewind button the whole time. —Garrett Martin



23. Kath & Kim


kath&kim_netflix.jpg Original Run: 2002-2007
Created by: Jane Turner, Gina Riley
Stars: Jane Turner, Gina Riley, Magda Szubanski, Peter Rowsthorn, Glenn Robbins
Original Network: ABC TV

Watch on Netflix

Kath & Kim is the apex of TV comedy. From beautifully poetic malapropisms to surreal character study, Kath & Kim defined an entire generation of Australian TV and created innumerable phrases now endemic to Australian lingo (“Throw your handbag in a river” is now forever synonymous with “lesbian” on the continent). Seriously, it’s the “Torn” of TV, breaking several ratings records across its four seasons, spurning two films and an incredibly bad American spin-off starring Selma Blair and Molly Shannon. Jane Turner and Gina Riley are masters of comedy, and they deserve credit for creating one of the most enduringly great sitcoms in history. It’s nice. It’s different. It’s unusual. —Austin Jones



22. Episodes


netflix episodes poster.jpg Original Run: 2011-2017
Creators: David Crane, Jeffrey Klarik
Stars:Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, John Pankow, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Mircea Monroe
Original Network: Showtime / BBC Two

Watch on Netflix

When successful British showrunners Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) move to Los Angeles to remake their beloved comedy Lyman’s Boys for an American audience, they have no idea what they’re in for when their quirky comedy is put through the Hollywood wringer. Playing a heightened, fictional version of himself, LeBlanc is terrific in a role created for him by former Friends producer David Crane. The series is a spot-on takedown about how creativity is sucked out as TV comedies are produced to play to the lowest common denominator. I remain convinced that LeBlanc’s current CBS show Man with a Plan is just him trolling us.—Amy Amatangelo



21. Grace and Frankie


netflix grace and frankie.jpg Original Run: 2015-
Creator: Marta Kauffman, Howard J. Morris
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Sometimes the only thing worse than a flat-out bad show is a woefully mediocre one that thoroughly squanders its vast potential. Indeed, despite its luminous cast, respected creative team (Marta J. Kaufman co-created Friends) and timely subject matter, Grace and Frankie never quite shakes the impression that it’s a broadcast comedy masquerading under a thick layer of “prestige half-hour” make-up. The story centers on the titular characters (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, respectively) who end up becoming roommates/reluctant friends after their husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce they’ve been engaging in a long-term affair with one another and wish to dissolve their marriages to be together. Feeling tossed out to sea in the twilight of their lives, the two women attempt to rediscover life as newly single gals. Cue gags fueled by elder dating, elder sex and the ever-reliable, “elders try to use technology.” It’s essentially How Stella Got Her Groove Back for the septuagenarian sect. These creative shortcomings are all the more disappointing given the unmistakable chemistry between Fonda and Tomlin, not to mention that, as actresses of a certain age, Hollywood is not exactly bowling them over with the roles they deserve. Grace and Frankie is far from a bad show, but it has enough going for it that one wishes it was so much better. Mark Rozeman



20. Flowers


netflix flowers.jpg Original Run: 2016-2018
Creators: Will Sharpe
Stars: Julian Barratt, Olivia Colman, Will Sharpe, Colin Hurley, Daniel Rigby, Sophia Di Martino, Leila Hoffman
Original Network: Channel 4 / Seeso

Watch on Netflix

Written and directed by Will Sharpe, Flowers is a dark sitcom about a depressed, dysfunctional, artistically inclined family in England. Julian Barratt (of The Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley) plays another unfulfilled, self-defeating sad sack in the form of a suicidal children’s book author, and Olivia Colman makes just as strong an impression as his less overtly anguished wife. Their grown children are similarly troubled in their own ways, and the show explores how all of their particular problems feed off and support each other. It’s a modern Gothic with that dry British wit, with fantastic performances from Colman and Barratt, and a darkly comic tone that doesn’t flinch from the horrors of depression and anxiety.—Garrett Martin



19. Extras


netflix extras.jpg Original Run: 2005-2007
Creator: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Stars: Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson, Shaun Pye
Original Network: BBC Two / HBO

Watch on Netflix

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s follow-up to The Office wasn’t nearly as groundbreaking, but it’s still a hilarious show that mines real pathos from the mediocre life of a self-important middle aged man. Andy Millman isn’t quite as cruel or pathetic as David Brent—he winds up on a successful sitcom, even if it’s a hackneyed one that he hates and winds up sabotaging—but he still deserves most of the scorn and embarrassment heaped upon him throughout the series. If you aren’t a fan of Gervais-style cringe comedy, maybe you’ll appreciate the persona-tweaking cameos by big name stars like Ben Stiller, Patrick Stewart and Kate Winslet, or Stephen Merchant’s ingratiatingly awkward performance as Millman’s agent, or Ashley Jensen’s likable presence as Millman’s equally awkward actor friend. It’s surprising to see this on Netflix, despite their relationship with Gervais—this was co-produced by HBO.—Garrett Martin



18. Big Mouth


netflix big mouth.jpg Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin
Stars:Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Netflix’s new animated series, from creators Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, follows four friends through the earliest stages of puberty: Andrew (John Mulaney) sports inconvenient erections; Nick (Kroll) awaits his first pubic hairs; Jessi (Jessi Klein) begins menstruating at the Statue of Liberty; Jay (Jason Mantzoukas) conceives rococo ways to get off with his pillow. It’s wickedly bawdy—one episode’s end credits roll over an extended description of Andrew’s dad’s testicles—and devilishly funny—another uses a note-perfect Seinfeld send-up to explain the blowjob “head push” and the term “mons pubis”—but as implied by its theme song, Charles Bradley’s “Changes,” the series is sweeter than it appears at first blush. Its goal is to cut through the humiliations of sex, to break through the shame shellacked atop our “gross little dirtbag” selves to reveal the perfectly normal yearning underneath: for pleasure, for touch, for emotional connection; for approval, confidence, intimacy, love. By admitting, as Andrew does in the series premiere, that “everything is so embarrassing”—and not only for teens—Big Mouth squares a space in which there’s no question that can’t be asked, and no answer that applies the same way to everyone. It’s the streaming version of your sex-ed teacher’s anonymous slips of paper, except the laughs aren’t sniggers—they’re hard-won, empathic guffaws. —Matt Brennan



17. Never Have I Ever


never_have_i_eveR_poster.jpg Original Run: 2020-present
Created by: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher
Stars: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, John McEnroe
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Being 15 sucks. You’re not sure who you are or what you’re doing or who you should be doing it with, but you’re 100% certain that everyone around you is always laser-focused on every embarrassing mistake that you make. Mindy Kaling’s new coming-of-age sitcom taps into the painful awkwardness of figuring it all out with the same mix of earnestness, realism and humor as Freaks and Geeks and The Wonder Years, but filtered through a cultural lens not often seen on American TV. Devi Vishwakumar isn’t just grappling with typical teenage drama, but is stuck between two cultures that she never quite feels like a full member of: the American life she was born and raised in, and the Indian heritage of her family. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan captures this anxiety and charm beautifully, that weird mix of constant shame and unearned confidence, in what is shockingly her first professional acting role. If you’re looking for a teen comedy that reflects the ups and downs of real life and is actually funny, here’s your chance. —Garrett Martin



16. GLOW


netflix glow.jpg Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Liz Flahive, Jenji Kohan and Carly Mensch
Stars: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young, Sunita Mani and Marc Maron
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I did not grow up watching wrestling on Saturday mornings. But just as I didn’t have to understand football to love Friday Night Lights, I don’t need to know what an atomic drop is to adore GLOW. A nearly unrecognizable Alison Brie (credit the ‘80s hair and eyebrows for her transformation) stars as Ruth Wilder, an aspiring actress who finds her perfect role in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. What she lacks in skill, Ruth makes up for in pluck. Her frenemy, former soap star Debbie Eagan (Betty Gilpin), becomes her perfect foil. Marc Maron is hilarious as their world-weary producer and Sydelle Noel is a stand out as stunt woman-turned-trainer Cherry Bang. Come for the ridiculous costumes, makeup and hair. Stay for the surprisingly poignant show about female empowerment. Amy Amatangelo



15. New Girl


new-girl.jpg
Original Run: 2011-2018
Creator: Elizabeth Meriwether
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone
Original Network: Fox

Watch on Netflix

When New Girl started it was a sharp hang-out sitcom for the 21st century, updating the basic template of Friends into the modern day, but with a looser, more improvisational feel to the humor that makes it seem at least a bit less artificial. Like Friends, the show’s greatest strength is less the writing than the performances and chemistry of its cast—few shows can milk as much out of its characters lounging around a living room, or drunkenly playing a made-up game with no clear rules. Its best days might now be behind it, but they’ll live on through Netflix forever, or until the current rights agreement runs out.—Garrett Martin



14. Lady Dynamite


netflix lady dynamite.jpg Original Run: 2016-2017
Creator: Pam Brady, Mitch Hurwitz
Stars: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Lady Dynamite’s opening episode is such a whirlwind of hyperactivity, even those viewers accustomed to Maria Bamford’s idiosyncratic brand of comedy may feel like they’ve overdosed on E numbers. But make it through the utterly exhausting pilot and you’ll be rewarded with one of the most weirdly wonderful sitcoms ever to grace the screen. Indeed, despite lurching wildly from showbusiness satire and surreal flights of fancy to painfully raw depictions of mental illness, Lady Dynamite‘s organized chaos soon becomes far more palatable and increasingly poignant. A game cast, including Fred Melamed as Maria’s strangely lovable but highly incompetent manager, Ana Gasteyer as her ghastly, no-nonsense agent, and former Supermen Dean Cain and Brandon Routh as her boyfriends past and present all add to the show’s random bizarre appeal. And if that hasn’t sold you, there’s also an adorable talking pug that sounds like Werner Herzog.—Jon O’Brien



13. Trailer Park Boys


netflix trailer park boys.jpg Original Run: 2001-2008; 2014-
Creator: Mike Clattenburg
Stars: John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith, John Dunsworth, Patrick Roach, Lucy DeCoutere, Sarah E. Dunsworth, Tyrone Parsons, Jonathan Torrens, Jeanne Harrison
Original Network: Showcase, Netflix

Watch on Netflix

After almost 20 years, Trailer Park Boys is an institution. For those completely unfamiliar with it, the show centers on the antics of Ricky and Julian, two idiot schemers, and their weird friend, Bubbles. The three live in a trailer park, where a whole bunch of other misfits, lunatics and drunks reside. Everyone fights and fucks up to laughter, the titular “boys” go to jail at the end of each season, and it all restarts once they’re released.

There are any number of things that can explain the enduring popularity of Trailer Park Boys. In a weed-friendly 21st century culture, its willingness to revel in the joys of pot smoking struck an early chord. There are the countless Rickyisms, puncta which enter the personal vocabularies of viewers. There’s the plain fact that faux drunk slapstick is always, always funny. And it’s got heart, clichéd as that is—the boys love the trailer park, their drunk nemesis Jim Lahey loves the trailer park, and so does everyone else there, even if nobody outside understands why.—Ian Williams



12. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


netflix kimmy schmidt.jpg Original Run: 2015-2020
Creator: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Stars: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Carol Kane
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

NBC has made any number of mistakes over the years, but few bigger than shelving Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s 30 Rock follow-up, before punting it over to Netflix. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt wound up becoming one of the highlights of a great year for TV comedy. The fast-paced and flip sitcom featured breakout performances by Office vet Ellie Kemper as the titular former “mole woman” trying to make it on her own in New York, and Tituss Burgess as her flamboyant and put-upon roommate, Titus Andromedon. (NBC has recently tried to make it up to Kemper for dropping the ball on this by planting her in the guest host chair at Today—too little, too late, peacock peddlers.) Throughout the first season’s run, some writers and critics seemed dead set on finding some kind of flaw to pounce on with the show, zeroing in on how the minority characters are represented. This may be a wild generalization, but I think this was a natural reaction to one of the most overtly feminist sitcoms ever produced. Kimmy Schmidt is most certainly upsetting the natural order of your typical network sitcom. The show’s titular character is defining her life on her own terms and by her own standards. For some reason that still freaks some people out so they dismiss it or find some way to poke holes in the vehicle for that idea. That is what makes the prospect of a second season so exciting. Just as the show can go in a myriad of different directions, so too can Kimmy Schmidt. Now that she has put the awful time in the bunker to bed, she can face a new day with that infectious smile, bubbly attitude, and enthusiastic embrace of life experience. Sorry nitpickers and network executives; Kimmy Schmidt is going to make it after all. Robert Ham



11. Dear White People


netflix dear white people poster.jpg Original Run: 2017-
Creator: Justin Simien
Stars:: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson, John Patrick Amedori, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Giancarlo Esposito
Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Based on creator Justin Simien’s 2014 indie, Netflix’s original series—narrated by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’s Giancarlo Esposito—replicates the pungent humor of the film without ever seeming stale, or static: Its knives are sharp, and they’re pointed in every direction. Though its primary target is white privilege, in forms both egregious (blackface parties) and mundane (calls to end “divisive” politics), Dear White People, set on the campus of a fictional Ivy League university, is even funnier when it turns to the details of the black students’ personal and ideological choices, transforming the notion of the “problematic fave,” from the McRib to The Cosby Show into the engine of its entertaining, incisive comedy.—Matt Brennan



10. The IT Crowd


the-it-crowd.jpg Original Run: 2006-2013
Creator: Graham Linehan
Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry
Original Network: Channel 4

Watch on Netflix

Note: Paste does not endorse, support or agree with the transphobia and anti-trans activism of The IT Crowd’s creator Graham Linehan.

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



9. One Day at a Time


netflix one day at a time.jpg Original Run: 2017-
Creators: Gloria Calderon Kellett, Mike Royce,
Stars: Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gómez, Marcel Ruiz, Stephen Tobolowsky, Rita Moreno
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

I can’t remember a time I loved something the way I love the new One Day at a Time. Part of my affection stems from the fact that the show was such a discovery. It arrived January 6 of this year with almost no hype. I write about TV for a living and I barely knew it was premiering. Almost immediately I dismissed the show as yet another ill-advised remake. How wrong I was. The comedy is a pure delight. A throwback to the defining comedies of the 1970s with a modern twist, the show deftly tackles some hot-button issues including post-traumatic stress disorder, wage inequality and teenage sexuality amid real conversations about generational differences and Cuban heritage and traditions. Justina Machado (Six Feet Under) is fantastic as the recently separated veteran raising her two adolescent children with the help of her mother Lydia (living legend Rita Moreno) and her landlord Schneider (Todd Grinnell). Above all the show is funny and grounded. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to watch this gem one day at a time. Amy Amatangelo



8. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp / Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later


netflix what first day.jpg Original Run: 2015
Creator: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Stars: Michael Showalter, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Lake Bell, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Josh Charles, Bradley Cooper, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau,
Original Network: Netflix

Watch First Day of Camp on Netflix

When a follow-up comes along for any project with a huge cult audience, it seems doomed to disappoint. Arrested Development’s fourth season’s breaking apart of the cast was bound to frustrate, and Anchorman 2 could never reach the surprising joy of the original. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp obviously came with a certain amount of trepidation. But instead of trying to recreate the glory of the last day of camp, as seen in the 2001 film, First Day of Camp added a considerable amount of depth to the original film and explained aspects of Camp Firewood that never needed to be understood, but make the entire history of these characters feel more whole. The Netflix series managed to redefine these characters that we fell in love with over a decade ago, all while giving us laughs and immense heart as well. (The 2017 follow-up wasn’t quite as strong, sadly.) Ross Bonaime



7. Schitt’s Creek


netflix schitts creek.jpg Original Run: 2015-2020
Creator: Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy
Stars: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Jennifer Robertson, Emily Hampshire, Tim Rozon, Dustin Milligan
Original Network: CBC

Watch on Netflix

The narcissistic matriarch of her spoiled clan, stripped of their fortune and plopped down in the rural burg of Schitt’s Creek, former soap star Moira Rose—as played by Catherine O’Hara, dressed by costume designer Debra Hanson, and written by Schitt’s Creek co-created by Dan Levy and his team—was, for the series’ first two seasons, the main reason to tune in: She’s high camp catnip (“What is your favorite season?” “Awards.”) with a wig collection that qualifies as the best drama on television. And then something happened. Her husband, Johnny (Eugene Levy), once the owner of a successful chain of video stores, rediscovered his purpose running a motel. Moira won a seat on the town council. Their son, David (Dan Levy), opened a store and met the love of his life. Their daughter, Alexis (Annie Murphy), finally finished high school (it’s a long story) and decided to enroll in community college. In Seasons Three, Four, and Five, the Roses put down roots, and as they have, the people of Schitt’s Creek—once treated primarily as rubes, innocently getting in the way of the family’s plans to flee back to their former lives—have learned to wrangle them, in some cases by developing sharper edges of their own. Though it hasn’t lost its absurdist inflection, what began as a fish-out-of-water comedy about a bunch of snobs reduced to eating mozzarella sticks at the Café Tropical has become a gentler, warmer, more complicated tale of what happens when the fish sprout legs, and one of the best comedies on television: Call it the sweetening of Schitt’s Creek. —Matt Brennan



6. The Office (US)


netflix the office us.jpg Original Run: 2005-2013
Creator: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant; Developed by Greg Daniels
Stars: Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, BJ Novak, Craig Robinson, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms
Original Network: NBC

Watch on Netflix

At its peak, the US version of The Office could be the best show on this entire list. Seasons two through six or so comprise one of the genuinely great sitcom runs, a body of work up there with the best of Seinfeld or The Simpsons. It had a weak start, and became a sad parody of itself over its last few seasons, but during that sweet spot The Office was both hilarious and able to wring genuine emotion out of Michael Scott’s insecurities and Jim and Pam’s relationship. And in terms of sheer size and consistency, it might have had the best extended cast of any sitcom. It might not have the precision or laser focus of the original, but that’s the difference between American and British TV.—Garrett Martin



5. BoJack Horseman


netflix bojack.jpg Original Run: 2014-2020
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Stars: Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Aaron Paul
Original Network: Netflix

Watch on Netflix

BoJack Horseman is one of the most underrated comedies ever made, and it almost pains me that it doesn’t earn more praise. Right from the title sequence, which documents BoJack’s sad decline from network sitcom star to drunken has-been—set to the beautiful theme song written by the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney—this is one of the most thoughtful comedies ever made. Which doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious, of course. Will Arnett is the perfect voice for BoJack, and Paul F. Tompkins, who is in my mind the funniest man on planet Earth, could not be better suited to the child-like Mr. Peanut Butter. This is a show that isn’t above a visual gag or vicious banter or a wonderfully cheap laugh, but it also looks some very hard realities of life straight in the eye. There are times when you will hate BoJack—this is not a straight redemption story, and the minute you think he’s on the upswing, he will do something absolutely horrible to let you down. (There’s a special irony in the fact that a horse is one of the most human characters on TV, and the unblinking examination of his character makes “Escape from L.A.” one of the best episodes of TV this year.) So why isn’t it loved beyond a strong cult following? Maybe it’s the anthropomorphism that keeps people away, or maybe it’s the animation, but I implore you: Look beyond those elements, settle into the story, and let yourself be amazed by a comedy that straddles the line between hilarious and sad like no other on television.—Shane Ryan



4. Community


community_netflix.jpg Original Run: 2009-2015
Creator: Dan Harmon
Stars: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash
Network: NBC, Yahoo

Watch on Netflix

As a half-hour sitcom, Community didn’t merely break the fourth wall; it broke it, openly commented on the fact that it broke it, only to then build a fifth wall for the express purpose of further demolition. Yet, if deconstructing the sitcom formula was all creator Dan Harmon’s magnum opus had to offer, it would have been a fun, if superficial lark. Instead, in telling the story of a ragtag group of community college students, the show used its vast pop culture vernacular as a vessel for telling surprisingly resonant stories about outcasts attempting to find acceptance, a sense of belonging and, yes, community. Whether the Greendale study group was participating in an epic game of paintball or being confined to their study room in search of a pen, Harmon and Co. perfected the art of taking gimmicky concepts and transforming them into strong, character-driven gems. And while only time will tell if the show will ever fulfill the “movie” segment of its #sixseasonsandamovie battle cry, the strange, winding saga of Community will forever stand as the stuff of TV sitcom legends.—Mark Rozeman



3. The Good Place


netflix the good place.jpg Original Run: 2016-
Creator: Michael Schur
Stars: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson
Original Network: NBC

Watch on Netflix

Some of the best sitcoms in history are about bad people. M.A.S.H., Seinfeld, Arrested Development: It’d be hard to argue that the majority of their characters aren’t self-involved, intolerant or downright assholes. It’s far, far too early to enter The Good Place into any such pantheon, but it’s relevant in pinning down why the latest comedy from Michael Schur (The Office, Parks & Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) feels simultaneously so cozy and so adventurous.

Fitting into a middle ground of sensibilities between occupational comedies like NewsRadio and the sly navel-gazing of Dead Like Me, The Good Place is the rare show that’s completely upfront about its main character’s flaws, creating a moral playground that tests Eleanor’s worst impulses at every turn. Played by Kristen Bell at her most unbridled, she’s a vain, impish character—the type of person who’ll swipe someone’s coffee without a second thought, then wonder why the universe is plotting against her. She’s a perfect straight woman in an afterlife surrounded by only the purest of heart, but the show doesn’t hold it against her. If anything, following in the grand tradition of sitcoms, the show knows that we’re all bad people at one time or another.—Michael Snydel



2. Arrested Development


arrested-development.jpg Original Run 2003-13
Creator: Mitch Hurwitz
Stars: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, Tony Hale, David Cross, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat, Ron Howard
Original Networks: Fox, Netflix

Watch on Netflix

Mitch Hurwitz’ sitcom about a “wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together” packed a whole lot of awesome into three short seasons. How much awesome? Well, there was the chicken dance, for starters. And Franklin’s “It’s Not Easy Being White.” There was Ron Howard’s spot-on narration, and Tobias Funke’s Blue Man ambitions. There was Mrs. Featherbottom and Charlize Theron as Rita, Michael Bluth’s mentally challenged love interest. Not since Seinfeld has a comic storyline been so perfectly constructed, with every loose thread tying so perfectly into the next act. Arrested Development took self-referencing postmodernism to an absurdist extreme, jumping shark after shark, but that was the point. They even brought on the original shark-jumper—Henry Winkler—as the family lawyer. And when he was replaced, naturally, it was by Scott Baio. Each of the Bluth family members was among the best characters on television, and Jason Bateman played a brilliant straight man to them all. And after years of rumors, the show returned to Netflix for two additional seasons so far—different in both construction and tone, but nevertheless, a gift to fans who had to say goodbye to the Bluths all too soon.—Josh Jackson



1. Parks and Recreation


parks-rec.jpg Original Run: 2009-2015
Creators: Greg Daniels, Michael Schur
Stars: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones
Original Network: NBC

Watch on Netflix

After a short, shaky first season as a too-familiar Office protege, Parks & Rec quickly adjusted into one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. When you talk about the classic sitcom casts, where every actor was perfect for the role, and every role was equally important, Parks & Rec has to be near the top of the list. With equally strong writing and the most fully developed sitcom town this side of Springfield, Parks & Rec was the ideal sitcom during its six year run.—Garrett Martin

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