There are so many series genres available to watch on streaming platforms today. Some people prefer watching period dramas, detective shows, crime documentaries, or romance series. Among these, situational comedy or sitcom is one genre that is well-loved by a diverse audience.
Over the years, tons of iconic sitcoms have made people laugh and get through some rough patches in life. Some people even grew up watching these legendary shows like Friends or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, two of which are referenced by many years after they ended. The same way goes for those produced during the 2000s and up until now. While some of these sitcoms have been completed, their stories and recognizable characters remain relevant today. Here are seven of the best-concluded sitcoms from the 2000s to the early 2020s.
The Office (2005 – 2013)
One of the most critically-acclaimed sitcoms of the 2000s, this NBC show is a mockumentary sitcom series based on the BBC series of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Developed by Greg Daniels, The Office focuses on the Dunder-Mifflin staff who work at a paper company. The audience might find the characters familiar, as they see similar personalities when they go off to work.
Between the seemingly absurd behaviors of some characters like Michael Scott (portrayed by Steve Carell) and the relentless pranks performed by Jim (played by John Krasinski), along with a blossoming office romance, you’re sure to laugh out loud with each episode. The storytelling, humor, and great character development rightfully earned The Office a spot in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest television shows of all time in 2016. Perhaps you’ll even find something inspiring from the series, whether it’s something profound like a life realization or a newfound appreciation for pranking your friends. Of course, you can always do so by using a prank hotline.
How I Met Your Mother (2005 – 2014)
One of the most iconic and long-running sitcoms in the 21st century (it ran for nine seasons!) is How I Met Your Mother. This sitcom, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, follows the story of Ted Mosby and his close friends in New York City. As the title suggests, the story is told from the perspective of Ted, telling his children the stories of different events that led up to him meeting their mother.
The series was loved for its different way of storytelling, interesting characters, and the perfect blend of comedy and drama. It’s not just Ted’s romance with an initially unknown woman that viewers looked out for; there are also the stories of Ted’s friends (Marshall, Lily, Barney, and Robin) and their own well-developed stories. Viewers got to laugh one moment with funny lines and absurd situations and cry the next scene. These elements came together nicely to gain a faithful audience that supported and followed the story for nine long years.
Community (2009 – 2014)
Community, spanning six seasons, was created by Harmon, who based the show on his experiences attending a community college. The show’s premise is about a lawyer named Jeff Winger, who gets his degree revoked because of a fake bachelor’s degree. He then is forced to go back to Greendale Community College. He attempts to pursue a Spanish class student by starting a Spanish study group. He is then surprised to find that many people join this study group, and there, a sense of community is formed with stories of each character unfolding with each episode.
The show is known for its “meta-humor” and many pop culture references. It’s also star-studded, with actors like Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, etc. The show initially didn’t do as well as audiences thought in the first few episodes, and its jokes felt more forced than anything. However, the show did have passionate fans. The storytelling and incorporated humor just got better after some time, and once the characters were more settled and developed, it quickly became a favorite among many.
Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Created by the same developer of The Office, Greg Daniels, together with Michale Schur, Parks and Recreation is a political satire mockumentary that lasted seven seasons. The comedy series pivots around the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, a fictional town in Indiana, and the people working and living there. One of the key characters is Leslie Knope (played spectacularly by Amy Poehler), a mid-level bureaucrat who has the heart and determination to advance in her career towards becoming a female president and making Pawnee a better place. She is joined by the stellar cast featuring Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins, Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford, Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate, Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt, and Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer.
The show perfectly combines a reflection of issues in governance and creating community projects, hilarious lines, and unique (yet lovable) personalities of the characters. It’s also one of those shows that keeps the audience hooked as each season just keeps getting better. For these reasons, Parks and Recreation remains an all-time favorite in the hearts of many.
Modern Family (2009 – 2020)
Modern Family has How I Met Your Mother beat for long-running shows as it ran for 11 seasons. Modern Family is a sitcom that also follows a mockumentary style of narration. It’s said that the creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan came up with the sitcom’s premise as they were talking about different stories involving “modern families.” It follows three modern American families that are related in one way or another – Phil, Claire (parents who want an honest and open relationship), and their three kids with distinctive characteristics; Clarie’s father, Jay, and his wife, Gloria, who are raising their two sons together; and Jay’s gay son Mitchell and his partner Cameron, together with the little girl that they adopted.
The strength of Modern Family lies in its sharp script and impressive performances of a talented cast. It also runs with significant plot points that are real yet not in the face, which allows the creators to send the show’s message while keeping it humorous. Watching the show is a delightful and entertaining experience; it’s no wonder why Modern Family garnered several awards while it was still airing.
The Good Place (2016 – 2020)
Who knew philosophy, aspects of religion, and ethics could come together to create a memorable sitcom? Michael Schur does a superb job of doing just that by creating The Good Place in 2016.
The show’s central premise is about Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who died and is accepted to the Good Place, an afterlife world resembling a concept of heaven. Everything seems to go well for Eleanor until she realizes that she is sent to the Good Place by mistake since she lived an immoral life before her death. She then attempts to become a better person through the help of Chidi Anagonye as they encounter and form bonds with other characters like Tahani Al-Jamil, Jason Mendoza, and even afterlife “architect” Michael and his non-human assistant Janet.
The Good Place’s unique plot and witty lines hook the viewers and make them laugh aloud in each episode. The main cast, comprised of Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, and Ted Danson, portray each character so well in a way that brings out their distinctive characteristics and development throughout the seasons. The show’s also thought-provoking and heartwarming in different ways, not to mention having an iconic plot twist and intriguing plot points that make you want to binge-watch the entire series.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013 – 2021)
This time with Dan Goor, another show created by Michale Schur is the American police procedural sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The series revolves around the experiences of Jake Peralta (played by Andy Samberg) and his colleagues at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct (hence the title). It features the relationships of Jake with other key characters, like Captain Raymond Holt, Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz, Terry Jeffords, Charles Boyle, and Gina Linetti (among others), and their own stories.
Besides the witty lines and comical yet lovable characters, the very way Brooklyn Nine-Nine is shot and presented makes it a great sitcom. Additionally, the show stays humorous while tackling serious issues without making fun of them. Fans also appreciate the accurate portrayal of LGBTQ+ individuals and their struggles, earning the show a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
The ending of a brilliant and well-loved show is always bittersweet. In a way, the audience feels like they “grew” with the characters in a show, especially ones that they can relate the most to. Sitcoms are no exception, and these seven great series illustrate precisely why. If you haven’t had the chance to see some of these shows, you definitely should check them out! Otherwise, there’s a good time for a rewatch.