Few television genres have endured through the decades with the popularity of situation comedies — sitcoms for short. Picking up where comedic radio serials left off, early examples such as “I Love Lucy” and “The Honeymooners” set a paradigm that continues to resonate today.
Here’s the basic formula: Take a bunch of quirky characters (often members of the same family), throw them into a number of conflicting situations, and let hilarity ensue. The formula that worked with Lucy Ricardo and Ralph Kramden back in the old days is just as valid today for Rick and Morty. And before you ask: yes, “Rick & Morty” qualifies as a sitcom — and so do shows like “South Park” and “Sex and the City” and “What We Do in the Shadows.”
Thanks to syndication, streaming services, and on-demand viewing, not just current sitcoms but the full history of these shows is at our disposal. We’re spoiled for choice. (Sitcoms certainly figure among the best classic TV shows available to stream).
For those who like their comedy with a little bite, shows like “South Park” will surely suffice, as will game-changers such as “Seinfeld” and “Arrested Development.” Then we have crowd-pleasing classics like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Will & Grace” and “The Big Bang Theory,” which channel the genre’s most lasting traditions through a contemporary lens. (In the unlikely event that you run out of sitcoms to watch, these are the best comedy movies available to stream right now.)
To determine the 100 best sitcoms of all time, 24/7 Tempo referred to Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Sitcoms of All Time — a list published in May of this year. To the ranking, we’ve added user ratings and total number of votes on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. Cast information is also from IMDb.