Top 10 Sitcoms of All Time

These are the timeless shows that keep us glued to the tube – no matter what the era. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 sitcoms of all time. For this list, we’ve incorporated live-action shows that continued for more than one season on an American network – which unfortunately means we’ve excluded long-running animated sitcoms like “The Simpsons.” We’ve also decided our picks must include an ensemble, recurring cast of four or more actors. Special thanks to our users erick palacios, sarahjessicaparkerth, Onofre Ramirez, Eugene Devo, Quetzal00358, Michael J. Gillespie, James Holman, Jackb2350, Lee James Gannon, Steve Johnson, Andrew A. Dennison, Philip Folta, magsku, drebone1986, Calvin Gregory, Lamichael Kelly and ga200373 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Sitcoms of All Time


These are the timeless shows that keep us glued to the tube, no matter what the era. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sitcoms of all time.

For this list, we’ve incorporated live-action shows that continued for more than one season on an American network – which unfortunately means we’ve excluded long-running animated sitcoms like “The Simpsons.” We’ve also decided our picks must include an ensemble, recurring cast of four or more actors.

#10: “Modern Family” (2009-)

A fresh spin on documentary-style sitcoms, this comedy plays up the family angle by following the lives of each separate unit as part of the larger whole. With the family comprised of three very different couples and their offspring, “Modern Family” has a far-reaching perspective of very different people from all ages, sexes and orientations. But it still manages to balance the situational humor of each person’s individual interactions.

#9: “Roseanne” (1988-97)

The Conners were the royal family of blue-collar nobility. As a lower-middle class household, their on-screen struggles resonated with a wide demographic. Watching the family persevere through hardships or revel in small triumphs, it was easy to see why the show was so popular. But underneath all the sarcasm and in spite of their various hardships, they displayed a bond that can only come from surviving and enduring in the face of adversity. It may not have been highbrow, but “Roseanne” was definitely well written and always edgy.

#8: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77)

Single, self-sufficient and not searching for a man, the character of Mary Richards became a symbol for women’s liberation. Instead of focusing on her struggle to find love, the show concentrated on Mary’s relationships with friends and coworkers, some of whom became so beloved they earned their own spinoff series. Societal issues were facts of life and not causes to be championed, and the series even found humor in death. Not only was “MTM” a favorite with critics and audiences; it also influenced sitcoms that followed it, including “Friends.”

#7: “Friends” (1994-2004)

Six friends living and loving in New York: the premise seems stale now, but “Friends” was groundbreaking when it debuted, and it truly became a cultural phenomenon. From the hairdos and giant coffee mugs, to Joey’s “How you doin’?” to Ross and Rachel’s “break,” this series was packed with memories and quotables, and helped shape a generation of 20-somethings. With sharp writing and unparalleled cast chemistry, it was a consistent winner at the awards shows and in the ratings that refreshed the sitcom format once again. Could “Friends” be any more of a hit?

#6: “M*A*S*H” (1972-83)

Adapted from the 1970 movie of the same name, “M*A*S*H” was an offbeat comedy/satire about the highs and lows of war. Though it was set in Korea, it began during and paralleled the Vietnam War – carefully walking the line between observing war and protesting it. “M*A*S*H” followed a mobile medical unit and all the flamboyant characters who worked in it, and it was the show’s brains, candor and pitch-perfect cast that won over its loyal following. After 11 award-winning seasons, that cast packed their bags in what remains the most-watched U.S. TV finale of all time.

#5: “Cheers” (1982-93)

Though it was nearly axed by NBC in its first season due to low ratings, “Cheers” is now considered one of the greatest sitcoms ever. Taking place in the eponymous Boston pub where everybody knows your name, “Cheers” chronicles the lives of staff and patrons alike, with many colorful characters pulling up a stool at the bar. After 11-seasons on the air, 28 Emmy wins and an equally successful spinoff in “Frasier,” Sam Malone and friends closed up shop with one of the most-watched TV finales in U.S. history.

#4: “I Love Lucy” (1951-57)

After working on-stage and in radio, Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz took their signature comedy style and pioneered sitcom standards in the 1950s. Their craziness knew no bounds, but they always kept things in good taste, and that probably helped “I Love Lucy” regularly top the ratings and win five Emmys. But what made it popular was its star: whether she was trying to join Ricky’s act, raising her son or working a new job, this naïve and ambitious woman was always in trouble – which is why we love Lucy.

#3: “All in the Family” (1971-79)

This is the controversial Norman Lear show that challenged bigotry, discrimination, and the status quo. Archie Bunker was a symbol of bad middle class attitudes and political incorrectness; there was no target that Archie was afraid to upset. In the show’s theme, Archie longs for “the good old days/when girls were girls and men were men.” But despite his outdated philosophy and bigotry, Edith, Gloria and her man Mike stood by and him and tolerated his outrageous behavior. Audiences did too, as it was number-one for five years, won awards and had multiple successful spinoffs. But most importantly it brought real-life to the sitcom format.

#2: “The Cosby Show” (1984-92)

After sitcoms had seemingly run their course, Bill Cosby stepped in with his signature comedic style and renewed the genre. As Doctor Heathcliff Huxtable, Cosby and his onscreen wife Clair are a happily married couple raising their children in an upper middle-class neighborhood of Brooklyn. Breaking ground not only for sitcoms but also for African-Americans on TV, “The Cosby Show” was a family comedy that also dealt with serious issues – but always with lots of love, respect and laughs between its characters.

Before we unveil our pick for the Top Sitcom of All Time, here are some honorable mentions:
- “Taxi” (1978-83)
- “How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)
- “The Big Bang Theory” (2007-)
- “Happy Days” (1974-84)
- “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-96)
- “The Jeffersons” (1975-85)

#1: “Seinfeld” (1989-98)

Taking the top spot on our list is the show about nothing. Without any real unifying plot, this show made ‘90s TV with its star’s observational humor and the chemistry between its characters. “Seinfeld” may not have won all the awards, but it’s the ‘90s sitcom we continue to quote on a daily basis. The show also crushes it in syndication, and spawned co-creator Larry David’s even more meta sitcom “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” And it’s all those reasons combined that make “Seinfeld” master of its domain.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the greatest sitcom of all time? For more TV top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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