The Golden Era of TV: Top 15 Sitcoms from the 2000s, Ranked
The ‘00s really were something, huh?..
15. Scrubs (2001-2010)
Kicking off our list is Scrubs, the medical comedy-drama that dared to delve deep into the highs and lows of life in a teaching hospital. J.D. (Zach Braff), Elliot (Sarah Chalke), and Turk (Donald Faison) won our hearts as young doctors navigating the chaotic world of Sacred Heart Hospital under the guidance (and sarcasm) of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley).
With its unique blend of humor, drama, and fantasy sequences, Scrubs wasn't just about medicine—it was about life lessons. The series was filmed in an actual decommissioned hospital, North Hollywood Medical Center, adding a layer of authenticity to the setting.
14. Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)
Featuring a brilliantly chaotic family, Malcolm in the Middle was a breath of fresh air when it premiered back in 2000. The series followed the daily life of Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), a genius middle child navigating his eccentric family, including his control-freak mother Lois, oblivious dad Hal, and a pair of trouble-making brothers. Memorable for its absence of lau Bryan Cranston, who played the lovably clueless Hal, would go on to star as Walter White in Breaking Bad.
13. 30 Rock (2006-2013)
Born from the mind of the talented Tina Fey, 30 Rock was a smart and meta comedy about the behind-the-scenes chaos of a sketch comedy show (much like Saturday Night Live). Fey's Liz Lemon, an uptight showrunner, was a relatable mess trying to manage her unruly stars, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), and her meddling boss, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin).
The show was lauded for its rapid-fire humor and clever commentary on showbiz. It racked up an impressive 103 Emmy nominations during its run, winning 16, a testament to its comedic prowess.
12. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
How I Met Your Mother was a sitcom that took us on a winding journey through Ted Mosby's (Josh Radnor) love life as he regaled his children with the long, long story of how he met their mom.
Known for its unique storytelling techniques, catchphrases, and memorable characters like Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris), this sitcom became a pop culture phenomenon. The actual identity of the mother was one of television's best-kept secrets until the final seasons, but, unfortunately, with that finale we just can't place HIMYM higher that 12th.
11. Arrested Development (2003-2019)
Arrested Development was a critical darling that took dry humor and awkward family dynamics to new heights. The sitcom followed the misadventures of the Bluths, a dysfunctional family grappling with the downfall of their real estate empire.
The intricate storylines, layered jokes, and memorable characters (who could forget Tobias Fünke's never-nude syndrome?) made it a cult favorite. Even though the show struggled with ratings and was initially canceled after three seasons, it was revived due to its passionate fanbase and critical acclaim.
10. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)
Parks and Recreation introduced us to the ever-optimistic Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her ragtag team at Pawnee, Indiana's Parks Department. Leslie's constant strive for civic improvement, despite frequent setbacks and the eccentricities of her colleagues, delivered laughs and heartfelt moments.
The series launched Chris Pratt's career and became a cultural icon with standout characters like the libertarian Ron Swanson and the enterprising Tom Haverford. Interestingly enough, the show's creators, Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, were also involved in another sitcom on this list. Can you guess which one?
9. The IT Crowd (2006-2013)
The IT Crowd was a British sitcom that turned the world of tech support into comedic gold. Set in the basement of a fictional corporation, the series followed socially awkward IT guys Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade), along with their technologically illiterate manager Jen (Katherine Parkinson).
The show is known for its absurdity, memorable catchphrases (Have you tried turning it off and on again?), and sitcom veteran Matt Berry's hilarious performance as the eccentric company head. Its influence wasn't just limited to the UK; it spawned several attempted American adaptations, though none matched the original's charm.
8. Two and a Half Men (2003-2015)
Two and a Half Men was a juggernaut of 2000s sitcoms. The show starred Charlie Sheen as a hedonistic jingle writer, Charlie Harper, living with his uptight brother, Alan (Jon Cryer), and impressionable nephew, Jake (Angus T. Jones), leading to an endless series of hilarious misadventures.
Despite Sheen's infamous departure, the show maintained its popularity, partly due to Ashton Kutcher stepping in as billionaire Walden Schmidt. Interestingly, Charlie Sheen's real-life father, Martin Sheen, guest-starred in several episodes as his character's on-screen dad.
7. Community (2009-2015)
Community wasn't your typical sitcom. Set at a community college, the show explored the absurd and often surreal escapades of a study group, from paintball wars to parallel timelines. Despite struggling with ratings, the show's creative storytelling, meta-humor, and lovable characters earned it a passionate fanbase. It also made the phrase "six seasons and a movie", one of the show's running jokes, a rallying cry for its fans.
6. The Office (US) (2005-2013)
Who could forget the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and its colorful employees? The Office introduced a mockumentary style to sitcoms, making us laugh and cringe with its awkward humor and workplace shenanigans. From Jim's pranks on Dwight to Michael's lack of filter, the show had a treasure trove of hilarious moments.
Steve Carell's portrayal of the well-meaning but inept boss, Michael Scott, is widely considered one of the greatest sitcom performances. It's also worth noting that the show was an adaptation of a UK series of the same name, making it one of the few American remakes to match, if not surpass, its source material's success.
5. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-Present)
Featuring Seinfeld co-creator Larry David as a fictionalized version of himself, Curb Your Enthusiasm is a masterclass in cringe comedy. The show presents Larry's everyday life in Los Angeles, replete with awkward social scenarios and foot-in-mouth moments that make viewers squirm in their seats.
The series is largely improvised, which adds to its authentic and hilarious interactions. The show was initially conceived as a one-hour special mockumentary on HBO, which was so well-received that it was developed into a full-fledged series, currently renewed for a twelfth season.
4. Friends (1994-2004)
Technically starting in the '90s, Friends nevertheless dominated the 2000s, becoming one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. Following a group of friends living in New York City, the show covered love, heartbreak, and the trials and tribulations of adulthood, all served with a hefty side of humor. The series turned Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer into household names.
3. The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
With its unique blend of geek culture and situational humor, The Big Bang Theory took the world by storm. It centered on physicists Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), whose socially awkward lives are turned upside down when the outgoing Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves into their apartment complex.
The show popularized many catchphrases, including Sheldon's signature "Bazinga!" A prequel series, Young Sheldon, was later developed to depict Sheldon's early years, and is now a quite successful show on its own.
2. Archer (2009-2023)
This animated sitcom isn't for kids. Archer follows the exploits of Sterling Archer, the world's most self-centered spy, and his equally dysfunctional colleagues at the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS). Its irreverent humor, snappy dialogue, and constant pop culture references make it a standout in the world of animated comedies. Also, the show's creative team deserves a shoutout for consistently reinventing the series, moving from spy parody to exploring genres like noir, space opera, and more.
1. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present)
Claiming the top spot is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a dark comedy about a group of friends (The Gang) running an unsuccessful Irish bar. Known for their narcissism and unethical behavior, The Gang's wild schemes and total disregard for political correctness push the boundaries of traditional sitcoms. This approach seems to have worked, as the show is one of the longest-running live-action sitcoms in American TV history. Rob McElhenney, who plays Mac and created the show, initially developed it on a budget of $200.