10 Best Sitcoms of the 2000s, Ranked

The best, funniest shows from the turn of the century.

by Leora Waltuch
The Office
The Office

What makes a good sitcom? It’s not a laugh-track, despite what shows of a certain era would have you believe. A big part of the situation comedy is the comedy; a good sitcom needs to be able to make you laugh. The best ones require no laugh-track to convince you that they are funny, which is why laugh tracks were on the way out by the turn of the century. It was time for a new kind of funny.

Ranking the Best Sitcoms from 2000 – 2010

However, funny isn’t enough. A good show needs good characters, relationships, and a whole lot of heart. Let’s do our best to draw the line below as we rank the top sitcoms of the 2000s from worst to best.

10. The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)

The Big Bang Theory Original Pilot Promo

In the 2000s, a couple of sitcoms tried to become the “new Friends.” One such sitcom is The Big Bang Theory, a show about male nerds and their gorgeous female neighbor. It was meant to be a beauty and the geek concept, sort of a wish fulfillment for smart and socially awkward guys who drool after tall blondes. The Big Bang Theory was hilarious and highly successful. It lasted over a decade and the audience never faltered.

Watching this show will make your sides split, assuming you’re not busy being offended. On closer inspection, the show is incredibly offensive both to women, and to people on the autism spectrum. For more on the toxic nature of this show, check out videos on the show by Youtuber Pop Culture Detective. [Cut the bolded sentence, we don’t need to promote other outlets unless we’re directly quoting them] If you can get past these things, the show is funny. Your milage may vary.

9. How I Met You Mother (2005-2014)

How I Met Your Mother Seasons 1-5 DVD Promo

Another show that tried to emulate Friends in the 2000s was How I Met Your Mother. It did a pretty good job actually; this group was relatively supportive of one another and clearly considered each other family. Some have accused How I Met Your Mother of being a direct ripoff of Friends, and while certain similarities exist, there are clear differences that separate the two. How I Met Your Mother is its own thing. The premise is a mystery love story told with a flashback/flash-forward formula that was new to the time and helped the show thrive. It’s a pop-culture touchstone, constantly referenced and incredibly popular in its time.

The show was beloved, but a majority of fans hated the finale because the ending wasn’t what fans wanted. A lot of the characters, so interesting in the beginning, became caricatures of themselves by the end, and a certain womanizer character doesn’t age well in the post-Me Too world, despite the charm talented Neil Patrick Harris brings to the role. The laughs are plenty, but if you’re looking for a less problematic story with the same premise, I would just watch the rom-com Definitely, Maybe.

8. 30 Rock (2006-2013)

Tina Fey rose to fame on Saturday Night Live and went on to create 30 Rock as well as Mean Girls and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Her humor is unparalleled, as is her honesty, and fans of this show appreciated how honest it was in its humor. 30 Rock is a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a sketch comedy show, and while it’s based on Fey’s actual experiences on SNL, the absurdist comedy is too absurd to not be fiction. The characters come off a little harsh and unlikeable, but if you stick with the show, you’ll find its heart.

Over time, the show has become controversial for how it addressed race; there were multiple episodes with blackface, which Tiny Fey pulled from streaming and gave an official apology about. If you believe in Tina Fey as a writer and comedian, this is the show for you.

7. The Office (2005-2013)

The Office Original Promo

Based on a U.K. Mockumentary sitcom of the same name, The Office showed characters being interviewed while at work and interacting with a camera crew. This show boosted the career of comedian Steve Carell, while giving now-household names Mindy Kaling and John Krasinksi their start. The will-they-won’t-they of Pam and Jim had people at the edge of their seats, and their dynamic has been copied in many shows since (i.e. Superstore, Abbot Elementary, etc.)

Some of the characters and their dynamics were problematic, but the show was relatable and followed obsessively by millions. Overall, it’s a pretty good sitcom if you like mockumentaries and cringe humor.

6. Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007 – 2012)

At a time when many were distrustful of Muslims, this little known Canadian gem used humor to show that Muslims are made up of people just like any other religious group. They have their own struggles, from financial and political to social and romantic. Instead of mocking those who are other, as many sitcoms would, this show used humor to humanize dismissed cultures, and that the divide can be bridged with empathy, humor, and an open mind.

It’s small town, fish out of water story, the sort which might appeal to fans of All Creatures Great and Small, Virgin River, Hart of Dixie, etc. This show was ahead of its time, even if it was relatively unknown outside of Canada.

5. Scrubs (2001-2010)

Season 1 Scrubs DVD Promo

Medical shows have been popular since the dawn of television, but Scrubs really brought home how funny medicine can be. The show does take medical issues seriously; it’s a fine line, and they walk it expertly, making fun of hospital politics and protocols, while respecting life and death issues. It’s hilarious, with a great cast that isn’t all white, which was still a pretty new concept for network TV.

Certain aspects of the show don’t age well, but it’s still incredibly enjoyable and less problematic than others on this list. It brings humor to something scary and triggering, reminding us that laughter is the best medicine.

4. Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)

Everybody Hates Chris Original Promo

Everybody Hates Chris is a family sitcom, which means audiences of all ages can tune in. Watching TV can be a great way to spend time with your kids, parents, or spouse, and this is a show that will appeal to all of the above. It’s also a semi-autobiographical show, loosely based on comedian Chris Rock’s life growing up in Brooklyn in the 1980s. The show tackles relatable issues such as family dynamics, financial struggles, first crushes, and school bullies. However, this is told from the perspective of a Black teenage boy going to an all-white school. Racial issues are addressed in an entertaining and often funny way.

Sadly, this show only lasted for four seasons. However, Chris Rock has been vocal about believing the show ended when it needed to. It received critical acclaim when it premiered, and was named one of the best school shows of all time by AOL. NAACP Image Awards, and was nominated for a Golden Globe and three Emmy’s.

3. Community (2009-2015)

Community Original Promo

Coming in at the end of the decade was an iconic sitcom that broke every boundary of the time. Community didn’t seem to know what it was at first, but as the show grew, it became clear that it was about absurdist humor and true friendship. People with different religions, cultures, backgrounds, and social statuses became a community over the course of six hilarious years. The show was full of parodies and iconic lines. It prioritized humor over drama regarding relationships but wasn’t afraid to be real. Also, in comparison to another show on this list, the character of Abed was great representation for fandomy nerds and people on the autism spectrum.

While the show maybe have run a little longer than it needed to, we viewers were promised six seasons and a movie. We’re actually getting a movie after all this time, and fans are excited! Let’s just hope we don’t see Ben Chang at all.

2. What I Like About You (2002-2006)

What I Like About You Original Promo

Unfortunately underrated, What I Like About You was about family, both biological and chosen. It was about the people who love you unconditionally and always have your back. Starring Jennie Garth of 90210 fame as the uptight older sister/parental figure and Nickelodeon child star Amanda Bynes as the stereotypical teen she has to look after, this show had a lot of heart. These were two strong women who supported each other through thick and thin, reminding us that each time life throws you a curveball or heartbreak, your family will be there to pick up the pieces. The show also had great supporting characters and shipping, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This show was not promoted as much as it should have been. It came out back when television shows were going on DVD, but only one of the show’s four seasons ever ended up on disc. Some people had never even heard of the show. It deserved a lot more credit for female empowerment, family values, romance, drama, and of course comedy.

1. 8 Simple Rules (2002-2005)

8 Simple Rules Promo

Before she played Penny No-Last-Name on The Big Bang Theory, comedic actress Kaley Cuoco was one of the 8 …. hundred simple things that we loved about 8 Simple Rules. Originally starring sitcom veteran John Ritter as a man who became a stay-at-home father when his wife went back to work, Ritter’s character Paul tried to balance loving his daughters with keeping their hormones in check. The show was funny, well cast, and had a great family feel. However, when Ritter died on the set, the show was forced to kill off Paul. This was tragic for the characters, actors, and fans, and is likely the reason the show only lasted three seasons. However, dealing with the loss of a beloved parental figure made the show relatable in a new way, and allowed for some really great storylines.

The characters were great, and they played off each other so well. They broke stereotypes, and handled the pretty girl dating a geek better than Cuoco’s later show, even if it was for only a 3 episode arc. It was a show about family, love, romance, hijinks, but also grief and moving on. The characters had depths, and the plots were funny and relatable. This show is still remembered affectionately, and it’s like will never be seen again.

- This article was updated on February 14th, 2023