Before streaming services, TV lovers had to wait a full week for new stories from their favorite characters; now, entire seasons can be consumed in a matter of hours. When looking for something to watch, either passively while doing chores or as an active form of entertainment, audiences seem to seek out the best sitcoms of all time for a few reasons. First, many popular throwback shows were on the air for years, meaning you can occupy yourself for several weeks working through just one of them.

At the same time, sitcoms are known for being lighthearted in nature, even when exploring serious issues. Shows like Diff’rent Strokes and BoJack Horseman can have you choked up with emotion in one scene and cackling with laughter in the next. No matter if you want a recommendation that’s before your time or something that modern audiences can’t get enough of, our best sitcoms list has something for you, especially as we center the significant contribution of Black media in sitcom history.

17. Frasier (1993-2004)

IMDb: 8.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

With an 11-season run from 1993 to 2004, Frasier was one of the most popular sitcoms of its time. The Kelsey Grammer-led project began as a spin-off as Cheers, following the titular character, Frasier Crane, as he relocates to his hometown, Seattle, to work as a psychiatric radio show host. While back on the West Coast, he spends time with his retired police officer father, Martin (John Mahoney) and younger brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce), who’s also a psychiatrist. In 2023, a revival of the show, directed by Kelly Park, began streaming on Paramount+. It follows Crane as he heads back to Boston following some major life changes.

16. Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986)

IMDb: 6.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

If you’re not feeling the content on TV these days, you might be interested in throwback shows like Diff’rent Strokes. The series ran from 1978 to 1985 on NBC before moving over to ABC until 1986. It starred Todd Bridges and the late Gary Coleman as Arnold and Wilis Jackson – two young boys from Harlem who move in with a wealthy Park Avenue businessman named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter. Drummond was Mrs. Jackson’s boss before her untimely death. Throughout eight seasons, he was able to help his adopted sons tackle tough issues like racism, drug use, alcoholism, kidnapping and sexual abuse.

15. Black-ish (2014-2022)

IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%

As for newer releases that fall into the best sitcoms category, we suggest Kenya Barris’ Black-ish, which ultimately led to the creation of Grown-ish and Mixed-ish. During its eight-season run, several of our favorite Black actors appeared in the show, such as Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Miles Brown and Yara Shahidi. Elsewhere, Zendaya, Raven-Symoné, Laurence Fishburn and Jill Scott also have credits for working on the show. At this time, the entirety of Black-ish is streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.

14. The Bernie Mac Show (2001-2006)

IMDb: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Like many of the best sitcoms on our list, The Bernie Mac Show reminds us that being around family isn’t always easy – particularly when you’re left to raise children who aren’t your own. From 2001 to 2006, we watched the late comedy icon and his on-screen wife, Wanda (Kellita Smith) take care of his sister’s three children as she heads off to rehab. Other primary cast members were Jeremy Suarez, Dee Dee Davis, Camille Winbush and Reginald Ballard.

13. The Simpsons (1989-Present)

IMDb: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%

Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie have come a long way from when we were first introduced to them in 1989, but at their core, each character’s antics remain the same. For decades now we’ve watched The Simpsons family patriarch evade losing his job at the nuclear power plant while feuding with his overly religious neighbor, Ned Flanders. Somehow, audiences still love to tune in all this time later, in part due to creator Matt Groening’s eerie ability to seemingly predict future events.

12. Girlfriends (2000-2008)

IMDb: 7.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Girlfriends marks Tracee Ellis Ross’ second sitcom that we recommend, though this one came much earlier in the nepo baby’s career. From 2000 to 2008 she starred alongside Jill Marie Jones, Golden Brooks and Persia White on the ensemble series, which ran for six years on UPN before finishing out on The CW. Together, the four Black women navigate life’s ups and downs, from family crises to failed relationships. Currently, the Mara Brock Akil-created show is streaming on Netflix. Talks of a reboot have made headlines in the past, but earlier this year, Ross gave an update indicating we might never see the return of Girlfriends.

11. Family Matters (1989-1998)

IMDb: 6.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Thanks to Family Matters, the name Steve Urkel is synonymous with “pest.” On the Perfect Strangers spin-off, Jaleel White played a young boy who spent most of his time next door at the Winslow family’s house, where Policeman Carl lived with his wife Harriette. On top of his responsibilities at work, Carl also had to deal with his mother, sister-in-law and of course, Urkel, making his life a ridiculous rollercoaster worth watching for nine seasons.

10. The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

IMDb: 8.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

The Golden Girls – played by Betty White, Bea Arther, Estelle Getty and Rue McClanahan – may not be with us anymore, but that doesn’t make their work on the hilarious sitcom any less worthy of watching. For seven seasons on NBC, the show followed the four strong-willed women as they lived out their golden years together in Miami. If you’re hoping to stream the throwback favorite, you can find it on Hulu at this time.

9. Sanford and Son (1972-1977)

IMDb: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

One of the greatest Black comedians of all time, Redd Fox, found his career soaring to new heights thanks to the success of Sanford and Son. The St. Louis native played the titular character, Fred Sanford on the NBC show – a man who the likes of Frank Gallagher from Shameless would happily look up to. On the small screen, Foxx’s character once faked a heart attack to get out of work, and that doesn’t begin to cover his other shenanigans across the sitcom’s six seasons.

8. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

IMDb: 8.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Seinfeld is famously “a show about nothing,” loosely based on the real life of Brooklyn-born entertainer Jerry Seinfeld and his three closest friends – George, Elaine and Kramer. All the lead characters are easy to both love and criticize, from George’s constant cynicism about the world around him to Elaine’s ability to find something wrong with every potential suitor who looks her way. As for Kramer, it’s hard to predict what might come out of Jerry’s zany neighbor’s mouth at any given time!

7. Moesha (1996-2001)

IMDb: 5.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

Not only was Brandy the vocal bible for many Black girls throughout the late 90s, but she also brought to life one of the most relatable TV characters of the time, Moesha. The mother of one was just 17 when she landed the leading role on the UPN series, telling the story of a high school student balancing her parent’s divorce, the pressures that come from education and developing feelings. As her father’s new wife steps up to be the woman of the Mitchell household, Moesha has to learn how to trust her, which fans watched for six seasons from 1996 to 2001.

6. BoJack Horseman (2014-2020)

IMDb: 8.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

If adult animation (and shows that make your contemplate life) are more your speed, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman could be just what you need. Though the plot gets dark at times, the humanoid horse (voiced by Will Arnett) has (sometimes) good company by his side, such as his roommate Todd (Aaron Paul), agent/ex-lover Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) and ghostwriter Diane (Alison Brie) who all pull him out of, occasionally lead him into downward spirals as the sitcom goes on.

5. Sex and the City (1994-2004)

IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Before TikTok influencers made New York look like a concrete paradise, it was Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals who did it first in Sex and the City. Though it came to an end in 2004, the female-forward program has since made a comeback, with a third season of And Just Like That already in the works at Max. The original show follows the fashionable columnist around the Big Apple in her 30s as she navigates the dating scene between reading Vogue and sipping on cosmos. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattral, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis all star.

4. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)

IMDb: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

Kids growing up now are more likely to remember Will Smith as the man who slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars rather than The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Anyone raised in the 90s, however, knows the father of three as the lead character in the NBC series. Alfonso Ribeiro played Carlton Banks on the six-season project, which also starred James Avery, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell and Janet Hubert. The Fresh Prince was a great creative outlet for Smith, as he mostly got to play himself while navigating a new life in Philadelphia with his wealthy Aunt and Uncle.

3. The Office (2005-2013)

IMDb: 9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

We would be remiss to make a list of best sitcoms of all time and not include The Office, though it was inspired by a Ricky Gervais-led UK-based series of the same name, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott won over American audiences with his NSFW leadership tactics. Other prominent cast members include Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson and Leslie David Baker – some of whom are in talks to appear in the rumored reboot.

2. Insecure (2016-2021)

IMDb: 8.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

39-year-old Issa Rae has been the driving force between many binge-worthy TV shows, including A Black Lady Sketch Show, Rap Sh!t and Insecure. Though audiences love her storytelling and acting talents, all three shows are no longer on air. Of them all, Insecure had the longest run (five seasons) with Rae playing a fictionalized version of herself opposite her on-screen best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji). From 2016 to 2021, the duo went through more breakups and makeups than we can count with one another and the men in their lives.

1. Living Single (1993-1998)

IMDb: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: N/A

People are quick to put Friends on a best sitcoms list, but without Living Single, we could’ve never had Friends. The 1993 series ran for five seasons and is currently streaming on Hulu and Max. Similar to its White counterpart, Living Single follows six friends in New York (Brooklyn, to be specific) as they enjoy life in their 20s. Queen Latifah is well known for bringing Khadijah James to life, but Kim Coles, John Henton, Erika Alexander, Kim Fields and Terrence C. Carson also made the show entertaining.