1. Modern Family
With surprisingly nuanced characters for a sitcom, Modern Family claims our top spot for the best comedy show on television. The interweaving storylines are expertly crafted and always revolve around a central theme. This is no small task when you consider there are 10 main characters on the show. Most comedy shows center on 5 main characters at most. Also, many primetime sitcoms are content with relegating bit parts to the children of the cast. Modern Family not only features their younger talent, but they manage to make them shine as well. However, the most important attribute of this show is it’s ability to make you laugh. Whether it’s Mitchell ribbing Cam under his breath or Phil hatching one of his sadly misguided schemes, Modern Family’s comedic timing is spot on. We also like how every episode wraps up with a brief lesson on morality which always fits snugly into each episode’s central theme.
2. Parks and Recreation
Another show that demonstrates the value of a sitcom with heart, Parks and Recreation showcases likeable characters and tightly crafted writing. Follwing the trials and tribulations of council woman Leslie Nope, played by Amy Poehler, Parks and Rec is a comedy show that tells good natured stories laced with good natured jokes. We think that Ron Swanson, played pitch perfectly by Nick Offerman, steals any scene in which he is featured. But the show is stacked with talented supporting characters that are played by the likes of Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Rob Lowe, and Chris Pratt. All of these actors have enjoyed major boosts in popularity and a multitude of career opportunities due in the large part to the excellence of Parks and Recreation.
3. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
The first show on our list that is featured on a cable network (FX), It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia has been going strong for 7 seasons. Focusing squarely on the five main characters, Always Sunny never stops making fun of itself at the expense of Mac, Charlie, Sweet Dee, Dennis and Frank. Each episode begins with the gang hatching a scheme or running into a problem they have to solve. While the show comes across as less than polished at first glance, it’s actually driven by fast paced, witty banter. You’ll fall for Always Sunny as after the first 10 minutes.
What more can you say about Louie at this point? Revered by almost every television critic in the industry, Louie C.K. has the changed the way we think about comedy shows. As you probably know, Louie writes, directs and stars in every episode of his tv series. And he’s not afraid to get gritty. Often times the show feels more like an independent movie. That’s because mixed in between the hilarious situations, there are moments of real drama, suspense, and sometimes even horror (i.e. when Louie and his two young daughters are mugged while trick or treating). The show has a knack for bringing out emotions from it’s audience, not just laughter. But if you’re a fan of comedy and you haven’t seen Louie, throw it on your Netflix queue as soon as you finish reading this article. You won’t be disappointed.
5. The Daily Show
Informative and funny at the same time. What more can you ask for? Jon Stewart still manages to make us laugh out loud at least once per episode. We also respect the way he’s able to connect with whatever guest appears on a given night. Deftly incorporating insightful questions and well timed jokes, Stewart’s showcase continues to be a joy to watch night in and night out.
6. New Girl
A mere toddler compared to the shows listed above, New Girl has quickly worked it’s way into the must watch realm of sitcoms. The chemistry between Zoey Deschanel and her 3 fellow leads has evolved swiftly as the episodes pass. The story lines are simple but effective. But what really makes this show work is how easy it is to connect with each character. We were skeptical when the show debuted, but have become true fans over the course of the show’s brief tenure.
Bursting onto the scene with last year’s first season, Portlandia has taken hipster nation by storm. Fred Armisen shines as the main player alongside Carrie Brownstein, and these two have a chemistry that is unmatched in other sketch comedy shows. They bring the show to new heights of weirdness with each passing episode. Portlandia is breath of fresh air.
8. Kroll Show
The opening sequence to Kroll Show is an American consumer’s dream. The fast paced roll call of trademarked brand logos is tremendous eye candy. We’re not sure how Kroll obtained the rights to show all of those logos but we love it. The show itself is another excellent new sketch comedy half hour. No one parodies reality t.v. like Nick Kroll. Publizicity and Armond On The House are perfect reenactments of the drivel that appears on VH1 on a nightly basis. Our other favorite sketch on the show is Rich Dicks. The coke fueled escapades of two spoiled a**holes is always funny and always entertaining. Kroll Show is a hit.
9. The Office
Yes we still believe in The Office after all these years. While Jim and Pam’s relationship ended up derailing the show for a couple of seasons, the final season has regained some of the excitement and wit that filled the series’ early years. The Office will most likely be remembered as the defining sitcom of it’s era.
10. The League
Is it low brow? Yes. Does it lean on dick jokes too much? Maybe. But The League has earned a spot on this list for being point blank funny. We were skeptical when the show debuted. It appeared to be strewn together in a couple of months off the surge of fantasy football in the mainstream. But after recently wrapping up their 4th season, The League has found solid footing amongst the best comedy shows on tv.