25 Best Shows Watch Like Friends

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25 Best Shows Watch Like Friends

Summary

  • Shows like Living Single, Baby Daddy, and Friends From College capture the same close-knit group dynamic as Friends, showcasing friendships and personal journeys.
  • Coupling is England’s answer to Friends, featuring a similar formula of three men and three women navigating romantic relationships with a touch of adult humor.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Happy Endings offer lovable ensemble casts and fun storylines, delivering a wacky sense of humor, similar to the camaraderie in Friends.

Though the series has been off the air for years, fans are still looking for shows like Friends to recapture the feel of one of the most popular TV series in the world. Millions of people still tune in to see the reruns every day, not to mention all the people who are streaming it online. The show picks up new fans all the time, and it was influential enough to cause networks to start making more series like Friends.

Right up until the finale of Friends, it remained a massive hit. While there is likely never going to be a sitcom that reaches the popularity of Friends during its days of network television’s supremacy, there are some great shows that capture the same vibe. These have been around since television started becoming popular, shows about a close-knit group of friends as they rely on each other to get through life. Whether these are friends in a working environment, friends that feel comfortable enough to just walk into each other’s homes, or friends who have a lifetime of experience together, it is always great to sit down with a series like Friends.

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25 Living Single (1993)

Honestly, Living Single was the blueprint for shows like Friends. There was even talk about this on the reunion show that aired on Max. The show premiered one year before Friends and focused on a group of all-Black friends, although one difference was that this cast was mostly all female friends. Living Single was about four girls who live in a Brooklyn brownstone and deal with their personal and professional lives. This was also a big success, as it aired for five seasons, playing out at almost the exact same time as Friends.

24 Baby Daddy (2012)

Though multiple characters in Friends have children over the course of the show, living with those children isn’t a huge plot point. If it had been, maybe more storylines like those in Baby Daddy would have occurred. The series follows a young man in his 20s whose life is turned upside down when a woman he had a one-night-stand with drops their daughter off at his door so that she can continue pursuing an acting career. He, his brother, and his two best friends, all raise the baby together. While the series certainly has Three Men And A Baby vibes, at its heart, the story is about the love the core characters have for one another, and how much they stick together as they grow up. That’s very much at the core of Friends as well with the character connections going back to their childhood for some of them.

23 Friends From College (2017)

Much of the action in Friends occurs when the group is in their twenties and thirties, but Friends From College goes for a slightly older group of friends. Most of the group is in their forties. The group has friendships and romantic relationships that are intertwined because of their college days at Harvard. Set in modern-day New York, the show features Keegan-Michael Key and Cobie Smulders as two of the leads, which means it also features impeccable comedic timing and line delivery. It also features a variety of career paths and romantic entanglements for the friend group, like two people having an affair on and off since college despite being in committed relationships with other people. Friends From College definitely has more drama than Friends, but it has a very similar vein.

22 Coupling (2000)

Coupling has been called England’s answer to Friends by television critics. The series is set in England but features a lot of the same ideas as Friends – and a lot more adult humor. Doctor Who’s Stephen Moffat created the series which uses a very similar formula to Friends. The friend group at the center of the story features three men and three women who are very focused on their romantic (and sometimes simply physical) relationships. The series was so popular during its short run that it won Best TV Comedy at the British Comedy Awards in 2003, aired on BBC America, and got both Greek and American remakes.

21 Young And Hungry (2014)

If the aspect of Friends that most appeals to fans is Monica’s character with her culinary career and journey to find love with Chandler, then Young and Hungry is certainly a series that can fill the Friends void. It doesn’t have a huge ensemble, but it does feature some great comedic performances from Emily Osment and Aimee Carrero. Osment stars as Gabi, an aspiring chef hired to be the personal chef to a tech entrepreneur, but things become complicated after they have a one-night stand. Carrero stars as Gabi’s best friend, who moved to California with her after college, and is pursuing a career in the business world. The show is most similar to Friends when considering Monica and Rachel’s struggle to break into the businesses they really loved.

20 Go On (2012)

Go On only lasted for a single season on NBC, and it mostly gets comparisons to Friends simply because it also stars Matthew Perry, who played Chandler. It does, however, have a big focus on friendship because Perry’s Ryan finds himself having to lean on a new group of friends during a particularly hard time in his life. Ryan is told to attend grief counseling by his boss after he finds it difficult to cope with the death of his wife. In order to keep his job as a sportscaster, Ryan does, and meets an eclectic group of people at his support group. The group is able to lean on one another and take a serious subject but find humor in something that is very human. Courtney Cox even guest-starred on the show.

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19 Cougar Town (2009)

The cast of Friends went on to have success on other TV shows and movies, and for fans of Courteney Cox, look no further than her next show, the very funny Cougar Town. Just like shows like Friends, this was about a group of friends who lived close to each other and helped each other make it through life day by day. Friends was about young friends finding their way in the world. Cougar Town was about older friends, the word cougar meaning the older women in the series looking for love, which included Cox, Busy Phillips, and Christa Miller.

18 Episodes (2011)

When Friends ended, Matt LeBlanc set out to find his next gig, and that went from the spinoff Joey to the superior and very entertaining Episodes. While LeBlanc couldn’t find the same success in Joey as he did in Friends, he was fantastic in Episodes, which ran from 2011 through 2017. The sitcom, which ran on Showtime in the United States had LeBlanc star as a fictionalized version of himself – a wealthy, charming, and arrogant actor who is convinced to take the starring role in a show but struggles with his professionalism throughout.

17 Golden Girls (1985)

The Golden Girls’ theme song cements it as a series like Friends with the line, “Thank you for being a friend.” While Friends is about a group of young people who lean on each other, The Golden Girls is a show about what friendship looks like later in life. Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan are all seniors who remain the closest of friends, through thick and thin and through disasters that could destroy the friendship of younger people. Add in Estelle Getty as the mother of Arthur’s Dorothy, and it is a show that is a relationship goal for female friends of all ages.

16 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013)

If all the characters in Friends were cops and the style of the show was a spoof of police procedurals as opposed to a traditional multi-camera sitcom, it might look something like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This series like Friends has a lovable ensemble of characters, a series of fun multi-episode storylines, and a delightfully wacky, but agreeably harmless sense of humor. Unlike Friends, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a workplace comedy, but the camaraderie of cops means the characters are just as close as Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe.

15 Broad City (2014)

  • Stream on Hulu and Paramount+

Revolving around two best friends in their twenties, Broad City plays like a Friends for the 2010s with a smaller ensemble. It was created by real-life best friends Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, who also star as the series’ aptly named leads, Ilana and Abbi. The series captures the essence of life in living in New York as Friends did but with cable’s added benefit of explicit material. Across five seasons and 50 episodes, Broad City delivered endless laughs while never losing touch with the central focus of a friendship that will not be broken.

14 Happy Endings (2011)

Arriving in 2011 on ABC, Happy Endings was a series like Friends in that it was a show about six friends who are trying to navigate adulthood, life, and romance in Chicago. It sounds a lot like Friends, and it has a lot more in common when their lives are complicated by their own awkward and hilarious relationships with each other. The entire series starts off with a huge moment when one member of the group leaves the other at the altar. The entire group then has to figure out how this changes their friendships and the dynamic of their group’s relationship. It lasted for two seasons.

13 The Office (2005)

The exploits of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin began just one year after the Friends gang went off the air. Steve Carell anchors the series as regional manager Michael Scott, with strong support from Rainn Wilson as his intense assistant Dwight Schrute and John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer as the show’s will-they/won’t-they couple, Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly. Just like Friends, The Office has hundreds of hilarious episodes filled with lovable characters, relatable situations, and well-matched actors.

12 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005)

If audiences enjoy shows like Friends for the fact that it revolves around a group of close friends who get into wacky misadventures around the city and barb each other a lot along the way, then they’ll love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Instead of hanging out at a coffee shop, these characters hang out at the Irish bar they own, Paddy’s Pub. It’s Always Sunny’s sensibility is markedly darker than that of Friends, but fans of the latter will surely enjoy the former.

11 Modern Family (2009)

  • Stream on Hulu and Peacock

Just like Friends back in its day, Modern Family has spent its entire run as one of the highest-rated sitcoms on the air, regularly sweeping the Emmys. Modern Family‘s lovable ensemble of characters consists of Ed O’Neill Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family has one of the best sitcom casts of all time). The show has a mockumentary format, but the documentary crew isn’t a part of the show’s universe like The Office; it’s more of a stylistic thing, like Parks and Rec.

10 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)

This Netflix comedy series from Tina Fey recently premiered its final episodes, so new viewers have the luxury of being able to watch the story play out from start to finish. There’ll be no waiting for months on end while the cast and crew shoot new episodes for viewers who go in fresh today. They can binge from the pilot episode to the series finale on a weekend if they want to. Like Friends, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a show about a group of people struggling to make money, date people, and figure out their futures in New York City. It also has episodes that play around with the format and long-running story arcs that keep the audience invested. Another comparison to a series like Friends is that the cast is fantastic.

9 Seinfeld (1989)

Created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David and starring the former, this is the darker, more cynical version of a series like Friends. It has the same premise of a group of buddies in New York City who get into wacky situations. In fact, a lot of the early episodes of Friends were based on spec scripts that were rejected by the producers of Seinfeld. The Seinfeld characters are very different and the sensibility is very different, but due to the unique nature of life in New York City, the stories and situations are very similar.

8 The Big Bang Theory (2007)

The Big Bang Theory aired its final season in 2020. The show didn’t start off that much like Friends, but it slowly evolved into an ensemble show about a group of both men and women as they tackle friendship, work, and the dating scene. It turned an alienating show about a bunch of geeky scientists who enjoy cosplay and video games into a much more accessible and mainstream ensemble show. The transition has had both defenders and detractors, but one thing is for sure – fans who love shows like Friends will love it.

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Dan Harmon created this sitcom for NBC about a Spanish study group at a community college. Fans of Friends will enjoy Community for its eclectic ensemble cast, and that cast includes all kinds of big names: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Donald “Childish Gambino” Glover, Chevy Chase, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, the list goes on. Community has an intriguing meta sense of humor, a unique and brilliant style of storytelling, and a diverse cast of characters. Fans of series like Friends, or just TV in general, will fall in love with it. With the upcoming Community movie, it is also the perfect time to get caught up with the series.

6 Cheers (1982)

Cheers set the template for the ensemble sitcoms that dominated the ‘90s. It was hugely popular and created a lot of the tropes that shows like Friends would go on to make iconic. Sam and Diane were the original Ross and Rachel. Instead of hanging out at a coffee shop in New York, the characters hang out at a bar in Boston, but it’s the same sort of thing. While the characters of Friends are all the same age and going through more or less the same thing, the characters of Cheers are a bunch of different ages from all different walks of society. That’s the beauty of the bar setting: staff and customers bonding over a beer, guest characters coming in and out, etc. Cheers also offers a lot to watch, as one of the longest-running TV sitcoms in history.

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