What good sitcoms have I missed recently?
November 25, 2012 3:59 PM   Subscribe

What good sitcoms have a missed in the past five or so years? Recently, I've enjoyed Raising Hope, Rules of Engagement, and The Big Bang Theory.

I liked Modern Family when I first discovered it, but lost interest after about a season and 1/2. I don't like Parenthood at all, and How I Met Your Mother is irritating.

I haven't had network or cable TV since sometime in 2007. I've got Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming through a bottom of the line Roku right now. I won't torrent media content (because I have a prudish morality about intellectual rights) and I won't buy shows individually to stream (because I suspect it's an expensive convenience of which to become accustom). But I will break down and purchase a season or two on DVD if it's something I really want to see and it doesn't look like it's ever going to stream legally for free (like Big Bang Theory).

What have I missed? Assume that if it aired after 2007 and it's not listed above that I don't know about it or have overlooked it.
posted by dchrssyr to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
"Community" is like a better version of Big Bang Theory, but I'm not sure if it's available stream-wise.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:04 PM on November 25, 2012 [14 favorites]

I was going to suggest Community as well.
posted by neilbert at 4:07 PM on November 25, 2012

Parks and Rec.
posted by Defying Gravity at 4:08 PM on November 25, 2012 [13 favorites]

Parks and Recreation got really good after the first season when they stopped trying to make Leslie into a female Michael Scott. It's on Netflix. Community is fantastic, but I think it's a Hulu+ exclusive right now? It is on DVD, and the sets are worth it--each ep has commentary!
posted by lovecrafty at 4:08 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Came to say 'Community.' A few episodes are available on NBC.com, but no idea what they'll do about past episodes. If you have Amazon Prime you might be able to stream it there.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:09 PM on November 25, 2012

30 Rock.
posted by deezil at 4:12 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

I just love Suburgatory.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:15 PM on November 25, 2012 [7 favorites]

Party Down is one of the most underrated television comedies of recent times.
posted by grouse at 4:16 PM on November 25, 2012 [19 favorites]

Happy Endings, although I'd say it takes a while to get rolling.
posted by bcwinters at 4:16 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
posted by mannequito at 4:19 PM on November 25, 2012

If you liked Scrubs, give Cougar Town a try. It's better than the awful title.
posted by purpleclover at 4:20 PM on November 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

Community is great and you should definitely watch it, but the "better Big Bang Theory" might be Better Off Ted. Parks and Rec and Party Down are also worth it.

Louie is some of the most innovative TV in any genre right now.
posted by gerryblog at 4:21 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are not exclusively US oriented, I would recommend Peep Show. It's available free in the UK on 4OD, though I am not sure how your conscience feels about proxies. Green Wing is also good.
posted by Jakey at 4:23 PM on November 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

I should add that Community isn't a show you can dive right into, and I'm sure that's a big reason why it's struggled to stay on the air. You really have to know each character's quirks to get a lot of the jokes, there a lot of running gags, and it can get pretty self-referential.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:23 PM on November 25, 2012

I loved Better Off Ted, which was cancelled after two seasons. Also, if you didn't watch Scrubs, go back and watch it now. And Cougar Town is weirdly awesome, despite the terrible name (which the writers repeatedly make fun of because they hate the name too). Party Down is hilarious. And It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. All of those should be on Netflix streaming. Also, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which you may not be able to get last season of, but this season is on Hulu. And The Mindy Project is new this season, but is promising so far (also on Hulu).

Wow, I apparently watch too much television.
posted by decathecting at 4:25 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Community dvds are a cyber monday deal on Amazon right now fyi.
posted by klugarsh at 4:35 PM on November 25, 2012

Came to say Parks and Rec and Community. For the former, skip the first season.
posted by synecdoche at 4:49 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

HBO series:

Bored To Death, though it only lasted two seasons (thanks a lot HBO!)

Eastbound and Down. I never thought I'd say it, because the show is pretty dumb, but I've been missing my weekly dose of Kenny Powers.

Showtime series:

posted by wherever, whatever at 4:50 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Parks and Recreation, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Party Down. (I don't believe the last two are on Netflix Streaming)

My wife and I are also currently enjoying The League. Also Louie is amazing. it's not really a sitcom per se, but it's some of the best TV today.
posted by mikeweeney at 4:50 PM on November 25, 2012

If you are not exclusively US oriented, I would recommend Peep Show. It's available free in the UK on 4OD, though I am not sure how your conscience feels about proxies.

Peep Show is on Netflix streaming in the US, as is That Mitchell and Webb Look.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:51 PM on November 25, 2012

Popping in to second or nth some recommendations. Like you I do not have teh cable. All of my TV watching comes via Netflix.

Party Down is seriously fantastic and hilarious. Originally ran on cable, so raunchier than the average network sitcom.

Parks and Rec is also fantastic.

I dipped back into 30 Rock after not watching it for a while, and it is still pretty good. It's getting kind of self-referential in its sixth season, but it is still funny.

If you like Big Bang Theory, you might like the IT Crowd (British, and very funny).

This might be WAY off base, but my daughter got me into watching Good Luck, Charlie. It is a Disney channel sitcom aimed at children, but it is consistently well-written and acted. It is a little saccharine, but weirdly mesmerizing.
posted by jeoc at 4:55 PM on November 25, 2012

Party Down was on Netflix streaming a few months ago! It's super annoying when they do this.
posted by jeoc at 4:58 PM on November 25, 2012

If you enjoyed Raising Hope, you'll enjoy My Name Is Earl. Created by the same guy, Greg Garcia, and the stars of Earl pop up in Raising Hope (including some in-jokes like when characters in Raising Hope are called by their Earl character names).
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:59 PM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Better Off Ted is great. In the two-season-sensation category, there is also Flight of the Conchords on HBO.

Archer, the FX comic, is fantastically, side-numbingly, tongue-swallowingly funny and offensive. I live in rapt suspense for the release of the fourth season.

This said, I haven't had cable...or a TV... since 2008 myself and also get by on other folks' recommendations. These are the few things that found their way under my rock.
posted by keasby at 5:07 PM on November 25, 2012

Seconding Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Love that show!
posted by SisterHavana at 5:19 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't Trust the B* in Apartment 23 is on Amazon Streaming, both seasons. It's definitely been my pleasant TV surprise of 2012.
posted by fshgrl at 5:58 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Okay, coming here to second Peep Show and Green Wing (both on Netflix) and mention Coupling (free on Amazon with Prime). All highly recommended
posted by Lucubrator at 6:00 PM on November 25, 2012

Another vote for Parks and Rec. The thing I like about it is, I really like the characters. Like, I think I would want to hang out with them in real life. And they all seem to actually like each other and care about each other. Sure, they're all quirky and such but I really enjoy them. Also, my sister lives in a small town where she works for local government and it makes me smile to think that some of her friends might be like them.
posted by kat518 at 6:38 PM on November 25, 2012

The BBC series Doc Martin is very good.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:04 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I won't buy shows individually to stream (because I suspect it's an expensive convenience of which to become accustom)

I'll get to my answer to your question, but first, I'll share how I use buying shows individually.

Rather than making an expensive habit of it, my approach is to do this with shows I already know I enjoy, and wherein there is no other (legit) way to watch episodes that are currently airing. It's especially useful for Event Television like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and the like. I don't know that I'd recommend you do this for any sitcoms, since so many of the good ones have current episodes free on Hulu or the network's website, and it's rare that everyone's talking about the latest episode of a sitcom around the water cooler the next day. But it's good to have in your back pocket for moments when you just NEED to get caught up on something.

OK. Sitcoms.

Nthing Parks and Recreation. Everything up till this season is on Netflix Streaming, and you should still be able to watch most of the current season on Hulu for free (definitely so if you also subscribe to Hulu Plus).

Peep Show is... intense. It has that same sort of alienating tension that the British version of The Office had, so if you like that, you'll like Peep Show. The cast of Peep Show also have a few sketch series streaming on Netflix Instant if you enjoy them. I find that their sketch stuff is less intense -- I actually enjoy it more than Peep Show.

The first five seasons of 30 Rock are great.

If you like British sitcoms and enjoy The Big Bang Theory, you might also like The IT Crowd.

I didn't want to like it, I swear, but I found myself giggling at The New Normal's pilot, and rooting for the gay dads and their single-mom surrogate by the end of the half hour. Which is rare.

Friends swear by The New Girl, though I've never really gotten that into it.

Workaholics is good if you like laddish stoner Comedy Central type humor.

I liked Girls a lot, but YMMV. Also, unless you have a current subscription to HBO or are willing to buy it sight unseen on iTunes, there's no way to see it without a television.
posted by Sara C. at 7:27 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

If we're recommending hilarious, off-color, animated sitcoms (like Archer), I'll add The Venture Brothers.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:51 PM on November 25, 2012

Oh, also Flight of the Conchords (it's not animated).
posted by mon-ma-tron at 7:52 PM on November 25, 2012

From Canada, I've found both Corner Gas (sweet) and Trailer Park Boys (twisted and sweet) to be pretty addictive.

From the British Isles, if you end up liking IT Crowd, you might like Father Ted (from the same creator, Graham Linehan). He also did Black Books, which I found a little hit or miss (though, when it was on, it was amazing)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:00 PM on November 25, 2012

Nthing 30 Rock. Kinda revolutionary IMHO - it's like the Seinfeld of the 2000s.
posted by gnutron at 10:42 PM on November 25, 2012

Since someone (wisely) raised the possibility of a sitcom on a kid's network, let me suggest the brilliant (and recently cancelled) "iCarly." Ostensibly a kids show but veered into very weird and surreal territory a lot. And was just straight up funny.

Also, it's a kid's show that did a pastiche of "The Wire," so there's that.
posted by jbickers at 5:17 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bob's Burgers is awesome, especially if you enjoyed Home Movies or Archer.
posted by rog at 6:05 AM on November 26, 2012

Up All Night has grown on me, if not just to see Will Arnett get more screen time. It's funnier if you're a parent, I suppose.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:00 AM on November 26, 2012

Doc Martin is ITV, not BBC. The "very good" part I couldn't comment on, I don't think I've ever come across someone who watches it. I think most people I know tend to assume, usually fairly, that anything on ITV isn't worth of the time of day.

If it counts as a sitcom, my post-2007 UK pick would be The Thick of It, although whether it translates across the pond I'm not sure.
posted by Slyfen at 8:18 AM on November 26, 2012

If you like Raising Hope, then you should like My Name is Earl, a lot of the same people are involved, and they feel quite similar.

If you do watch Parks and Recreation, skip the first season entirely. Don't watch a single episode; start in season 2. Maybe, if you really like it and you've caught up to the current season, you can go back and watch season 1, and the kick yourself for going back and watching that crap.

I also n'th the rec's for Community, Louie, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Better Off Ted. It's a bit older, but I'd also recommend Arrested Development. Louie is sometimes dark, and sometimes just "good" ; it's not a typical sitcom, but it's kind of close.
posted by nobeagle at 8:28 AM on November 26, 2012

New Girl - Get to the Thanksgiving episode in season one before you give up, if you don't think that one is funny then you aren't going to like the rest.

Cougar Town - Gets good about half-way through S1, when they switch from being about her chasing younger guys to being a comedy about the neighborhood crew.

Parks & Rec - Skip season one, pretend it doesn't exist.

And I will nth - Better Off Ted, Community, Happy Endings.

New this season that I have LOL'd at is Ben & Kate.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:20 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks!

Community, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, and Better Off Ted all sound like shows I'll enjoy and I started watching season two of Parks and Rec last night. So far so good.

I already love The League and Peep Show, I forgot to mention those in my question. I also already like Archer and Bob's Burgers, but I'm good on animated shows right now.

I've seen a few episodes each of 30 Rock and Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Both are obviously well written and witty. Meh. 30 Rock always seems very aware of itself.

I've always blatantly dismissed Cougar Town, but maybe I'll check out a mid-season episode now.

As far as the British shows go, I like Doc Martin but I haven't seen any of the others so far. Thanks for the those recommendations, too.
posted by dchrssyr at 8:33 PM on November 26, 2012

(Bored to Death actually went 3 seasons, but it was still a drag when it was canceled)

Better Off Ted is awesome. Parks and Rec, Nthing everyone who said to skip season 1. Louie. Archer. Suburgatory is also great. Ben and Kate just started this fall but we really like it. Party Down.

The Thick of It is nothing short of spectacular. We just blew through all 4 seasons and specials in the last few months. Just great.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:04 PM on November 27, 2012

Response by poster: So to follow up, in case anyone reads the comments down here:

I really like Better off Ted and I'm sad it only lasted two seasons. I'm nine episodes into season one. Thanks a lot for that suggestion.
posted by dchrssyr at 11:06 AM on December 2, 2012

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