It isn’t easy to get a sitcom right since these comedy shows depend almost entirely on situations and dialogues. The core cast ensemble rarely changes, camera movements are minimal, and you must rely primarily on chemistry. While the success of some sitcoms over others remains a mystery, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld seem to have cracked the code with their lasting genre achievement ‘Seinfeld.’
It is not out of the line to say that the genre that was invented out of the postwar boom by ‘I Love Lucy’ reaches perfection in this beautiful, nonsensical, mundane mess. If you cannot get over the void of Jerry, we shall try to recommend some shows that come close to this televised revolution. You can find most of these shows similar to ‘Seinfeld’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)
Conceived by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is a nerdy, goofy, and memorable situational comedy, albeit with a broken lift that never gets repaired. The story follows four socially awkward science wizards in their eventful daily life. New roommates Sheldon and Leonard kickstart the drama, and while Sheldon is quite particular with where he sits on the sofa, Leonard hits it off with neighbor Penny. Howard and Raj join slowly after, and the ever-growing family makes for a roving comic experience. If you think ‘Seinfeld’ is too random, wait till you are baffled by Sheldon’s Three-Person Chess.
9. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-2021)
Hello nine-niners, here is a place for you! Creator duo Dan Goor and Michael Schur give a sitcom spin to the police procedural genre in ‘Brooklyn Nine-nine.’ The story revolves around Jake Peralta and his star squad at the 99th precinct of NYPD in Brooklyn, including stern Captain Raymond Holt, Terry (who loves yogurt), Charles, Rosa, Amy, Holt’s assistant Gina, Hitchcock, and Scully. With enough goofs and Halloween pranks, this show will keep your days full of laughter. If you cannot get over ‘Seinfeld’ just yet, this is a show that packs enough genre innovations to keep you content.
8. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
Creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas weave a goofball comic ambiance in the sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ The story follows architect Ted Mosby, who recollects his past as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. The retrospective form of storytelling adds an endearing layer to the drama, and an ever-enthusiastic Neil Patrick Harris, in the role of Barney Stinson, keeps things interesting. Its unpopular finale notwithstanding, this is one of the finest the genre has ever produced. If you like the familial theme of ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is where you should put your bet.
7. Blackadder (1983-1989)
With Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson at the helm, ‘Blackadder’ would be one of the weirdest shows on the planet that derives its energy almost entirely from willful anachronisms. The series follows the misadventures and misfortunes of Edmund Blackadder. He casually moves from the courts of Elizabeth I to the trenches of the Great War, all the while keeping his humor intact. Rowan Atkinson does not need an introduction to the comedy fans, and a dash of scathing British humor seems to do the job in this fan-favorite history spoof drama. If you find the dialogues of ‘Seinfeld’ memorable, ‘Blackadder’ will keep you engaged with its idiosyncratic material.
6. The Simpsons (1989-)
If we talk about animated sitcoms, we cannot do away with Matt Groening’s endearing depiction of a dysfunctional American family in ‘The Simpsons.’ The show does not claim to be a history lesson as such, but you know when a disaster strikes, that ‘The Simpsons’ already did it! The power pack of Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa (and Maggie, who remains a toddler forever) is a lasting look at the American middle-class.
Moreover, it is also a show that presumably took the role of Shakespeare in inventing and popularizing words fit for the day and age, including “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” and “meh.” However, the show is far from meh, and if you have liked the portrayal of American reality in ‘Seinfeld,’ this is a show that you have to devour.
5. The Office (2001-2003)
You may have seen the U.S. version of mockumentary-style cringe comedy ‘The Office,’ but it is always better to return to the original. Developed by the comic geniuses of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the story follows the daily workings of the Wernham Hogg paper company in Berkshire.
While the show packs a crazy amount of laughter, it also sheds light on themes of human trivialities, depression, frustration, anger, clumsiness, and self-importance. If ‘Seinfeld’ has made you laugh at your insecurities, this is a binge-worthy gem you must check out!
4. Master of None (2015-)
Comedian Aziz Ansari and writer Alan Yang team up to create the fun, realistic, and compelling comedy-drama series ‘Master of None.’ Loosely based on the co-creator’s life, the story of the first two seasons follows Ansari in the lead role of Dev Shah, a struggling actor finding his footing in the world, and the third season introduces the character of Denise, a lesbian novelist adjusting to her upstate New York apartment. With enough endearing characters and memorable lines, the show has made its mark amidst the fans and the critics, receiving three Emmys and a Golden Globe in the process. If you were touched by the humane side of ‘Seinfeld,’ this is a show that would empty your popcorn bucket in no time.
3. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
Conceived by Andy and Susan Borowitz, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ is a hilarious sitcom that flaunts magical chemistry between its cast ensemble. Will Smith stars as himself, who is the titular fresh prince of the Bel-Air mansion. The protagonist’s street lifestyle clashes with his snobbish upper-class relatives, giving way to comically charged situations and generous laughter. You may be swayed by ‘Seinfeld,’ but the Will Smith vehicle still packs enough to brighten your dreadful day.
2. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-)
After ‘Seinfeld,’ Larry David went on to create his show in improv comedy ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ The story sees Larry playing a fictionalized version of himself, and the show’s humor arises from daily life occurrences. This is the show that came out of the ‘Seinfeld’ curse and spawned ten seasons, garnering critical acclaim in the process. It is difficult to replicate ‘Seinfeld’s chemistry,’ but ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ comes close with its slice of life humor.
1. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977)
Before ‘Seinfeld’ was even conceived, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ revolutionized the genre by witty, deadpan dialogues and boisterous baloney. Creator duo created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns went all-meta when they named the show after the lead actress. The show, in turn, became about the show.
The titular heroine is an independent female protagonist who stands out in 70s television. The show was showered with awards and accolades, including twenty-nine Primetime Emmys, and spawned several spin-offs since its release. If you want to know where the realistic aspects of ‘Seinfeld’ come from, you must revisit this holy grail of situational comedies.
Read More: Best Sitcoms of All Time