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10 TV series not named ‘Friends’ to binge watch

From classic to modern shows, these 10 alternative TV series are sure to get you your fill of sitcoms.

Ardini Insyirah
Ardini Insyirah

All smiles and giggles especially when there’s music.


Published: 11 November 2020, 12:39 PM

Ah, sitcoms.

For most people, the first title in that genre that comes to mind is Friends. A classic, the show deserves its popularity but if you find yourself rewatching it for the fifth time now, maybe it’s time for a change of plot. 

Switch it up with these 10 other sitcoms that are unique in their own ways.

1. How I Met Your Mother

Have you met Ted? He’s the one in the center. PHOTO CREDIT: CBS

 

Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor, shares the epic story of how he met the mother of his two children. For nine seasons, the series follows his adventures with his four best friends, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney. While that may sound boring, it is anything but. 

We see them spend a lot of their time together in the bar where they have new entertaining experiences every time.

The show will leave you in giggles right from the first episode and by the time the final episode ends, you’ll wish for more of the lively gang.

Similar to Friends, this series captures the friendship between the five best friends. Not only will it give you a good laugh, it also makes you stop to think about Ted Mosby and his perception of finding “the one”.

Look forward to Barney Stinson and his iconic line: “It’s gonna be… wait for it… LEGENDARY.” PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

2. That 70s Show

That 70s Show stars young Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis who are now spouses to each other. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

Despite the title, this show was first aired in the late 90s. The name comes from the plot of the story which was set in the 70s.

That 70’s Show revolves around Eric, Donna, Jackie, Michael, Hyde and Fez, a group of teenagers and their coming of age experience. Their experiences will seem oddly familiar to your own but watching these teenagers go through it will give you more of a laugh than worry.

Watching them spending the majority of their time together in Eric’s room, which is in the basement of his parents’ house, will remind you of the times you spend hanging out with your own friends.

The theme song of this show is catchy and you might catch yourself singing along to it after a few episodes. 

That 70’s Show has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re dealing with strict parents or having trouble with performing well in school, I bet there’s something these characters are experiencing that you can relate to.

3. The Big Bang Theory

Even after the 12 seasons of the show, we still don’t know Penny’s surname. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki play two physicist roommates, Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter in The Big Bang Theory. They welcome a new neighbour, Penny (played by Kaley Cuoco), who then joins the two guys and their friends, Raj and Howard, on an adventure. 

Penny pushes the gang (who aren’t the most sociable people) out of their comfort zones to be less socially awkward and their reactions to it will surely make you chuckle. 

As the group spends their time working on their individual work projects, playing video games and reading comic books, you will also start to pick up some of their lingos and maybe even some scientific terms.

Be prepared to be entertained by Sheldon’s unusual character and his eccentric and unconventional ways. His uncensored honesty will only crack you up. 

Sheldon likes to say “bazinga” to indicate that whatever he said beforehand was meant to be a joke. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

As audiences seemed to find his character and the show amusing, it earned the team a spinoff, titled Young Sheldon.

4. Full House

The character Michelle was played by a pair of twin actresses, young Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

As one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time, Full House remains a timeless family show ever since it first aired in the late 80s. The story captures how widower Danny Tanner raises his three daughters with the help of his musician brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis, and comedian best friend, Joey Gladstone.

By the last season, there were a total of nine people living under one roof, a nod to the show’s title.

The show brings us plenty of life lessons as we follow the Tanner daughters through their teenage years, as well as the challenges that are commonly faced by teenagers around the world. We also get to see the value of family throughout the series. They not only have support for each other in their own goals but also when they mess up with foolish decisions.

The iconic show was so largely popular that they got a spinoff titled Fuller House, which follows the two oldest Tanner daughters as they raise their own families in their childhood home.

After you’re done with the series, you’ll be armed with plenty of catch phrases like “how rude!” and “CUT. IT. OUT.”

A personal favorite catch phrase is Michelle Tanner’s, “you got it dude.” PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg, engages in never-ending shenanigans throughout the seven seasons of the show. PHOTO CREDIT: NBC

 

If you use any form of social media, you must have heard of the antics of Detective Jake Peralta one way or another.

While there are many police dramas, there are only a handful of comedy ones. This show captures the quirky team of detectives at the New York Police Department as they solve crimes with humor. As Jake Peralta holds the best arrest record among his colleagues and Amy Santiago is not far behind, you’ll be kept entertained watching the two compete against the other to stay on top.

The team is always up to something and their lines never fail to be witty. 

Apart from their lighthearted mischief, we also see them struggle with interpersonal issues and external conflicts that keep you engaged throughout the episodes.

If you’re already a fan of this show then in Jake Peralta’s words, “noice”! Or “cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.”

6. Modern Family

Modern Family has finally ended their 11 season run in Apr 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

Modern Family follows three unique families living in California who are known as the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan. The show gives the audience a truthful and comical insight into their warm family. 

Starring Sofia Vergara and Ed O’Neil as Gloria and Jay, the two parents (with a huge age gap) explore how to raise two young kids together.

On the other hand, Phil and Claire, who is Jay’s daughter, yearns for an open and honest relationship with their daughters, who are trying to grow up too fast and too smart for their own good, as well as a son who’s a scatterbrain.

We also get to see the drama’s portrayal of a same-sex marriage where Jay’s son, Mitchell, together with his husband, Cameron, guide their adopted daughter as she enters the middle-school years.

This “feel-good” sitcom rarely uses insult humor and instead uses witty dialogues. While the storylines are amazing, the plot is highly driven by the characters’ dialogues and personalities which make every episode a new adventure.

7. The Office

The actors were handpicked such that they all had background in improvisation so the funny bits you see are not all scripted. PHOTO CREDIT: NBC

 

The Office is a “fly-on-the-wall” documentary style sitcom that delves into the lives of 9-5 workers at a paper-supply company in Pennsylvania who engage themselves in bizarre encounters to keep the company thriving. 

The plot captures the bitter-sweet and entertaining reality of Andy Bernard, played by Ed Helms, who is the new preppy manager with endless musical talents that keeps the office entertained.

If this is a story of the mediocre 9-5 world, why is this show worth watching?

Well firstly, The Office depicts exactly what NOT to do in the workplace. It highlights the importance of learning how to interact and behave at work. While the characters display the perfect examples of this, you can sit back and have a laugh. Be sure not to make the same mistakes though.

Also, the plot is not solely comedic. It centers around growing friendships and romance which allows us to see different aspects of the characters.

Let’s not forget the day when Michael (played by Steve Carell) became everyone’s spirit animal with his iconic line, “I am Beyonce always.” PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

Thanks to The Office, we have plenty of pop-culture memes to reference to in our daily lives.

8. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Take yourself back to the 90s with the retro vibes of the show. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

 

Starring Will Smith as a fictionalized character of himself who was a street-smart teenger born and raised in West Philadelphia, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is a popular African-American sitcom that tells the story of how a young man adjusts to a life with his wealthy relatives. 

After getting into a fight in the playground, the street-smart teenager was sent to live with his aunt and uncle at their Bel-Air mansion. There, he spends time with his cousins Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and Ashley (Tatyana Ali). He also finds himself interacting with the family’s cynical butler, Geoffrey.

The humorous storyline comes from the clashing of Will’s working class background with the upper class lifestyles of his relatives. This usually results in trouble for Will and his relatives.

For many young African-Americans, this show was significant as it was one of the first times that they see their challenges being portrayed on screen. These challenges include racial profiling, police brutality and interracial dating.

The theme song to this show will always be catchy. With that, there will always be goofy dance moves to accompany it.

You can expect lots of funky dancing and music from the characters, especially Will and Carlton. PHOTO CREDIT: IMDB

9. The Good Place

The Good Place was created by Michael Schur, who also created Parks and Recreation, an Emmy award winning show. PHOTO CREDIT: NBC

 

The Good Place is where good souls go to rest after death and it resembles a paradise for its residents. However, new resident Eleanor Shellstrop, played by Kristen Bell, realises that she had been mistaken for someone else. She wasn’t meant to end up there and the show captures how she tries to right her wrongs in order to earn her spot in the town.

As the story progresses, Eleanor learns more about the bad place, which is where bad people pay their dues. A selfish and self-absorbed person (or to be more exact, soul), she had to constantly look over her shoulder to ensure that she wouldn’t get caught as a fraud. 

There’s nothing quite like The Good Place on TV. It has a balance of the bright and lighthearted scenes as well as some heavy scenes when the characters reflect on their previous lives.

If you’re tuning in to the show, you can expect a lot of twists and turns to the plot which will keep you on your toes. Don’t be surprised as the story casually discusses issues that come with class, gender and education.

 

10. Kim's Convenience

Writer Ins Choi used his experience as a Korean family in Toronto to write the script for the show. PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER/@KIMSCONVENIENCE

 

Kim’s Convenience tells a heartwarming story of the Korean-Canadians Kim family who run a store in Toronto. Mr and Mrs Kim discover the trials of running the shop while raising two children in their twenties, while struggling with cultural differences.  

The story finds laughter in how the parents believe that they have been fully integrated into the Canadian culture, while their children believe otherwise. Their son, Jung, left home at the age of 16 after a fight with his father. 

Jung’s absence leads to Janet feeling overwhelmed by her parents’ traditional Korean parenting. While her parents are supportive of her art college endeavours, they really just want her to marry her Korean boyfriend so that the both of them can take over running the shop.

This story will touch your hearts as it shows how the Kim family sets aside their differences to be there for each other. 

Let us know which among these 10 series are your favourite (after Friends of course!).


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