To some, the turn of the millennium ushered in the greatest sitcoms in television history. Sure, many 90s sitcoms remain pretty iconic, but they paved the way for even better shows.
Between 2000 and 2010, we got some of the funniest, most heartfelt, and most memorable sitcoms to this day. And with so many to pick from, it's hard to rank them let alone crown a king.
But we're going to try anyway! Here are our picks for the best sitcoms from the 2000s and why they stand out.
Note: Our criteria is any show that debuted in the 2000s OR had the majority of its run in the 2000s. For example, King of Queens debuted in 1998 but it ran through much of the 2000s, so it would qualify.
17. The Big Bang Theory (2007)
Created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady
Starring Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco
279 episodes (12 seasons)
The Big Bang Theory is one of those shows you either love or hate. Whichever side you're on, it's hard to deny the overwhelming popularity of the show. I enjoyed it right down to the end.
Just don't go into it taking all of the nerd culture too seriously, otherwise some of the show's (often unflattering) portrayal of geeks will rub you the wrong way. It's shallow, but it's fun.
16. Two and a Half Men (2003)
Created by Lee Aronsohn and Chuck Lorre
Starring Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones
262 episodes (12 seasons)
Two and a Half Men is one of those shows that deserves respect purely for the fact that it managed to keep going successfully after losing one of its main characters.
Charlie Sheen's struggles with drug addiction and rehab are well-documented, and he was ultimately written out of the show during the eighth season.
Most shows would've called it quits, but instead of canceling, Two and a Half Men brought in Ashton Kutcher and kept right on going. Was the show as good? Maybe not, but it was still good enough to enjoy!
15. Malcolm in the Middle (2000)
Created by Linwood Boomer
Starring Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Jane Kaczmarek
151 episodes (7 seasons)
Arriving right at the turn of the millennium, Malcolm in the Middle now stands tall to an entire generation of people as one of the most memorable and hilarious sitcoms of the 2000s.
The tales of the Wilkerson family took the country (and the world) by storm, with young fans everywhere recognizing some part of their own family within the dynamic displayed on screen.
The cast was arguably the show's greatest strength, with the series particularly famous for making the career of Bryan Cranston (who memorably portrayed the father of the family, Hal).
In the end, Malcolm in the Middle remains a show that lives fondly in the hearts of not only its original audience, but modern ones, too.
14. Arrested Development (2003)
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz
Starring Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi
84 episodes (5 seasons)
Of all the shows that redefined what a sitcom could be, Arrested Development took the most outlandish path. The producers and creators seemed to throw away all that had come before, all to blaze their own trails in ways unseen up to that point.
Of course, looking back at it now, Arrested Development was clearly ahead of its time. Despite three perfect seasons—complete with a multi-layered writing style that became instantly iconic—the show was just too smart for its own good for audiences of its time.
While its eventual return with seasons four and five were a letdown, those initial three seasons went on to inspire all kinds of richly complex sitcoms that succeeded on the foundations set by Arrested Development.
13. Peep Show (2003)
Created by Jesse Armstrong, Andrew O'Connor, and Sam Bain
Starring David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King
54 episodes (9 seasons)
Peep Show, the cult classic UK show that's best summed-up as the inner thoughts of two self-deprecating men, would go on to find an even bigger audience in the years after it left the air.
Fronted by David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the iconic UK comedians quickly took hold of their roles and pushed them to places even further than the first season could've ever imagined.
During its run, Peep Show had a dedicated fanbase but it was far from universally popular—the kind of show that only grows in awareness over time. In retrospect, Peep Show only gets better with every episode, especially during seasons two through six.
Although the quality did drop after that, it still made for amazing TV. And fortunately for us, the show's creator Jesse Armstrong would eventually go on to create Succession!
12. The Inbetweeners (2008)
Created by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris
Starring Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison
18 episodes (3 seasons)
For a TV series that wasn't really embraced much outside of the UK, The Inbetweeners became far greater than the sum of its parts. This endlessly quotable show depicts the lives of four British high school students and their place in school society.
The mark of any great series is to always leave fans wanting more. In the case of The Inbetweeners, fans so desperately wanted more that it eventually spawned a follow-up movie.
Few shows ever get the chance to cap off with a movie, and those that do tend to drop the ball. The Inbetweeners bucked that trend with a movie that was so successful, they got another one!
Long story short, you may not know about The Inbetweeners if you aren't in the UK, but the show is a UK jewel that became a cultural sensation and is remembered as one of the best sitcoms of the 2000s.
11. The Office (2001)
Created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Starring Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook
14 episodes (3 seasons)
Here we have one of the most influential sitcoms since the turn of the millennium, the one that popularized the mockumentary format and started a trend that's still going hot today.
The UK version of The Office has now been copied and replicated by countless countries around the world, all of which have taken the premise and put their own local spin on it, infusing it with their own cultural mores, dynamics, and influences.
But it's easy to forget just how funny Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's original series really was. Despite only running for two seasons and two specials, its impact touched the whole world.
10. How I Met Your Mother (2005)
Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas
Starring Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders
Comedy, Drama, Romance
208 episodes (9 seasons)
Let's get one point out of the way: How I Met Your Mother had a terrible ending. However, everything leading up to that ending is fantastic, heartfelt, funny, and rewatchable.
The overarching plot of a father telling his children a painfully long story helped it stand out in the crowded sitcom genre, but it was the cast and characters that made it so warmly inviting to watch every week. Every major character on the show brought something to the table.
How I Met Your Mother ran for nine seasons with 208 episodes—that's one massive story those kids sat through!
9. Community (2009)
Created by Dan Harmon
Starring Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover
110 episodes (6 seasons)
Dan Harmon's quirky sitcom Community will finally get its much-demanded movie in the near future. It's one that will round out the show's overall narrative, much to the delight of fans.
But even without that movie, the show's six seasons are enough on their own to cement Community's status as one of the greatest sitcoms ever.
Community took a lot of risks—more successes than failures—and its metanarrative was revolutionary for television of the time. Equipped with an incredible cast of comedic greats, Community pushed the limits of what a sitcom could be.
In fact, much of Community's charm eventually ended up in Dan Harmon's animated series Rick and Morty. But Community itself is a masterpiece that we'll always remember fondly.
8. The Thick of It (2005)
Created by Armando Iannucci
Starring Chris Addison, James Smith, Peter Capaldi
23 episodes (4 seasons)
Easily one of the most influential comedy series ever made, it's a shame that so many people haven't seen The Thick of It, created by Armando Iannucci and written by Jesse Armstrong (the aforementioned creator of both Peep Show and Succession).
In delving into one small department in the UK government, The Thick of It proves so engrossing because it depicts a hard truth: real government issues are basically handled in the same, chaotic ways.
Featuring out-of-touch people who are trying to stay in power and keep in step with public interest, The Thick of It finds its humor in its stellar writing and performances. Even so, among the greats, it's Peter Capaldi's Malcolm Tucker that shines as the most iconic.
7. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000)
Created by Larry David
Starring Larry David, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Garlin
110 episodes (11 seasons)
If you think Seinfeld was the greatest sitcom of the 90s, then you'll absolutely love Curb Your Enthusiasm. Given that it's written by Larry David—one of the creators of Seinfeld—the parallels make sense.
But in the case of this HBO sitcom, Larry David isn't just a writer for the show. He's the star! And he puts in fantastic performances, season after season, as the oblivious old man who just doesn't get society.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, and the fact that it's been running for over two decades (and still going!) should be enough evidence that there's something special here.
6. Parks and Recreation (2009)
Created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur
Starring Amy Poehler, Jim O'Heir, Nick Offerman
126 episodes (7 seasons)
Parks and Recreation is a hilarious show with an incredibly simple premise, as many of the best sitcoms tend to be. We get a glimpse into the folly and incompetence of the Parks and Recreation Department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.
This satirical mockumentary series—created by the minds that gave us other comedic hits like The Office, The Good Place, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine—features some of the funniest actors and actresses in the sitcom game, and each one brings their own flavor to the show.
Of course, it's really Nick Offerman who carries the show as Ron Swanson, but all of the main characters are entertaining in their own way.
5. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005)
Created by Rob McElhenny and Glenn Howerton
Starring Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenny
170 episodes (16 seasons)
If there was ever a show that's starkly you-love-it-or-hate-it, it'd have to be It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This sitcom about the world's most toxic friend group is a lot like Seinfeld if everyone was absurdly despicable.
But there's a lot of humor to be mined in watching these terrible people do terrible things, all while lacking the self-awareness to see that they're the reasons why their lives are so miserable.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia demands suspension of disbelief, but if you're able to do that, it's downright hilarious. It's the ultimate anti-sitcom, and its subversion of tropes is always a breath of fresh air.
4. The King of Queens (1998)
Created by David Litt and Michael J. Weithorn
Starring Kevin James, Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller
207 episodes (9 seasons)
Although The King of Queens technically came out in the late 90s, the bulk of its run took place in the 2000s. So, we're counting it!
The show is centered around a fat guy (played by Kevin James) and his out-of-his-league wife (played by Leah Remini) as they go through their daily lives and deal with all the troubles that come their way.
Like all the best sitcoms, there's a wrinkle in the form of a father-in-law (played by the late Jerry Stiller) who lives in the basement. It's the comfortable dynamic between these three—and their friends—that makes for a funny show that's easy to watch and enjoy.
3. Modern Family (2009)
Created by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd
Starring Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen
Comedy, Drama, Romance
250 episodes (11 seasons)
Some may disagree with Modern Family's inclusion on this list solely because it debuted in 2009. That's admittedly pretty late in the decade, but it certainly feels like a show from the 2000s!
Unlike most sitcoms of the time, Modern Family employs an ensemble cast to depict three different families who are all related yet exist across a broad spectrum of cultures, identities, and norms.
Most notably, Modern Family was one of the first major sitcoms to feature a gay couple as main characters. (Prior to this, the most iconic gay characters on TV were Will and Jack on Will & Grace.)
From its handling of delicate relationships to its accurate depictions of growing up in so many different ways, Modern Family just does a lot right. And to top it off, it's hilarious!
2. The Office (2005)
Created by Greg Daniels
Starring Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski
201 episodes (9 seasons)
We've already featured the UK version of The Office earlier on this list, but it's really the US version of The Office that blew up and popularized two big sitcom trends: mockumentary satire and cringe humor.
To this day, the Dunder Mifflin crew is one of the most iconic casts of characters in television history, and The Office remains one of the most-watched (and most-rewatched) sitcoms of our time.
Every episode brings something new to the table. And like all great sitcoms, it's not always about humor as the show manages to tug on your heartstrings quite a bit throughout its long, successful run.
It's hard to think of a 2000s-era sitcom that's more enduring and more beloved worldwide, which earns The Office this spot on the list.
1. Scrubs (2001)
Created by Bill Lawrence
Starring Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke
182 episodes (9 seasons)
Scrubs isn't just my favorite sitcom of the 2000s, but it's also my favorite TV show of all time. When I started working on this list, this was the only show that had a locked position from minute one.
Without exaggeration, Scrubs is a masterpiece of modern television. Creator Bill Lawrence—who later went on to co-create Ted Lasso—knows how to blend comedy, drama, and pathos to perfection.
One minute you're laughing, and the next you're crying, and then you're back to laughing again. You're always feeling something when you watch Scrubs, and those emotions are always earned.
Ask any doctor what the most realistic medical TV show is. Most of them will point to this one. Scrubs is grounded, practical, heartfelt, goofy, serious, warm, chilling, and oh-so addictive. Without a doubt, it's our pick for the greatest sitcom of the 2000s.