Lots of laughs
Netflix binges are no joke, and there's no better way to spend a day than laughing for hours on end while devouring a whole season of a sitcom. Fortunately, we've found a wide array of laugh factories airing at Netflix, with classics (Cheers), still-airing critics' favorites (The Good Place) and a recent unanimous hit (Parks and Recreation).
Looking to catch up on an old series like Friends to find out if that series merited Netflix spending $100 million? Want to binge the American version of The Office one more time before it disappears to NBCU in 2021? Ready to watch the good seasons of Arrested Development for the third time? We've got the best picks for you. You'll also notice that we're keeping track of how many seasons are on Netflix, not just the total that have been produced.
Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
The Good Place — 2 Seasons — (2016 to Present)
The Good Place has had it's ups and downs since its debut in 2016, but its one of the more clever prime time shows around. Not only does the show get better with each season, it also goes deeper than your typical cookie-cutter sitcom usually goes, with a mix of existentialism, clever punchlines and interesting character evolutions. And who thought Ted Danson had another good show in him? The breakout stars though, are Jameela Jamil (who is an amazing person in general — check out her Twitter) and D'Arcy Carden (the recent episode "Janet(s)" is a tour de force). The series' supporting characters manage to shine as bright as its two major stars, and the cast has turned into a vibrant ensemble. You even get the sense these actors actually like one another, which is so rare these days. — Julie Reinken
Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC
Schitt's Creek — 4 Seasons — (2015 to Present)
OK, now that you've taken a second to giggle at the title of this hilarious, under-the-radar Canadian show, get ready to dial it up on Netflix. It might remind you of Arrested Development, because it takes a rich family (David and Alexis, the Roses) and throws their bank accounts down the drain, pushing them to live in squalor. But it's so much greater than its premise. First of all, stars Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy (the aforementioned once-rich couple) have a mix of comedic and romantic chemistry that's truly unique, and rooted in their decades of collaboration (see Best in Show and A Mighty Wind for more evidence). — Henry T. Casey
New Girl — 6 Seasons — (2011 to 2015)
Jess (Zooey Deschanel) is a down-on-her-luck Los Angeles teacher whose breakup leaves her looking for a new place to live. She moves in with a group of dudes, each uniquely hilarious, who take pity on her. There's Schmidt (Max Greenfield), the Type A ad exec; Winston (Lamorne Morris), the loveable cop a little too obsessed with his cat; and Nick (Jake Johnson), the bartender who just can't seem to get his life together. Jess brings over her model best friend Cece (Hannah Simone), and lots of hijinks ensue. There's work drama and relationship drama, as is common in the lives of single 30-somethings, but unlike most sitcoms, the show handles those issues with a perfect balance of biting humor and earnestness. I love re-watching old episodes, and not just because I'm dying to figure out the rules to True American, the drinking game invented by the show's main characters (though that's one reason, I confess). — Caitlin McGarry
Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX
Parks and Recreation — 7 Seasons — (2009 to 2015)
If you haven't seen Parks and Recreation yet, the time has come. The seven seasons encompass a massive, star-studded cast of hilarious characters, from Paul Rudd's stubborn, clueless and lovable city council candidate Bobby Newport to cutthroat campaign manager Jenn Barkley and astute, political porn star Brandy Maxxx. At the center, we follow Leslie Knope's rise from deputy director of parks and recreation to city councilwoman to governor and beyond. Along the way, her friends, family and co-workers slouch and stumble their way through careers, love and politics, resulting in some of the most uniquely human moments and stories in television history. — Monica Chin
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC
The Office (U.S.) — 9 Seasons — (2005 to 2013)
Editor's Note: NBCUniversal announcedit will take The Office back in 2021, for airing on a to-be-announced streaming service.
While the American version of The Office is well-known for the epic, prank-filled rivalry between Jim and Dwight and the long-form romance of Jim and Pam, its importance is much greater. Not only did it give up-and-coming superstars-to-be — such as Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms and Ellie Kemper — a place to be discovered, but it also turned Carell into a megastar. Oh, and if you've heard someone say, "That's what she said," in the last decade, you have the American Office to thank for bringing back that once played-out phrase. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC
Extras — 2 Seasons — (2005 to 2007)
Everybody's got to start somewhere, and the aspiring stars of Extras are hobnobbing with celebrities while they struggle with life at the very bottom of the acting food chain. Each episode follows extra-actors Andy and Maggie as they work alongside another famous person, including Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who portrays a very naughty version of himself. Created by Gervais and Merchant, the show has slight differences in its U.K. and U.S. airings, with references to British personalities such as Jade Goody and Victoria Wood replaced by Seinfeld's Kramer and Sigourney Weaver, for example. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Ray Burmiston/BBC
Arrested Development — 5 Seasons — (2003 to 2018)
No matter if you came of age during the Bushes or the Trumps or any other family of upper-crust trash bags, the Bluth family will remind you of someone. The trouble starts at the top of the pyramid, with parents George Sr. (a patriarch dedicated to embezzling funds and pitting one child against another) and Lucille (whose top joys in life all drive her blood-alcohol level upward). Then, take your pick of any of their kids. No, seriously — George and Lucille want these kids off their hands. And you can't blame them, as their son G.O.B. is the worst magician ever and their lazy daughter, Lindsay (who married the completely talentless Tobias), is doing the least amount possible to raise her daughter, Maebe.
Or to put it in a way that those who are already fans will recognize: This is the story of a sitcom that started off fantastic, tried to stage a comeback and failed in every way possible. That's why it's best, if you ask most people, to watch only the first three seasons of the Bluths, which pack more than enough laughs and re-watchability. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: Mike Yarish/Netflix
Friends — 10 Seasons — (1994 to 2004)
Seinfeld may be the pick for your local sitcom snob, but Friends wasn't on for 10 years for nothing. Younger audiences unfamiliar with how much can happen when you're "on a break," the plight of living near a nudist who keeps their blinds open and the joy of yelling "PIVOT!" (much less Brad Pitt's younger years) should definitely check out this show. It owned Thursday nights on NBC for forever. And while some may think the adventures of Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica, Rachel and Ross might be outdated, Netflix (which keeps its ratings private) seems to know better. The streaming giant is spending — cue Dr. Evil's music — $100 million to keep the popular NBC show on throughout 2019. — Henry T. Casey
Credit: David Hume Kennerly/Getty
Cheers — 11 Seasons — (1982 to 1993)
There are shows, and then there are classics. While it's easy to argue that lead-actor Danson's charm made him the star of the show, the more you look into this series, the more you love its terrific ensemble cast. Not only did Cheers give a young Woody Harrelson a platform to showcase his amazing timing, but it also featured memorable performances from Rhea Perlman and Kirstie Alley. While Cheers has been dubbed the best sitcom for years, comedy genius Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) called the bar-based show "The best TV show that's ever been." — Henry T. Casey