There’s something extremely comforting about returning to an old TV series that you used to watch all the time. It kind of feels like meeting up with some old friends from high school after years of going your separate ways.
And that feeling gets amplified when you happen to be watching a show that is, itself, about friends who get together in every single episode.
There’s an inherent warmth to the idea, and since many people watch TV to relax, it shouldn’t be very surprising that this central idea has been so popular and ubiquitous through the years.
But just for fun, we wanted to look for the best TV shows about a group of friends, and it turns out that most of them happen to be comedies, but that makes a lot of sense for the format.
Still, these shows can have real emotional range, and some of them even tried to break out of the comedy box for a few episodes here and there.
Either way, these are shows that you should at least check out at some point. You probably won’t connect with all of them, but they have all made their impact on the history of television, especially here in the United States.
This is the biggest possible no-brainer pick for a list about TV shows that focus on a group of friends.
Friends was a very popular TV show about a group of friends, and that’s about it. This is a multi-camera sitcom that saw its main cast gathered in an apartment that was way too nice for any of these characters and the jobs they supposedly had, especially in the early years.
Existing fans of the show will die defending this show, and if the sense of humor appeals to you, then you have many seasons’ worth of happy viewing ahead of you.
And if the jokes don’t hit you that hard, then it’s probably not worth putting in the time to see how it all ends.
In a lot of ways, Cheers was the prototype for Friends. It sees a consistent main cast hanging out in a friendly Boston bar.
It used a very simple format, and the characters were all so specific and slightly cartoony that you knew exactly how they would react to any situation you could think up.
And the show itself put these characters through all kinds of situations over its impressive 11 seasons.
The format also left plenty of room for guest stars and special episodes. It may feel a bit dated now, but the show really does make you feel like one of the gang, even if it’s your first time watching.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Well, Always Sunny takes a different approach to the TV show about a group of friends concept. In many ways, the character interactions mirror those of the other shows we’ve listed here.
They go out of their way for each other, they spend a huge amount of time together, and they get into arguments and even physical fights sometimes.
But the big twist here, the twist that kept the show feeling different for years and years, is that this group of friends is made up of terrible, terrible people.
Seriously, there’s not a lot of gray area here. These are bad people. They’re selfish, often stupid, vain, and some might even argue sociopathic.
But if you like watching trainwrecks, then Always Sunny delivers in every single episode.
The Office (US)
The first two seasons of The Office (the US version of course) presented a novel idea: show seemingly normal people doing very normal work.
It was a workplace. No one really cared all that much about anyone else in the office.
But over the course of the remaining seasons, it very much became a show about a group of friends. We learned about the intricacies of the relationships, friendships, and rivalries in the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin.
This is another series that borrowed elements of Cheers and Friends while providing a unique sense of humor and cringey situations that kept viewers laughing through gritted teeth.
Here’s the only show on the list that’s not American, and don’t worry, it’s a good one.
Cowboy Bebop is classic anime, and even if you’re not a big fan of the genre, Bebop has become a shining example of an anime product that works well for just about everyone.
We should probably mention the premise since the title doesn’t give much away. Cowboy Bebop is about space bounty hunters in the future who are also kind of cowboys sometimes.
It mixes drama, comedy, and action with ease, and it’s just so darn accessible. At the center of it all are some unlikely friends who have to make it out of countless scrapes together.
Moving over to some horror and sci-fi, Stranger Things was one of the first huge Netflix breakout hits, and it deserved a lot of the hype it received for its first season.
What the show has become since is a controversial topic among fans and detractors, but the essence of the show is a group of young kids living out in the suburbs in the 1980s.
Best of all, the show does a decent job of depicting realistic kid interactions. They get into stupid spats and stick up for each other only sometimes.
Most of all, they’re brave without really considering the consequences of stepping out of line.
Hey, here’s another animated series that’s largely about friendship without taking it to the slightly embarrassing My Little Pony level (MLP is fine, don’t get mad).
Steven Universe is the title character: a small boy with special powers passed down from his ethereal mom.
Protected by his housemates, three superpowered entities from beyond, Steven goes on all kinds of adventures both in and outside of Beach City.
This show has lots of warm and fuzzy moments without feeling pandering or sappy.
To wrap things up, we come back to another American live-action sitcom that is now a very big part of TV history.
This famous show about nothing is just funny, and that’s its biggest attribute. A small group of friends in New York muddle their way through strange and sometimes embarrassing situations, often with disastrous results.
If you somehow haven’t seen the show already, there’s plenty to dig into here, and it’s all pretty darn good.