When reflecting on some of your favorite sitcoms of the past few years, you may only remember the shows you have started watching fairly recently. However, several shows on air today actually got their start during the 2000s. In addition, several of today’s biggest comedic actors and actresses got their start as a part of a sitcom from this timeframe.
Where would the Marvel Cinematic Universe be today without Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders? How famous would Jenna Fisher and John Krasinski be without their starring roles on The Office? Also, do we really want to imagine life without more Judd Apatow projects? The 2000s brought many stars to new levels of fame and continues to bring them into the spotlight a decade later.
However, with the few great shows from this decade, there were additional stinkers that we would like to forget about completely. The series that barely made it on air and vanished a couple of years later. To accurately rank the shows from the 2000s, we took Rotten Tomatoes' official scores for each series. Unfortunately, many shows never registered a score on the site so they could not be included. However,the shows appearing on this list were ranked based on their official score. We have even included one series that was so bad, it didn’t have last after its debut episode. It lacked an official score because it was canceled the same day it aired!
Here are the 15 Best (And 10 Worst) 2000s Sitcoms Ever, Officially Ranked.
25 Best: My Name is Earl (82%)
Although initially hesitant to step into a TV role, My Name is Earl became the perfect vehicle for actor Jason Lee to launch his small-screen career. Despite the silliness of the characters themselves, the series actually covered serious themes of redemption and retribution.
After experiencing a string of bad luck, Earl committed to redeeming himself for every wrong deed he ever committed. Earl continued on this journey for the rest of the show with his brother Randy at his side. The series lasted for 4 seasons, with 96 episodes by the end of its run.
24 Best: How I Met Your Mother (83%)
The premise of How I Met Your Mother began as character Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget) sat his children down and proceeded to tell them how he... met their mother. Interestingly enough, it took over nine seasons to finish the retelling. The misadventures of the group of friends included their attempts at finding happiness at their jobs, in love, and with each other. Along the way, they created some unforgettable jokes, quotes and one-liners that will forever be associated with the show.
The series even inspired several attempted spin-off series but they were never successful.
23 Worst: Joey (56%)
After the monster success of Friends, the cast of the show looked to explore new projects after the show. However, actor Matt LeBlanc decided to stay under the Friends umbrella and launch a spin-off from the series. Titled Joey, the series centered around his character, Joey Tribbiani, and his pursuit of his acting career.
Expecting to bank off of the success of Friends, the show even received the previous series' golden timeslot of Thursday at 8PM. However, Joey never lived up to the success of its predecessor and ended after two seasons.
22 Best: Scrubs (84%)
When you think of medical TV shows, you may recall images of severely injured patients, nail-biting thrills, and serious characters. Scrubs was definitely not that type of show. The series took the typical medical drama and added its own irreverent humor, outlandish characters, and slapstick comedy. Though the series was loosely based on the real-life experiences of a residence, the outcome of each episode became too insane to believe.
Series leads Zach Braff, and Donald Faison even became close friend thanks to the show. The series lasted nine seasons and finally concluded in 2010, after 182 episodes.
21 Worst: Lucky Louie (45%)
Disgraced comedian Louis CK began rising in the ranks of the stand-up comedy world back in 2005. Leveraging this success into his own TV how ended up happening quite easily. He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Lucky Louie. The HBO show was taped in front of a live studio audience. The show took advantage of being on HBO and fully utilized adult language throughout the script.
However, despite CK's popularity following a successful stand-up appearance on HBO, the series did not do well on the network. Lucky Louie was canceled after only 13 episodes.
20 Best: Modern Family (87%)
The cast of Modern Family is anything buta stereotypical TV family. Composed of various types of families, including stepchildren, adopted kids, and an eventual gay marriage, the show aimed to represent what the new “normal” actually looked like. Presented as a mockumentary, the series follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his children.
Now in its tenth season, the show shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Modern Family has proven to be a critical favorite, garnering 22 Emmy awards from 81 nominations. Some early reports even indicated an eleventh season might be considered as well. Long live the insanity of the Pritchett - Dunphy clan.
19 Worst: Rita Rocks (43%)
Known for its overdramatic movies and TV specials, Lifetime decided to branch out and try its hand at an original comedy. Rita Rocks premiered in 2008 with MADtv alum Nicole Sullivan as its lead. Her character, Rita Clemens, decided to use music a means to break up the monotony of her work/home life. She engaged in weekly jam sessions with her daughter’s boyfriend, her mailwoman and her neighbor.
Despite the unique concept and inclusion in Lifetime’s comedic lineup for Tuesday nights alongside Reba reruns, the series did not hold the interest of viewers. In 2009, the series ended after its second season.
18 Best: The Tick (88%)
Created by cartoonist Ben Edlund, The Tick debuted in comic books back in 1986. The series garnered such a large fan base that the series became an animated series in 1994. However, the true test of the character’s popularity came when a live-action adaptation came about in 2001. With actor Patrick Warburton as the titular character, the oversized blue costumed superhero became a favorite for fans everywhere.
Despite being a cult hit, the series eventually ended after its initial season with only nine episodes completed. Another attempted at a live-action series took place in the form of a web series in 2016.
17 Worst: Four Kings (38%)
NBC hoped to bank on the successful career of Seth Green for their new series Four Kings. Given his success in numerous projects including the Austin Powers franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and various teen movies, the actor seemed like the perfect star to lead the new show.
NBC touted the series as being centered around “a quartet of twentysomething chums who cohabit a Manhattan apartment that serves as their zany halfway house between college and adulthood.” Unfortunately, the series got canceled mid-way through the initial season and ended before the final six episodes ever got to air.
16 Best: The Office (89%)
Becoming one of the most popular shows in recent television, The Office definitely made its presence known in sitcom history. Originally based on a British series of the same name, the show not only excelled as a remake but stood out from the original. The mockumentary series followed the everyday lives of the employees of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company.
Over the years, the series lost a few of its stars, including series lead Steve Carell. However, the show continued to keep the cast and the humor fresh. With a cast that contained many unknown stars, the series managed to catapult the fame of many performers.
15 Worst: Accidentally on Purpose (32%)
After the massive success of the ABC comedy Dharma & Greg, Jenna Elfman became a popular comedic actress. Once she was free to explore new roles after 2002, CBS later decided to recruit the actress to start in her own series for the network.
In Accidentally on Purpose, Elfman starred as a woman that got pregnant after a one night stand and decided to keep the child. The baby's father then moved into her home on a purely platonic basis to help her. However, the series didn’t recapture the spark of Dharma & Greg and eventually fell flat in the ratings. The show completed one season before it was canceled.
14 Best: Community (89%)
The cult favorite Community centered around a group of students trying to make it at their dysfunctional community college. Developed by Dan Harmon, the inspiration for the series was his own experience of college life. Much of the show’s humor connected directly to popular films, TV shows, and other aspects of pop culture.
The series originally ran on NBC until its cancellation in 2014. However, thanks to the efforts of fans and Yahoo! Screen, the series was renewed and given a chance to conclude successfully in 2015. We still mourn the loss of “Troy and Abed in the Morning!”
13 Worst: Brothers (25%)
Known for his dominant American football career as a defensive end for the New York Giants, Michael Strahan hoped to expand his career beyond the sport. In 2009, he tried his hand at acting on TV in his own show Brothers.
The Fox series focused on his strained relationship between Michael’s character (named Mike) and his brother Chill (played by Daryl "Chill" Mitchell). His parents tried to force the two siblings to resolve their differences. However, viewers did not stay committed to the show, and viewership tumbled over time. The series did manage to complete one full season before Fox pulled the plug.
12 Best: Curb Your Enthusiasm (92%)
Coming off of the success of Seinfeld, comedian and writer Larry David created Curb Your Enthusiasm to center around a fictional version of himself in 2000. With a large portion of the series being improvised with the guidance of only a brief outline, the show excelled in its humor thanks to David’s awkwardness.
One of the best aspects of the show included the abundance of guest stars from all aspects of TV, film, music, sports, and entertainment. With most of the stars playing an exaggerated version of themselves, the series mocked many of the stereotypical behaviors of celebrities. The series is currently in production for its 10th season after its return in 2017.
11 Best: Parks and Recreation (92%)
Who knew the lives of employees of a government parks department could be so entertaining? The cast of Parks and Recreations (or Parks and Rec for short) delivered some of the best political comedy for seven seasons, beginning in 2009.
With its endearing characters and highly quotable catchphrases (who doesn’t use “Treat Yourself” in everyday life?), the series ignited the career of many of its stars including Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, Good Girls star Retta, and Legion star Aubrey Plaza.
10 Worst: Gary Unmarried (23%)
The CBS series Gary Unmarried tackled the repercussions of a couple that divorced and the results of their separations. Specifically, it followed their lives as they move on to new relationships while also sharing custody of their two children. The series starred Jay Mohr and Paula Marshall as the recently divorced couple with Ryan Malgarini and Kathryn Newton as their children. Though the series tackled some interesting themes, audiences did not stick around long enough for the show to be successful. Even though the show won the"Favorite New TV Comedy" award at the 35th People's Choice Awards, CBS moved to cancel anyway.
9 Best: Undeclared (93%)
Despite only lasting one season, the sitcom Undeclared managed to earn a spot among the best TV shows from the 2000s. The Judd Apatow series became his follow up after the wildly popular series Freaks and Geeks, which also lasted only one season. The series included Apatow favorites Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogan, the latter of whom also starred in Freaks and Geeks.
Recurring characters included a bevy of solid comedic greats including Amy Poehler and Jason Segel. Even the guest stars included now popular comedic stars Jenna Fischer, Felicia Day, and Simon Helberg.
8 Worst: In the Motherhood (17%)
Inspired by a popular web series in 2007, In the Motherhood focused on the lives of three mothers and their struggles with everyday life. In the original show, the cast included Jenny McCarthy, Leah Remini, and Chelsea Handler. However, none of the original cast transitioned into this adaptation. Instead, three new actresses were selected for the TV show adaptations. The series was led by Cheryl Hines, Jessica St. Clair, and Megan Mullally.
It tanked on the network and didn’t even last the entire first season. Only five of the seven episodes aired before its cancelation just three months after its debut.
7 Best: Flight of the Conchords (94%)
New Zealand-based comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement starred in the HBO series Flight of the Conchords based on their story. After the success of their BBC radio series, they moved to American television and portrayed fictionalized versions of themselves. The plot revolved the struggling duo trying to make a name for themselves in New York. Critics and audiences loved the unique blending of music and comedy.
The series received ten Emmy nominations during its two season run. It also snagged nominations from the Satellite Awards and the Writers Guild of America.
6 Best: Everybody Hates Chris (95%)
Actor/comedian Chris Rock retold some of his funniest real-life stories through the series Everybody Hates Chris. Not only did he create the series, but Rock also narrated every episode. Viewers watched the exploits of a young Chris, played by Tyler James Williams, trying to survive his teenage years during the 1980s.
The American Film Institute selected the series as one of the best shows of 2007 stating, “the show provides a very real look at growing up in America - a challenge that demands a discussion of race and class often absent from television today.”
5 Worst: Hank (8%)
Despite a few small roles on other shows and his canceled series Back to You, Kelsey Grammar tried his hand at helming another series. For ABC’s Hank, Grammar played a business executive who lost his job and had to face moving back to his small town hometown.
Critics negatively responded to the show with critic Linda Stasi declaring that Hank was “one of the worst new (or old) comedies of this or many other seasons." She further pointed out that he played the"...stuffed-shirt character he’s been playing since ‘Cheers.’ Geez, man, give it a rest.” \Only five of the ten episodes of season one ever made it on air.
4 Best: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (97%)
Never has a group of people been more dysfunctional, politically incorrect or narcissistic than “The Gang” on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Their ridiculous adventures have continued to attract a consistent audience since 2005. Many aspects of the series now exist as permanent fixtures in pop culture including The Nightman Cometh, rum ham, and the ever-popular Flipadelphia.
The long-running series also holds a distinct record: the show is tied with The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet “as the longest-running live-action comedy series in television history” with 14 seasons.
3 Best: Andy Richter Controls the Universe (100%)
From 1993 to 2000, fans of Late Night with Conan O'Brien would tune in to see actor Andy Richter playing Conan’s sidekick in every episode. Richter eventually left the show to pursue new projects in Hollywood. Andy Richter Controls the Universe served as his first show after leaving the late-night series.
Premiering in 2002 on Fox, the show followed main character Andy, who dreamed of being a short story writer, but found himself stuck in his boring technical writing position at Pickering Industries. The series only lasted two seasons until it was canceled in January 2003. However, fans loved the bizarre comedy and made it another cult classic.
2 Worst: Emily's Reasons Why Not
The 2006 series Emily's Reasons Why Not held a very embarrassing title among tv shows of the 2000s. The series managed to get canceled after only one episode aired. The reason? The reception after that one episode was so bad that ABC put an end to the series.
The first episode was littered with gay stereotypes and troubling homophobic behaviors. The series debuted and was canceled on January 9, 2006. The remaining six episodes of the first season never saw the light of day.
1 Best: Black Books (100%)
The British comedy series Black Books followed the antics of Bernard Black and his bookshop. Portrayed as a sloppy and lazy curmudgeon, he begrudgingly opened his shop every day with the help of his assistant Manny Bianco. The two often shared idle conversation with their friend, Fran Katzenjammer, who ran a bric-a-brac shop nearby.
Created by lead actor and comedian Dylan Moran, the show co-starred Bill Bailey as Manny and Tamsin Greig as Fran. The series gained a solid following for three seasons before coming to an end in 2004. It even won the BAFTA in 2001 and 2005 for Best Situation Comedy.
What's your favorite sitcom from the 2000s? Let us know in the comments!