2019’s most popular comedy shows are The Big Bang Theory, Friends, and Sex and the City. Though television programming continues to grow in popularity and viewers now have more options for entertainment than ever before, the ability for showrunners and networks alike to come up with a hit comedy series still remains something of a challenge.
It’s not that there haven’t been a handful of great success stories over the past few years – HBO’s Barry, Netflix’s GLOW as well as Sex Education have all provided ample laughs for audiences. However, even those hit series mix in darker elements of drama that aren’t typically found in more straightforward comedy. It’s a strange fact, then, that despite all the hit television currently being streamed into homes around the world, the number of outright hit comedies does indeed seem to be lacking. Further evidence of this has been seen recently, for example, when Netflix revealed that The Office is its most popular TV series. Although the hit US remake of the UK series ended in 2013, audiences clearly still want a reliable comedy to watch in 2019.
This desire doesn’t seem to be lessening with time, either. According to statistics released by Semrush, several of the most popular comedy shows of 2019 are programs that are no longer even being made. The viewing analytics website found that Friends has been the most-watched comedy series of 2019 thus far, with The Big Bang Theory coming in a distant second place. What’s more, of the ten most popular comedy series of 2019, HBO’s Sex and the City placed eighth. You can check out the full top ten below, complete with viewership numbers:
Naturally, the list highlights newer comedies as well, and it is worth pointing out that The Big Bang Theory didn’t finish its television run until this year, but it is quite remarkable that fifteen years after coming to an end, Friends is still wildly popular. In the same turn, although Sex and the City was immensely popular during its heyday, the fact that it still remains among the top ten most popular comedy series fifteen years after airing its last episode is nothing short of remarkable. Even at its height, the groundbreaking HBO series wasn’t on par with the more mainstream popularity of Friends. This was largely due to the fact that Friends offered more PG comedy than the much more grown-up laughs of Sex and the City. Nonetheless, both series have their loyal fanbases and apparently they’ve also attracted a new generation of viewers.
With the apparent love for Friends and Sex and the City, it’s clear that television viewers are looking for a level of comedy that still hasn’t been widely offered by the likes of the big subscription streaming services or networks. And while The Big Bang Theory will likely live on for a very long time to come through streaming and reruns, the continuous popularity of older comedies makes the idea of Friends and Sex and the City reboots believable. Whether or not they could capture what made the two hit series so beloved, to begin with, however, is a very difficult question to answer.