New York, New York...Frank Sinatra's ode to the city remains to this day one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. It should come as no surprise that a place like this inspires deep emotion. The Big Apple might not be the capital of the United States, but it surely is one of the most iconic cities in the whole wide world.
It's vibrant, it's artistic, and it's eclectic. There aren't many places in the world can be considered true contenders to the charm and vivaciousness that New York offers. It's no wonder that, through the years, it has inspired producers and writers to create TV shows that, along with the main story, use the city as the main stage and almost a character itself. There are dozens of series set in New York, many of which remain iconic to this day. Here are the 10 most quintessential New York show, ranked!
10 Brooklyn Nine-Nine
It only premiered in 2013, but it quickly became a fan favorite for audiences all across the world, thanks to its light-hearted comedy and extremely inclusive cast. It's been a joy to follow the adventures of detective Jake Peralta and his family at the 99th precinct. The characters are human and deliciously funny, even when tackling serious issues.
The whole thing is made a million times better by the fact that we get to follow each individual story in the city of New York. Brooklyn Nine-Nine gives us a completely different perspective of the city, one that is less glamorous but still feels raw and real. Because of the different lenses we're given with the show, it becomes a quintessential New York City show on its own right.
It's also a cop show but in a completely different tone from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. For eight season, Castle followed the adventures and tumultuous love story of detective Kaye Beckett from the 12th precinct, and mystery author Richard Castle. The show successfully mixed its own kind of humor with some heart-wrenching scenes and suspense.
Because Castle was often a cross between Richard's glamorous life, and the strange environments murder cases often took him and Kate to, we got to explore several facets of New York. From the underground world ruled by mobsters to expensive galas and political conventions, often times Castle was as much about the city itself as it was about the fictional characters we grew to love.
Lena Dunham's brainchild was definitely a risk, but it paid off in the end. When it first premiered in 2012, the show was both target of criticism and praise due to its raw depiction of the lives of women in modern-day New York City. It was impossible not to relate to some extent to at least one of the main character, which is probably why the show eventually became so successful.
Navigating your twenties is a confusing time for everyone, particularly for the most recent generations. Setting these struggles and the journey of the main characters in New York City gave the show a creative impulse that took it to the next level. Both quintessential and singular in its own ways, Girls broke barriers and established itself as a cult favorite.
7 How I Met Your Mother
After Friends went off the air in 2004, there was a pressing need among the public for a show that depicted the lives of your typical friend group in a fast-paced environment. The world needs comedy and young people need to have some sort of representation they can relate to. How I Met Your Mother came at the perfect time, successfully filling the gap Friends left in our hearts.
Fans of both shows have bickered for years, but each show has its distinct characters and storylines worth of love. Ted Mosby's love for New York often took us through unforgettable journeys through the heart of the city. Romances began and ended, adventures and misadventures developed, friendships were cemented, all against the beautiful backdrop of the Big Apple.
6 Will & Grace
Will & Grace is so popular and beloved, that not only did it manage to run for eight seasons after it first premiered in 1998, it was also picked up again eleven years later, in 2017. Fans cheered in happiness once news broke that the hilarious lives of interior decorator Grace and her lawyer roommate Will were set to return.
In all fairness, the hilarious dialogues and witty plot lines that surrounded both the shows main characters and their friends, Jack and Karen, are what compelled audiences in the first place. However, it's also fair to say that the show would hardly be the same if the now iconic apartment Will and Grace share was set anywhere else but New York City. For that, the show definitely deserves its spot on the list!
It might have begun in the '80s and ended in the late '90s, but Seinfeld is one of the shows that just seem to perfectly fit into the definition of timeless. Fan favorite comedian and all around icon Jerry Seinfeld won universal praise when he managed to depict a fictionalized version of himself for eleven years with a style of humor that simply doesn't get boring.
Paired with the charisma of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and the equally hilarious Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, Seinfeld has that star quality that many shows have failed to achieve over the years. Having the Big Apple has its main stage is the cherry on top of a cake that has delighted many before us and will continue to delight generations to come.
4 Gossip Girl
You know you love me...XOXO, Gossip Girl. For many people who grew up with Gossip Girl, these words are pretty much gospel. For six seasons, audiences were under the spell of the glamorous lives of teenagers navigating their drama-filled lives, all while living it up on the Upper East Side, surrounded by the most expensive clothes, prime real-estate, and, of course, the constant looming threat of the anonymous blogger set on destroying the lives of the pretentious, rich kids that were the soul of the show.
The producers themselves described the series as a love letter to the city of New York. We were often taken to the most beautiful landmarks and decadent buildings that make New York the iconic place that it is. This, along with the never-ending drama, the fantastic soundtrack, and decadent fashion, managed to put Gossip Girl on the map.
3 Mad Men
There's not a single soul out there who doesn't miss having John Hamm bless our TV screens every week as the mysterious and dashing Don Draper. Mad Men was a show like no other, that dared to go the extra mile to give the audience an authentic portrait of the whirlwind world of advertising agencies in the '60s. It succeeded beyond all expectations, snatching 5 Golden Globes over its seven-season run.
What Mad Men gives us more than any other show is the enchanting depiction of both the glamour and decadence of the city of New York during the 1960s. It's practically impossible to remain indifferent to the singular environment the show managed to create, providing us with a unique and unparalleled perspective of the Big Apple.
2 Sex And The City
Carry Bradshaw and her famous clique of girlfriends completely broke ground when the series of books originally written by Candace Bushnell came to life on television. Sex and The City was a breath of fresh air for women everywhere, who finally got an accurate depiction of their lives as single gals in their thirties trying to navigate the ups and downs of love.
What made the show so iconic was a combination of the charismatic and relatable characters, their witty and often crazy romances, the brunch dates, the fashion, and, of course, New York. It's not a coincidence the series has the word city as one of its main components - the city of New York was as much part of the show as Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, and we're forever thankful for the beautiful scenarios we got.
I'll be there for you...listening to these words has the power to make grown people cry like babies. When you think iconic and New York, your head automatically screams Friends! It's impossible to dissociate the fan favorite show (for many, one of the best shows of all time) from the city that served as the backdrop for all the stories that marked a generation.
At the time, the show was something unique and light-hearted, and to this day has the ability to incite both tears of absolute joy and emotion. Imagining our six favorite fictional people anywhere else except gathered around a coffee table in the aptly named Central Perk just isn't the same...and Friends will forever remain the most quintessential New York show to ever be a part of our lives.