How I Met Your Mother went off the air in 2014 and many of us were left without one of the most reliable comedies at the time. Even today, five years after that controversial final episode aired, we're desperately looking for something to fill that How I Met Your Mother-shaped hole in our lives.
If you're going through a similar situation, then perhaps our list of recommendations could help you make a decision on what to watch next. We've looked at various TV shows, old and new, and found ten shows that fans of How I Met Your Mother should definitely check out. Hopefully, you will find something to your liking.
Alright, let’s get rid of the elephant in the room. If by some miracle, you’ve managed to go through your life without watching Friends – first, what the hell, and second, drop everything you’re doing and go watch Friends. Seriously, if you love HIMYM, you must watch its spiritual predecessor.
Friends follows the hilarious, inspiring, relatable, and endlessly entertaining adventures of Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross – a group of friends living, working, dating, falling in love, getting married/divorced, and having the time of their lives in New York City. The show romanticizes friendship in the most wonderful way and has arguably the most popular will they/won’t they relationship ever put to screen, aka Ross and Rachel. Plus, the adorably sweet, relationship-goals love story of Chandler and Monica is certain to warm your heart.
The other spiritual predecessor of HIMYM and pretty much anything in that vein of comedy that came out in the last two decades, Seinfeld is yet another must-watch for any fan of sitcoms. Created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the show often described as “a show about nothing” follows a group of friends – Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer – as they go navigate everyday life in New York City and discuss random stuff that many of us have probably thought of in a similar way.
It's relatable, sometimes even painfully so, It doesn't care about continuity, character development or romance. Which is why Seinfeld is kind of the darker, cynical cousin of Friends and HIMYM. But while it may not give you the big emotional payoffs that HIMYM does, it will deliver hilarious and expertly crafted plotlines that will never get old and the type of humor that you don't get from most shows that are on the air today.
8 HAPPY ENDINGS
Happy Endings is the same type of show as Friends and How I Met Your Mother, so if you liked these two, odds are you’ll like Happy Endings as well. It starts off with Dave and Alex, the two friends who brought the group together, breaking up on their wedding day and the first season is largely about the two of them, and the rest of the group, dealing with the aftermath of the breakup.
However, the show eventually evolves into the classic “friends hanging out” sitcom, following the various adventures these characters find themselves on in their personal and professional lives. Happy Endings was praised for its warm-hearted comedy, earning both critical acclaim and fan following, so everyone was pretty upset when ABC decided to take it off the air after only three seasons.
7 MODERN FAMILY
Judging by the premise alone, Modern Family is quite different from How I Met Your Mother, but it could still be a suitable replacement. This award-winning ABC sitcom follows three generations of a diverse family living in suburban Los Angeles. Just like HIMYM is a hilarious take on friendships, this show is a hilarious take on the many relationships within three generations of a family. With so many different characters and households, Modern Family has something for everyone.
The light-hearted humor, the witty approach to serious topics, the wacky and relatable characters, Modern Family has got it all. And if it’s romance you’re seeking, don't worry. There’s plenty between the parents, but also a lot of romantic subplots involving their teenage children. Plus, this show has Phil Dunphy, aka the coolest TV dad. Sorry, future Ted.
6 PARKS AND RECREATION
A good number of sitcoms rely too much on cynicism, which while a good source of comedy, can also be pretty damn exhausting. If you prefer shows where the characters aren’t mean to each other, like HIMYM and Friends, then you should check out Parks and Recreation. Think of it as a less cynical take on The Office.
Parks and Rec is a satirical comedy set in the Parks Department of the fictional town Pawnee, Indiana. The series revolves around the department’s Deputy Director Leslie Knope, a perky over-achiever, and her diverse team of co-workers. The show is known and beloved for its relatable characters, as well as well-portrayed and healthy romantic relationships, which should appeal to fans of How I Met Your Mother.
5 THE BIG BANG THEORY
Opinions on the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory are divided, but even the hardest critics have to recognize the show’s success. The Big Bang Theory relies on the tried and successful sitcom formula with a group of young, aspiring individuals experiencing the ups and downs in their personal and professional lives.
The twist with this one is that the majority of the cast are geeky, socially awkward scientists, with the waitress/aspiring actress Penny being the odd one out. Naturally, the show is jam-packed with all sorts of nerdy references, as well as a lot of science mumbo-jumbo. While it doesn't thrive on big emotional arcs like HIMYM, it does have its moments. If you don’t mind substituting New York for Pasadena, and a bar for a comic book store/university cafeteria, you should give TBBT a shot.
Not a sitcom, but still an excellent blend of comedy and drama, Chuck is somewhat of an underappreciated gem. Starring Mr. Shazam himself, Zachary Levi, as the titular Nerd Herd employee-turned Intersect, aka CIA/NSA asset, the show is known for its quirky humor, pop culture references, exciting spy adventures, and heartfelt storytelling.
The episodes usually follow the adventures of the spy trio, Chuck, Sara, and Casey, Chuck’s family, Ellie and Awesome, and Chuck’s Buy More friends, Morgan, Jeff, and Lester. The writers expertly navigate between wacky comedy and profound emotional character arcs, with lots of touching moments, a good dose of the rom-com vibe, bromance, and friendships. Chuck has all the hallmarks of a HIMYM-like sitcom and any HIMYM fan will fall head over heels for Chuck and Sara's adorable relationship, as well as Chuck and Morgan's bromance.
3 NEW GIRL
New Girl is pretty much How I Met Your Mother's younger sister – its true spiritual successor. The series follows the kooky thirty-something teacher Jess who moves in with three male roommates – Nick, Schmidt, and Winston – after finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman. With a mix of comedy and drama, New Girl shows us how these four characters plus Jess’s best friend Cece deal with all the trials and tribulations in their period of extended adolescence.
The premise is very similar to that of How I Met Your Mother and Friends, and the characters are as funny as they are endearing. While Schmidt stands as the fan-favorite, much like Neil Patrick Harris’s Barney Stinson, the show is at its best when they're all on the screen together. New Girl also has interesting romantic subplots between Nick and Jess, as well as Schmidt and Cece, so HIMYM fans should be pretty happy with this one.
Community is a cult classic that everyone who loves TV absolutely must watch. Following the adventures of a gang of eclectic misfits at the Greendale Community College, this is a show that relies heavily on meta-humor, pop culture references, and often shoots off in unexpected and experimental directions. For example, a stop-motion animation episode or a Law and Order homage episode, just to name a few.
One of the things we loved about HIMYM is the unique style of storytelling and Community has this in spades. The writers expertly craft elaborate storylines with perfect comedic timing and a healthy dose of resonant emotional moments. Starring the narcissistic former fake lawyer Jeff Winger, the straight-A overachiever Annie Edison, the pop-culture enthusiast Abed Nadir, the politically interested Britta Perry, the quarterback with a quirky sense of humor Troy Barnes, the group's mother hen Shirley Bennett and everyone's racist uncle Pierce Hawthorne. While Community does not deliver HIMYM-level romantic subplots, its earnest portrayal of diverse characters and friendships make it a worthy recommendation for HIMYM fans. Expect brilliantly written storylines, meaningful character development, tons of big laughs, a good chunk of life lessons, and more pop culture extravaganza than you can handle.
1 BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
How I Met Your Mother was excellent at blending comedy with serious moments. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should check out Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The show revolves around a group of detectives at Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct. With a diverse cast of characters, outstanding performances across the board, exceptional writing, and pitch-perfect comedic timing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of TV’s best comedies.
The characters are hilarious, relatable, and likable. Jake Peralta is a somewhat childish, but talented, detective, Raymond Holt, the Precinct’s robotic Captain, Rosa Diaz, the scary and tough detective with a sweet side, Amy Santiago, the neurotic over-achiever, Gina Linetti, the egomaniacal and sarcastic civilian administrator, Charles Boyle, the hopeless romantic and clumsy idiot, and Terry Jeffords, the adorable giant. The series does a great job of giving everyone interesting character arcs and portraying various friendships and romantic relationships. It's got tons of humor, but most importantly it's got a lot of heart.