Created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, Will & Grace had a very successful eight-year run at NBC between 1998 and 2005. Then, in 2016, the cast and crew got back together for a special webisode promoting Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, which was received with wide acclaim from both fans and critics. Indirectly, that one-off special made the case for a Will & Grace reboot, which ended up being greenlit by NBC in 2017.
Without a doubt, the Will & Grace revival has earned its place on TV, yielding very positive ratings and award nominations that resemble the show’s heyday. Over the course of ten seasons, Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack have made us laugh, cry, reflect, and most importantly, keep coming back for more. This is Will & Grace: All 10 Seasons, Ranked.
10 SEASON 10
There is no doubt that we have a soft spot for the most recent season of Will & Grace – season 10 – which aired in 2018 and featured David Schwimmer and Matt Bomer as love interests to the show’s title characters. However, it is hard to compare it against all of the other seasons in the series, all of which had more compelling storylines, significantly higher ratings, and many more Emmy nominations to back them up.
With that said, there is no doubt that Will & Grace is a rare example of a long-running show that does not have a particularly terrible season. Season 10 is definitely worth the watch, but it certainly felt inferior to season 9, which brought the show back with a bang.
9 SEASON 8
Toward the end of its original run, Will & Grace just wasn’t pulling the same weight that it did before. Season 8 started with Karen finding out Stan was still alive and went on with the storyline that Will and Grace’s friendship was in jeopardy due to the fact that she was pregnant.
All in all, season 8 was not the best year for Will & Grace, despite having the responsibility to bring this story to a close and give these characters some proper resolution. At the time, this was the lowest-rated season of the entire series, averaging 8.7 million viewers – which was well below the ratings of over 12 million people that the show had for most of its initial run.
8 SEASON 7
Over the course of the seventh season of Will & Grace, it started to become clear that the show was probably going to come to an end very soon. While Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally were still getting all of their usual Emmy nominations – and even winning one in 2005 – there was little doubt that audiences were beginning to lose interest.
The star-studded season 7, which included Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Patti LuPone, Chita Rivera, Sharon Stone, and Will Arnett wasn’t enough to stop the Will & Grace ratings from dropping to below 10 million average viewers per episode for the first time in the history of the series. Alas, it was the beginning of the end for the TV show’s original run.
7 SEASON 9
Season 9 was the first season of the Will & Grace reboot that began to air in 2017, and it certainly brought the show back to mainstream consciousness, grabbing the attention of TV critics, old fans, and new audiences. What’s more, the season was marked by emotional storylines, such as Rosario’s passing, Will and Grace’s recent divorces, and Jack meeting his grandson – a gay boy – for the first time.
Despite the fact that it is hard to compare the ninth season of Will & Grace with most of the series’ original run, this was definitely a remarkable return to form for the show. It even earned actor Sean Hayes (who portrays Jack) an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series category.
6 SEASON 2
Who can forget Jack coming out to his mother during the “Homo for the Holidays” episode? Or Grace’s ‘water bra’ in “Das Boob”? Better yet, remember when Will, Grace, and Jack thought that they’d watch the first-ever gay kiss on TV in the “Acting Out” episode, only to watch the camera pan out at the very last second?
Season 2 of Will & Grace is, for many reasons, pretty remarkable. If the first season gave this series a fighting chance, it was the second year that truly solidified the show as one of the landmark comedies of its time. By then, not only were mainstream audiences already getting comfortable with gay men featured as television protagonists, it no longer mattered at all. Everyone was hooked on Will, Grace, Jack, and Karen.
5 SEASON 1
The importance – and greatness – of Will & Grace season 1 is perhaps better appreciated with a little bit of context. It was 1998, and ABC had quite literally just canceled Ellen, the sitcom starring Ellen DeGeneres, shortly after the comedian came out as a gay woman. It was a big bet for NBC to come out (pun intended) with its own primetime comedy starring gay characters.
But the best part about the first season of Will & Grace is that it was just a hilarious show, regardless of Will or Jack’s sexual orientation. From the “Between a Rock and Harlin’s Place” episode to “Grace, Replaced,” there was no doubt that this series was here to stay.
4 SEASON 6
The sixth season of Will & Grace was marked by Debra Messing’s real-life pregnancy, which caused the character of Grace to not appear on the show for a total of five episodes. Despite that brief hiatus, it is undeniable that Debra had one of her best years ever in the series.
This was the year that gave us the hilarious “Last Ex To Brooklyn” episode when we find out that the only woman Will has ever been with, Diane, is also an ex to Leo, who is Grace’s boyfriend at the time. Who can forget how jealous Grace got about the fact that Diane had slept with Will, but did not particularly care that she had been with Leo?
3 SEASON 5
Will & Grace got a bit more serious than it ever had during season 5, when Grace finally met someone she genuinely cared about, Leo, and had a huge argument with Will that put their friendship to the real test. Moreover, this was the year when we got none other than Madonna making her first (and only) appearance on a television comedy series.
It was quite shocking – and somewhat exciting – for Will & Grace fans to finally watch these two beloved characters fall apart, even if briefly. Things got a little deeper on season 5, to the point where Will evicted Grace from his apartment. While it was clear that this was a show made for everyone to laugh, it was certainly a welcome change of pace for longtime viewers to experience.
2 SEASON 4
Along with season 3, the fourth year of Will & Grace averaged 17.3 million viewers and took home two Emmy awards for the performances by Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally in the show.
It was on season 4 that Matt Damon made his cameo, that Grace proposed to Nathan and got dumped, and that it first occurred to Will and Grace that maybe they should have a baby together. There is no doubt that the fourth season of Will & Grace solidified the series’ very best years, earning critical acclaim and reaching mass appeal at the same time.
1 SEASON 3
Season 3 of Will & Grace has several memorable moments that make it the absolute best season of the series, ever. After all, this is the year when we got both parts of the “Lows In The Mid-Eighties” episode, which reveals what happened between Will and Grace when they dated in 1985 and shows us Will’s coming out story. This was also the season that featured a very confused Will thinking that he is meant to marry Jack.
All in all, season 3 is responsible for raising the Will & Grace ratings to an average of 17.3 million viewers per episode. Furthermore, it was the first time that both Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally won Emmy awards for their performances on the series.