It’s hard to choose the best sitcoms of the ‘90s: so many quality theme songs, so many outlandish misunderstandings, and so many will-they-or-wont-they plotlines. Though Seinfeld dominated much of the era, the show actually began its run in the ‘80s, so for the purposes of this best-of list, we begin at the beginning: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Home Improvement, and Beavis and Butt-head are just a few of the greatest sitcoms to start the ‘90s.
By the time Clinton was sworn into office, Blossom, Martin, and Mad About You were already must-see mainstays in 90s television. Building on the successes of ensemble comedies like Cheers and Night Court, other sitcoms of the 90s like Wings, Frasier and The Drew Carey Show boasted a core group of characters getting equal airtime and intersecting storylines.
Then, there were the cultural phenomena. Friends took off like a pop-culture rocket, influencing music, fashion, hairstyles and vernacular. The long-running South Park launched on Comedy Central and neither animation nor celebrity spoofing would ever be the same. Cable broke new programming ground with Sex and the City, among other shows, setting a course for the ‘00s and teens, where subscription cable dominates the zeitgeist and awards shows.
Some critics’ darlings, like NewsRadio, saw abbreviated runs, while worn-out premises, like The Nanny, exceeded expectations. Shows like Will & Grace, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Living Single, and Step by Step reflected how the culture was redefining the traditional family. The funniest shows of the ‘90s entertained, but were also informed by the way we live today.
Every popular 1990s sitcom should be included on this list, so if your favorite is missing for some reason, add it to this list.
- 1The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from... moreWill Smith, James Avery
- 2Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from... moreTim Allen, Patricia Richardson
- 3That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from... moreTopher Grace, Laura Prepon
- 4Friends (NBC, 1994) is an American sitcom television series created by David Crane and Marta... moreJennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox
- 5The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting... moreDan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright
- 6Full House is an American sitcom created by Jeff Franklin for ABC. The show chronicles a... moreBob Saget, John Stamos
- 7Frasier (NBC, 1993) is an American sitcom television series created by David Angell, Peter... moreKelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves
- 8Boy Meets World (ABC, 1993) is an American television sitcom created by Michael Jacobs and... moreBen Savage, Rider Strong
- 9Cheers is an American sitcom that ran for eleven seasons between 1982 and 1993. The show was... moreTed Danson, Rhea Perlman
- 10Saved by the Bell is an American television sitcom that aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993. A... moreMark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez
- 11Family Matters is an American sitcom which originated on ABC network from September 22, 1989... moreReginald VelJohnson, Jaleel White
- 12The King of Queens is an American sitcom that originally ran on CBS from September 21, 1998,... moreKevin James, Leah Remini
- 13Everybody Loves Raymond is an American television sitcom starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton,... moreRay Romano, Patricia Heaton
- 143rd Rock from the Sun is an American sitcom that aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC. The show is... moreJohn Lithgow, Jane Curtin
- 15Roseanne (ABC, 1988) is an American television sitcom created by Matt Williams, Marcy Carsey,... moreRoseanne Barr, John Goodman
- 16The Nanny is an American television sitcom originally aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999, starring... moreFran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy
- 17South Park (Comedy Central, 1997) is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker... moreTrey Parker, Matt Stone
- 18The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1995 to 2004. The show was... moreDrew Carey, Diedrich Bader
- 19Step by Step is an American television sitcom that aired for seven seasons, originally running... morePatrick Duffy, Suzanne Somers
- 20Will & Grace is an American sitcom, based on the relationship between Will Truman and Grace... moreEric McCormack, Debra Messing
- 21Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is an American sitcom based on the Archie comic book series of the... moreMelissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea
- 22King of the Hill is an American adult animated sitcom created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels... moreMike Judge, Kathy Najimy
- 23Mad About You is an American sitcom that aired on NBC from September 23, 1992, to May 24,... morePaul Reiser, Helen Hunt
- 24Wings is an American sitcom that ran on NBC from April 19, 1990, to May 21, 1997. Starring Tim... moreTim Daly, Steven Weber
- 25Just Shoot Me! is an American television sitcom that aired for seven seasons on NBC from March... moreLaura San Giacomo, Enrico Colantoni