Best shows like Friends
The good news is Friends will always be there for you, when the rain starts to fall… the bad news is, there’s only so many episodes of Friends in the world, and once you’ve seen them all about a hundred time, you may well need to take a break. That isn’t because you don’t love Joey, Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe and Ross anymore, but just because sometimes its nice to have a change.
But what do you watch now? Well, never fear, because we at Screen OD have complied a list of great shows that we believe you will enjoy watching if you love Friends.
Some are more like Friends than others, but we believe they all have a Friends-esque vibe that will give you something new to watch before you return to your favourite boxset.
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OK, so it’s not set in New York and it is has one star more prominent than the the rest of the gang (in this case, it’s Zooey Deschanel as the titular New Girl, Jess), but on many levels this is a show that will talk to people who like the dynamics and comedy at play in Friends. It focusses on the loves and lives of a group of friends who hang out in a large open plan apartment, and it has a lot of laughs baked into the script. Jess as a character possibly shares the most with Phoebe in the world of friends, but her housemates all bring characteristics that will make you feel close to Central Perk. There’s even love stories that develop between the friends in the apartment… what’s not to like?
- Run out of episodes of your favourite TV programme? Try our list of the best shows like other shows
How I Met Your Mother
Another well-loved comedy, the show follows the fortunes of a group of pals in the big city – and just like Friends it has plenty of laughs along the way. If you’re looking for another show set in central New York that has plenty of odd-couple dynamics between the people on screen, this is a show that will have you coming back for more. Just like Friends this show ran for nearly a decade and therefore if you get into it, there’s plenty to watch and rewatch until, well, you go and start watching the first season of Friends again!
Cheers is one of the Godparents of the modern sitcom and Friends owes a lot to this brilliant piece of television. The cast may be of all different ages, and they may be hanging out in a bar in Boston rather than coffee shop in New York, but the dynamics and the humour in this iconic series are actually quite similar. There is love, loss and a lot of misunderstanding along the way – not to mention a brilliant cast. It comes with the the fact it would also spawn Frasier as well, so that’s another tick in the box, right?
The Big Bang Theory
In many ways this show becomes more like Friends as it goes on, as the initial one girl and a bunch of geeky guys concept expands into a group of friends interacting in the social and work lives as they take on the challenges of being young adults. Now most of the characters in this series are probably smarter than the average Joey, but in its essence this show still has a lot of hanging around in apartments talking about nothing much in particular, getting into scrapes and exploring the relationships between people who as you might expect live across the hall from one another.
A Spanish class in a community college may not sound much like six Friends in a New York apartment, but what Community lacks in its setting it certainly makes up for in its sensibility and humour. Sharing a similar ensemble cast dynamic to Friends, this series has a dark and at times silly humour that will resonate, and like Friends it quickly draws you into a world of characters who are so well drawn that you cannot help but want to stay for more, and more. It also has Chevy Chase in it which is an extra bonus.
Created by Steven Moffat, who would go on to be showrunner of Doctor Who and co-create Sherlock, Coupling was an early 2000s British sitcom that came around at the very height of Friends-mania across the world. Dubbed by many in the press as the “British Friends” because of the way it followed the fortunes of a good-looking bunch of three girls and three guys in their twenties as they battled to get their careers and love lives in order, there’s certainly a lot in this that have a soft spot for the Central Perk Six.
There’s a lot of similarities that can be drawn between Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s comedy behemoth and Friends, not least that it was one of the biggest comedies of its era in America and continues long after its finished to be a show that has left a permanent imprint on popular culture. What is more, it’s about a group of pals who hang out a lot in apartments and coffee shops, who love and live and do whacky stuff. It’s on the darker and edgier end of comedy at times and there’s fewer haircuts you’d want to emulate, but it’ll certainly offer something to most Friends fans.
The Office (US)
Although based originally on the UK series created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this is a show that goes off on its own long and winding story. And yes, its a workplace comedy rather than being primarily based in an apartment or a coffee shop, this is a show that has a certain Friends-like quality to it. Maybe its the strong characterisation and relationships between the leads, maybe its the pithy humour and more than its fair share of silliness – but whatever it is, this is a show like Friends that once you fall in love with you’ll be happy watching over and over again.
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