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11 TV Shows Like Friends To Watch If You Miss This Wholesome Sitcom

shows like friends

Friends was a TV phenomenon which spread like wildfire in the United States during its run on NBC from 1994 to 2004, and outside of the US with the advent of the streaming era. With the streaming rights acquired by Netflix, audiences from continents all over the world were finally able to view full episodes of the series. Here are 12 other shows like Friends to watch if you miss this quintessential sitcom.

Over the years show-runners from different production companies have tried their best to satisfy audiences’ appetite for other cozy, romantic, comedic light-hearted sitcoms, all done to varying levels of success. Friends is the template for other sitcoms to follow and here are a few recommendations for series like Friends.

List of TV Shows Like Friends

1. 2 Broke Girls (2011-2017)

2 Broke Girls is a television sitcom that aired on CBS, and just like Friends, follows the lives of a group of friends, in this case two friends. These are Black and Caroline, played by Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs respectively.
The series aims at showcasing a pair of characters with two completely different perspectives on life and money. Caroline was raised as the daughter of a billionaire, while Max is from a poor background.

The show has garnered praise for its witty humor, and its use of well-known character tropes, and also turning those tropes on their heads. The set design in particular was great, with 2 Broke Girls winning an Emmy Award for best art direction in 2012. Check this out if you want to watch shows like Friends.

2. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Gilmore Girls had the majority of its runtime in the same era as Friends but this didn’t stop the comedy-drama from gaining its status as a cult classic. The CW drama follows the life and relationship dynamics of its characters just like Friends, but this show especially focuses on the one between single mom Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory Gilmore. Lorelal is motivated by the desire to own her own inn, while Rory, who is an intellectual hopes to one day attend Harvard University.

The show is praised for its focus on familial themes and portraying the family in a realistic yet entertaining light. The show received rave reviews throughout its time on air, and can now be streamed on Netflix. You should check out Gilmore Girls if you’re looking for more shows like Friends.

3. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

Unlike the previous TV series on this list, Seinfeld actually started airing long before Friends did. The show’s structure and the themes of friendship, centred around little comedic episodic adventures, are however similar to that of Friends. Seinfeld, which is said by the writers to be based on some of their life experiences, focuses on four friends, Seinfeld, George, Elaine and Cosmo. Seinfeld is played by Jerry Seinfeld who acts as a fictional version of himself, a move which interestingly blurred the lines between fiction and reality for viewers.

It has been described by critics as “a show about nothing”, and follows the day-to-day lives of these friends, with moments of Seinfeld’s stand-up sketches used as sort of an interlude in early seasons. Seinfeld has received multiple awards and nominations in a wide range of categories, including Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards. You must check out Seinfeld if you’re looking for shows like Friends.

4. Two and a Half Men (2003-2015)

Two and a Half Men also features another leading man who keeps his first name the same as his real name. Charlie Harper who is played by actor Charlie Sheen for 8 seasons before leaving the show in 2012. Similar to Friends due to its lighthearted comedy, the show initially was based around the Harper brothers, Charlie and Alan, and Alan’s son, Jake.

Charlie lives as an unapologetic playboy who indulges in a very wayward bachelor’s lifestyle. The show has been labelled as one of the most successful comedy shows of its decade with its mostly funny, but somewhat misogynistic style of humor contributing to its success. Check it out if you’re looking for more shows like Friends.

5. Episodes (2011-2017)

Episodes is a comedy sitcom about a British married couple who relocate to the United States, specifically Hollywood. This move is in a bid to remake their British TV hit for American viewers. However they encounter some unexpected obstacles, and things don’t go as smoothly as expected. If you miss shows like Friends, you must check out Episodes.

Episodes also features a familiar face for the Friends fandom in Matt Le Blanc, who makes his first TV appearance since the short-lived Friends spinoff, Joey. He was rewarded for his performance in the role with a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Comedy/Musical.

6. Cougar Town (2009-2015)

Showrunners Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel were responsible for the production of Cougar Town, an American television sitcom set in the fictional town of Gulfhaven, Florida. The show follows Jules Cobb, played by Courtney Cox, in other words, Monica in Friends.

Jules is a divorced lady in her 40s who has to deal with her teenage son, her ex-husband and her dysfunctional extended family. However, just like in the show Friends, she is surrounded by a funny and fun-loving group of friends. Cougar Town is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for TV series like Friends.

7. Parks & Recreation (2009-2015)

Also known as Parks & Rec, this show is a political satire sitcom, which features an even larger ensemble cast than Friends. The lead character is Leslie Knope, played by the hilarious Amy Poehler, who is a mid-level manager in the Parks Department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. If you’ve already seen it, check out our list of shows like Parks and Recreation.

The show makes use of a mockumentary style similar to The Office, which led to criticisms of its first season. However, the gets progressively better from the second season onwards till it ended in 2015. You must check out Parks and Recreation if you miss series like Friends.

8. Community (2009-2015)

The brilliant comedy series Community follows Jeff Winger, a lawyer who is disbarred and suspended from law practice and his firm and his oddball group of diverse friends. In order to acquire a legitimate degree, Jeff enrols at Greendale Community College, Colorado. Community is a must-watch comedy sitcom if you’re looking for TV shows like Friends.

Just like Friends, it is an ensemble comedy sitcom, centred on Jeff’s study group, which he starts for selfish reasons, but soon starts to grow fond of his heart, with members becoming close friends. The show received critical acclaim throughout its time on air, garnering a total of 11 award wins from 60 nominations, evidence of its perceived high level of quality. If you’ve already seen this creative comedy, take a look at our list of shows like Community.

9. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

Of all the shows on this list, HIMYM seems to tick most of the boxes and is regularly compared to TV shows like Friends. The show follows the main character of Ted Mosby, who in the year 2030, recounts to his children the events starting from September 2005 which all led to him meeting their mother.

The episode-by-episode plot centers on his life as a single man and upcoming architect living in New York City, and his friendship with Marshall, Lily, love interest Robin Scherbatsky, and sleazy playboy Barney Stinson. Each season progressively includes hints about Ted meeting the mother of his children, acting as a great way of tying these loose comedic narratives that occur episode by episode to eventually form a cohesive whole. 

10. Living Single (1993-1998)

Living Single for the duration of its runtime was regularly compared and contrasted with Friends, which was reportedly inspired by Living Single itself. The show ranked among the top five in ratings among African-American TV shows for all five of its seasons.

The TV show centered on the lives of six relatively successful group of friends living in Brooklyn, split into two households, one shared by three women, and the other shared by two male childhood friends.

11. Happy Endings (2011-2013)

Happy Endings is an American ensemble comedy similar to Friends, which follows the adventures of six best friends living in Chicago, including Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr., Alex, played by Elisha Cuthbert, and Dave, played by Zachary Knighton, among others. The show’s plot kicks off with the wedding of Dave and Alex, which ends in disaster, as Alex leaves Dave waiting at the altar. 

Happy Endings was compared to a host of other relationship sitcoms, however, instead of laser focusing on Alex and Dave’s relationship, it eventually evolves into a show about the relationship dynamic between the six best friends, similar to series like Friends and How I Met Your Mother.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Friends that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. New Girl
  2. Grand Crew
  3. The Golden Girls
  4. The Big Bang Theory

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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