One of the wonderful things about the great shows on Netflix is that we get the chance to revisit some of our favorite television sitcoms — and even discover a few that might be new to us. One of the chief reasons to subscribe to Netflix is the opportunity to watch your favorite comedies again. Here is a selection of just some of the sitcoms available through Netflix streaming. Some are quite popular, others are a little lesser known, but all of them are worth a look, if you haven’t seen them before.
Must-See TV Again — Great Shows On Netflix
1. 30 Rock
Tina Fey’s farce about the goings-on behind the scenes at a comedy-variety show is smart, topical, irreverent and always fearless. It also features some great cameo and guest appearances by everyone from Dr. Condoleezza Rice to Ghostface Killah. Alec Baldwin has never been better.
2. Arrested Development
More serial than sitcom, this unconventional, Emmy-winning show about “A wealthy family who lost everything” was critically acclaimed for its sharp writing and daring performances. But audiences had a hard time finding it on Fox’s constantly changing schedule, leading to its untimely network demise. Fortunately, Netflix has agreed to revive the series by licensing 14 new episodes, which will be released via Netflix streaming in May, 2013.
3. The Office
American versions of British series typically lose something in the translation. But here is an example of an American adaptation done right. Relatable to anyone who has ever worked in an office environment, with characters you recognize, this show is sometimes plainly uncomfortable to watch for its honesty. This is largely due to the bold commitment of Steve Carell as Michael Scott, but the supporting cast — many of whom also write the show — are equally strong. For those who prefer it, the original UK series is also available and just as entertaining.
4. The Wonder Years
Kevin Arnold is growing up in the late ’60s, but he’s not always growing up as quickly as his two best friends, Paul and Winnie — literally the girl next door and his first love. This Emmy-winning coming-of-age series is nostalgic, hilarious, and poignant, sometimes all at the same time. (Little known fact: Daniel Stern (“City Slickers,” “Home Alone”) serves as the show’s narrator, adult Kevin Arnold.)
5. Freaks and Geeks
Similar in tone to “The Wonder Years,” but set in the early 1980s, this Paul Feig creation, produced by Judd Apatow, follows Lindsay Weir and her younger brother Sam as they navigate the never-ending obstacles of social acceptance. Sam and his “geek” childhood friends are freshmen at the same Michigan high school where Lindsay has suddenly abandoned her erstwhile overachieving peers in favor of the pot-smoking “freaks.” Though never really allowed to find its audience, the show helped launch the careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Phillipps, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini.
6. How I Met Your Mother
Speaking of Jason Segel … The interactions of a group of close friends is always a great formula for a sitcom, but when there is something of a mystery to be solved as well, it’s even more incentive to tune in. With a standout performance from the openly gay Neil Patrick Harris, who is thoroughly convincing as television’s biggest womanizer, Barney Stinson.
7. The IT Crowd
This British import about the lovelorn geeks in the lowly IT department of Reynholm Industries is strongly rooted in the workplace comedy tradition of modern classics like, “WKRP in Cincinnati” or “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Lovable, memorable characters combined with impeccable timing and delivery of hilarious dialogue is the perfect sit-combination.
8. Fawlty Towers
The original John Cleese farce about a snob running a hotel in Torquay. Extraordinary clowning and physical comedy from the whole cast. It’s a nostalgic treat for anyone who grew up watching it on PBS.
Has it really been 30 years since the eponymous bar “where everybody knows your name” opened for business? It’s hard to believe, when the writing is still this sharp and the ensemble of characters is still relatable, believable and lovable in equal measure.
10. Bob’s Burgers
This ingenious animated family comedy revolves around working class parents Bob and Linda Belcher, as they struggle to keep their restaurant afloat while raising their three precocious children. The multi-layered humor and subtle sight gags are definitely worth repeat visits.
Netflix has a ton of great shows available for streaming, and not all of them lasted for several seasons like most of the ones above. David Gonos wrote a piece on the best TV shows on Netflix that got cancelled too early, and he also wrote an article on six intense Netflix TV shows still running that you can catch up on.
Hopefully, there are a few TV shows on here you might not have seen. But I imagine even if you have seen all of these great shows on Netflix, you’ll agree that a marathon of any of these shows on a rainy day sounds like a great idea!