Best Netflix shows to watch if you miss Friends
Nearly three decades after its premiere, the influence and impact of Friends can still be felt in the shows we watch today. Whether its the theme of friendship or will-they-or-won’t-they relationships that drive us pleasantly mad, many Netflix shows hit the same notes.
With the cast coming back together for Friends: The Reunion on HBO Max, it’s no secret fans are at an all-time nostalgia high. But if you’re not quite ready to dive back into the scene of the sentimental crime with a re-binge of the original classic, Netflix has a few shows that will scratch that itch.
Of course, Friends is no longer available to stream on Netflix, but there are plenty of series on the streaming giant that will make a perfect addition to your watch list. Whether its the direct relationship comedy descendants New Girl and Happy Endings (a must-watch new release coming in June 2021) or shows featuring the cast in new roles, we have you covered.
Wondering what Netflix shows to watch if you’re feeling lost without your favorite sitcom friends to keep you company? For a wonderful spectrum of titles full of love, laughs and levity, here are the 25 best shows to watch on Netflix that will totally be there for you.
Netflix shows like Friends: Friends from College
Created By: Francesa Delbanco and Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage, Annie Parisse, Nat Faxon, Jae Suh Park, Cobie Smulders
There’s a dead giveaway in the title of the Netflix original comedy series Friends from College that it shares some kind of sensibility with Friends: the word “friends.” And both comedies, in fact, hover over the same concept of longtime friends stumbling through life together one major misstep at a time. However, Friends from College makes even bigger hot messes out of its characters.
Now in their 40s and traversing the choppy waters of marriage and parenthood, a group of Harvard grads navigates their intertwined relationships in New York City. Friends from College takes on a much more darkly comic tone than Friends, but the complicated yet humorous situations that arise through friendship are all there. The series features a stellar cast and ran for two short seasons.
Flip the page for more Netflix shows to watch if you miss Friends!Next: More Netflix shows like Friends
Netflix shows like Friends: Great News
Created By: Tracey Wigfield
Starring: Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins
Even though Friends wasn’t a workplace sitcom, the show still followed the four main cast members at work. Rachel worked at Central Perk, Bloomingdale’s and Ralph Lauren. Joey starred in Days of Our Lives, Monica cooked for various restaurants, Phoebe busked at the coffeehouse and gave massages, Ross’s paleontology career took off, and Chandler… input data? We’re still not really sure what he did as a “transponster.”
Each time we went to work with the gang, hilarity quickly followed no matter what. That’s why fans of Friends would have a blast watching the fellow NBC comedy series Great News. The series centers on ambitious news producer Kaite Wendelson (Briga Heelan), whose upward trajectory at work receives an unexpected fork in the road when her mother, Carol (Andrea Martin), jumps back into the workforce as an intern.
Great News was ridiculously underrated during its two-season stint on NBC from 2017 to 2018. The series comes from Emmy-winning 30 Rock and The Mindy Project writer Tracey Wigfield and executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Beyond that, Great News boasted one of the best comedy casts in recent memory, complete with secret weapon Nicole Richie. These co-workers may not have been the best of friends, but that’s what makes them funny.Next: Master of None
Netflix shows like Friends: Master of None
Created By: Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang
Starring: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Eric Wareheim, Kelvin Yu, Lena Waithe, Alessandra Mastronardi, Naomi Ackie
At the end of the day, what is Friends if not a slice of life comedy? We’re watching the lives of six intertwined people naturally unfold through every romantic, personal and professional twist and turn. Jobs change, partners come and go, babies are born, just as we experience in our own lives — except we don’t have a live studio audience to make light of the bigger twists.
Perhaps one of Netflix’s most critically acclaimed original comedy series in Master of None, dramedy created by and starring Parks and Recreation standout Aziz Ansari. In the first two seasons, Ansari plays Dev Shah, a 30-year-old struggling actor and eventual pasta maker trying to make sense of what he wants from his professional and personal endeavors.
In its upcoming third season, titled Master of None Presents: Moments in Love, the series will instead center on Lena Waithe’s character Denise in London (which is pretty iconic locale for Friends, if we don’t say so ourselves). While both series might not be on the same page tonally, they’re each tackling a comparable theme of life in the midst of figuring it all out.Next: Dead to Me
Netflix shows like Friends: Dead to Me
Created By: Liz Feldman
Starring: Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Max Jenkins, Sam McCarthy, Luke Roessler
When you look at Friends and Dead to Me side by side, they couldn’t be more different. (Say that in the signature inflection of one Chandler Bing.) One’s a traditional multi-cam sitcom that’s as light as a feather, and the other is a dark tragicomedy about trauma and murder. What do these two shows have in common that could entice Friends fans to watch?
Obviously, it’s the fact that Dead to Me stars arguably the greatest Friends guest star of all time, Christina Applegate! In seasons 9 and 10, Applegate appears in two episodes as Amy Green, the conceited older sister of Rachel. The TV veteran won a well-deserved Emmy Award for her performance in the season 9 episode “The One with Rachel’s Other Sister.”
Since 2019, Applegate has starred alongside fellow film and television favorite Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me as Jen, a mourning widow looking for the truth about her husband’s death. While you won’t necessarily get the comforting, carefree humor of Friends, you will get Applegate taking Amy Green to hilariously explicit heights in the amazing and soon-to-be over Netflix original.
Dead to Me season 3 is coming to Netflix soon.Next: Gilmore Girls
Netflix shows like Friends: Gilmore Girls
Seasons: 7 + miniseries
Created By: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Scott Patterson, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Liza Weil, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Sean Gunn, Chris Eigeman, Matt Czuchry
Say what you will about Lorelai and Rory, but Gilmore Girls is one of the most thematically rich series around, and one of those themes that’s constantly explored is friendship. Whether it’s the blurred lines of Lorelai and Rory’s mother-daughter bond, Rory’s complicated frenemy connection with Paris or the BFF business partnership of Lorelai and Sookie, friends are aplenty in Stars Hollow.
Gilmore Girls centers on young mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), her 16-year-old Ivy League-bound daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) and the generational baggage of mother-daughter relationships that lingers in their lives. The show isn’t just a drama about a quirky small town and a family divide by class, it’s a comedy about the friendships we find to lift us up and feel like the family we really need.
Even though Gilmore Girls isn’t a multi-cam sitcom like Friends and isn’t specifically based on a group of friends making their way through a pivotal (Ross pun intended) period in their lives, they overlap in romance, laughter and friendship. Not to mention, both series hail from the same era of television and provide a similar sense of cozy 2000s nostalgia. If you’re missing Friends on Netflix, take a trip back in time with another old favorite.Next: The Crew
Netflix shows like Friends: The Crew
Created By: Jeff Lowell
Starring: Kevin James, Jillian Mueller, Freddie Stroma, Gary Anthony Williams, Dan Ahdoot, Sarah Stiles
Kevin James was never a guest star on Friends, but like the pop culture phenomenon sitcom, his comedy helped shape the late-’90s to early-’00s sense of humor. James starred in the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, which ran concurrently with Friends for most of its nine-season run. Naturally, fans of both sitcoms will want to check out the Netflix original series The Crew.
James returns to the sitcom world once again as a character we have come to expect from the actor and comedian. Kevin Gibson works as a crew chief in a NASCAR garage, but he comes to find the new boss has a way of doing things that interferes with what’s he’s used to. A workplace comedy, The Crew centers on the comical situations the team endures through these changes.
Of course, sitcoms and workplace comedies have evolved a lot since Kevin James found success with The King of Queens, and comedy has definitely evolved since Friends left the air. The Crew won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially not those who aren’t here for dated broad humor, but for a simple blast from the past that’ll feel like 2001 again, it’s worth a weekend watch.Next: iCarly
Netflix shows like Friends: iCarly
Created By: Dan Schneider
Starring: Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress, Jerry Trainor, Noah Munck
Obviously, when you think of shows similar to Friends, a Nickelodeon teen sitcom isn’t the first show that comes to mind. The characters aren’t going through the same things in the least. What does a teenaged girl making an internet show with her best friends have in common with 20-somethings in New York City dealing with relationships, sex and career?
Admittedly, the commonalities between Friends and iCarly are thing, but for millennials of a certain age, the overlap is just enough to stoke the same level of nostalgia. And isn’t it kindred that in the year 2021, the casts of both shows are reuniting in same form or another on a streaming service? At any rate, both shows feature well-meaning individuals making the best out of chaotic situations — both out of their control and of their own making.
Miranda Cosgrove stars in iCarly as Carly Shay, a teen who teams up with her best friends Sam (Jennette McCurdy) and Freddie (Nathan Kress) to create a web show right at the start of the YouTube age. The hit Nick series returns for a revival of the same name on Paramount+, which will follow Carly post-college in a new online landscape. Nothing could prepare you for the revival more, or soothe those Friends wounds, than a binge of iCarly on Netflix.Next: Love
Netflix shows like Friends: Love
Created By: Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O’Doherty, Micke Mitchell, Chris Witaske
If you’re looking for a will-they-or-won’t-they love story that’s a little more rough around the edges than Ross and Rachel, you’ll definitely find a solid option on Netflix. The underrated Netflix original romantic comedy series Love tells the tale of a seemingly mismatch couple embarking on a whirlwind romance, but they truly couldn’t be more of the anti-Ross and Rachel.
Love stars Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs as Gus and Mickey, two strangers who meet by chance at a gas station convenience store. On paper, they are every bit of the odd couple. Mickey is what most tropes would call the “cool girl,” and Gus would be classified by those same tropes as the “nerd.” But in reality, they’re actually on equal playing field as they each attempt to carry their individual emotional baggage through a new romance.
From co-creator Judd Apatow, Love was one of the first Netflix original comedy series and set the tone for what an original comedy could be on a streaming service. More so than in a show like Friends, the characters on Love were allowed to be realistically flawed for more than laughs from the studio audience. For a looser take on “modern dating,” Gus and Mickey go where Ross and Rachel couldn’t.Next: Arrested Development
Netflix shows like Friends: Arrested Development
Created By: Mitchell Hurwitz
Starring: Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale, David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter
As a series about a dysfunctional family, Arrested Development won’t scratch the same itch as Friends. But in terms of sense of humor, you will find yourself laughing all the same. The comedy of Arrested Development is very much character-driven, and the series, like Friends, presents a whole family full of larger than life characters that will soon feel like your own friends.
Arrested Development stars Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth, the begrudging and tireless rock of the Bluth family. A motley crew of formerly wealthy personalities, the Bluths consistently find themselves in unfortunate situations, such as the corrupt real estate developer and patriarch George Sr.’s (Jeffrey Tambor) arrested. Against all odds, Michael tries to keep the family in check.
In spite of critical acclaim, Arrested Development struggled with ratings during its original run on Fox, leading to its cancellation in 2006. Seemingly kick-starting the revival era, Netflix brought the cult favorite back for two additional seasons in 2013 and 2018. Arrested Development and Friends may not have much in common other than a real commitment to making us laugh.Next: Young & Hungry
Netflix shows like Friends: Young & Hungry
Created By: David Holden
Starring: Emily Osment, Jonathan Sadowski, Aimee Carrero, Kym Whitley, Rex Lee
As all Friends know particularly well, one of the biggest aspects of the show and what makes it so special all these years later is the relationship between Ross and Rachel. Season after season we hang onto their rollercoaster ride of a relationship from getting together to going on a break to breaking up to having a baby to getting off a plane. It’s that will-they-or-won’t-they that hooks us.
Well, if you love a good rocky romance, you just might have the time of your life watching the Freeform comedy series Young & Hungry. Emily Osment stars in the sitcom as Gabi Diamond, a 20-something chef struggling to make ends meet. When she interviews to be the personal chef for tech millionaire Josh Kaminski (Jonathan Sadowski), she gets much more than she bargained for when she has a one-night stand with her new boss.
Ross and Rachel never had to deal with mixing business and pleasure, but they sure had their fair share of obstacles to overcome, such as a certain 18-page (front and back!) letter. Young & Hungry tracks the high highs and low lows of Gabi and Josh’s wild ride of a relationship, while also mixing in the familiar beats of both a workplace and group-of-friends comedy. Although it skews younger, Friends fans will have no trouble finding laughs here.Next: Schitt's Creek
Netflix shows like Friends: Schitt’s Creek
Created By: Eugene Levy and Dan Levy
Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, Annie Murphy, Jennifer Robertson, Tim Rozon, Emily Hampshire, Chris Elliott, Sarah Levy, John Hemphill, Karen Robinson, Dustin Milligan, Noah Reid
A lot of people still adore Friends and its impact, continuing to make it one of the most discussed shows that’s no longer on television (except for reruns, obviously). But there’s an aspect of that discussion that doesn’t always put the classic sitcom in the greatest light. As with most shows from the past, some of its jokes haven’t aged well, the direct opposite of you’ll get from Schitt’s Creek.
In this riches to rags tale, the wealthy Rose family suddenly finds themselves stripped of their money, power and privilege thanks to being defrauded by their business manager. That leaves video store tycoon Johnny (Eugene Levy) and one-time soap star Moira (Catherine O’Hara) plucked from their mansion and plopped into the titular small town they bought as a joke with their developmentally arrested adult children David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy).
Schitt’s Creek began its run in the United States as an underrated darling before attracting more and more viewers thanks to Netflix binge-watching. After wrapping its final season, the series swept the Emmy Awards, taking home all the top honors for a comedy series. It’s clear to see why we have all fallen so deeply in love with the series because it makes everyone feel welcome. Without question, Schitt’s Creek will be the new leader in sitcom history.Next: Episodes
Netflix shows like Friends: Episodes
Created By: David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik
Starring: Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig, John Pankow, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Mircea Monroe
For the ultimate Friends fans, this title has already stoke two big bonuses. First of all, the Showtime comedy comedy series Episodes comes from co-creator David Crane, one-half of the legendary creators of Friends. How’s that for a draw? But secondly, Episodes stars Matt LeBlanc, the erstwhile Joey Tribbiani, as a fictionalized version of himself. It’s a must-watch for all Joey fans, and the complete series is available to stream on Netflix.
The British-American comedy series centers on married couple Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly Lincoln (Tamsin Greig) as they win even more awards for their successful sitcom. However, when they’re tasked with adapting their series in Hollywood for the American audience, they’re pressured to work with Matt LeBlanc, who isn’t exactly right for the role.
Episodes landed LeBlanc for Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and won him a Golden Globe. The series earned critical acclaim and effectively helped LeBlanc come out of the shadow of Joey. Much like Courteney Cox in Dirt and Cougar Town, Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback and Web Therapy, Matthew Perry in his string of small-screen hits and misses and everything else the cast has done, following them forward is a must for fans.Next: Disjointed
Netflix shows like Friends: Disjointed
Created By: David Javerbaum and Chuck Lorre
Starring: Kathy Bates, Aaron Moten, Elizabeth Alderfer, Tone Bell, Elizabeth Ho, Dougie Baldwin, Betsy Sodaro, Chris Redd
Perhaps the only sitcom legacy that’s as gargantuan as that of Friends is enduring résumé of Chuck Lorre. The television legend has created and/or produced such sitcoms as Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, Mom, The Kominsky Method, Young Sheldon and many, many more. Lorre also co-created the short-lived Netflix multi-cam Disjointed.
In terms of sitcoms, Disjointed marked something of a departure for Lorre. You’d be hard-pressed to find a multi-cam comedy in the legendary creator’s CBS résumé that centers around a weed dispensary, but such are the perks of making the leap to a streaming service like Netflix. Unfortunately, the Kathy Bates-led laugher didn’t last long, but its laughs remain strong.
Disjointed may not have much in common with Friends on paper, since none of the characters were overt stoners (though we wouldn’t be surprised if Phoebe and Joey were getting high on the low), both sitcoms have an unbeatable sense of humor. If “The One Where Ross Got High” is one of your favorite episodes of Friends, you’ll definitely want to check out Disjointed.Next: Feel Good
Netflix shows like Friends: Feel Good
Created By: Mae Martin and Joe Hampson
Starring: Mae Martin, Charlotte Ritchie, Lisa Kudrow, Sophie Thompson, Phil Burgers
Since ending Friends, the six main cast members have all made their way back to television to our absolute delight. David Schwimmer landed an Emmy Award nomination for his role in The People v. O. J. Simpson and Jennifer Aniston won a SAG Award for her turn in The Morning Show, marking triumphant returns for both. But Lisa Kudrow has consistently brought laughs on screens both big and small.
No stranger to guest-starring roles and recurring roles in all kinds of comedy series, Lisa Kudrow returned to starring role status in Netflix’s underrated 2020 original comedy series Feel Good. The show follows comedian Mae (Mae Martin) and her new relationship with girlfriend George (Charlotte Ritchie). Kudrow stars as Mae’s mother, Linda, in yet another scene-stealing role for the Emmy winner.
You’ll find that Lisa Kudrow pops up in guest roles in many more of the shows still to come on this list, but her appearance and performance in Feel Good might be one of her most underrated. In 2020, you probably also caught Kudrow in Netflix’s Space Force, but if you want another taste of Pheebs (reference!), make sure to add Feel Good to your watch list ahead of the second and final season in June 2021.Next: Kim's Convenience
Netflix shows like Friends: Kim’s Convenience
Created By: Ins Choi and Kevin White
Starring: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Jean Yoon, Andrea Bang, Simu Liu, Andrew Phung, Nicole Power
Over the past few years, the Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience has found international success thanks to Netflix, that unlike a little Canadian comedy series by the name of Schitt’s Creek. For many, the series has been a source of light humor during quarantine and beyond, in the same way that putting on an episode of Friends can immediately bring fans comfort.
Based on the play of the same name, Kim’s Convenience follows the Korean-Canadian Kim family as they run the titular convenience store in Moss Park, a neighborhood of Toronto. Together, the Kim family feels the ebbs and flows of what it’s like to be a family, especially one with such an important legacy as their business, in the midst of crazy customers and familial disagreements.
Kim’s Convenience has earned positive reviews from critics and even won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Series in 2018, among other award wins. As a comedy series, Kim’s Convenience touches on similar themes as Friends, but from a different perspective that we don’t see often enough. For a heartwarming watch with lots of laughs, don’t miss this Netflix favorite.Next: Never Have I Ever
Netflix shows like Friends: Never Have I Ever
Created By: Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher
Starring: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Darren Barnet, Ramona Young, Lee Rodriguez, Richa Moorjani, Jaren Lewison, John McEnroe
Let’s be honest: Very few teen series will hit the spot for Friends fans. Like, you’re not going to feel the same feelings when you’re watching the dysfunctional friendships in Dawson’s Creek that you do with the close-knit bonds of the Central Perk crew. (Although, the nostalgia factor is there!) But Never Have I Ever brings the funny in the unfortunate follies of friendship.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan stars in Never Have I Ever as a 15-year-old high school student Devi Vishwakumar, who has big plans to reinvent herself a year after her father’s death impacted her life. Devi grapples with her crush on school heartthrob Paxton Hall-Yoshida (Darren Barnet), her rivalry with fellow over-achiever Ben Gross (Jaren Lewison), her inseparable friendships with Eleanor (Ramona Young) and Fabiola (Lee Rodriguez) and her Indian identity at home.
Never Have I Ever debuted on Netflix in May 2020 and quickly became a fast favorite thanks to its humor, honesty and much-needed revival of the old-fashioned love triangle. Friends fans will find an elevated exploration of similar themes, even among the teen angst. And to top it all off, it comes from the mind of Mindy Kaling. Get ready for season 2 coming in July 2021!Next: Crashing
Netflix shows like Friends: Crashing
Created By: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Starring: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jonathan Bailey, Julie Dray, Louise Ford, Damien Molony, Adrian Scarborough, Armit Shah
Imagine if all the characters in Friends were the landlords of Monica’s apartment building and had the perk of cheaper rent. (Well, they basically already had the perk because of rent control.) That’s the premise of the British comedy-drama miniseries Crashing, which is available to stream on Netflix, boiled down to its most basic connection to the American sitcom classic.
Crashing comes from creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars in the series as Lulu, one of six 20-somethings living at an unused hospital as property guardians. Beyond keeping the building safe and sound for a cut on rent, the group of six tenants quickly find their personal lives growing closer and overlapping as sexual tension and interpersonal bonds leads them to the next chapter.
Of course, Phoebe Waller-Bridge happens to be one of the biggest talents in modern television, creating and starring in the Emmy-winning series Fleabag as well as executive producing the Peabody winner Killing Eve. The six-part miniseries arrived in 2016 before both of those titles, setting the stage for Waller-Bridge’s impending crossover. For a new take on a super-close friend group, add Crashing to your watch list on Netflix.Next: The Good Place
Netflix shows like Friends: The Good Place
Created By: Michael Schur
Starring: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson
If you haven’t already watched The Good Place, it’s unclear exactly what you are watching. The fast-paced NBC comedy series came and went in four breakneck seasons, but the Emmy-nominated cult favorite is without a doubt one of the best comedies in recent memory. We’ll be seeing its impact and influence on high-concept comedy for many years to come.
But you’re probably wondering, “What does a comedy series about dead people in the afterlife have to do with Friends?” Great question. While it’s true that The Good Place spends a fair amount of its time exploring philosophical concepts and ideas regarding its central characters’ placement in the “Good Place,” it’s also a rather inspiring story on the power of friendship.
Also, for an enticing added bonus, Lisa Kudrow plays an unexpectedly big role in the show’s fourth and final season. For those watching the series in real-time, Kudrow’s appearance toward the tail end of season 4 came as a wonderful surprise, and she — as always — knocked it out of the park. To get a new lease on life, friendship and curse words, take a trip to The Good Place.Next: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Netflix shows like Friends: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Seasons: 4 + interactive movie
Created By: Tina Fey and Robert Carlock
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski
Sure, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt might make more sense on a “Netflix shows to watch if you miss 30 Rock” list, but don’t underestimate the quirky comedy as a descendant of Friends. Essentially, the comedy centers on a group of four friends in New York City clashing in a perfect storm of chaos and complications… except they are basically all the Phoebe.
Ellie Kemper stars in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as the titular Kimmy Schmidt, a 30-something woman freed from an underground doomsday cult that she’s spent half her life living in. She reenters the world with the optimism of the 14-year-old girl who was kidnapped but the trauma of a woman struggling to find her place in a terrifying world.
While the series doesn’t try to make light of Kimmy’s situation and doesn’t always succeed in portraying the realities of escaping a cult (until Kimmy vs. the Reverend), it’s a surrealist and hilarious living cartoon from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. And once again, none other than Lisa Kudrow pops up in a significant role as Kimmy’s rollercoaster-addicted mother in the second season. That’s a can’t-miss guest spot to behold for Friends fans.Next: Grace and Frankie
Netflix shows like Friends: Grace and Frankie
Created By: Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris
Starring: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterson, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn
Are you catching onto the trend here? Lisa Kudrow has appeared in many hit shows over the years, but her recurring role in the fourth season of the Netflix original comedy series Grace and Frankie just makes sense. The sitcom comes from co-creator Marta Kauffman, who also co-created a certain show that lasted for a decade and launched Kudrow’s career. Ahem, Friends.
Grace and Frankie stars legends Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the unlikely best friends, who stick together when their husbands leave them for each other. Throughout the series, Grace and Frankie’s friendship grows to heights they never imagined, as they move in together, start a business together and weather all kinds of family drama together.
Given Kudrow’s busy schedule with Feel Good, Space Force and the highly anticipated Friends reunion throughout 2020 and 2021, it’s unknown whether she will reprise her role in the upcoming seventh and final season of Grace and Frankie. But whether she brings her brand of funny back one last time, this is one show that Friends fans will certainly get a kick out of on Netflix.Next: Community
Netflix shows like Friends: Community
Created By: Dan Harmon
Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, Jim Rash
Since Friends ended its 10-year run in 2004, NBC has managed to churn out so many of the most popular and cult favorite sitcoms. Even when ratings took a tumble before the dawn of streaming, the network housed the top comedies on TV. A fellow Thursday night entry on NBC, Community is a perfect binge-watch for those who are missing Friends.
Joel McHale stars in Community as Jeff Winger, a down-on-his-luck lawyer who enrolls at a local community college when his lack of an actual degree gets him disbarred. Although he’s apathetic at first, Jeff soon integrates himself in a study group full of lovable misfits. The series follows the group’s various misadventures and the friends and enemies they make along the way.
In spite of its low ratings, Community struck a chord with a loyal fanbase that kept fighting to bring it back year after year. NBC eventually canceled the comedy after its fifth season, but Yahoo! saved Community for its sixth and final season. Now streaming on Netflix, the underrated hit has got a whole new group of fans laughing and hoping for that long-teased movie.Next: Girlfriends
Netflix shows to watch if you miss Friends: Girlfriends
Created By: Mara Brock Akil
Starring: Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White, Jill Marie Jones, Reggie Hayes, Khalil Kain, Keesha Sharp
Even though Friends isn’t available to stream on Netflix, there are so many shows that are just like it, and some might even go so far as to say they’re better. But there’s room for everyone on our watch lists, especially the iconic UPN sitcom Girlfriends, with an ensemble cast headlined by the always charismatic and insanely likable Tracee Ellis Ross.
Girlfriends follows the personal and professional lives of four best friends: attorney Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), author Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), free spirit Lynn Searcy (Persia White), real estate agent Toni Childs-Garrett (Jill Marie Jones) as well as former frenemy Monica Brooks-Dent (Keesha Sharp). From their highs and lows in love and career, these girlfriends are always there for each other.
Finally, in the fall of 2020, Netflix acquired Girlfriends for streaming and stoke nostalgia for the fans who watched all eight seasons of the long-running comedy. It’s without a doubt among the longest-running sitcoms starring a cast of women and a cast of Black women. For 172 episodes of hilarity from the Y2K hit, don’t miss this must-watch when you’re missing Friends.Next: Man with a Plan
Netflix shows like Friends: Man with a Plan
Created By: Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo
Starring: Matt LeBlanc, Liza Snyder, Jessica Chaffin, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Hala Finley, Matthew McCann, Diana-Maria Riva, Kevin Nealon, Stacy Keach, Kali Rocha
Family sitcoms might be a tougher sell for diehard Friends fans, but what if that family sitcom starred one of your favorite friends? We’ve already covered all of the comedies Lisa Kudrow has appeared in that are available on Netflix, and luckily, another friend has another starring role ready to be binged. If Matt LeBlanc’s satiric comedy isn’t so much your speed, here’s Man with a Plan.
The erstwhile Joey Tribbiani stars in the CBS family sitcom Man with a Plan as Adam Burns, the owner of a construction company and father of three. When his wife, Andi (Liza Snyder), goes back to work after being a stay-at-home mom to their children, Adam steps up to take on more of the parenting duties at home. Suddenly, he’s balancing everything his wife did for the first time.
Man with a Plan centers itself with the questionable sitcom trope of father learning to actually parent, but if you’re a fan of family sitcoms, and especially a fan of Matt LeBlanc, you will be absolutely charmed by this feel-good comedy. Unfortunately, Man with a Plan ended after only four seasons, but that’s plenty of time to catch up with one of your old friends in a new show.Next: Happy Endings
Netflix shows like Friends: Happy Endings
Created By: David Caspe
Starring: Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., Casey Wilson
In the absence of Friends, networks scrambled to get on top with the next great relationship comedy. Many have tried, and many have failed. (A quick Google reveals a long trail of Friends zombies that lasted for a mere season or two.) But many have tried and succeeded with comedies that borrow the Friends concept but make it totally their own. How I Met Your Mother, New Girl (our next Netflix pick) and the criminally underrated Happy Endings.
If Friends had begun in the aftermath of Ross and Rachel’s bitter breakup and navigated the reassembling of a friend group, you’d have Happy Endings. When Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) leaves Dave (Zachary Knighton) at the altar, her decision leaves their close-knit friends reeling. Jane (Eliza Coupe), Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.), Max (Adam Pally) and Penny (Casey Wilson) wonder how they’ll manage their post-split breakups, but the gang still goes strong.
Happy Endings was sadly canceled by ABC three seasons into an unbeatable run, thanks to bad scheduling leading to lackluster ratings. But the quality of the series was never in question. In fact, the comedy was probably a little too specific for the Modern Family audience. Now that the cult favorite romantic comedy is finally coming to Netflix in June 2021, it’s time for new fans to discover the relentlessly funny series and get us the revival we have wanted since it ended.Next: New Girl
Netflix shows like Friends: New Girl
Created By: Elizabeth Meriwether
Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Danielle Rockoff, Rhiannon Rockoff
In all honesty, there’s only one show that deserves the honor of being called “the new Friends,” and that show is hands down New Girl. Yes, we love How I Met Your Mother and Happy Endings just the same, but New Girl has all of the qualities that make for the perfect successor. The inside jokes, the running gags, the will-they-or-won’t-they couples… It’s what made us become obsessed with Friends, and it’s what makes us absolutely adore New Girl.
Zooey Deschanel stars in New Girl as Jess Day, an unflappable school teacher who finds her life suddenly turned upside. When she catches her boyfriend cheating on her, she moves into a Los Angeles loft with three strange men she met on Craigslist. Little does she know, she would soon become a weird little family with Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris).
Even though New Girl was a critically acclaimed hit during its run on Fox, the rom-sitcom found further success on Netflix and staked its place as one of the all-time greats. It’s right on par with Friends with quirks like True American, the douchebag jar, Jess and Nick, Schmidt and CeCe, and so many other distinctive elements that create something unique out of a narrow concept. If you only watch one show on Netflix while you’re missing Friends, make that show New Girl.
Which shows will you be watching? Share your picks in the comments!Next: 25 Friends episodes we'd never skip