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10 shows to watch online now that Friends is off Netflix
Explore streaming options to get you out of your sitcom slump.
Friends left Netflix at the beginning of 2020, and many long-time watchers are mourning the loss of this binge-watching favorite. All is not lost, however, since Friends plans to move over to the new streaming service HBO Max later this year.
Until then, we’ve covered your sitcom fix with a selection of alternatives. With any luck, you can find a new group of friends that will be there for you in no time.
When is Friends heading to HBO MAX?
HBO’s new streaming service is set to launch in May of 2020, but as of right now there’s been no official release date set. However, talks are underway for an unscripted 25th anniversary reunion special to premier exclusively on the new streaming platform for even more Friends goodness.
What's in this guide?
The Big Bang Theory (2007)
A modern take on the explanation of the universe, The Big Bang Theory introduces us to the lives of five scientists and an aspiring actress in the apartment across the hall. They live vastly different lifestyles that intermingle as they become more than neighbors. Set in Pasadena, California, The Big Bang Theory is similar to Friends in that it follows the friendship of an unlikely group, with episodes filled with shenanigans.
For the first time ever, you can watch The Big Bang Theory with a streaming service — HBO Max.
- Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
- Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter
- Kaley Cuoco as Penny
- Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz
Our recommendation: The Big Bang Theory
Seinfeld follows the comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his quirky friends in NYC. If that isn’t similar enough to Friends, then you’ll find comfort in its similar apartment set. With a setting in 90s, it could itch that scratch or nostalgia.
Seinfeld is described as a show about nothing, which makes sense since there’s no plot, save for the twists and turns of everyday life.
You can catch this 90s sitcom about the absurdities of life in NYC on Netflix.
- Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes
- Jason Alexander as George Costanza
- Michael Richards as Kramer
How I Met Your Mother (2005)
The long-running story of how Ted Mosby met his wife, How I Met Your Mother is a little different than the average sitcom. It combines flashbacks and flashforwards into its narration to expand on the plot.
There is an endgame with How I Met Your Mother missing with Friends, but there are romantic relationships between friends, and individual stories that all tie together in the end.
Find every episode from the nine-season comedy TV series on Hulu.
- Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby
- Jason Segel as Marshall Eriksen
- Cobie Smulders as Robin Scherbatsky
- Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
- Allison Hannigan as Lily Aldrin
New Girl (2011)
New Girl is seven seasons of light, quirky comedy set in Los Angeles, California. It’s centered on bubbly Jess Day, who can be a little quirky. And, after a bad breakup, she moves into a loft with three single guys. This TV series follows these new friends as they go about their daily lives. As time goes on, their lives intermingle and connect in ways that pull at your heartstrings: Two of the main characters end up in an on-again off-again romantic relationship, similar to Ross and Rachel in Friends.
It could be a series most similar to Friends, with the love story and friendship. New Girl has enough seasons to become attached to the characters, but not too many to leave you heartbroken when it ends — not for long, anyway.
New Girl is also available on Netflix, making the transition to a new TV show effortless.
- Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day
- Jake Johnson as Nick Miller
- Max Greenfield as Schmidt
- Hannah Simone as Cece Parekh
- Lamorne Morris as Winston Bishop
Gilmore Girls (2000)
This story is about more than friends — it looks into the complicated relationship between mother and daughter. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore’s make this TV series a must-watch if you’re looking for a sitcom from the 90s.
Gilmore Girls is set in the fictional town of Stars Hollow where off-the-wall things happen every day. We get a glimpse into the lives of most of the townsfolk, but there are several viewers really dive into.
It’s not as close to Friends as some of the other alternatives, but it has a classic sitcom quality. The same theme music plays at almost every scene change and there’s an on-again off-again romantic relationship between Lorelai Gilmore and a couple of fellas.
You can get a taste of the Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
- Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore
- Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore
- Keiko Agena as Lane Kim
- Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James
Sex and the City (1998)
Four completely different women in New York City have a friendship based on more than the occasional lunch-gossip. In Sex and the City, sex might be the revolving door for most of their conversations, but it touches on much more than that. There’s a very clear focus on women in the 90s and how they manage when it comes to love and dating.
Though Sex and the City is a lot more adult than Friends, there is a similar sense of camaraderie among these gals. They find themselves in some tongue-in-cheek situations relatable to the id of your personality.
You can watch Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha on any device that supports an HBO subscription.
- Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw
- Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones
- Kristin Davis as Charlotte York
- Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes
Just Shoot Me! (1997)
Set in the 90s, Just Shoot Me! starts off with Maya Gallo, who’s recently lost yet another job and has nowhere to go but her father’s business, the magazine, Blush. The story surrounds an eccentric Maya as she meets her new coworkers and adjusts to their unique personalities.
Just Shoot Me! mirrors many qualities you find in Friends with the off-beat characters, lighthearted tone and funky daily tribulations. And—of course— in true 90s-sitcom style, you’ll get the laugh track from an invisible audience in the background.
Catch it on Crackle or Amazon Prime Video.
- Laura San Giacomo as Maya Gallo
- George Segal as Jack Gallo
- David Spade as Dennis Finch
- Wendie Malick as Nina Van Horn
- Enrico Colantoni as Elliot DiMauro
Broad City (2014)
It might not be a group of friends you’re following, but you are following friends Ilana Wexler and Abbi Abrams — who happen to be the show’s creators. Set in NYC, Broad City captures the ordinarily mundane events in these women’s daily lives and turns them into comedy. It’s witty to the extreme and full of pop culture references — not exactly a match for Friends.
While Broad City is a sitcom depicting the lives of friends, it lacks the same 90s-eque quality of Friends — More modern, and without the canned laughter.
Binge Broad City on Hulu.
- Abbi Jacobson as Abbi Abrams
- Ilana Glazer as Ilana Wexler
- Hannibal Buress as Lincoln Rice
- Arturo Castro as Jaime Castro
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005)
The comedy that keeps going, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been on the air since 2005. The entire series is about a group of people — friends and family of sorts — who run an old, dirty pub in Philadelphia. Every episode is another bad idea from either Mac or Charlie, which the gang undoubtedly follows.
This show is the furthest off from Friends, with comedy that’s a little rough around the edges. There’s no love story, and it centers around the dysfunctional relationship of “the gang.”
This long-running cringey comedy is available on Hulu.
- Charlie Day as Charlie Kelly
- Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds
- Rob McElhenney as Mac
- Kaitlin Olson as Dee Reynolds
- Danny DeVito as Frank Reynolds
Parks and Recreation (2009)
While its storyline is a little closer to The Office, Parks and Recreation gives us a slew of intricate characters that we continue to grow with through its seven seasons. As Leslie Knope is trying to make the world a better place from her Parks Director office in fictional Pawnee, Indiana, she can tend to be a little overzealous. Thankfully the people that surround her aren’t afraid to bring her down to earth.
It’s the textbook definition of a sitcom, similar to Friends. Parks and Recreation is comical without being offensive — a very thin line.
Right now, you can catch the goings-on of the Pawnee Parks Department on Netflix.
- Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
- Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson
- Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate
- Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer
Friends is off Netflix, but you can still reminisce with some TV sitcoms. Regardless of which streaming service you choose, there’s always more witty sitcoms to binge. Continue to watch Friends with a subscription to HBO Max once it launches. Or keep your current subscriptions with Netflix or Hulu and find a new favorite old sitcom.
Image source: Warner Bros. Television
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