Friends is now dominating the streaming market again. HBO Max has revealed that the classic sitcom the most-watched show on the service so far. So, chances are, you may already be in the middle of your umpteenth binge of the iconic sitcom. Whether you're in it to relive the lobster saga of Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), enjoy some of Phoebe Buffay's (Lisa Kudrow) eccentric tunes, savor the unstoppable bromance of Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc), or relax with all of your fictional besties in Monica's (Courteney Cox) sprawling purple apartment, Friends remains essential TV comfort food for many of us.
If you're ready to venture outside of Central Perk and see what other laughs are out there, though, we're here to help. We've gathered up a list of the best hangout comedies, shows inspired by Friends, or shows featuring some Friends cast members that Friends fans will definitely love. (Note: The one and only Friends spin-off, Joey, is not currently available to stream, and the much-anticipated cast reunion special has not yet been filmed.)
Some people might say that you have to pick a favorite between Seinfeld and Friends, but there's plenty of room to enjoy both. Like Friends, Seinfeld was a monster hit for NBC and centered on a group of pals hilariously experiencing the pratfalls of twenty-something life in the Big Apple. The humor is a bit drier than Friends, and you shouldn't go in looking at any of the characters to put on a fashion show, but if you want to see another group of close and completely imperfect pals navigate New York, along with a few zany recurring characters, Seinfeld is must-see TV (pun intended).
How to watch: Hulu
You might've heard about a recent dustup between David Schwimmer and Living Single star Erika Alexander. When Schwimmer suggested that someone should make a version of Friends with all Black characters, the actress rightly pointed out that Living Single, which followed a sextet of besties living in Brooklyn, premiered before Friends. Living Single also put its characters in a living arrangement that kept them in close proximity to one another; three of the four women in the show shared an apartment, while their two male friends shared an apartment in the same building. Beyond those similarities, Living Single was also notable for its snappy humor, rich relationships, and many alluring romantic arcs.
It's not just the fact that Courteney Cox herself was the lead of Cougar Town, which aired on ABC and TBS, that makes it a potentially great fit for Friends fans; she and Busy Phillipps also starred as a pair of goofy, but well-meaning women who'd probably be fast friends with Phoebe Buffay in one of Phoebe's other lives. Like Friends, the show was packed with neighbors leaning on each other for moral support, along with awkward romantic entanglements and, yes, even a few emotional moments. (As a bonus, it also features some on-screen reunions between Cox and fellow Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry.)
How to watch: Showtime
Now this one is recommended largely because of the fact that a Friends cast member stars in it. Episodes features Matt LeBlanc playing a smarmier (we think) version of himself trying to headline a new TV show after the Joey flop. The meta-comedy series was co-created by David Crane, who also produced Friends and Joey, and centers on how LeBlanc and the network brass manage to undermine the dreams of a U.K. producer couple who move to Hollywood to oversee the American version of their show. Not only does LeBlanc shine as, well, himself, but there are also a couple of clever cameos from James Michael Tyler (who played Central Perk's Gunther, of course) and David Schwimmer.
How to watch: NBC
Matthew Perry has done a few notable comedy shows after Friends, including this too-short-lived NBC series about a widower who joins a support group and meets a zany band of characters who help him cope. Like Friends, Go On centers on another point in a person's life when their friends are the most important connections they have, and Perry's ease with fast-paced jokes is definitely something Chandler fans will appreciate. It's also heartwarming and hilarious on its own, but it floundered on Tuesday nights in an awful time slot while NBC loaded up Thursday nights.
How to watch: Hulu
Listen, if you really, really want to watch a show like Friends, then stop reading the rest of this list and watch the great Happy Endings. Six people? Check. Three guys, three girls? Check. Ridiculous hangout sitcom situations? Check. A completely homogenous all-white hetero cast of characters? Thankfully, not quite. Happy Endings is what would happen to Friends if it were made 15 years later, and for my money, is much better than Friends while blatantly, yet respectfully, imitating it (however, just like Friends, some of the humor hasn't aged that well). The series lasted three acclaimed seasons before ABC made the boneheaded decision to cancel it, which no one can explain to this day. -Tim Surette
How to watch: Amazon Prime Video
If you are one of us Friends fans who really enjoyed it when the show went there with the dirty jokes and adult-friendly innuendos, brace yourself for Coupling, a show devoted to good-looking mates who always have sex on the brain and love to talk about it — in private, in public, and, of course, in bed. The Stephen Moffat-created series ran from 2000-2004 and was essentially England's answer to Friends, right down to the three-girls-three-guys cast and all their zany high jinks, while focusing on the foibles of new relationships. And as far as Friends imitators go, this one was actually great. An American version was made in 2003 in the hopes that it would fill the void Friends left, but it was awful, and hopefully every copy of the master tapes was burned.
How I Met Your Mother
How to Watch: Hulu
Bearing in mind that this series had one of the most frustrating finales of all time, How I Met Your Mother was still a rip-roaring good time for the most part. Like Friends, the series follows a group of close pals — including the requisite Casanova and everyman combo — who live in the city and basically spend all of their time together. There are some romantic pairings in the group because of course, and together they experience lots of laughs, joy, and some tender moments along the way.
The Big Bang Theory
How to watch: HBO Max
If you haven't checked out this long-lived sitcom, which has a vast fanbase of its own, bazinga! (You'll get that reference after you watch, of course.) The Big Bang Theory is another series with main characters who live so close to one another that there's an official no-knock-needed policy and, yes, who wind up pairing off. Like Friends, the characters in this series love to sit on couches and talk about inanity — the difference being, of course, that most of them are certified geniuses, so if Ross Geller's mini-tutorials on dinosaurs and trilobites made your day, this is the show for you.
The Golden Girls
How to watch: Hulu
To be completely transparent, we could probably find a reason to squeeze The Golden Girls onto any and every recommendations list, but it seems especially appropriate to suggest it to Friends fans, since the show features a similarly tight-knit and joke-happy group of besties who love to tease each other but are also there when it counts. Heck, the show is basically a preview of what a Friends spin-off might look like if Monica and Judy Geller (Christina Pickles) moved in together with Rachel and Phoebe a few decades after the finale.