There are no other sitcoms out there quite like Modern Family.
It was equal parts conventional sitcom and mockumentary and all parts hilarious. The show followed three different types of American family who all happen to be interrelated in some way.
Every character is unique and has their own issues to deal with, be that school, kids, work, or something quirkier. Each speaks directly to camera at times, as if being interviewed, but then we also see them interacting in real-life scenarios.
Modern Family won countless awards, drew huge audiences, and ran for 11 massively successful series.
Its conclusion in 2020, after a whopping 250 episodes, left a cavernous hole in many people’s lives. So, what to fill it with? In this guide, we will share with 15 TV shows like Modern Family which might go some way to replacing that Modern Family shaped gap in your viewing.
Let’s check them out.
The ultimate cult family sitcom following the travails of the eccentric members of the Bluth family, a wealthy extended family that has fallen on hard times.
The show centres on Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman (Ozark) and his son George Michael (not that one) played by Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) in his breakout role. They are vaguely normal, but the rest of their extended family, who they feel obliged to help are not.
Arrested Development has the very definition of an all-star cast with regulars including Portia de Rossi (Nip/Tick), Will Arnett (Blades of Glory), Tony Hale (Veep), David Cross (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Alia Shawkat (Search Party), and the late Jessica Walter (Archer).
Throw in A-list cameos from the likes of Henry Winkler (Happy Days), Liza Minelli, Carl Weathers (Star Wars: The Mandalorian), Mae Whitman (The Perks of being a Wallflower), Charlize Theron (Snow White and the Huntsman), Julie Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), Ben Stiller (There’s Something about Mary), and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), plus a sharp-tongued voiceover from Ron Howard and it is little wonder this show grew from cult success to mainstream hit.
This Canadian sitcom ran over six seasons and more than 80 episodes and tells the story of another rich family that lost it all thanks to a business manager embezzling all their money.
They relocate to Schitts Creek, a small town they bought for a joke and are forced to live in a motel.
The show follows their challenges as they cope with the loss of all their money and the characters react in different ways.
It stars co-creator Eugene Levy (American Pie) as patriarch Johnny Rose and Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone) as his wife Moira. Eugene’s co-creator and son Dan Levy (The Great Canadian Baking Show) plays their son David while his sister Alexis is portrayed by Annie Murphy (Russian Doll).
There is a rich ensemble cast and a razor-sharp script making Schitts Creek a natural alternative to Modern Family.
Life in Pieces
Life in Pieces is another family-focused US sitcom which ran for four excellent series before being cancelled.
The show follows three generations of the Short family as they go about their lives in Los Angeles County. The format of the show revolves around four short stories which are usually tied together at the end.
The main cast includes James Brolin (Catch Me If You Can), Dianne Wiest (Hannah and her Sisters), Colin Hanks (Band of Brothers), Dan Bakkedahl (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad), and Thomas Sadowski (The Newsroom).
There are also guest appearances from the likes of Rhys Derby (Flight of the Conchords), Josh Groban (recording artist), and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride).
Life in Pieces is sharp, clever, funny, and beautifully acted. A fitting successor to Modern Family on your viewing schedule.
Malcolm in the Middle
This portrayal of a dysfunctional family is built around middle son Malcolm, a highly intelligent boy, played by Frankie Muniz (Agent Cody Banks) who is surrounded by his less intelligent family.
The hapless father is played beautifully by a pre-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston alongside his long-suffering wife Lois played by Jane Kaczmarek (Playing House).
His elder brother Reese, played by Justin Berfield (Unhappily Ever After) is a classic jock, his younger brother Dewey, played by Erik Per Sullivan (Finding Nemo) while absent eldest brother Francis, who is in military school for a time, is played by Christopher Kennedy Masterson (My Best Friend’s Wedding).
The show ran from 2000-2006 and features the same family scrapes and asides to camera that proved so popular in Modern Family. A little dated perhaps, but Malcolm in the Middle is still laugh out loud funny with the same bizarre, slapstick comedy that made Modern Family such a success.
Roseanne / The Connors
The sitcom Roseanne ran throughout the 90’s and was briefly revived in 2018 before the eponymous star of the show, Roseanne Barr (The Roseanne Show) made controversial comments about a member of the Obama administration that saw it unceremoniously cancelled.
That scandal doesn’t remove the fact that Roseanne is a classic family sitcom of the 90’s that stands up to repeat viewing. It has an exceptional cast that includes John Goodman (The Big Lebowski), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Sara Gilbert (The Big Bang Theory), and Michael Fishman (Undrafted).
After being cancelled, the show was spun off as The Connors, featuring all of the original cast bar Roseanne and continued to tackle serious family issues in a fun and light-hearted way.
The classic animated family comedy created by Seth Macfarlane (The Orville) continues to push back the boundaries of what can be shown on TV with its unique characters and trademark cut-away scenes.
The family consists of fat, lazy incompetent father Peter Griffin, genius baby Stewie, and their pet dog Brian (all voiced by Macfarlane). Peter’s hot wife Lois is voiced by Alex Borstein (The Marvellous Mrs Maisel), Son Chris is voiced by Seth Green (Guardians of the Galaxy), and down-trodden daughter Meg is voiced by Mila Kunis (Black Swan).
There are numerous guest voices, with some celebrities appearing as themselves in the show too. This is not subtle, meaningful comedy. It tackles delicate subjects with a sledgehammer wit. But the end message is usually a morally sound one and it is guaranteed to get you laughing.
This innovative show follows a group of young single parents as they navigate the various challenges that come with bringing up kids alone.
The main focus is Will, played by Taran Killam (Stuck in the Suburbs). Will is a single Dad who is so focused on his daughter that he has no life of his own. When his single parents group realise this, they band together to get him out into the dating world again.
The message is that parenting doesn’t mean you have to lose your own identify, and there are plenty of laughs to be had along the way.
With a cast including Leighton Meester (The Weekend Away), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), and Jake Choi (Front Cover), Single Parents ran for two series which were both well received and are well worth seeking out.
Friday Night Dinner
Friday Night Dinner has become something of a cult classic in the UK TV world. It focuses on the regular Friday night family meals of the British-Jewish Goodman family.
There is much talking about issues and family problems, but also practical jokes, unexpected visitors, and asides featuring family and friends.
The shows stars the late Paul Ritter (Chernobyl) and Tamsin Grieg (Black Books) as mother and father Paul and Jackie. Their elder son and musician Adam is played by Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners) and younger son and estate agent Johnny is portrayed by Tom Rosenthal (Plebs).
Other cast members include Mark Heap (Green Wing), Tracy-Ann Obermann (Toast of London), and Frances Cuka (Casualty).
The show ran for six seasons before ending after Paul Ritter’s death, but every episode stands out as a little piece of comedy gold, and it is a show Modern Family aficionados will love.
It has been classed as one of the “top 10 Underrated British Shows you may not have heard of”. We urge you to acquaint yourself with it.
Another US family comedy caper, the Middle tells the complex, bizarre, and challenging story of the life of the Heck family in mid-town Indiana.
It stars Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Mum Frankie, who also narrates the series, while Dad Mike is played by Neil Flynn (Scrubs).
Of the three kids, elder son Axl, the cool sporty one, is played by Charlie McDermott (Hot Tub Time Machine), awkward middle child Sue is played by Eden Sher (Star vs the Forces of Evil), and bookworm youngest kid Brick is played by Atticus Shaffer (Frankenweenie).
The show is heart-warming and relatable while at the same time featuring bizarre and hilarious set-pieces. Both similar and different to Modern Family in equal measure.
A British sitcom behemoth to rival Modern Family’s success in the states, My Family ran on primetime in the UK for eleven series, taking a wry glance at the challenges of family life from every possible point of view.
It starred Robert Lindsay (Citizen Smith) as patriarch Ben Harper while Zoë Wannamaker (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) portrays his long-suffering wife Susan.
Their eccentric kids are played by Kris Marshall (Love, Actually), Danielle Denby-Ashe (Eastenders), and Gabriel Thomson (Enemy at the Gates). Various other family members come and go throughout the series, while the list of guest stars reads like a who’s who of British TV comedy.
Over its run, it dealt with just about every conceivable family issue, always with a wry smile and the prospect of things going wrong. Easy, light-hearted family comedy at its very best.
One Day at a Time
One Day at a Time was a hit sitcom back in mid-1970’s, but we are not taking you back quite that far. Instead, we are recommending the 2017 remake that revolved around a Cuban American family living in Echo Park, LA.
This show is a bit more edgy than Modern Family, with the lead character an Army-vet single Mum suffering from PTSD and trying to raise her family in challenging circumstances.
It tackles serious issues such as mental illness, immigration, sexism, homophobia, gender identity, and racism from a Latino perspective, but always with a humorous angle.
It stars Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), Todd Grinnell (Four Kings), Isabella Gomez (Head of the Class), Marcel Ruiz (Breakthrough), and Stephen Tobolowsky (Californication) and won multiple awards and audience plaudits during its four-season run.
Fresh off the Boat
Fresh off the Boat is a refreshingly different family sitcom that is based on the life story of food personality Eddie Huang.
It tells the story of a Taiwanese American family living in Florida in the 1990s and was a landmark show as it was the first show in more than 20 years to feature an Asian-American principal cast.
It ran for six successful seasons and more than 100 episodes and took on both Asian stereotypes and regular family incidents in equal measure.
Starring Randall Park (The Office), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Hudson Yang (The Lion Guard), Forrest Wheeler (Sofia the First), and Ian Chen (Shazam!), Fresh off the Boat has everything that Modern Family offers, with a typical Asian twist.
Antonia Chan of the Harvard Political Review said that “Fresh Off the Boat captures the essence of why diversity in media matters”. She is absolutely right, and this show also makes it clear that it mustn’t take itself too seriously either.
Set in 1980’s Pennsylvania, The Goldbergs is based on the real-life childhood of creator Adam F. Goldberg and tells a tale of family life in that era through the eyes of a young boy.
It is equal parts relatable and excruciating and such is its huge popularity that it has run for ten seasons and counting.
The Goldbergs stars Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as father Murray and Wendi McLendon-Covey (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar) as mother Beverly.
Adam is the main character, who documents the family life on his video camera and is played by Sean Giambrone (Kim Possible) while the elder Adam, voiced by Patton Oswald (The King of Queens) narrates.
The other siblings are played by Hayley Orrantia (Schooled) and Troy Gentille (Hotel for Dogs) while George Segal (Just Shoot Me) also crops up as Pops.
The humous in The Goldberg’s comes from the characters, but all are well-meaning, and this is a light-hearted sitcom rooted in family love.
The Royle Family
The Royle Family is a quintessentially British sitcom set in a working-class household in the north of the country. The majority of the action takes place in the living room while the family watch TV and talk to each other.
It is expertly scripted with each line carefully crafted for maximum humour and effect. But at the same time, it tackles family love and issues like death and marriage in a sympathetic and gentle way, as families do when it happens to them.
There is a terrific cast featuring co-writer Caroline Aherne (The Fast Show) and Craig Cash (Early Doors) as well as Ricky Tomlinson (Mike Bassett: England Manager), Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead), Ralf Little (Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps), Liz Smith (The Vicar of Dibley), Geoffrey Hughes (Keeping Up Appearances), and Jessica Hynes (Spaced).
This is razor-sharp comedy at its very best, but like Modern Family, you will fall in love with the characters as well as laugh at their failings.
Kim’s Convenience is another Asian-focused sitcom, this time focusing on a Korean family that run a convenience store in Canada.
It follows the family characters in and around the store as well as some of their lives away from the family business and the challenges and problems they have to overcome.
Kim’s Convenience stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Train 48) as Appa and Jean Yoon (Orpha Black) as Umma, the mother and father who run the store.
Other characters include their daughter Janet played by Andrea Bang (A Million Little Things), estranged son Jung, portrayed by Simu Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and his co-worker Kimchee played by Andrew Phung (The Beaverton).
While looking at life in an immigrant family, Kim’s Convenience brings plenty of cultural humour to bear and a spin-off series, Strays is already underway, meaning there is lots for fans of Modern Family to sink their teeth into.