The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) produced some of the most popular television series of all time. These are some of the best NBC shows.
NBC (National Broadcasting Company) is one of the largest American television networks. The network has existed since 1939 and is home to countless popular television programs. NBC is responsible for television milestones like Cheers, Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, and Friends. This is a list of the BEST NBC shows the network has produced. The list includes both current and former NBC shows.
Heroes was one of my favorite television shows. I didn’t get into it until 2011, but once I did, I was hooked. The show is about different individuals around the world that have special abilities. Some of them are super strong, some can fly, others have telepathy or healing abilities. The show follows them as they are hunted for their abilities. It kind of reminds me of X-Men. The later seasons definitely weren’t as good as the first two, but it’s still worth a watch. Especially if you love sci-fi or superhero shows.
Watch Heroes on Peacock!
The Office changed the face of comedy television. It may be NBC’s best show ever. The Office is a mockumentary-style sitcom about employees at their office job. It takes the dynamics of a typical American business office and amps up the quirk. All of the characters have their own methods of dealing with the office drama. There are also a few glimpses into the coworkers’ personal lives. After all, our coworkers sometimes know the juiciest secrets. This show put actors like Mindy Kaling, Steve Carell, and John Krasinski on the map. It was also the model for later sitcoms, like Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Watch The Office on Peacock!
This Is Us
This Is Us was one of the best NBC shows for drama. It follows the lives of three siblings as they turn 35. Each sibling struggles with themselves in different ways. The show stitches together the siblings’ stories through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards. The Pearson siblings also share the spotlight with their parents. The show depicts the parents’ pasts and futures and how they relate to their children as the story progresses. It is incredibly moving and at times heartbreaking.
Watch both past seasons and the current season of This Is Us on Hulu.
30 Rock was another workplace sitcom from NBC. Except with stars like Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin and Tracey Morgan, it was more outlandish. The show centers on Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon. She is a writer for a live comedy sketch show in New York City. The actors on this show, other writers, and network executives all make up the outlandish cast. It’s a very tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Saturday Night Live and NBC itself. My husband and I quote lines from 30 Rock pretty regularly.
Watch 30 Rock on Netflix.
3rd Rock From the Sun
3rd Rock From the Sun was a popular sitcom in the late 90s. It’s about a group of aliens that land on Earth and take on the form of humans. The show follows their antics as they adjust to human life. Including engaging in human relationships. The show stars John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Watch 3rd Rock From the Sun on Peacock.
Cheers! Where everybody knows your name. This classic 80’s sitcom ran on NBC for over 10 years. It follows the lives of bartender Sam Malone and his assortment of pub regulars. Cheers was bursting with well-known actors like Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Woody Harrelson, Kristie Allie, and more. This show also introduced the character Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammar) would go on to have his own spin-off series.
Watch Cheers on Peacock.
Community was a quirky sitcom that grew a cult following. It stars Joel McHale as a snarky lawyer that is forced to return to college. He enrolls in a local community college where he starts a Breakfast Club-style study group. This show is goofy and fun. It’s definitely one of my favorites. It stars Alison Brie and Donald Glover as well. I was already familiar with Donald Glover’s internet comedy, but this show put him on the map.
Watch Community on Netflix.
Frasier Crane was a recurring character on Cheers. When Cheers ended its television run in 1993, NBC created the Frasier spin-off to continue his character’s story. The show centers on Frasier’s return to his hometown, Seattle, where he hosts a psychiatric advice radio show. The show centers on his and his brother’s struggles through life and love.
Watch Frasier on Peacock.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Fresh Prince is certainly one of the best NBC shows. It is a sitcom about a boy from Philadelphia that is sent to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle. Will Smith plays a version of himself on the show as he adjusts to life in Bel Air, California. The show was fun and a fundamental part of 90s television. It also broached difficult subject matter relating to families and race. The show is the inspiration behind a new series on NBC’s streaming network, Peacock. The series, called Bel Air, is set in modern-day America. It reimagines Will’s story through a modern and more realistic lens.
Watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on HBO Max.
No list of popular television shows is complete without the NBC hit sitcom, Friends. This show defined an entire generation. It focuses on the lives and relationships of six friends living in New York City. It’s full of hilarious drama. Even if you haven’t watched Friends, chances are you’re familiar with many Friends references.
Watch Friends on HBO Max.
The Golden Girls
Another classic sitcom and one of NBC’s greatest hits. The Golden Girls follows the lives of four “older” women, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. The women share a home in Miami, Florida, and constantly feud and clash. But in the end, they are friends that stick by each other. The Golden Girls premiered in the early 90’s and set the tone for many “girlfriends” style sitcoms to come.
Watch The Golden Girls on Hulu.
The Good Place
The Good Place is a hilarious sitcom about the afterlife. The main character, Eleanor, surprisingly finds herself in the “Good Place” in the afterlife. But it doesn’t take her long to realize that she is there by mistake. She becomes determined to hide the truth so she can stay there. This fun show stars Kristen Bell. It quickly became many popular memes and was quoted often.
Watch The Good Place on Netflix.
Another classic 90’s sitcom, Seinfeld ran on NBC for nine seasons. The show began airing in 1989, but still runs syndicated on cable television. Seinfeld stars four single friends as they handle absurd situations in New York City. The show stars Jerry Seinfeld, who plays a version of himself, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine, Jason Alexander as George, and Michael Richards as the eccentric Kramer. In life, I’ve found there are two types of people. People that like Seinfeld and people that don’t.
Watch Seinfeld on Netflix.
Will and Grace
Will and Grace was an NBC comedy about a gay lawyer and straight interior designer who are roommates. They, along with their friends Jack and Karen, live in Manhattan. The show is full of cultural commentary and issues pertaining to sex and love. It was one of the most popular shows to ever feature principal gay characters. Will and Grace ran for eight years, starting in 1998. It was then renewed for an additional three seasons in 2016. The additional three seasons seemingly happened due to a successful, but brief, reunion during the 2016 Presidential election.
Watch Will and Grace on Hulu.
Chuck is about a former Stanford student that works as a computer repairman at an electronics store. One night he is emailed an encrypted file, full of government secrets. The secrets are downloaded into his brain. He suddenly finds himself under constant surveillance and under the protection of two government agents. Chuck, played by Zachary Levi, is a loveable character that constantly finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was one of my husband and I’s favorite shows that we’ve watched together. It’s so nerdy and fun.
Watch Chuck on HBO Max.
Up until recently, E.R. was television’s longest-running primetime medical drama. The title now belongs to Grey’s Anatomy. But E.R. walked so Grey’s Anatomy could run. E.R. takes place in an emergency room at a Chicago hospital. The show focuses on the lives and work decisions of the emergency room doctors and staff. Like Grey’s Anatomy, the E.R. is full of drama. The show is often driven forward by the illnesses of patients and the effects of those ailments on the staff.
Watch E.R. on HBO Max.
Before This Is Us, NBC’s biggest family drama series was Parenthood. The show tracks the lives of the Braverman family. The family consists of Zeke and Camille, and the families of their four adult children, Adam, Sarah, Crosby, and Julia. Each sibling has their own family drama, which often spills over onto the whole family. It’s a heartfelt show about the struggles of family.
Watch Parenthood on Peacock.
Friday Night Lights
“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Friday Night Lights was a drama series focused on high school football in the small town of Dillon, Texas. It explores the struggles faced by young athletes, and their coaches, in a town obsessed with football. The show featured an all-star cast consisting of Connie Britton, Kyle Chambers, Aimee Teegarden, Minka Kelly, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemmons, and more. The show ran for 5 seasons and was one of the best NBC shows ever.
Watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix.
Chicago Fire, Med and M.D.
The Chicago trio of shows is the most popular series on NBC currently. The Chicago franchise began with the premiere of Chicago Fire in 2012. Chicago Fire follows the lives of the firefighters stationed at Chicago’s Station 51. In 2014, Chicago P.D. premiered. It follows a similar formula to Fire, following the lives of the officers of the 21st District in Chicago. Another spinoff, Chicago Med, premiered in 2015. The show takes place at a Chicago hospital and frequently crosses over with Fire and P.D. Despite the popularity of Chicago Fire, P.D., and Med, the fourth installment of the franchise, Chicago Justice, was canceled after a single season.
Watch Chicago Fire, Med, and M.D. on Peacock.
This list of the best NBC shows is full of can’t miss primetime television. Many of these shows shaped television culture and classics. NBC is definitely the king of network comedy and drama.