In Depth

The best TV comedies to stream in 2019, including Fleabag, Bojack Horseman and The Good Place

The funniest series available to watch on Netflix, iPlayer and Amazon Prime

The rise of streaming platforms has been a boon for comedy, allowing creators to pursue even more outrageous laughs and experiment with non-traditional formats, free from the restrictions of traditional TV broadcasters.

Although the likes of the BBC can still produce a great hit - look no further than the immense popularity of Fleabag - these days, many of the real gems can be found on streaming platforms - perfect for binge watching.

So if you are looking for a laugh, check out our recommendations for the best comedies series currently available to stream:   

Fleabag

The second and final series of Fleabag just ended on BBC Three, but those who missed it will be able to catch up on iPlayer for four months. Critically acclaimed for its emotional and sexual honesty, the series follows the life of a Londoner after her best friend dies, while she deals with difficult family and relationships, and runs her own business. The Guardian commends it for having “characters who were not always likeable, never mind loveable, but also often very relatable,” making for a show frequently as infuriating as it is addictive.

Available on BBC iPlayer

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

This feel-good show follows Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a jilted housewife finding her voice as a stand-up comic in 1950s New York. The stylised retro glamour of the settings and costumes is a treat in and of itself, boosted further by a host of loveable characters and Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino's trademark snappy repartee. The show “brims with dialogue where every syllable is dead on the comic beat, and scenes choreographed like Broadway musicals,” according to The Guardian.

Available on Amazon Prime

Bojack Horseman

A thoroughly offbeat adult cartoon, Bojack Horseman “almost immediately transcended its format to deliver a moving and very funny rumination on depression and middle-aged malaise”, says The Independent. Will Arnett of Arrested Development voices the title character, the narcissistic star of a hit nineties sitcom trying to get his career, and life, back on track.

With a mixture of human and animal characters, the show offers acerbic commentary on the entertainment industry will also grapping with social issues, mental health, and the absurdity of fame in a way which is as smart as it is funny.

Available on Netflix

The Good Place

Based on the way self-described “trashbag” Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) lived her life, she should have gone to hell, but instead, she mistakenly ends up in heaven, in this  sitcom from Parks and Recreation creator Mike Schur. Bell is outstanding as a cynical party girl attempts to blend in to an afterlife peopled with do-gooders, gradually learning that not everything is as it seems in The Good Place. Entertainment Weekly called it “a heady yet big-laughs comedy about the folly of phoniness, judgment, and perfection.” 

Available on Netflix

Big Mouth

Taking inspiration from their own lives, comedian Nick Kroll and his childhood friend Andrew Goldberg present an honest, hilarious and relatable account of one of life’s most traumatic phases: puberty. While the main character of this not-for-kids animation is a boy (voiced by the hilarious John Mulaney), the show explores the impact of adolescence on both boys and girls, in searing detail. According to Indie WireBig Mouth works because it’s unflinchingly honest. Whether it’s mining twisted jokes or universal human experiences, the whole concept comes together because it consistently tells the truth”.

Available on Netflix

Forever

Two of Saturday Night Live’s funniest alumni, Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen, play a middle-aged married couple leading mundane repetitive lives, until one decides that it’s time for a radical change, setting the couple off on an eight-episode emotional rollercoaster.

Twists and turns are such a core component of the show that many reviews declined to reveal any plot details beyond first episode to let viewers enjoy the experience. As The New York Times put it, “you will think you have figured out what kind of show Forever is, and you will be wrong, and you will figure it out again, and you will be wrong again”. But while the plotline swerves and shifts, the themes of love, emotional fidelity and reinvention stay constant throughout.

Available on Amazon Prime

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