The Best Musical and Comedy TV Series: Unveiling the Gems of Television Entertainment
Get ready to be entertained as we dive into the glitz, glamor, and talent-filled world of the best musical or comedy TV series! From beloved classics to contemporary favorites, we'll take a closer look at the shows that have captured our hearts and tickled our funny bones. So, whether you're a fan of toe-tapping musicals or laugh-out-loud comedies, this article will have you reaching for the remote and eagerly exploring the gems that have made their mark in this entertaining genre. Get ready to sing along and laugh your way through a showcase of the best musical or comedy TV series that have etched themselves in television history!
Best Television Actor - Drama
- Jeff Bridges in "The Old Man"
- Kevin Costner in "Yellowstone" — Winner
- Diego Luna in "Andor"
- Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul"
- Adam Scott in "Severance"
Best Actress - Motion Picture - Drama:
- Cate Blanchett in "Tár" — Winner
- Olivia Coleman in "Empire of Light"
- Viola Davis in "The Woman King"
- Ana de Armas in "Blonde"
- Michelle Williams in "The Fablemans"
Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture:
- Angela Bassett in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" — Winner
- Kerry Condon in "The Banshees of Inisherin"
- Jamie Lee Curtis in "Everything Everywhere All At Once"
- Dolly de Leon in "Triangle of Sadness"
- Carey Mulligan in "She Said"
Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture:
- Ke Huy Quan in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" — Winner
- Brendan Gleeson in "The Banshees of Inisherin"
- Barry Keoghan in "The Banshees of Inisherin"
- Brad Pitt in "Babylon"
- Eddie Redmayne in "The Good Nurse"
Best Television Actress - Musical or Comedy:
- Quinta Brunson in "Abbott Elementary" — Winner
- Kaley Cuoco in "The Flight Attendant"
- Selena Gomez in "Only Murders in the Building"
- Jenna Ortega in "Wednesday"
- Jean Smart in "Hacks"
Best Television Actor - Musical or Comedy:
- Jeremy Allen White in "The Bear" — Winner
- Donald Glover in "Atlanta"
- Bill Hader in "Barry"
- Steve Martin in "Only Murders in the Building"
- Martin Short in "Only Murders in the Building"
Best Supporting Actor - TV Musical, Comedy or Drama Series:
- Tyler James Williams in "Abbott Elementary" — Winner
- John Lithgow in "The Old Man"
- Jonathan Pryce in "The Crown"
- John Turturro in "Severance"
- Henry Winkler in "Barry"
Best Supporting Actress — TV Musical, Comedy or Drama Series:
- Elizabeth Debicki in "The Crown"
- Hannah Einbinder in "Hacks"
- Julia Garner in "Ozark" — Winner
- Janelle James in "Abbott Elementary"
- Sheryl Lee Ralph in "Abbott Elementary"
- Los Angeles
- Golden Globe Awards
Best Picture - Musical or Comedy:
- "The Banshees of Inisherin" — Winner
- "Everything Everywhere All at Once"
- "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery"
- "Triangle of Sadness"
Best Comedy/Musical Series:
- "Abbott Elementary" — Winner
- "The Bear"
- "Only Murders in the Building"
Best Drama Series:
- "Better Call Saul"
- "The Crown"
- "House of the Dragon" — Winner
Best Television Limited Series
- "The White Lotus" — Winner
- "Black Bird"
- "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story"
- "The Dropout"
- "Pam & Tommy"
Image Credit: Everett Collection
This Canadian musical dramedy (which aired Stateside on The N) earns high marks for its catchy soundtrack, featuring tunes like “Waste My Time,” “Liar Liar” and so many more. Fans followed along for four seasons as singer/songwriter Jude Harrison (played by Alexz Johnson) assembled her newest album, which was then made available for purchase in real life. While we thoroughly enjoyed the series and its featured tracks, though, we can’t overlook the troubling will-they-won’t-they love story at the center of it: Tommy, in his mid-twenties, falling for and even kissing Jude while she was still a teenager.
"Schmigadoon!" stars Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong as a couple who find themselves trapped inside an eternal musical. With supporting cast members like Dove Cameron and Ariana DeBose, the first season parodies musicals such as "Brigadoon" and "Oklahoma!" The second focuses on grittier, "Chicago"-eqsue shows.
Watch it on Apple TV .
Image Credit: Disney Channel / Getty Images
Miley Cyrus’ 2006-11 Disney Channel smash may have tended to lean heavily toward over-the-top goofiness. OK, not “may have,” flat-out “did”; nuanced, it wasn’t. But week after week, everyteen Miley Stewart’s superstar alter ego reliably churned out kid-pop bangers that were such earworms, the series’ first two soundtracks both went triple platinum. Sometimes the songs were even good enough to make you overlook the wig that kept Miley’s secret identity a secret. Well, sometimes.
Image Credit: Courtesy of ABC
Way back in days of old (well, January 2015), there was a (hilarious) legend told about Galavant (played by Joshua Sasse) and his clash with King Richard (Timothy Omundson) over the lovely Madalena (Mallory Jansen). ABC’s brilliantly cast, two-season fantasy comedy, hailing from Dan Fogelman and with songs penned by no less than Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, served up such gems as “Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever,” “Oy, What a Knight” and “Hey, Hey, We’re the Monks."
Image Credit: ABC / Getty Images
Confession: We probably would’ve ridden hard for any music-based TV show starring Brandy and Eve. But ABC’s single-season drama about a reunited ’90s girl group was inspired by Verzuz and had music producer Swizz Beatz as its executive music producer, so the tunes were tight. And look, if all of the storylines — like an up-and-coming artist having a diamond unicorn horn surgically sewn into her forehead — weren’t winners, all we had to do was wait for the next rehearsal montage, music video or Nasty Bitches performance, when Queens was on its most regal footing.
Image Credit: Disney General Entertainment Content / Getty Images
With a cast full of actors playing country musicians, and a setting of Music City itself, ABC’s primetime soap effortlessly mixed its very catchy tunes into the weekly action. Because what was more natural than Rayna and Juliette headlining a national tour, or Deacon taking the stage at the Opry? Even when the plot grew unbelievably far-fetched (later seasons, we’re looking at you), Nashville‘s music always made for a life that was good.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix/Everett Collection
One of Netflix’s most underrated gems, this one-season masterpiece follows a war horse’s journey to reunite with her rider and save two worlds from an unspeakable dark force. Powerhouse Broadway voices like Megan Hilty, Lea Salonga, Jessie Mueller and Kimiko Glenn provide additional gravitas to this inspiring (and occasionally heartbreaking) tale of perseverance, friendship and — of course — horses in thigh-high leather boots belting for the gods.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix/Everett Collection
Audiences (or at least a Netflix-sized audience) didn’t quite warm up to this ambitious, dance-heavy series about a group of interconnected love stories in Los Angeles. Before word of mouth even began to get around about this under-appreciated series, the lip-syncing drama had already been sunk.
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Television / Courtesy of Everett Collection
If not handled just right, musical TV shows can easily veer into campy self-parody, and that was unfortunately the case with this glitzy CBS misfire, featuring Hugh Jackman as a swaggering (and singing!) casino mogul. Based on a vastly superior British show, Laughlin had its cast sing along to popular rock hits, but the numbers were jarring, and critics and viewers were not applauding. CBS swiftly dropped the axe after just two episodes. Though if you wanted to see Jackman strut his way through a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” this was the show for you!
Image Credit: Courtesy of Peacock
The TRL nostalgia is strong with this quippy comedy about a ’90s girl group reuniting decades later for another shot at fame. The jokes are sharp — creator Meredith Scardino worked on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Tina Fey is an executive producer — and the cast is fantastic, highlighted by Renée Elise Goldsberry as certified diva Wickie. But the best part might be the perfect parodies of Y2K-era hits, including the catchy theme song “Famous 5eva” and the ode to chastity “Can’t Wait 2 Wait.” It flew under the radar for two seasons on Peacock, but Netflix picking it up for Season 3 might just boost it to the top of the charts.
Image Credit: Courtesy of The CW
The CW’s colorfully quirky musical rom-com took us inside the mind of Rebecca Bunch, a truly hopeless romantic who ditched her life to move across the country and pursue her childhood camp crush. That pursuit was accompanied by an explosion of elaborate musical numbers that ranged from doo-wop to hip-hop and everything in between. The original songs were a marvel of creativity and damn funny to boot, helping to illustrate Rebecca’s inner struggles and putting a happy face on some very dark material. This show was so wonderfully weird, we’re honestly amazed it ran for four seasons on a broadcast network… but we’re so glad it did.
FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS
Image Credit: HBO screenshot
This HBO gem from 2007 follows New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo as its members — Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie — seek fame in New York City. Its writing is whip-smart, with laughs that are quirky, off-kilter and bordering surrealism. The group’s songs and parodies prove to be cathartic for its characters, allowing for some serious expression that’s jam-packed with silliness and clever visuals. Having produced just two seasons, the band left the spotlight well before overstaying its welcome. Here’s to hoping they return someday for a proper encore.
Image Credit: Fox / Courtesy of Everett Collection
While many TV musicals develop small-but-loyal fanbases and perpetually struggle in the ratings, Fox’s coming-of-age dramedy exploded into the cultural conversation like a slushie to the face. The songs dominated iTunes charts (rightfully so, given the talents of Lea Michele, Amber Riley and other powerhouse cast members), and the show was a safe haven for anyone who felt like an outcast. But in its later seasons — particularly after Cory Monteith’s tragic death in 2013 — the show fell apart in fever-dream fashion, introducing bizarre character arcs and even more bizarre song covers. It’s hard to deny the impact Glee had on pop culture and the future of musical television… but it’s best to pretend the show ended with Season 4.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Hulu
Penned by Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez — who are responsible for earworms like Frozen‘s “Let It Go” and WandaVision‘s “Agatha All Along” — the ditties in Hulu’s musical rom-com were expectedly clever. We’re not positive, though, that the show needed them. As Lindsay and Miguel tried to navigate romance and career ambitions in New York City, we were charmed enough by Mae Whitman and Carlos Valdes’ easy, believable chemistry — and as far as kooky conceits go, the show already had one in the form of Lindsay and Miguel’s respective inner voices, who only they could see and hear. The addition of songs often made the show feel overstuffed, and we admit we haven’t been humming ’em in the weeks since Up Here dropped its first season.
BIG TIME RUSH
Image Credit: Nickelodeon screenshot
If you weren’t a tween somewhere in the neighborhood of 2009-13, this Nickelodeon comedy probably wasn’t for you. (Silly wasn’t just its middle name, it was also its first and last.) But for 74 episodes (as well as a big-screen feature), youngsters thrilled to the misadventures of the quartet of hockey-playing pals thrown together to form the boy band that gave the show its title. And if it had little else going for it besides cute guys with questionable hairdos, it did at least boast a steady flow of slammin’ power-pop songs.
Image Credit: Aaron Spelling Prod. / Courtesy of Everett Collection
This short-lived Fox drama about the titular band gave us the No. 1 Billboard hit “How Do You Talk to an Angel,” and a post-Days of Our Lives/pre-NYPD Blue Charlotte Ross, but little else during its 12-episode run.
AUSTIN & ALLY
Image Credit: Disney Channel / Getty Images
Created for the kiddies, Disney Channel’s candy-coated 2011-16 musical comedy was anything but high art. However, as it told the love story of wannabe pop idol Austin Moon and introverted songwriter Ally Dawson, it wove in the duos’ collaborations with ease and gave a tantalizing taste of what a badass rock star a pre-Teen Beach Movie, pre-Driver Era Ross Lynch was going to become. (Check him out above in the Season 3 premiere.)
Image Credit: CBS / Courtesy of Everett Collection
This Bill Bixby-directed 1984 fever dream about a pop act on the rise was so crummy that CBS couldn’t bring itself to air more than half of its dozen episodes. But the musical sitcom did mark John Stamos’ first post-General Hospital role, and the tunes were pitch-perfect for MTV’s Golden Age. One of them even went on to become a No. 1 smash — although not until it was covered by Heart three years later.
Image Credit: NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images
Set at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, this 1982-87 adaptation of the movie of the same name hit many of the right notes. Not only was the Golden Globe-winning series anchored by the estimable Debbie Allen, one of several actors to reprise their roles from the film, but its production numbers gave off an energy that was infectious. (Not for nothing, the show bagged Emmys for Allen, directing, choreography, costuming and cinematography.) Mind you, the clip above — featuring a pre-Control Janet Jackson — probably doesn’t rank as one of the series’ all-time highs.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Fox
No doubt inspired by the runaway success of Empire, Fox partnered with creator Lee Daniels for another musical series, this one centered around three young singers chasing the American dream. But even though it shared the same auspices as Empire and even crossed over with the hit drama, Star couldn’t capture the magic of its predecessor and was cancelled after somehow managing to eke out three seasons.
Image Credit: Fox / Courtesy of Everett Collection
There’s no denying that the Fox series was a cultural and ratings phenomenon right out of the gate, thanks to its impressive soundtrack of original songs and a dynamic ensemble. (Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon will forever go down as one of TV’s most indelible characters.) But what started out as an addictive King Lear-esque drama full of complicated family power struggles and musical prowess ultimately got bogged down by its soapy plotlines.
ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST
Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC
The NBC dramedy, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, understood the power of music as a tool to convey emotion. As Zoey grappled with her newfound ability to hear people's innermost thoughts through song covers, the series masterfully infused its musical numbers with intense feeling. Particularly, the performances that centered around Zoey's father's declining health were consistently heart-wrenching. While the show lost some of its focus after Mitch's death and became entangled in a frustrating love triangle in Season 2, it remained true to its heartfelt core. We're still amazed by the "one-shot" full-cast rendition of Don McLean's "American Pie," Skylar Astin's wonderfully energetic sex medley, and anything sung by Alex Newell.
Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC
Expectations were high for NBC's musical drama, Rise. With showrunner Jason Katims, known for Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, at the helm, and a plot centered around a high school drama club putting on a production of the beloved musical Spring Awakening, it seemed destined for success. While the young cast, led by the powerful Auli'i Cravalho, delivered impressive performances, the show's overly serious tone and certain unappealing characters, like Josh Radnor's English teacher/drama club director, overshadowed its successes.
JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS
Image Credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Sure, the premise of the Netflix series Julie and the Phantoms was highly unconventional (a teenage girl performing with the ghosts of a '90s band, disguised as holograms), and some storylines veered into silliness (the guys died from food poisoning caused by bad hot dogs). However, the charm of the cast, the catchy songs, and the show's genuine sweetness made it an inspiring watch rather than a saccharine one. Plus, Charlie's emotionally charged song for his mother, "Unsaid Emily," was truly show-stopping.
Image Credit: Touchstone Television / Courtesy of Everett Collection
The underrated ABC series Eli Stone, created by future Arrow showrunners Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim, transcended the typical legal procedural with its delightful twist. The titular lawyer, played by Jonny Lee Miller, experienced visions that often manifested as captivating musical numbers performed by the talented cast, which included vocal powerhouses Victor Garber and Loretta Devine. On occasion, even George Michael himself serenaded Eli. Quirky and thought-provoking, with the question of whether Eli was experiencing a brain aneurysm or if he was a prophet, this show deserved more than its two-season run.
DAISY JONES & THE SIX
Image Credit: Courtesy of Prime Video
The Prime Video drama Daisy Jones & the Six depicted the rise and tragic fall of a 1970s rock band, reminiscent of the romantic turmoil within Fleetwood Mac. Whether viewers found the adaptation of Taylor Jenkins Reid's novel faithful or missed the mark, the series truly shone when its lead singers, Daisy and Billy, poured their conflicted emotions into their songs. With a soundtrack featuring the contributions of legitimate music industry producers and songwriters, and the impressive vocal chemistry between stars Riley Keough and Sam Claflin, the catchy original tracks made up for any plot shortcomings.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Nickelodeon/Everett Collection
During the early 2010s, tweens were treated to the talents of Victoria Justice, Liz Gillies, and Ariana Grande in the weekly pop-rock fest known as Victorious. The show not only delivered earworms but also kept audiences laughing with Nickelodeon's signature brand of nonsensical humor. From 2010 to 2013, it seemed like everyone wanted to enroll at Hollywood Arts High School.
Image Credit: Courtesy of NBC/Everett Collection
The music in Smash was undeniably perfect. However, the show itself fell short of expectations. Spanning two seasons, NBC's drama chronicled the creation of a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Although the finished product, Bombshell, was a work of genius, the show struggled with unlikable characters, uninteresting storylines, and an abundance of theatrical clichés. Nevertheless, Smash developed a cult following and is currently in the works for an original Broadway musical based on the series.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Fox/Everett Collection
Did you ever feel deceived by a TV show? That's likely how most viewers felt about Monarch, a country music drama that prominently featured Susan Sarandon in its marketing, only to kill off her character in the first episode. The show's uninspired murder mystery storyline and endless parade of covers disguised as original songs didn't help its cause.
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television / Courtesy of Everett Collection
The infamous 1990 crime drama/musical hybrid Cop Rock, created by Steven Bochco, aimed to merge procedural aspects with rock, blues, gospel, and pop numbers. However, it failed to strike a chord with audiences, ranking at No. 80 out of 101 programs that season according to Nielsen ratings. ABC ultimately canceled the show, and its chief Bob Iger recognized ABC's support despite its poor ratings. Cop Rock may not have been successful, but its ambition cannot be denied.
THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY
Image Credit: Everett Collection
Loosely based on the real-life family pop group The Cowsills, The Partridge Family was an ABC sitcom that followed widowed character Shirley Partridge, played by musical veteran Shirley Jones, as she embarked on a musical journey with her five kids. The series depicted the family on tour or rehearsing/performing in various locations. While only Jones and eventually her stepson David Cassidy sang their own vocals, the show received two Golden Globe nominations for best musical/comedy during its four-season run.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Everett Collection
Inspired by the Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night, the NBC comedy series The Monkees revolved around the misadventures of a struggling rock 'n' roll quartet: Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork. The show presented zany scenarios that often thrust the group into comedic escapades, all while featuring montages set to their catchy tunes. After some initial backlash when it was revealed that the actors didn't write or perform the songs themselves, Season 2 adjusted to showcase the quartet's actual musical talents.
In a world overflowing with exceptional talent, the realm of television series never fails to captivate us with its unmatched storytelling and incredible performances. From the heart-wrenching dramas that leave us breathless to the rib-tickling comedies that tickle our funny bones, the best musical or comedy TV series provide us with a much-needed escape and an opportunity to immerse ourselves in a world of unlimited imagination. With a plethora of remarkable shows gracing our screens, it's a challenge to pinpoint the absolute best. From the irresistible melodies of "Schmigadoon!" to the laughter-inducing antics of "Queens," and the toe-tapping tunes of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist," these series have carved their names in the annals of television history. Whether you find solace in the heartwarming narratives of "Hannah Montana" or revel in the dramatic twists and turns of "Empire," the world of musical or comedy TV series offers something for everyone. So sit back, relax, and let the magic unfold as these extraordinary shows transport us to a realm where laughter, tears, and unforgettable moments reign supreme.
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