May 6th marks the ten-year anniversary of the Friends series finale. That night, over 52 million people tuned in to find out how it would all end. Would Ross finally get together with Rachel? Would female characters ever stop moving to Paris when their shows drew to a close? Who actually lived in Rachel and Monica’s apartment? Would coffee ever taste the same again? While we got most of those answers, we were left with a bitter taste in our mouths. Our best friends of the past 10 years left us feeling lonely. Knowing it was time for us to change the channel, the networks rushed to fill the void. NBC tossed out a few post-Friends options that failed to capture our hearts while ABC, FOX and CBS attempted to mix up the template with a few different offerings. Sadly most of them failed (and failed badly). While How I Met Your Mother managed to soar for nine years, the faux Friends on this list did not.
Starring Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), Lindsay Price (Gals on the Town) and Sonya Walger (Lost), Coupling was about the dating and sexual adventures of six thirtysomething friends. The show was shoehorned in during Friends ninth season in anticipation of the show’s ending but Coupling didn’t make it past November sweeps. The show, which was a remake of the BBC series, suffered from bad acting, too faithful of an adaptation—including nearly identical scripts—and too much network interference. Besides, we had just spent 10 years watching six friends in their thirties sleeping and dating each other. #TooSoon
2. Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23/Friends with Better Lives
The two James Van Der Beek shows tackle two different post-Friends worlds. The first, Don’t Trust the B—, was about roommates in New York City navigating life in the same unit with hot guys living across the hall. The show was smart and fun but failed to get past the overarching concept of the show: the bitch that had to go. Beek’s other attempt of sitcom glory is Friends with Better Lives, which aired following the HIMYM series finale. The show is about six friends at different stages in their lives. While it’s fate is still to be determined, the pilot didn’t show promise.
3. Friends with Benefits
In another attempt by NBC, five friends—two of whom are casually sleeping together—living in Chicago must find a balance between love and sex. It all sounds too much like the Monica and Chandler hooking up subplot in season 5. At least they switched up the city this time but we all know that friends with benefits never work out.
4. Happy Endings
Probably the most beloved and successful of the post-Friends friends series, Happy Endings ran for three short seasons before getting canned by ABC and ultimately replaced by Mixology (see #7). The ABC series saw six friends—Adam Pally, Casey Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr., Elisha Cuthbert, Eliza Coupe and Zachary Knighton—paling around in Chicago. Two of them were married (Jane and Brad), two of them were on again, off again (Alex and David), one was quirky and free-spirited (Penny), while the other one was adorkably dumb (Max). Sadly inconsistent airing by ABC and poor writing in season three derailed the show from gaining any real momentum.
Watch as Pally plays Operation with VH1’s Kate Spencer:
5. Happy Hour
While set up as a different concept, the FOX series ultimately felt like misguided Friends attempt. After Henry (John Sloan) loses his job, apartment and girlfriend all in one day, life seems to spiral out of control. But everything starts anew when John meets up with his five other friends for happy hour. FOX wisely put the show on hiatus after four episodes.
One night in Manhattan at a bar called Mix, ten seemingly random twentysomethings met up for more than drinks. It’s a high concept with the series taking place all in one night, with each episode showing a slice of the evening. ABC canceled Happy Endings and replaced it with this.
8. Perfect Couples
Tired of six friends who are neighbors that occasionally sleep together, NBC ordered a show about three couples in various stages of their relationships that all happened to be neighbors. The series rounded up a strong cast, which included Kyle Bornheimer (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Christine Woods (Hello Ladies), David Walton (About a Boy), Mary Elizabeth Ellis (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Olivia Munn (The Newsroom). However it fell flat thanks to weak jokes and even weaker execution.
9. Some of My Best Friends
Starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) as Warren, a gay writer living in Greenwich Village, Some of My Best Friends explored the odd couple pairing of him and Frankie, his straight roommate played by Danny Nucci. The show’s cast of characters also included Warren’s flamboyant best friend, Frankie’s dimwitted best friend and Warren’s sister. The show was an odd cross between Will & Grace and Friends while failing to be original—or avoid all too familiar stereotypes.
10. The Class
What happens when you cast Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), Lucy Punch (Into the Woods), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Jonathan Edward Bernthal (The Walking Dead) in a high concept Friends about former third grade classmates who reunite after 20 years? You get canceled after one season and let all the talent go. The talented cast was blessed with sharply drawn characters but the show had too many stars and story lines. Ultimately the show fell flat and fans weren’t all too keen to revisit elementary school.