Friends: All The Seasons RankedPublished on October 25, 2017. Updated February 24, 2020
As fans are well aware, Friends ran for 10 incredible seasons from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004, and has since become iconic both in terms of TV history and pop culture. Friends’ fans are extremely passionate and loyal, and can quote many episodes from all the seasons, but as is the case with any series, even the great ones, not every season was amazing. While there is no such thing as a bad season of Friends, it can’t be denied that some were definitely better than others overall. Take a look back at the beloved show with all 10 seasons ranked from worst to best:
10. Season Nine
Naturally, season nine of Friends had many unforgettable moments and episodes but, as a whole, it is remembered as the least liked season of the series. Season nine was the most disconnected of any of the seasons because of the initial confusion of whether or not it would be the last. After the writers and showrunners had already begun setting up the finale, the cast was talked into a tenth and final season, which means the plans for the season nine finale had to be abandoned. Unsurprisingly, by season nine it was more and more noticeable that the show had lost a lot of the charisma and magic that made it so amazing, and it was evident that everyone was basically ready to move on. Most of all, the season will always be remembered as having the absolutely awful storyline in which Joey and Rachel fall for each other, and the awkwardness of the pair and their lack of chemistry is forever burned in the minds of fans.
9. Season Ten
There is no doubt that season ten will always hold a special place in the hearts of Friends’ fans, but it certainly wasn’t a standout when compared to most of the seasons that came before it. If it was noticeable that the show had run out of steam in season nine, than it was never more obvious in season ten that it was only being done for the fans. Season ten was shorter than the others because it was the only way the stars would agree to come back, but one of its biggest faults was its dramatic highs and lows. Some moments felt like “classic Friends” moments while others seemed forced and unnecessary. While it was not one of the best seasons, it did give audiences an emotional and well-rounded ending that the show and fans deserved and of course included a lot of Paul Rudd as Mike Hannigan which brought a fresh and fantastic new energy to the exhausted cast.
8. Season Two
Season two of Friends was when the show began to really establish itself, but still had some kinks to work out. The season found the heart of a lot of its comedy as it ironed out the quirky characteristics of every character, and dove head first into the Ross and Rachel saga which would define the series for years to come. Although the couple were central to the show, it also derailed attention from other characters which made the season feel a little uneven, so while it was most definitely getting good, Friends wasn’t great…yet.
7. Season Seven
While season two was largely devoted to Ross and Rachel, season seven was dedicated to Monica and Chandler as they planned their wedding. The season had some major highlights, which of course was the wedding which featured Joey as the officiant. For some, season seven was great because it focused on a couple other than Ross and Rachel, but for those who weren’t fond of Monica, the season seemed dragged out as she was at the center of the main story arc. For many who weren’t fans of Monica, the extended focus on the character finally saw her master the balance between her annoying and obsessive personality with actually being funny.
6. Season Four
The fourth season of Friends is one that many fans have conflicted feelings about. For some, season four is the peak of Friends‘ perfection with some of the entire series’ most memorable episodes including the one with the quiz for the apartment and of course the one where Ross says Rachel’s name during his wedding to Emily. For others, the season took a great base and went a little too overboard, especially with Phoebe acting as a surrogate for her brother and his wife, and Joey and Chandler’s fight over Kathy. It also didn’t help that in comparison to Rachel, Emily was just very uninteresting which made it clear it was never going to work out between herself and Ross and, she was so unmemorable, even Ross couldn’t get her name right while staring right at her.
5. Season Six
By its sixth season, the show had not only found its feet, but had begun a great track record of introducing new characters, and a lot of great guest stars, to make good storylines even better. One of the season’s biggest downfalls was its lack of emotional arcs or character developments, but those are fairly easily overlooked because of how flawless the comedy was. Aside from annoying characters like Elizabeth and Janine, fans got a lot of great supporting characters such as Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Ross and Monica’s parents and of course Bruce Willis as Elizabeth’s father Paul. Each actor and actress were at their comedic best in the season, which led to some truly great episodes.
4. Season One
Season one of Friends has received quite a lot of undeserved criticism and as such is one of the series’ most underrated and underappreciated seasons. Of course, it can’t be denied that the show wasn’t at its best because it was still finding its feet and there was no certainty it was going to succeed. While there is merit to the fact the characters weren’t quite the ones we would come to know and love, the season was extremely important for providing the foundation for the entire series. In between the issues of a new series finding its way, it is very obvious that at the center of the first season was a great comedy sitcom with an absolutely fantastic cast with some of the best chemistry TV fans have ever seen.
3. Season Three
With seasons one and two setting the groundwork, it was season three where the show really began to stand out, making it one of the best. The third season had all the characters at their best. After turning up Joey’s dumb humor and toning down Phoebe’s overly eccentric personality, everything was at the right balance and a great season was delivered. From some truly hilarious moments such as the Geller Cup and the chick and duck, the season also incorporated some of the best drama and romance with “The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break” and “The One with the Morning After.”
2. Season Five
While season three may have been great, season five was just that much better. The season picked up on the much anticipated relationship between Monica and Chandler, and had perhaps the most simple yet iconic Friends moment ever with “PIVOT!” The coupling of Monica and Chandler proved the series wasn’t afraid to take risks, and writers were definitely not going to let things get boring. The relationship opened up a whole new door for both dramatic and comedic fodder, and the chemistry between Perry and Cox was absolutely incredible, making fans very invested in the outcome of the relationship. It’s hard to find a fault with season five thanks to its thorough storylines and willingness to shake things up.
1. Season Eight
Last but certainly not least is season eight. After all those seasons before it wasn’t until the eighth season that Friends finally won the Emmy for the Best Comedy Series and it is easy to see why it happened when it did. For most long-running series, the introduction of a baby often means the ideas are wearing thin and it is about time to set the characters up for the end, but instead Rachel’s pregnancy provided some of the best episodes, storytelling and comedy. Figuring out who the father of Rachel’s baby incorporated the entire group and had every fan intrigued from start to finish, and added a much needed new dimension to the Ross and Rachel love story. Even the idea of Joey beginning to have feelings for Rachel worked well in this season, even though we all know how poorly it eventually worked out. Of course, it cannot go unmentioned that season eight also provided perhaps the best and most memorable Friends Thanksgiving episode of all time thanks to the appearance of Brad Pitt as Will Colbert.