I recently went through every Friends season to rank the episodes within them, and I started to realise that my opinions of the series have changed over the years.
One of the first lists I ever did on my blog was ranking the Friends seasons, but my order would be completely different now – without further ado, let me show you the changes!
Before we begin, you can check out some of my related blog posts below:
10 – Season 9
- Best – The One with the Memorial Service
- Worst – The One with Christmas in Tulsa
- Better On Rewatch – The One with Rachel’s Phone Number
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with the Lottery
I knew that Season 9 was the worst season when I returned to it on my re-watch, but nothing could prepare me for the absolute mediocrity about to flow from my screen into my eyeballs.
It’s effectively a season of twenty-two misfires and one decent episode in “The One with the Memorial Service”, as everything else is either underwhelming at best or painfully unfunny at worst. I’ll probably never watch this season of television again.
9 – Season 1
- Best – The One with the Blackout
- Worst – The One with the Evil Orthodontist
- Better On Rewatch – The One Where Underdog Gets Away
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with Two Parts
I used to have Season 1 as the worst season of all, but now I realise that opinion was stupid. That being said, I still have my problems with it.
The show is still trying to figure out its identity, but great episodes like “The One with the Blackout” and “The One Where Underdog Gets Away” still shine through at points. A decent start, but it pales in comparison to the best stuff.
8 – Season 10
- Best – The Last One
- Worst – The One Where Chandler Gets Caught
- Better On Rewatch – The One with the Cake
- Worse On Rewatch – The One Where Joey Speaks French
Season 10 tends to get lumped in with 9 as the two “bad” seasons of Friends, but I think that’s incredibly harsh.
It’s a sort of return to form for the show, or at least a final burst of laughs before they hung up their boots for good. Episodes like “The Last One” or “The One with Ross’s Tan” are just as memorable as early-series romps.
7 – Season 6
- Best – The One Where Ross Got High
- Worst – The One with Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.
- Better On Rewatch – The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with Joey’s Fridge
Maybe it’s because seasons 3-5 were so good, but Season 6 felt quite tame on the whole. Episodes like “The One with Joey’s Fridge” lack substance, and the first few episodes focusing on the Ross / Rachel divorce are really stale.
It’s still great though – “The One Where Ross Got High” is the best Thanksgiving episode of all, and Matt LeBlanc shines in episodes like “The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance” and “The One with Joey’s Porsche”.
6 – Season 8
- Best – The One with the Videotape
- Worst – The One with Joey’s Interview
- Better On Rewatch – The One with Monica’s Boots
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with the Creepy Holiday Card
Many see Season 8 as the last great season of Friends, and it was even the season that won the show a much-deserved Emmy, but it hardly reaches the heights of the golden era.
The season starts and ends strong with episodes like “The One with the Videotape” and the whole Rachel pregnancy saga, but individual episodes like “The One with the Stain” and “The One with the Creepy Holiday Card” in the middle stop the season from being excellent.
5 – Season 2
- Best – The One with Ross’s New Girlfriend
- Worst – The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant
- Better On Rewatch – The One Where Eddie Won’t Go
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with the Bullies
Most of the problems I’d had with the first season were immediately rectified in the brilliant opener “The One with Ross’s New Girlfriend”, and they kept that energy up for the entire run-time.
This is the peak of the Ross-Rachel will they / won’t they, and I also really love the Eddy story arc in the middle. Episodes like “The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant” and “The One with the Bullies” drag the whole thing down, however, and the writers won’t iron out all of the creases until next season.
4 – Season 7
- Best – The One with the Holiday Armadillo
- Worst – The One with the Vows
- Better On Rewatch – The One with Joey’s New Brain
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with All the Candy
Season 6 was a little disappointing on re-watch, so it came as a surprise when Season 7 started to find some form once again.
The overarching plot of Chandler and Monica’s wedding is a fun through-line in all the episodes, and individual moments from “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” and “The One with Joey’s New Brain” are peak Friends.
3 – Season 3
- Best – The One Where No One’s Ready
- Worst – The One with the Screamer
- Better On Rewatch – The One with the Tiny T-Shirt
- Worse On Rewatch – The One Where Rachel Quits
The start of the Friends golden age, Season 3 was when all of the rough edges were smoothened and iconic comedy took centre stage.
There are one or two misfires like “The One with the Screamer” and “The One Where Rachel Quits”, but otherwise it’s smooth sailing across the whole season. Episodes like “The One Where No One’s Ready” and “The One with the Football” have gone down as unequivocal classics.
2 – Season 4
- Best – The One with the Embryos
- Worst – The One with the Invitation
- Better On Rewatch – The One with the Ballroom Dancing
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with the Fake Party
Many have Season 4 as the best season of all, and it’s not hard to see why.
“The One with the Embryos”, “The One with the Jellyfish”, “The One with Ross’s Wedding” … these are all perfect episodes full of laughs, and there isn’t a single weak link. Well, apart from the clip show episode and “The One with the Cat”, of course. Shame, really, as this would’ve been first place without them.
1 – Season 5
- Best – The One Where Everybody Finds Out
- Worst – The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS
- Better On Rewatch – The One Hundredth
- Worse On Rewatch – The One with the Ball
It’s always a toss-up in my mind as to whether Season 4 or 5 is the best Friends outing, but I went with the latter for its lack of clip show as well as the Chandler / Monica relationship.
That wholesome through-line is what makes the season so strong from start to finish, but the individual episodes are no slouch either – “The One Hundredth”, “The One in Vegas” and especially “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” are some of the funniest TV I’ve ever seen.
Aaaand that’s my list! You can check out some of my latest blog posts below:
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