There is something about sit-coms in general that feels pretty formulaic. By default, it's already fairly unrealistic that a large cast somehow is always together in the same room/place - whether that be at a bar or a coffee shop. There are certain tools that the sit-com show runner uses to allow for maximum jokes. Also, the A-story B-story and C-story formula for sit-coms has been in play for decades.
But outside of just the shows' formats, [How I Met Your Mother](series:200728) and Friends are actually eerily similar. Check it out, courtesy of Imgur:
Friends is probably a more iconic show - I'll admit that I say this only because it is older, though. It's had time to simmer. The fact is How I Met Your Mother might go down as a classic as well. And with the amount of pilot seasons for shows that are never heard from again, scoring a successful sit-com that ends on the show's writers terms and not through cancellation is not easy.
Plus, Barney Stinson.
The most difficult thing you can do throughout multiple seasons of a sit-com is to develop characters that we, the audience, actually care about. Both shows had legitimately sad moments, but also kept it pretty light and easily consumable throughout.
These are both timeless shows dealing with very relatable topics - they also have a sequential storyline but they focus on making sure no matter which episode you're watching, you'll be able to follow along and enjoy it.
Which of these shows do you like best? It's truly tough to say.