Fifteen years after it ended, Friends continues to attract new fans. The Emmy award-winning sitcom ran from 1994 to 2004, but still draws sixteen million viewers a week thanks to TV reruns. It was also the most-watched show on streaming site Netflix last year, beating Stranger Things.

Friends follows the lives of six young men and women. Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey and Phoebe hang out in their New York apartments or in the Central Perk café. Over ten seasons and 236 episodes, they talk, they laugh, they love and they argue. While nothing earth-shattering happens, it is very entertaining and strangely addictive.


The show was one of the big hits of the 1990s. The cast comprised Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matt Le Blanc and Lisa Kudrow; all of whom have become household names. Kudrow, Aniston and the show itself have won Emmy awards.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, there will be special events and editions to mark the occasion. Those hoping for a revival, however, will be disappointed. Aniston said on a TV interview that Le Blanc, Perry and Schwimmer were not interested. “Listen, the girls always say we would love to do it again, and the boys are a little less excited about it for some reason – I don’t know,” she said.


So why is the series still so popular, particularly among millennials? There are several theories. Friends is a show that transcends generations. The original fans watch it with their teenage children. Those who were toddlers in the 1990s enjoy watching a group of people their age living their lives in simpler times. The six friends do not face the anxieties of today’s twenty-somethings. There is no real job insecurity. There is no pressure to look good on Instagram or Tinder. There is no trolling. 

What the friends do have is real contact. They are always together, in the same place in real life – or IRL in internet jargon. They live in the moment. It is ‘mindfulness’ in a non-digital environment. Moreover, the topics are timeless: love, friendship, relationships, big city life. All remain relevant and relatable.


The friends’ relationships are open and honest, in a way that is increasingly rare in a ‘Like’-obsessed, social media world. They do not judge and they are loyal to each other. They are saying, as the title song goes: “I’ll be there for you.” In an uncertain world, there is comfort in that.