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Sitcom vs. Series: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 18, 2023
"A sitcom, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedic TV series with recurring characters in a common setting. A series is any narrative TV show presented in sequential episodes."

Key Differences

A sitcom, derived from the term "situational comedy," specifically refers to a genre of comedy that features characters sharing a common environment, such as a home or workplace, with humor based on situational interactions. Conversely, a series is a broader term encompassing any scripted or unscripted, fictional or non-fictional television show that unfolds in a sequential episode format, irrespective of its genre.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
Sitcoms are characterized by their comedic content, a set of consistent characters, and, often, laugh tracks, which are not generally a component in many other series genres. Series, being a more umbrella term, includes a variety of genres ranging from drama to science fiction, thrillers, and beyond, each with its own set of stylistic rules and expectations.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
When discussing production, sitcoms traditionally are filmed on set with multiple cameras and a live studio audience. In contrast, series may use single-camera setups, on-location filming, and lack live audience feedback, depending on their genre and production style.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
Sitcoms, by nature, often resolve their conflicts within each episode, allowing audiences to tune in to any episode with minimal confusion. However, a series, particularly dramas, might have complex, overarching narratives that span across multiple episodes or even entire seasons, requiring consistent viewing to understand the full story.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
In terms of duration, sitcom episodes typically adhere to a standard length — often around 22 minutes for half-hour slots or 44 minutes for hour-long slots with commercials. Series have a more flexible episode length, which can vary widely depending on the storytelling needs of the specific episode or series.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Genre of comedy
Sequential TV show
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Content

Comedic situations
Various genres
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Production

Often multi-camera
Single or multi-camera
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Narrative Structure

Self-contained episodes
Ongoing storyline
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Episode Duration

Typically standard
Can vary
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
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Sitcom and Series Definitions

Sitcom

A comedy series based on situations that characters encounter.
My favorite sitcom makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Series

A narrative TV show presented across multiple sequential episodes.
The series has captivated audiences with its complex characters and intricate plot.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Sitcom

A TV program usually filmed with a live audience or using a laugh track.
The laughter from the audience enhances the jokes in the sitcom.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Series

A TV show that may belong to any genre, including drama, comedy, thriller, or science fiction.
This science fiction series explores the implications of time travel.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Sitcom

A genre often featuring a consistent set of characters in a common environment.
The sitcom revolves around a quirky family living in New York City.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Series

A program that requires regular viewing to follow an overarching storyline.
You'll need to watch the series from the beginning to understand the plot twists.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Sitcom

A type of show known for episodic structure, where each episode presents a self-contained story.
You can watch any episode of this sitcom without needing to know the backstory.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Series

A show that unfolds over seasons, sometimes with changing characters and narratives.
The series is now in its fifth season, and the stakes have never been higher.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

Sitcom

A television program that combines humor with everyday life's consistent settings and characters.
The sitcom realistically portrays office life but with a humorous twist.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Series

A number of objects or events arranged or coming one after the other in succession.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Sitcom

See situation comedy.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A set of stamps, coins, or currency issued in a particular period.
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Nov 08, 2022

Sitcom

Situation comedy.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

Physics & Chemistry A group of objects related by linearly varying successive differences in form or configuration
A radioactive decay series.
The paraffin alkane series.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Sitcom

A situation comedy
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Mathematics) The sum of a sequentially ordered finite or infinite set of terms.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Geology) A group of rock formations closely related in time of origin and distinct as a group from other formations.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Grammar) A succession of coordinate elements in a sentence.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A succession of publications that present an extended narrative, such as a comic book series, or that have similar subjects or similar formats, such as a series of cookbooks.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A succession of individual programs presented as parts of a unified whole, such as the set of episodes of a television show or a podcast.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Sports) A number of games played by the same two teams, often in succession.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Baseball) The World Series.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(Linguistics) A set of vowels or diphthongs related by ablaut, as in sing, sang, sung, and song.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A number of things that follow on one after the other or are connected one after the other.
A series of seemingly inconsequential events led cumulatively to the fall of the company.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(broadcasting) A television or radio program which consists of several episodes that are broadcast in regular intervals
“Friends” was one of the most successful television series in recent years.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(mathematics) The sequence of partial sums \sum_{i=1}^n{a_i} of a given sequence ai.
The harmonic series has been much studied.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A group of matches between two sides, with the aim being to win more matches than the opposition.
The Blue Jays are playing the Yankees in a four-game series.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(zoology) An unranked taxon.
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Nov 08, 2022

Series

(botany) A subdivision of a genus, a taxonomic rank below that of section (and subsection) but above that of species.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(commerce) A parcel of rough diamonds of assorted qualities.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(phonology) A set of consonants that share a particular phonetic or phonological feature.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(electronics) Connected one after the other in a circuit, in series.
You have to connect the lights in series for them to work properly.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events.
During some years his life a series of triumphs.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

Any comprehensive group of animals or plants including several subordinate related groups.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

In Engler's system of plant classification, a group of families showing certain structural or morphological relationships. It corresponds to the cohort of some writers, and to the order of many modern systematists.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

An indefinite number of terms succeeding one another, each of which is derived from one or more of the preceding by a fixed law, called the law of the series; as, an arithmetical series; a geometrical series.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A mode of arranging the separate parts of a circuit by connecting them successively end to end to form a single path for the current; - opposed to parallel. The parts so arranged are said to be in series.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A parcel of rough diamonds of assorted qualities.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

Similar things placed in order or happening one after another;
They were investigating a series of bank robberies
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A serialized set of programs;
A comedy series
The Masterworks concert series
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Nov 08, 2022

Series

A periodical that appears at scheduled times
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Nov 08, 2022

Series

(sports) several contests played successively by the same teams;
The visiting team swept the series
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A group of postage stamps having a common theme or a group of coins or currency selected as a group for study or collection;
The Post Office issued a series commemorating famous American entertainers
His coin collection included the complete series of Indian-head pennies
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(mathematics) the sum of a finite or infinite sequence of expressions
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

(electronics) connection of components in such a manner that current flows first through one and then through the other;
The voltage divider consisted of a series of fixed resistors
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 08, 2022

Series

A television production that can be episodic or serial in nature, often with a specific theme or concept.
The detective series gained popularity for its unique take on classic mysteries.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

FAQs

Can a series belong to multiple genres?

Yes, a series can blend elements from various genres, such as drama, comedy, thriller, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Do all sitcoms have laugh tracks?

Many traditional sitcoms have laugh tracks, but not all modern ones do.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Can a series change genres between seasons?

While uncommon, a series can shift genres, particularly in anthology formats.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

What defines a sitcom?

A sitcom, or situational comedy, is defined by comedic content, recurring characters, and consistent settings.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Do sitcoms portray realistic situations?

While based on relatable scenarios, sitcoms often exaggerate for comedic effect.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

Can a series end with unresolved storylines?

Yes, sometimes series are cancelled or intentionally leave open-ended narratives.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

What's the difference between a series and a miniseries?

A miniseries is a TV show with a predetermined, limited number of episodes.
Janet White
Oct 18, 2023

Are sitcoms only comedy?

Primarily, yes, though they can sometimes address serious themes with humor.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

How have sitcoms evolved over time?

Sitcoms have adapted in style, humor, and content to reflect cultural shifts.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Are there sitcoms without regular characters?

Rarely, as recurring characters are a staple of the sitcom genre.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

How do sitcoms impact culture?

They often reflect and influence societal norms, trends, and attitudes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

What’s an anthology series?

Each season or episode features different characters, stories, and settings.
Sara Rehman
Oct 18, 2023

Why do some sitcoms use live audiences?

Live audiences can enhance comedic delivery and timing for sitcoms.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 18, 2023

How long is a typical series episode?

It varies, but many scripted series range from 30 to 60 minutes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Are sitcoms always fictional?

Generally, yes, though some might be based on real-life experiences or settings.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Do series always have continuous narratives?

No, some series are episodic with self-contained stories, similar to certain sitcoms.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

What makes a series a "limited series"?

A limited series has a pre-planned, finite number of episodes, usually telling a complete story.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Are series adaptations of other works common?

Yes, many series are based on books, films, or other pre-existing works.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023

Are web series considered series?

Yes, web series follow the same sequential format but are primarily distributed online.
Harlon Moss
Oct 18, 2023

What is the origin of the term "sitcom"?

It's a blend of "situational" and "comedy," denoting its genre.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 18, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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