1990s Hit Comedy Series With Beloved Star Never Gets The Love It Deserves, Stream Now Without Netflix

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

Ted Danson is one of the best-known sitcom actors in the world, which makes it odd that a show he starred in has all but disappeared from pop culture. Unlike Cheers and The Good Place, which are widely hailed as all-time great sitcoms, Becker has been reduced to a footnote in Ted Danson’s career. While it can’t compare to those iconic works, the subdued comedy is an enjoyable throwback to the simpler sitcoms of the 90s and early 00s. 

Ted Danson’s Follow-Up To Cheers

Becker follows the titular Dr. John Becker, a curmudgeonly general practitioner in the Bronx. His limited social circle consists of his employees and the regulars at the cheap diner he visits daily. The show focuses on the relationships between the characters, which range from romantic to overtly antagonistic.

A Standard 90s Sitcom

As with most sitcoms, Becker has a few overarching plotlines throughout its six-season run. A will-they-won’t-they romance between the doctor and diner owner Regie is a frequent plot point in the early seasons, replaced by a more direct relationship between John and Regie’s replacement, Chris, in the final seasons.

Other running plotlines include John’s repeated attempts to quit smoking, blind newspaper vendor Jake’s relationship with his grandmother, and the slimy Bob becoming the unqualified superintendent of John’s building. 

Carried By The Strength Of The Cast

With a barebones plot and no gimmicks, Becker relies entirely on its cast of fantastic character actors to carry the show. While Ted Danson is by far the biggest name in the show, he’s joined by stage actress Hattie Winston, Shawnee Smith of the Saw franchise, Alex Désert of Boy Meets World, Deep Space Nine actress Terry Farell, and fan favorite Curb Your Enthusiasm guest Saverio Guerra. Later seasons added Danson’s Three Men and A Baby co-star Nancy Travis and Jorge Garcia of Lost fame as series regulars. 

Broadcast Television Comfort Food

Becker is a simple, straightforward sitcom in line with other CBS shows it aired alongside like Everybody Loves Raymond. Splitting episodes between John’s doctor’s office, his apartment, and the diner, the show combines elements of a workplace comedy with the hangout shows that dominated the era. With minimal drama, it was mostly a vehicle for jokes, like John throwing his back out in a Christmas village and being tortured by children, and great comedic performances like Saverio Guerra’s portrayal of the delightfully pathetic Bob. 

Becker Was Ahead Of Its Time

The unlikable nature of its protagonist sets Becker apart from other shows of the time. Unlike lovable losers like George Costanza, John is actively detested by several characters and is frequently punished for being a miserable, abrasive jerk. While later characters like Dr. Cox in Scrubs and Dr. House would make the damaged, angry doctor a mainstay, John Becker was ahead of the curve, playing into that archetype back in 1998. 

A Rock-Solid Sitcom Streaming For Free


One of the most uneven things about Becker is its attempts to address social issues. The first season clumsily tries to address the AIDS crisis by having one of John’s recurring patients be an HIV-positive child, but the depiction lacks the depth needed to say anything meaningful on the subject. Attempts to address race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexism are a mixed bag ranging from embarrassingly outdated to surprisingly empathetic. 

There’s nothing groundbreaking about Becker, but it’s a consistent sitcom with few bad episodes and memorable performances. It also gave Ted Danson a rare opportunity to play a rage-filled anti-hero, a role he’s great at and rarely gets to explore. If you’re nostalgic for the straightforward sitcoms of the past, Becker is a solid show that many fans missed, and it’s free to stream on Pluto TV.