Movie Reviews

Every Season Of Modern Family From Worst To Best

Summary

  • Modern Family
    was a groundbreaking show with quirky characters and a unique mockumentary format that earned 22 Emmy Awards throughout its 11-season run.
  • Season 9 marked a decline with repetitive storylines and a decline in viewership, while Season 10 had the worst ratings of the series.
  • The show rebounded slightly in Season 11, focusing on new storylines but still satisfying loyal viewers, with several standout episodes in its finale season.



The best Modern Family seasons ranked brought viewers plenty of laughs and tears throughout its 11-season run. Airing on ABC from 2009 through 2020, Modern Family brought fans into the homes of Ed O’Neill’s Jay Pritchett and his children and grandchildren. Set up in a mockumentary format, with the characters often talking to the cameras to either set up scenes or react to those that just ended, the show was like nothing else on television, finishing its run with 22 Emmy Awards out of 75 nominations.

The cast featured quirky and iconic characters, played by some of the funniest actors working on television. With names like Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and more, the cast of Modern Family kept audiences laughing until its final season. With 11 seasons and 250 episodes, there were several highlights, although not every season of Modern Family was as beloved as the rest. While even the worst seasons were better than many sitcoms, the best Modern Family seasons show why it’s regarded as one of the most popular modern sitcoms.


Modern Family
is available to stream on Hulu and Peacock Premium.

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11 Modern Family Season 9 Saw A Decline In Ratings, Awards

September 2017 – May 2018

Modern Family’s
viewership dropped to 5.02 million during season 9, its lowest to date.


Modern Family‘s ninth season seems to highlight the gradual downfall of the series, with some of the gags no longer working and the storylines getting increasingly silly. The show even seems to be self-aware that the audience might be moving on as Phil and Claire question if their family has outgrown some of their traditions, like their annual Halloween festivities.

But there are some highlights to enjoy, such as the season premiere with the family on a lake trip while Jay contemplates his legacy. But on the other hand, the series repeated many jokes and storylines and seemed repetitive for audience members who had been there since the beginning. Modern Family’s viewership dropped to 5.02 million during season 9, its lowest to date. The season only received one Emmy nomination for the premiere, “Lake Life.”


10 Modern Family Season 10 Had The Worst Ratings Of The Series

September 2018 – May 2019

Claire greets Haley after she gives birth on Modern Family

The longevity of Modern Family shows the love fans have for the sitcom and the large ensemble of characters. But as with most shows that go on for many years, the later seasons seem to run out of air. Season 10 of the show was seen as the weakest by many fans as it focused more on the younger characters. While the series had long balanced the presence of the Dunphy kids with their adult relatives, season 10 meant a larger focus on Joe and Cal as well, trying to get even younger kids involved in bigger storylines.

Though the season marked a big moment in the series with Haley confronting the reality of her future and the birth of Haley Dunphy’s twins, the fun spark and clever writing of the earlier days seemed to dwindle. The season ended with a low 1.9 rating, the worst of the entire series.


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9 Modern Family Season 11 Slightly Rebounded For Its Finale

September 2019 – April 2020

The family hugging in the Modern Family series finale.

The final season of Modern Family is a mix of fans bidding a fond farewell to the series and the feeling that it is time to end. It’s always better for a television series to find an end point before the audience feels like the show overstayed its welcome. With interest waning, the show pulled out all of the comedic and dramatic stops for season 11 and gave the audience a great send-off.


The season focuses on Phil and Claire as grandparents while offering sad moments, such as the death of Phil’s father. With a mix of laughs and tears, the season gave fans a finale that satisfies loyal viewers and fans who might have dipped out in the middle, even if the overall season was not the show’s best. Modern Family’s final season once again found awards recognition, with both Fred Willard and Gail Mancuso earning Emmy nominations.

8 Modern Family Season 8 Fell Into Repetitive Writing

September 2016 – May 2017

Gloria between Jay and her ex at Mannys graduation in Modern Family.

Seeing a show like Modern Family continue over the years meant fans get to see the younger characters grow up before their eyes. However, this also created problems by the time Modern Family season 8 arrived, as some viewers felt the jokes and narratives had grown repetitive and predictable. The overarching storyline of the eighth season was seeing Luke and Manny graduate high school.


This signaled a change for Modern Family, as it was no longer the adorable and charming sitcom about families it once was and was now an awkward show filled with young adults and their parents. However, despite the changes, the show didn’t feel like it had adapted when it came to its tone, still treating the younger generation like the kids they began the show as. This was the last season Modern Family earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series.

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7 Modern Family Season 7 Was More Dramatic & Less Funny Than Previous Seasons

September 2015 – May 2016


Modern Family
still finds ways for its characters to be funny and for the situations to be entertaining enough.

Modern Family season 7 explores aspects of the kids growing up and the Dunphy’s and Pritchett’s dealing with that. However, it does it more effectively than the eighth season. The season focuses on Alex heading to college while Claire takes on a new job. The show tried to infuse a little more drama in the seventh season, which could be hit or miss. The audience loved the show for its comedy and its heart, after all.

Though it is also not as strong as in the earlier seasons, Modern Family still finds ways for its characters to be funny and for the situations to be entertaining enough for the audience to keep tuning in. Modern Family season 7 was still funny, but this was the first time critics and viewers felt the show was starting to repeat jokes.


6 Modern Family Season 5 Had Big Highlights But Was Uneven

September 2013 – May 2014

Mitch and Cam get married on Modern Family.

There have been a few moments in which real-life circumstances led to storylines on the show, and the results have been mixed. But with the legalization of gay marriage in California, Modern Family season 5 delivered great moments of Mitch and Cam planning to get married. Of course, the big wedding episode was the season’s highlight, with things going predictably awry while maintaining a touching tone. It was a terrific cap to a solid run of episodes, though it wasn’t quite the breath of fresh, innovative air that the best Modern Family seasons were.

Finally, the season picked up its fifth and final Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.


Ty Burrell won the Primetime Emmy in Modern Family season 5 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, while Jesse Tyler Ferguson was nominated for the same award. Nathan Lane also guest starred in the season and received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Finally, the season picked up its fifth and final Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. This was also the last season the Golden Globes nominated Modern Family for Best Television Series.

California legalized same-sex marriage on June 28, 2013, leading to the
Modern Family
season 5 finale where Cam and Mitch get married.

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5 Modern Family Season 4 Was Still Funny, But Began To Show Its Cracks

September 2012 – May 2013

Gloria singing while pregnant in Modern Family.

Following the surprise at the end of the third season, season 4 of Modern Family kicks off with the news that Jay and Gloria are expecting a new baby. This storyline provides some terrific moments, like Jay and Gloria going to a parenting class and Jay battling his mother-in-law about the baby’s name. The surprise pregnancy is a predictable storyline that many sitcoms use, but here, it works. While such gimmicks felt forced in later seasons, this one was put to good use for a season of laughs.

It was still a huge success, bringing in 12.31 million viewers, the second-highest total
Modern Family’s
entire run.


The season was also critically acclaimed. At the Emmy Awards, Modern Family season 4 earned 12 nominations and won two (Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for “Arrested”). “The Butler’s Escape” and “Heart Broken” were the two standout episodes from season 4, and it was still a huge success, bringing in 12.31 million viewers, the second-highest total Modern Family’s entire run.

4 Modern Family Season 6 Has Several Standout Episodes

September 2014 – May 2015

Croctopus reference in Modern Family connection lost on one of the many screens up on the computer


Season 6 of Modern Family was the last great example of what the series could be in the eyes of many fans. While this was the first time Modern Family didn’t win an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, season 6 still had plenty of laughs and fun to offer its fans. It leaned into what many viewers loved about the show, like the holiday mayhem in “Three Turkeys” and the interconnected stories in “The Day We Almost Died.”

This season of the show also featured fan-favorite Andy, played by Adam Devine. The addition of his character and his chemistry with Haley had many hoping for her to end up with him instead of Dylan by the time the show came to an end. Modern Family was also willing to try new things six seasons into the show, like the episode “Connection Lost,” taking place entirely on computer screens. These new members of the ensemble and new formats made the season feel fresh.

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3 Modern Family Season 1 Was Almost A Perfect Start

September 2009 – May 2010

The cast of Modern Family meeting Lily for the first time

Most sitcoms take a little time getting on their feet, but Modern Family seemed to find its stride early. With the great twist in the pilot episode, the show got off to an entertaining start in season 1 and didn’t slow down. The first season helps the audience get to know these colorful characters and their quirks. It also establishes some of the most popular gags in the show, including Phil and Claire’s ill-fated attempts at role-playing and Cameron’s clown alter-ego named Fizbo.

Six different actors earned nominations, with Eric Stonestreet winning for Outstanding Supporting Actor.


Modern Family earned 13 Emmy nominations for its first season, an almost unheard-of feat. The series won for Outstanding Comedy Series, its first of five consecutive wins in that category. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Six different actors earned nominations, with Eric Stonestreet winning for Outstanding Supporting Actor.

2 Modern Family Season 2 Met The First Season’s High Expectations

September 2010 – May 2011

Phil and Claire dressed up on Halloween on Modern Family.

While the first season started right, the second season quickly improved on several things. The characters began to settle into their personalities and the writing became even sharper. There were some big highlights, like Claire taking Halloween to some major extremes and Jay partying with Mitchell’s gay friends. It proved the first season wasn’t a fluke and Modern Family would be around for a while. Modern Family season 2 increased the sitcom’s fanbase significantly, and the viewership numbers jumped over three million an episode.


The second season of the show also continued to see critics lauding the chemistry of the cast and the jokes of the writers. The show picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series again, proving that the peers of those working on the show also saw how consistently funny it was.

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1 Season 3 Was The Highlight Of Modern Family’s Run

September 2011 – May 2012


After two solid seasons, Modern Family seemed to find its groove and unlock its full potential with the third season. The show seemed to discover what worked so well for this group of characters and had a lot of fun embracing that. Along with an overarching storyline of Claire’s run for city council, season 3 also had a lot of fun with the family vacation storylines, like visiting a dude ranch and the family going to Disneyland. Modern Family season 3 was easily the best in the shows run, and when most viewers began to take notice.

Modern Family
had its biggest viewership totals, with 12.93 million on average


When season 3 arrived, Modern Family won its third straight Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Steven Levitan won for Outstanding Directing (“Baby on Board”) and Eric Stonestreet took home his second Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Julie Bowen also won her second consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Even more importantly, for its long-term success, Modern Family had its highest viewership totals, with 12.93 million on average and a 5.5 TV rating (18-49). Season 3 is truly the show at its best.

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