Some shows in this world feel like a warm hug. The world feels grateful for these series, as they stand as reminders that sometimes, for all the ills of the world, it has no shortness of goodness, either. In the upcoming season of gratitude, check out these comforting shows to fill viewers with thanks.
1. Ted Lasso
A show that’s just a feel-good experience, Ted Lassofollows Jason Sudeikis’ American football coach character of the same name as he and his friend and co-worker, Coach Beard, learn to navigate a whole new football game – of a British kind. With no shortage of heartfelt, tear-jerking moments, this show focuses on all of the ways humans are good and wonderful and all the ways that let viewers learn and grow.
2. Schitt’s Creek
The line “Ew, David” has become instantly recognizable as belonging to the spoiled, somehow endearing character Alexis Rose, one of the four Rose family members the show focuses on. After losing their vast fortune thanks to an embezzling accountant, the Roses find themselves thrown at the mercy of their very last holding – the town of Schitt’s Creek. Irreverent and hilarious, the show focuses on how circumstances change people, sometimes for the better. Schitt's Creek hit peak popularity during the pandemic, when the entire world needed comforting shows.
3. The Great British Bake Off
Something about a cooking show always comforts, but The Great British Bake Off manages to elevate a basic cooking competition into something that reminds audiences how wonderful humans are to one another. The show pulls together the best home bakers across the United Kingdom and sees them all baking through two tasty challenges per episode. While the challenges themselves might impress, the most impressive element remains how the competitors pull together to support one another at every opportunity.
4. Fresh Off the Boat
Based on Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, this show follows the Huangs, a Taiwanese-American family who have moved from the Chinatown area of Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida, in order to open a Western-style steakhouse. The show gives a touching and powerful view of the experience of immigrants in the United States wrapped up in a humorous, joyful package that keeps audiences smiling.
5. Grace and Frankie
After their husbands announce they’ve been having an affair for the past twenty years – with each other, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), two vastly different women, thrown together by their husbands, navigate the world together as divorcees in their seventies. This show might invite ample laughs, but the biggest takeaways are the bright, beautiful moments between Grace and Frankie as they learn about themselves and learn to forge a new life and new paths, even when it feels terrifying. Though perhaps not what the creative minds of the series envisioned, Grace and Frankie remains one of the most comforting shows in recent years.
6. Queer Eye (2018)
The reboot of the 90s classic still harnesses that bright, fun energy but manages to do it in a way that feels far more inclusive and exciting. Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, and Tan France unite to help elevate the style of straight men and women alike. On its face, the show might feel like nothing more than a makeover experience, but after a single episode, it becomes clear that the show emphasizes the internal transformations even more than the external, leading to heartfelt, poignant moments that linger long after the TV’s turned off.
This show manages to tackle some big, difficult subjects in a way that feels hilarious and lighthearted. It tackles subjects like police brutality, racism, misogyny, and more without ever feeling preachy or heavy-handed. The wealthy Johnson family navigates the world as a Black-ish family that defies stereotypes that have long been deeply engrained in the fabric of society. Black audiences can feel represented and seen, and white audiences can learn a thing or two about prejudice and racism, all while laughing through the eight seasons.
8. Parks and Recreation
A classic show that couldn’t be left off this list, Parks and Recreation follows the titular department and all the goofy, loving, eccentric employees that work there. Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope and Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson still stand as cultural icons, Donna and Tom’s “treat yo self” line still echoes around the zeitgeist, and Andy and April’s loving but strange relationship still manages to be “goals.” Enjoy a show that feels like a warm hug, a bit of a joyful break from the harder days the world might toss out.
9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
From the brilliant mind of Tina Fey, this show follows the titular character, just recently rescued from a doomsday cult. Kimmy, played by the amazing Ellie Kemper, rents an apartment from a hilarious and street-smart landlady, played by the incomparable Carol Kane, rooming with an eccentric actor, Titus Andromedon. She finds work with an out-of-touch socialite as a nanny and, between those three influences in her life, learns to navigate a world she finds much changed since she first found herself kidnapped by the doomsday cult.
10. Modern Family
As the world shifts, so do families, and Modern Family focuses on how different families look lately, capturing the ways that families might change, but the love and loyalty stay the same. Whether the crotchety patriarch Jay and his stunning immigrant wife Gloria launch into riotous arguments based entirely on a misunderstanding or Mitchell and his husband Cameron get into some sort of hijinks with their daughter Lilly, or Phil injures himself while Claire rolls her eyes, this show keeps audiences rolling. And while humor may be a focus, the show’s main focus always swings back around to the ways that families show up for one another, no matter what they might look like.
11. Broad City
The brainchild of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, this Comedy Central show started out as a web series that focused on Glazer and Jacobson’s friendship as they attempted to “make it” in New York City. The irreverence of the show and the general joy that Glazer and Jacobson manage to embody throughout every episode, coupled with the New York of it all, keeps this show at the top of the audience’s minds when they search for“feel-good shows.”
12. Nailed It!
While most cooking competitions focus on how incredible the chefs are, Netflix’s Nailed It! does the opposite, focusing on the awfulness of the bakers. The hilarious Nicole Beyer hosts, along with French pastry chef Jacques Torres, as horrible home bakers attempt all of the whacky challenges thrown their way to win the title of “okay-est baker” and all the glory that comes with it.