Just admit it, we could all use a little comfort right now. The world’s an uncertain place, and we’re spending too much time alone with our own thoughts (and cats). The greatest gift we could give ourselves is some binge-ably-good TV, which is why we’re directing you to Netflix because the streaming platform’s got comfort-watching on lock. From seasons-long comedy favorites to compelling dramas, sitcoms, and more, these shows basically double as ASMR-therapy for your nerves.
Here are the best feel-good series streaming on Netflix right now.
5 seasons, 66 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Every good thing you’ve ever heard about this show… it’s all true. The cast? Terrific. Eugene Levy plays Johnny Rose, a rich video-store magnate who loses his fortune when his business manager fails to pay his taxes. Catherine O’Hara plays his wife, Moira, a former soap opera star who, along with her husband and their two pampered children, must move to a town called Schitt’s Creek when the family is forced to scale down their extravagant lifestyle. It’s the rudest of wake-up calls, but it’s comedy gold for us, especially as the show leans into the talent of its creator, Dan Levy, and the hijinks of David Rose’s sister, Alexis (Annie Murphy). Everyone’s brilliant in this thing, and it’s a damn shame the show is so overlooked by American audiences. Let’s change that.
Parks and Recreation
7 seasons, 125 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
The fact that we’re labeling a TV show about politics as comfort food in this post-2016 climate should serve as the highest form of praise, but here, we’ll heap on more. Amy Poehler is never better than as an idealistic public servant named Leslie Knope, whose constant optimistic outlook actually inspires hope in the promise of government. She’s got a passion — and a love of waffles — that’s near infectious, and she’s surrounded by a team of eccentric oddballs, who all get their time to shine, none more so than Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson, a mustachioed manly-man and a pyramid of greatness unto himself. You had us at “meat tornado.”
The Office (U.S.)
9 seasons, 201 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
There’s a reason that billions of Netflix users are bingeing this workplace comedy during quarantine. It’s the TV equivalent of a weighted blanket, a reassuring mix of laugh-out-loud comedy and genuine storytelling with characters that feel like family by the time the series is done. Of course, you’ll need to get through the growing pains of the show’s first season — it’s only six episodes and there’s still plenty of humor there — but once the writers hit their stride in season two, all bets are off. Good luck choosing a favorite among characters like Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim Halpert, and underdog, Creed Bratton.
Jane the Virgin
5 seasons, 100 episodes | IMDb: 7.8/10
This genre-defying telenovela send-up has one of the weirdest premises of any show, ever: Jane Villanueva, a devout Catholic who’s vowed to remain a virgin until marriage, is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine gynecological visit and becomes pregnant. It sounds more soap-operatic than comedic, but that’s where Jane proves naysayers wrong, infusing the title character’s unlikely journey with countless funny moments that shock and delight viewers at every turn. While Gina Rodriguez’s radiant performance as Jane is the heart of the show, its comedic success is largely thanks to two characters: Her long-lost father, telenovela superstar Rogelio de la Vega (Jaime Camil); and the Narrator (brilliantly voiced by Anthony Mendez), whose helpful explanations and perfectly timed interjections make him as integral to the proceedings as Jane herself. Just try not to have fun bingeing this thing. We dare you.
7 seasons, 146 episodes | IMDb: 7.7/10
Fox’s comedy about a quirky girl who moves in with three male roommates quickly evolved from a pretty straightforward premise to become one of the best shows on TV. Zooey Deschanel plays Jess, a teacher who’s forced to room with three guys, Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield), and Winston (Lamorne Morris), after she discovers that her boyfriend’s been cheating on her. For the next seven seasons, the gang grows to become close friends — getting married, having babies, experiencing sympathy PMS, and getting stuck on a cruise ship, among other disasters. Still, it’s the chemistry between the four mains that makes every outlandish episode work. That, and our enduring desire to understand the rules of a game of “True American.”
5 seasons, 36 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
This Netflix revival keeps everything that was funny about the original Bravo series but injects a surprising amount of heart by casting an all-new Fab Five, who seem ready to conquer the world, one small-minded town at a time. The first installment of the revamped series stunned viewers with its sincerity and ability to bring people together despite the hateful rhetoric surrounding issues faced by the LGBTQ community. Was it fun to see a bunch of Gays pull up into a middle-of-nowhere town and teach a redneck how to dress and woo the ladies? Sure, but the show banked on more than just laughs and drama to keep it afloat and every season after has followed that formula — whether the boys head to Atlanta, the Mid-West, or even Japan — thrusting the group into even more uncomfortable situations to see if their brand of feel-good TV can melt even the most conservative of hearts. Spoiler: they can.
7 seasons, 153 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Maybe the wittiest, pop-culture rich drama ever, Gilmore Girls has managed to hold up incredibly well over the years. It’s a great show to watch with a new generation of television viewers, it’s a great show to watch while bingeing on food, and it’s a great show to watch during a global lockdown. Honestly, isn’t it better to worry about Rory’s choice in boyfriends instead of the effects of a months-long pandemic?
1 season, 12 episodes | IMDb: 7.5/10
The Circle might be one of the most comforting yet tensely dramatic reality series that we’ve ever seen on TV. It manages to strike that delicate balance between watchable chaos and heartwarming human connection stories that so few of its ilk can master. The basic premise follows a group of strangers living in separate pods and only interacting with one another online. They can catfish their fellow contestants — some succeed, some fail miserably which is infinitely more fun to watch — but the goal is to get high user ratings and make it to the final. You’d think a show about people fighting for likes on profile photos would be vapid, but there’s a surprising amount of depth and feeling with this thing. There’s also Joey Sasso.
The Great British Baking Show
7 seasons, 70 episodes | IMDb: 8.6/10
The Great British Bake Off (and this slightly retitled American version) is guilty pleasure binge material for so many that it’s no wonder it shows up here. If I watch other cooking shows to travel to exotic places and vicariously experience strange foods, GBBS is kind of the opposite of that. Its strength is that it’s goofily charming. And we’ve become so accustomed to camera-hogging reality villains and performative not-here-to-make-friendsing that a show featuring charming grandmas and shy Brits is really a breath of fresh air.
The Good Place
3 seasons, 37 episodes | IMDb: 8.2/10
Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) steps away from his usual workplace sitcom for this afterlife comedy, which focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who finds herself in “the good place” after her life comes to an end. Though told this is because she’s led a good, altruistic life, Eleanor knows she’s pretty much a terrible person and is only in this utopia because of its architect’s (Ted Danson) mistake. With this limitless, fictional world, Schur is able to take chances and create a truly goofy show that still deals with morality and other philosophical issues. While the first season is great, a spoiler-filled twist really opens up the show’s potential in its second season, and it only gets better from there. Enjoy Danson’s bowties and Manny Jacinto’s Bortles jokes.
The West Wing
7 seasons, 156 episodes | IMDb: 8.8/10
Television’s all-time best political drama is Aaron Sorkin at his absolute best, working with one of the finest ensemble casts in television history. The show wavers after the fourth season (when Sorkin left), but it picks back up in its final season (with Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda). Here’s a celebration of the greatest fictional President of all time to get you warmed up for it.