Many have described today as the TV renaissance. With thousands of quality programs to choose from it has never been more challenging to get through the queue. On the condition of quality, you’ll have endless to choose from, but as far as shows with an uplifting message, you may be harder pressed to find.
More and more people have commented on the “dark streak” TV has taken with many focusing on murder, abuse, revenge, infidelity, politics, etc. Often we just need something uplifting and truly feel-good that gives you the cheerful escape you need for 30-60 minutes at a time.
That said, here are 18 feel-good shows thriving in the age of dark TV.
1. This is Us
This Emmy award-winning juggernaut series is everything people claim and more. It’s creative narrative structure which hops through different time zones as we follow the life of the Pearson family will literally leave you a weeping mess. But not necessarily tears of sadness, tears of joy come just as often. This series comes packed with incredible performances and never loses sight of hope no matter how hard life becomes.
2. Parks and Recreation
The iconic series finds its place in RV history for a reason. It’s pure yet insane main character Leslie Knope played by Amy Poehler is brilliant alongside her crazy colleagues and staff. This show takes Indiana small-government politics and turns it completely on its head. You’ll find yourself quite literally laughing almost minute to minute.
3. The Golden Girls
The classic four-woman band Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan and Betty White are entertainment icons. The sarcasm, quick wit and total sass of these four women are just what the doctor ordered at the end of each day. It will remind you we can all age gracefully and have a ton of fun while we’re at it.
4. Fuller House
The reboot of the ’90s Full House has been successful at capturing the heart of family and friendship yet again. With a clever mix of characters old and new generations this series is perfect for family co-viewing and putting a smile on your face.
5. Jane the Virgin
What happens when a young woman’s love of telenovelas finds her life actually becoming one? You get one of the most creative, heartwarming, charming and funny series ever on TV. The insanely likable Gina Rodriguez plays Jane a 23-year-old virgin who is artificially inseminated right after her engagement to the love of her life Michael only to learn the father is her endlessly attractive boss, Raphael. Hooked already?
Need we say more? This hit long-running series on the heels of its 25th anniversary is the perfect antidote to depressing entertainment. You have an episode for pretty much every one of life’s dilemmas including breakups, pregnancy and divorce.
7. The Great British Baking Show
Who can resist delicious cakes and pies? In The Great British Baking Show, this bake-off will have you drooling and smiling all the same. Each week someone has to go home, but it always ends with hugs and warm wishes. Rather than cut-throat contestants they want to help each other, a complete reality in the reality competition world.
In this heartwarming series, we follow three women who are challenged with the cultural expectation you are meant to lie about your age after 40. This supportive and lovable crew make you feel like you’re surrounded by your best friends navigating career, life, relationships.
9. Lip Synch Battle
This larger than life series sends us on an escape as celebrities choose iconic songs to put on a Vegas-level lip-sync performance that will get you out of your seat. These celebs hold nothing back and will have you in awe and tears from laughter.
10. New Girl
This group of buddies features goofy, sometimes unreliable but always lovable people. The roomies are all on a journey to better themselves and each season takes us further into their personal growth and failures all with a laugh.
11. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This series manages to make an ugly topic wacky and epically comical in each episode. The brilliant Ellie Kemper leads us as a recently freed captive of a kidnapping as she experiences crazy world through her naive but wonderfully pure eyes. All accompanied by incredible satirical humor often in song-form.
America Ferrera stars as Amy as she and fellow retail misfits do their best to support shoppers but manage to fall short almost at every turn. You won’t be able to stop smiling at their mishaps.
13. Fresh Off the Boat
Based on the memoir of renowned chef Eddie Huang the show follows the life of a Chinese immigrant family and their hip-hop loving son, Eddie. It’s a hilarious take on life and the experience of Chinese-Americans and immigrants will grip you in the best way.
14. Queer Eye
The Emmy-nominated Netflix reboot has proven one of today’s most compelling reality series of our day. Each episode will make you both laugh and cry as we follow the heartwarming life transformation of various men and women seeking and deserving a profound change in their lives. You’ll find yourself binging these all day once you start.
The classic series where everybody knows your name. This hit comedy is on Netflix and will satisfy your craving for a feel-good nostalgic sitcom to come home to.
16. The Good Place
The ever-talented Kristen Bell plays a seemingly unlikable character that embarks on a ridiculous mission to hide her true identity as a terrible person after a mix up accidentally lands her in “The Good Place” after death. The show is full of heartwarming moments, redemptive themes and plenty of laughter.
Who says medical shows have to be dark? This series follows hilarious doctor best buds in one of the longest-running heartfelt sitcoms on TV. The characters feel both larger than life yet capable of being your real-life best friends.
18. Anne with an E
The series based on the eight books Anne of Green Gables is wickedly imaginative. The titular orphaned character, Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) embarks on a journey to discover herself all still mischievous as ever. The family relationships and light wit make it something you’ll want to have on a rainy day.