Interesting TV shows (or movies) with kind, loving characters
September 15, 2016 9:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for TV shows (or movies) that star, or heavily feature characters who are kind and loving to each other, who grow and develop into better people, and who are (often) genuinely trying or doing their best. If there are multiple characters you would want to hang out with in person, that's probably a show for me! I'd especially love to know who you'd want to hang out with and why in your answers.

Here are a few examples of shows I like that I feel fit this, to get you started: Steven Universe, The Great British Bake Off, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sports Night.

(I've also looked extensively for Metafilter questions and just generally on the internet for people doing roundups of this kind of thing and either they don't, or I just haven't found the keywords to find them, so if you know that there are magic words for finding this kind of thing on Google, I'm happy to RTFG.)
posted by freyley to Media & Arts (75 answers total) 99 users marked this as a favorite
Jane the Virgin for sure. 2 seasons on Netflix
posted by radioamy at 9:32 PM on September 15, 2016 [11 favorites]

posted by Clustercuss at 9:36 PM on September 15, 2016 [8 favorites]

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:39 PM on September 15, 2016 [10 favorites]

Nthing Parenthood and Jane the Virgin. Friday Night Lights.

Superstore has potential here. Blackish perhaps. Fresh Off the Boat perhaps.
posted by k8t at 9:40 PM on September 15, 2016

Take My Wife. It's brand new and only a few episodes but it's still worth it.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:40 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Parks and Recreation, just try not to get too bogged down by the first season. It gets immensely better after that, and everyone is so great and gosh darned supportive of each other, it makes me a little sad they're not real.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:42 PM on September 15, 2016 [34 favorites]

Numb3rs. It's a crime show, but there's a focus on relationships and character development AND none of the characters are assholes.
posted by Tamanna at 9:51 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Gilmore Girls! Rory's boyfriends are not the best, but pretty much everyone else in the show is really great. I want to go to Star's Hollow right this very moment and hang out at the diner with a huge plate of french fries, but sadly it is not a real location.
posted by sockermom at 9:55 PM on September 15, 2016 [13 favorites]

Seconding Friday Night Lights. Never have I seen so earnest a show, and I don't know a thing about football.
posted by blue rare at 9:56 PM on September 15, 2016 [12 favorites]

This is why I watch Parks and Recreation over and over again! It's full of people who love and care about each other. Amy Poehler's lead character is a badass goofball, her best friend is actually the best friend ever, her boss Ron is a delightful goofball, etc etc etc.

Gilmore Girls is also good for this. It gets a little more real about the ways people hurt each other, and no one on the show is perfect (some can be self-absorbed, some are snobs, they all make mistakes, and so on)but there is a foundation of love and caring, and the sense that everyone is trying their best.
posted by lunasol at 9:58 PM on September 15, 2016 [8 favorites]

Seconding Parks & Rec (second season onwards).
posted by anonymisc at 9:58 PM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Northern Exposure
Doc Martin
Miss Fisher

Most of these I like because the characters aren't related but they all become like family to each other.
posted by ilovewinter at 10:13 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Parks and Rec, going to throw in a Bob's Burger's nod: just a normal family with parents who love puns, wine, and their kids. I don't even have kids but I'd bring a bottle of wine over and have a burger in real life.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:16 PM on September 15, 2016 [13 favorites]

Pushing Daisies.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:24 PM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Six Feet Under is a slightly darker (an excellent) take on this idea.
posted by she's not there at 10:27 PM on September 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

Trophy Wife was great for this but only one season, sadly.
Bones is oddly sweet and funny for a crime show, the characters are stereotypes but well acted and they have great chemistry.
posted by fshgrl at 10:29 PM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I feel like most of the characters is Six Feet Under spend a good portion of their time treating each other badly and turning into worse people. Great show, but I don't think it's what the OP is looking for...

Also, yeah, Gilmore Girls.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:29 PM on September 15, 2016

Oh my god, the characters on Numb3rs are my favorite favorite favorite. I will keep watching more ideas, so please feel free to add more, but I just wanted to pop in to say thank you Tamanna. :)
posted by freyley at 10:39 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like shows like this too. Hmmm let me see what's in my DVR... Shows that aren't about assholes & the morally ambiguous being nasty to each other.

Brooklyn 99 for sure. It's a detective squad in Brooklyn and it's a very sweet and funny show.

You might also like Community.

Adam Ruins Everything- it's not technically a sitcom, I don't know how to describe it but the recurring characters are very wholesome to each other.

If you like Steven Universe, We Bare Bears and Adventure Time might be up your alley.

Mike and Molly was pretty funny for a sitcom n had a good heart.

There was also this show on Hulu called "Deadbeat". Deceptively heartwarming story about a slacker who can communicate with ghosts and help them move on.
posted by bleep at 10:44 PM on September 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

The West Wing.
posted by karizma at 10:57 PM on September 15, 2016 [12 favorites]

Derek. It's a British comedy about various individuals living and working in a care home for the elderly. It centers around five or so main characters. It's heartwarming, sad, hilarious, though provoking and wonderful. One of the best shows I've ever seen.... I'm not generally into TV or shows, but I cried when it was over.
posted by onecircleaday at 11:00 PM on September 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

brooklyn 99, it is the best
posted by poffin boffin at 11:10 PM on September 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Definitely Parks & Rec. It's that whole thing in a nutshell. Get through the first season. They rejigger the formula moving forward and it works way better.

HBO's Togetherness is also kind of this, though it's only two seasons. It has some significant conflict, but the moral of the story is them trying to work through it.
posted by disillusioned at 11:24 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Brooklyn 99 and Bob's Burgers.

Also, maybe, Leverage? It's a character-heavy Robin-Hood-style crime show centering around a group of bad guys gone (mostly) good, if still outside the law. I don't care much for Nate, the Main White Dude, but it's very much a show where the characters have each other's backs and sort of nudge each other towards being better versions of themselves. Hardison in particular is a sweet marshmallow-hearted baby and wins points for trying to make people feel accepted and respected exactly the way they are. Everyone on the team, tho, seems to be trying (in their own ways) to , and it charms me. That said, warning for thematic stuff with alcoholism--it's not glorified, imo, but it's there, especially early on.
posted by mishafletch at 12:20 AM on September 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

Call the Midwife, main characters all as you describe but some tough situations in the plot with less sweetness

The character Chummy from Call the midwife is played by the amazing Miranda Hart, whose show Miranda is sweet and hilarious and very much about personal growth. I stream this on Acorn TV.

A bit more on the drama end, also available on Acorn, Cold Feet, a comedy-drama about a group of friends and their relationships as they have kids, and ANZAC Girls about ANZAC nurses on the front lines in WW1 ... lots of good hearted people, the bond between the nurses, and between the nurses and the soldiers, and how they all cope with a terrible situation. Kind of like M*A*S*H* but more about the women's friendship, and not the pranks against the unlikeable guy.
posted by chapps at 12:21 AM on September 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

Jon Favreau's movie 'Chef', in which a star chef abandons his high-flying but creatively stifling career to drive a van selling Cuban sandwiches, in the process rediscovering his joy in his craft and reconnecting with his son. The whole thing is a thinly veiled metaphor for Favreau's experience as a Hollywood blockbuster director, but it's charming and just the right side of whimsical, and my goodness by the end of the movie I wanted a Cuban sandwich.
posted by meronym at 12:24 AM on September 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

You might also like Being Erica from CBC, which is about travelling in time and revisiting key moments in your past as aeans of personal growth. Lots of flawed characters who try to be their best selves but don't always manage. It sounds a bit weird, and truly it is pretty unique, but it might just fit the bill.

Also Little Mosque on the Prairie, also Canadian. Very funny, charming, lots of loveable characters, trying to make things work across cultures.

And ok, last one, but how about young Sarah Polley in Road to Avonlea. Based on the work of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maude Montgomery.
posted by chapps at 12:30 AM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

There was actually a similar AskMe previously. It was Looking for Shows That Aren't About Jerks. (Please don't feel bad that you didn't find it before posting. I happened to remember some of the keywords so I was able to track it down, but this is one of those un-googleable things you can't search for if you don't already know what you're looking for.)

I'm a bit conflicted about whether I should give you my own answer to this question, because it's a show my brother wrote for, so I'm very heavily biased. But I really think it fits the bill perfectly, so I'm going to tell you my answer, and you can keep my bias in mind when deciding whether or not to give it credence.

Gravity Falls is about 12-year-old twins-- a boy named Dipper and a girl named Mabel. They are both incredibly likeable and, while they do squabble sometimes, they clearly love each other and they always have each other's back. The series takes place over a summer they spend with their great-uncle Stan-- a gruff conman who, despite his flaws, loves Dipper and Mabel and tries to do his best by them.

Oh, and also, their town is constantly being overrun by gnomes, zombies, ghosts, and various other paranormal menaces.
posted by yankeefog at 12:41 AM on September 16, 2016 [8 favorites]

The thing I like about The West Wing is that the characters argue, face disappointments, and make stupid mistakes, but in the end they all have each other's backs. Aaron Sorkin's presence as a writer is missed after season 4, but the only character who seemed to really suffer after his departure is Toby Ziegler. In my dream world, CJ Cregg and I are best friends.

On the sillier side of things, I like most of the characters on iZombie. In particular I like Ravi the medical examiner who is best friends with Liv, the zombie. (Hah hah, Liv the zombie.) I even have quite a bit of affection for some of the show's villains. If you like Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there's definitely room to check out iZombie.
posted by xyzzy at 12:43 AM on September 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'd especially love to know who you'd want to hang out with and why in your answers.

This is super easy to answer for The West Wing: I would want to hang out with CJ, because she's awesome in general, and because of "The Jackal" (if you haven't seen any of TWW, this will make sense by the time you watch most of season 1).

I have seen and enjoyed three of the four shows in your post and I agree, if you like Sports Night, definitely give TWW a chance. Also nth-ing Gilmore Girls, which has warmth and kindness and also fluffy banter and humor, and wonderful characters. The early seasons are my favorites (the pilot is well done but I almost want to recommend not watching it first, because I think Rory is written a little different there). I love pretty much everyone in Stars Hollow.

If you like Jane Austen or British shows/history, I recommend Cranford and its Christmas sequel (only 7 episodes total). Miss Matty (played by Judi Dench) is great example of a loving and kind human being, and the show has many other characters who are supportive and rally together. For another small-town British show, there's also Lark Rise to Candleford with its own set of kind characters, led by Dorcas, a great female character who runs the local post office in the early 1900s. "Trying to do the right thing" is a staple theme for both shows.

And because you included Buffy on your list: Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. ATLA is the predecessor of TLOK, where the story picks up a generation later. There are Fanfare threads covering both series. I enjoyed both but have a soft spot for TLOK, and I feel like TLOK has more examples of loving/kind characters. Both shows feature a kid learning and trying to do their best as someone who's essentially a superhero trying to save the world, with the help of friends and mentors. Each episode is about 20 minutes.

ATLA has a main storyline that takes place over three seasons; I think ATLA hit its stride in season 2. TLOK was made years later (its action animation and music are superb) and although it continues in the same universe, it's much darker than ATLA -- ATLA feels like it has more lighthearted fun overall because the main characters are younger than the main characters in TLOK. For TLOK, seasons 3-4 (out of 4) are my favorites, although seasons 1 and 2 do have some great/memorable episodes. (TLOK was originally written for one season, and had production or parent network conflicts throughout the rest of its run; knowing this helped me understand why the story structure is the way it is.)

I would want to hang out with so many of the characters, even the kids on Air Temple Island; I'd ask Korra's mentors for advice. I've love to go along on their airship rides and take the trains and ask them about all of the adventures they've had.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 3:26 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

M*A*S*H*! There are plenty of people who will tell you it got too benign in the later seasons, but I thought the whole thing was great.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:11 AM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Gavin and Stacey! It is about real people who are very good natured, and although their relationships have their ups and downs, they all fundamentally want to do their best, and all definitely grow during the series. Plus, it's hilarious :)
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 4:22 AM on September 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

New Tricks.
posted by plep at 4:28 AM on September 16, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's a workplace show about people going about their high-pressure jobs in a professional manner whilst treating their colleagues with maturity and kindness.
posted by selfnoise at 4:45 AM on September 16, 2016 [13 favorites]

The Detectorists! It's so, so sweet and wryly funny. I would so love to sit in the pub with the detectorist club and have a pint or two and talk about archaeology.
posted by cooker girl at 4:57 AM on September 16, 2016 [11 favorites]

Gavin and Stacey!

Seconded! This show is excellent and every character is loveable and kindhearted.
posted by janepanic at 5:02 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Northern Exposure.
posted by mareli at 5:26 AM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes to Avatar, and yes to Bob's Burgers - one of my favorite moments from Bob's Burgers involves their son, Gene, running into a room where he thinks nobody can hear him and yelling "I love my family!" Sweet and kind of surprising if you're expecting the "smartass kids" trope.

Another animated series that I thought did kindness well was Phineas and Ferb - Phineas in particular is just a genuinely nice kid, and even the "bully" and the "bad guy" characters are actually good people overall.
posted by DingoMutt at 5:40 AM on September 16, 2016

I love Friday Night Lights for this. I love my mom, but I wouldn't mind having Tami Taylor and Corinna Williams as my adjunct moms. The depth of caring and love that both women give to their families and communities is really amazing. I also wouldn't mind if Matt Saracen had been my high school boyfriend.

Treme is all about families and communities rebuilding post-Katrina. Again, the main characters are wonderful, the atmosphere and setting is so specific, and I would like to hang out with nearly all of the characters. Highlights include Davis, who's a socially conscious stoner DJ; LaDonna, who runs a bar and is trying to figure out what happened to her brother during the storm; Toni, who is LaDonna's lawyer; and Big Chief Lambreaux, who is in charge of a group of New Orleans Indians and trying to bring people home. This is not a light show. Lots of stuff about police, social inequality, structural violence, a suicide in the first season, and a pretty intense and accurate depiction of rape and the ripple effects of that trauma. But it's really amazing and again, the characters are great.

If you're ever in the mood for something that is very dark, but has another layer of characters loving and caring for eachother, the first season of Fargo was amazing. Molly and her dad are great. On the other hand, there are a lot of brutal murders and otherwise pretty significant tension. It definitely takes its inspiration from the Cohen Brothers.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:59 AM on September 16, 2016

Maria Bamford's Lady Dynamite features Bamford as a version of herself, trying her best to be her best, and seeing the humour in failure.

The show Bored to Death featured some wonderful male/male friendships that really was a relief after seeing so much toxic masculinity. It's a modern take on the Private Eye genre, featuring Jason Schwartzman as a PI/writer. Stand-out performances by Ted Danson as his rich-but-bored patron and Zach Galafanakis as his emotive best friend.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:25 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you want a darker spin on your question, I cannot recommend Bates Motel hard enough.

It is the prequel to Psycho (I've always had a soft spot for Norman) but the characters are sooooo complex and well-meaning. It is really about a family trying to love one another despite serious, serious trauma and mental illness.

Vera Farmiga plays Norma Bates (Norman's mom) and is absolutely the most incredible woman character I've ever seen in any series, ever. She says things that make me want to die inside, but she's also strong as hell, clever and flawed, kind and loving but also hugely damaging to Norman despite her best efforts, and just... godDAMN she's just so good.

Anyway I've always loved the Psycho franchise/movies and Norman is my favorite villain because he's so goddamn tragic! He the murderer that doesn't want to kill and doesn't even know when he does it. This prequel explores a history and inheritance of tragedy and trauma in my most favorite small-town conspiracy/crime setting. It shows that even kind, loving people can be wrought by trauma.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 6:32 AM on September 16, 2016

Grace and Frankie starts with the revelation of a decades-long betrayal, but everyone in it is genuinely trying to be a decent human being in its wake.
posted by Etrigan at 6:34 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

King of the Hill, if you want likable, realistically flawed characters.
posted by Huck500 at 7:04 AM on September 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

Medium. One of the best portrayals of a healthy marriage/ family on tv.
The Closer The bad guys can be quite bad, but the relationships are great.
I liked the characters and general vibe of Lie to Me.
Upstairs, Downstairs was one of the original big hits on Masterpiece and is still worth watching, as are most (all?) Masterpiece choices. Duchess of Duke Street especially meets your criteria.
Bletchley Circle is all strong women, not so nurturing, but interesting.
It's dark, but I totally recommend Happy Valley, on netflix.
Catastrophe is really good.

I also love Sports Night & GBBO, so feel free to list any more of your favorites.
posted by theora55 at 7:23 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not only would I +1 Parks and Rec, I'd suggest just skipping season 1 altogether. I started with season 2, and never felt like I was missing out on much. Years later I went back to watch season 1 cause I was craving more Parks and Rec, and I noped (Knoped?) out after two episodes.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:25 AM on September 16, 2016

I loved Medium, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and lest we forget the incomparable The Golden Girls!

Also, not too long ago I stumbled upon The Middle in reruns and became hopelessly hooked (and this is coming from someone who really doesn't like sitcoms in general and find them to be mostly not funny). It seriously makes me laugh aloud sometimes, it's so well written, acted and directed. The characters are just fantastic. Check it out in syndication on the Hallmark Channel nightly.
posted by bologna on wry at 7:33 AM on September 16, 2016

Downton Abbey. Call the Midwife. The United States of Tara.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 7:37 AM on September 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'll throw Freaks and Geeks into the ring. The teenagers aren't always the best to each other, but you can tell they are trying to be better (and by the end of the series, they are). There aren't any "villains" and you empathize with with the characters going through hard times. And the littler kids call the older ones on their bs and wanting the world to be more fair.
posted by LKWorking at 7:40 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

In addition to West Wing, The Newsroom follows this same vein. Some flawed characters, but all united by a shared (liberal wet dream) purpose.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Family, which ran from 1976 to 1980 and is available on dvd.
posted by mmw at 7:54 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hart of Dixie, Bunheads (only one season), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, My Boys, and Younger are all delightful shows that totally scratch the Gilmore Girls "nice people hanging out saying funny, sometimes heartwarming things" itch for me (and, don't forget, the new season of Gilmore Girls coming in November!). Also totally seconding Jane the Virgin and Brooklyn 9-9. I know some people like Cedar Cove for this, though I personally find it too heartwarming/not funny enough.

Hart of Dixie, in particular, I think is really under-appreciated; it's a very diverse cast, actually filmed on the same Warner Brothers backlot sets as Gilmore Girls (so has the exact same homey small-town feel), surprisingly feminist without being preachy, and has a good combination of wacky hijinks and touching character moments.

As far as comforting hangout crime/action shows, iZombie is surprisingly great for that (don't be scared away by the zombie aspect, it's really a well-done police procedural focusing on zombie-related crime/crime-solving) and you might check out the late but great Agent Carter (Peggy Carter is MY HERO and it just has a wonderful ragtag team of people you want to root for). Also totally seconding Miss Fisher. And I kind of like Death in Paradise for this (though it is so incredibly formulaic that I can't watch more than one episode at a time) - totally charming cast, lighthearted to an extent that is sometimes weird for a death-themed show but comforting nevertheless, and set on the beautiful Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. It feels like going on vacation (only... murdery).
posted by Owl of Athena at 8:02 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Fosters in spades; "characters who are kind and loving to each other, who grow and develop into better people, and who are (often) genuinely trying or doing their best" covers basically all of the characters to some degree or another.

Also agree with the recommendations for Friday Night Lights, Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin, Bob's Burgers, King of the Hill, and Freaks and Geeks.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:25 AM on September 16, 2016

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Not every episode is great, but over their... 7? seasons, they do a really good job, for the most part.

OMG YES We Bare Bears. So adorable, so great! (Icebear best bear)

Big Hero Six

Also also Firefly and Gravity Falls- though I heard sensitive kids might want their parents to screen the ending especially of GF.
posted by Jacen at 8:35 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Criminal Minds. Note, the show is about murder, insanity and mayhem. But through it all, the characters love and support each other like a family, and are just so good at what they do.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:43 AM on September 16, 2016

My go tos for this: West Wing (arguing with each other, but supporting and getting past disagreements), Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Leverage (especially as it develops in seasons 3-5), The Librarians (same reasons, and some of the same people involved).

I also really liked Forever (which aired for one season) - slightly supernatural cop-type show (the main character is a medical examiner who can't die, and has been alive since the 1800s), and The Middleman (which sort of defies description but is sort of superheroey sort of whacky city life save the world, often really funny, but also really good at people taking care of their people.)
posted by modernhypatia at 9:01 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

7th Heaven, though I mean ... it's maybe over the top on niceness? I think this fits with the first part of your question, but I'm not sure I'd want to hang out with any of the characters.

Also, Eureka! I would love to hang out with Allison, because she's so smart and also a good person. I'd probably also like to hang out with Zoey if I were younger -- she would be fun because she is ok with getting trouble but means well deep down. I'd also like to hang out with Fargo because he's just so funny. Oh man, and probably also Grace for again being a driven female (like Allison) but also so kind and fiercely loyal.
posted by freezer cake at 9:20 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Eureka, though I guess a couple of the characters are villainous and necessary to progress the plot. Also there's a lot of conflict in the pilot episode, but that changes.
posted by puddledork at 9:50 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing Gravity Falls! There's so much sweetness in there.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:20 AM on September 16, 2016

Grantchester, but only if you factor out the people involved in the murder of the week, who are often very unpleasant to each other. The main cast is trying very hard to be good people in the face of a lot of postwar trauma.
posted by praemunire at 10:51 AM on September 16, 2016

The Closer has wonderful characters that in the first season work through some animosities to be come a cohesive unit that supports each other in every way. Many of the characters are beautifully developed throughout the seasons. And when they did a comic episode, they didn't pull any punches. Think Jennifer Coolidge in a hilarious turn as an Armenian-American who hires one of the detectives to kill her husband.

And Friday Night Lights, of course.
posted by Dolley at 10:56 AM on September 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

More people need to discover Better Off Ted. The setup (a VP, a manager, a cube dweller, and two scientists at a big evil corporation) is ripe for unpleasantness, but the characters really are kindhearted (if only deep down) and are, well, good people.
posted by porpoise at 11:13 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like these shows too and have enjoyed Parks & Rec and also Brooklyn 99 for this sort of thing. I've been plowing through multiple seasons (on Netflix) of Murdoch Mysteries. It's a turn of the last century detective show set in Toronto so it's got the Canadian goodness going for it (i.e. it's not rapey or super violent most of the time) and the main guy is a tinkering nerd who is also a little loveably clueless. There are cameos by a lot of famous-at-the-time people including Arthur Conan Doyle, Tesla and the like. The station house has a gruff-but-loveable inspector who is British. The coroner is a woman (partly goofy and very smart, and also wears fabulous dresses) and there is a great beat cop named George from Newfoundland who is loyal and has a great sense of humor. There is some push/pull among them (they all push each others' buttons occasionally) but they honestly all want to not just solve crimes but get at the truth and Murdoch is always inventing things to try to help with that. It's sort of part crime-solving and part relationship story arcs that make their way through the seasons. Well worth watching.
posted by jessamyn at 11:38 AM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've always felt pretty strongly that The Addams Family was one of the most loving, supportive, and emotionally healthy families ever committed to screen. The 90's movies were the best, required viewing in my household, more recent efforts were less successful, to varying degrees.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 12:08 PM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Medium is another one. The marriage in it is so well done, they are a great couple.
posted by fshgrl at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jane the Virgin is an incredible show. It's full of women who love each other, support one another, face difficult decisions, and grow as people. It's also wacky and hilarious with colorful costume and set designs. Even the more "villainous" characters are sympathetic; they have their own motivations and needs and disappointments that inform their actions.

I think about Jane's character a lot in my own life. Like, I will actually ask myself "what would Jane do in this situation?" because she would do the loving thing, the morally right thing, even if it's the hard thing and the thing that makes you vulnerable. She admits when she's wrong; she always sees the best in people without being naive; she cries and struggles and then she gets things done. I feel a little embarrassed that my guiding voice is sometimes a fictional TV character, but, there you go. She's made me a better person.
posted by missmary6 at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

I like Elementary for this. I'd like to either be Watson or hang out with her.

Also: Boston Legal. At the heart of the show is the friendship between the two lawyers played by William Shatner and James Spader. Both can be assholes in their own ways, but their continuing and developing friendship is the red thread that runs throughout the entire series.
posted by rjs at 7:44 AM on September 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Come to think of it, there are a number of SF/fantasy shows that I like that kind of fit this description. You already mentioned Buffy, but I'd also like to suggest Warehouse 13 and Farscape.
posted by rjs at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2016

Oh! I would also like to recommend Kingdom, starring Stephen Fry. Charming British scenery, interesting mysteries, and Karl Davies as a hapless legal intern.
posted by janepanic at 3:30 PM on September 17, 2016

There are some really great suggestions in here, but I'm coming in to Nth Parks and Recreation because the way you described your target show is exactly how I describe it when recommending it to people. But also yeah, start with the second season. The first season is full of means before they settled in to their loving groove.

Other stuff I love that fills me with happies:
Brooklyn 99
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

You might like Lie To Me, though the science behind the premise is faulty.

I would love to know what you end up compiling.
posted by faethverity at 4:09 PM on September 18, 2016

Seconding Bored to Death.

Terriers is also a really nice depiction of unexpectedly warm and caring friendship between detectives.
posted by taltalim at 10:25 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

So late to the party! But if you like anime, Natsume Yuujinchou is a beautiful series about people learning that the things they thought made them unlovable don't, and finding their own chosen families; the whole thing is infused with kindness and gratitude and really just gorgeously moving.
posted by diffuse at 4:28 AM on September 19, 2016

Fruits Basket!
posted by nicebookrack at 8:38 AM on September 19, 2016

I am in love with Korean dramas. They are often sweet, romantic, with attention to character growth, and have strong family and community connections. Some of my favorites: My Love from Another Star, Coffee Prince, It's Okay/That's Love, and Fated to You. Yahoo has some of these for free streaming with English subtitles. See here.
posted by MS_gal at 2:29 PM on September 21, 2016

I hope I'm not too late on this, but I wanted to recommend As Time Goes By, a lovely and sweet BBC show with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer where the stakes are very low, everyone is supportive of everyone's individual weirdness and nothing much happens but in a great way.
posted by softlord at 7:02 PM on September 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

oh my goodness, Please Like Me. Australian tv show with a really lovely main character. People are a bit snarky at times, but in general they are incredibly kind to one another and it's really nice and rare.
posted by taltalim at 10:37 PM on October 17, 2016

« Older Carved mystery antique - ID needed before I go...   |   How can I replace my Sony Vaio laptop screen? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.