Need funny and nice television comedies
June 15, 2017 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I am in search of a new television comedy to keep me happy. I particularly want something relatively nice and light, good quality but not too demanding. My current favourites are Brooklyn 99, Bob's Burgers, and Parks and Rec. I know there are lots of similar past asks and I've looked at many of them, but I have my own snowflake requests.

Ideally this is something with a few seasons I can binge on, available on Netflix UK or Amazon Prime UK. I can also purchase things through UK versions of Amazon Instant Video or Google Play, but I can't do DVDs.

I tend to prefer comedies that are not too dark or twisted. I like shows that feature good characters, rather than laughing at awful people. I want half-hour-long comedies, not hour-long comedy-drama things.

Here are some examples of what I like and dislike...

My favourites:
Brooklyn 99
Parks and Recreation
Bob's Burgers

Things I also mostly enjoyed:
Arrested Development
The IT Crowd
How I Met Your Mother
30 Rock

Things I tried and didn't like:
Rick and Morty
Black Books
Gilmore Girls
Orange is the New Black

A show I hate with a burning passion:
The Big Bang Theory

Please help me find something new to watch to make me happy as everything is a bit miserable right now and it's this or watch B99 for the third time!
posted by pandabort to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None come immediately to mind
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:00 AM on June 15 [11 favorites]

Party Down (probably my all-time favorite sitcom)
Lady Dynamite (Netflix)
King of the Hill
posted by bondcliff at 9:01 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]

Have you seen The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? It's on Netflix, and is a sweet comedy. People aren't mean for meanness sake. I really enjoyed the first two seasons, but I'm not getting into the 3rd season as easily.

(I totally hear you on Big Bang Theory. I don't understand it's appeal!)

On preview, jinx.
posted by hydra77 at 9:02 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Very sweet, but very funny. YMMV, but give it a couple episodes. I *really* didn't like it at first, now I love it.
posted by Peteopedia at 9:02 AM on June 15

The Middle. Everyone I turn on to this show ends up loving it. Pro tip: earlier seasons are better than the later ones.
posted by bologna on wry at 9:02 AM on June 15

The Good Place
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lady Dynamite
posted by General Malaise at 9:03 AM on June 15

I usually really dislike sitcoms, but I found two this year that I have enjoyed: Speechless and American Housewife, both from ABC.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:08 AM on June 15

Seconding The Good Place, Kimmy Schmidt, and Lady Dynamite. Adding:

Silicon Valley
Scrotal Recall/Lovesick
Super Store
Broad City
posted by gladly at 9:12 AM on June 15

Father Ted on Channel 4 on Demand?
posted by johngoren at 9:16 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Is The Detectorists too close to home? I loved this show so much and I think it fits your requirements perfectly. It's on Netflix UK.
posted by CheeseLouise at 9:16 AM on June 15 [7 favorites]

I love Brooklyn 99, and when I was home for Christmas I watched a show with my dad that is absolutely 100% the proto-B99: Barney Miller! Barney Miller takes place almost entirely within the confines of the detectives' squad room and Captain Barney Miller's adjoining office of New York City's fictional 12th Precinct, located in Greenwich Village. A typical episode featured the detectives of the 12th bringing in several complainants and/or suspects to the squad room. Usually, two or three separate subplots are in a given episode, with different officers dealing with different crimes.

You can stream the first season on Amazon UK, I'm not sure where to find the rest of it there.

Barney Miller is awesome. It's really good-hearted and deliberately takes down stereotypes, it's racially diverse, and it's just... so... 70s. No female characters in the main cast, sadly.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:26 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Grace and Frankie on Netflix.
posted by platypus of the universe at 9:26 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]

New Girl! It's not as consistently good as your favorites but has some of the same good-natured goofiness.
posted by songs about trains at 9:29 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Angie Tribeca.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:35 AM on June 15

Malcolm in the Middle? (imdb) I introduced my boys to it not too long ago and they love it, and I'm enjoying the re-watch. It's fun catching the various implied communications between the parents, Lois and Hal, that I missed when I was younger.
posted by turkeybrain at 9:38 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Frasier is on Netflix. It is fairly light and has well constructed jokes, but it might overlap with Big Bang Theory in having too many jokes at the expense of smart / different people for you to like it. Not sure.
posted by puddledork at 9:40 AM on June 15

The Ranch might be worth a try. Netflix 30-minute sitcom, in which Ashton Kutcher blows a pro football career, returns home to the ranch he grew up on, where little brother (Danny Masterson), dad (Sam freakin' Elliott!) and (separated) mom (Debra freakin' Winger!), along with an old flame who's engaged to another, along with a struggling ranch itself, provide a full-length season of comedy. Next season drops next month, I think.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:41 AM on June 15

Sorry I'm not totally familiar with what you can get in the UK. If you can get HBO shows, I recommend Crashing. It's a show centering on a naive/sheltered/"clean" comic trying to move up in the NYC comedy scene.
posted by mama casserole at 9:46 AM on June 15

High Maintenance
Master of None
Silicon Valley (veers a little closer to omg this person is so awful comedy than the others, but it's not UK Office-level cringing)
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:50 AM on June 15

Better Off Ted - it's one of my very favorite shows and we generally have similar taste in comedies. It has a really good balance of dealing with social issues (racism, sexism) through comedy and goofy charm.

Also seconding The Good Place and Party Down.

I also like Grace & Frankie a lot, but it look me a while to get into it (I didn't really care for how the characters related to each other in the first few episodes, but I stuck with it because I love Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, and it turns out there's a lot of really great character growth through the seasons).
posted by snaw at 9:51 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]

I will second New Girl, as that's the big missing one that jumped out at me reading the list of what you liked. I think you'll like it because all of the characters are fundamentally good-hearted.
posted by superfluousm at 9:53 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Thirding Grace & Frankie - I'm in the middle of the second season right now and I've lost track of the number of times I've told my wife how much I love these characters. They're all so HUMANE with each other!!
posted by DingoMutt at 9:56 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Playing House! Two seasons so far and a third premiering shortly. It's about two old friends (both women) who set up housekeeping together when one of them ends up divorced and pregnant. (I have no idea how to figure out whether it's available on Netflix or Amazon UK though.)
posted by mskyle at 9:57 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

My favourite thing on Amazon Prime was Mozart in the Jungle. It’s edging slightly more towards comedy drama than something like Brooklyn 99 (or at least less jokes/minute), but it’s half-hour episodes, light and frothy, and almost completely un-mean-spirited.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:06 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

A couple of current US series, all have at least one season on Amazon Prime UK:
- Life in Pieces
- Blackish
- The Goldbergs
posted by mr vino at 10:23 AM on June 15

Fresh Off the Boat, Black-Ish, the Carmichael Show, Modern Family, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Goldbergs, The Office US if you haven't seen it already.
posted by acidic at 10:25 AM on June 15

I will second New Girl, as that's the big missing one that jumped out at me reading the list of what you liked. I think you'll like it because all of the characters are fundamentally good-hearted.

Thirded for this precise reason. New Girl is the anti-Seinfeld, as all of its characters are sympathetic and rootworthy.

Also, I fear it may not be around long, but Downward Dog is sweet and insightful, and has a refreshingly "everywoman" lead.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 10:25 AM on June 15

Golden girls
Scooby doo mystery incorporated
posted by Crystalinne at 10:35 AM on June 15

I'll nth Grace and Frankie. I resisted it for awhile despite several people recommending it, but I just finished binging it and it's great!

Speechless was my favorite new show this year, a good hearted family comedy. Fresh Off the Boat is also great.

Two cancelled shows that I have a lot of fondness for, but might be harder to come by are Trophy Wife (terrible title, amazing characters and everyone's nice to each other!) and Best Friends Forever (fun women led comedy, the predecessor to the already mentioned Playing House).

Oh, and Happy Endings! The best Friends-style sitcom to come around since Friends (and actually hilarious).
posted by wsquared at 10:41 AM on June 15

I think you'd like Gavin & Stacey. Three seasons of very light and sweet and funny 30 minute episodes. Great cast as well (James Corden, who also co-wrote the series, is in it).
posted by 6thsense at 11:11 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]

+1 to Black-ish. Great show. Jane the Virgin is an hour long but light, warm, and fluffy like a tasty pancake.

And, I can't believe I'm the first to mention Superstore! Takes a little while to get going (and some of the characters seem a bit unlikeable at first) but it blossoms into a totally delightful Parks & Rec-style ensemble comedy.
posted by Owl of Athena at 11:12 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]

OMG, yes, Fresh Off the Boat! I don't know how I forgot about it. It's fantastic.
posted by snaw at 11:12 AM on June 15

King of the Hill reruns have kept me sane this year.
posted by princesspathos at 11:48 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]

Oh, Schitt’s Creek is good too. Some comedy-of-embarrassment, but much less judgmental than the premise might make you assume.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:06 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]

Two British shows come to mind:

The Rev -- Tom Hollander is hilarious as a super-chill pastor of an inner-city London parish that the church wants to sell for its high property value. Olivia Coleman is his bemused wife.

Chewing Gum -- Michaela Coel is also hilarious as a naive tower-block resident who's determined to get a boyfriend. Her family is super-devout and hasn't prepared her at all.
posted by Jesse the K at 12:10 PM on June 15

The Vicar Of Dibley
posted by The otter lady at 2:16 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about old (1950's/early 60's) shows?

I find older shows seem to more frequently scratch the itch of good-natured comedy, if you can overlook some (sometimes very uncomfortable) outdated social norms.

Life with Elizabeth features a sassy young Betty White as the prankster making lots of puns and generally being hilarious and adorable with Del Moore as the husband and (usually) the perfect foil. They have fantastic chemistry together and are really quite charming. This is one of my favourite television shows.

Bewitched ,
Ozzy and Harriet,
I Dream of Jeannie , and
I Love Lucy are some other older shows that I think of as "gentle" comedy.

I love Lucy can be hit or miss; prejudice based comedy(several of the shows depend on Lucy dressing up as a racial or class stereotype for laughs and there's a fair bit of sniping) and the 50's husband-wife dynamic can get really uncomfortable.

But..when it's good, it's so freaking good. Lucy's antics can make me laugh until I'm in literal physical pain, much like Richard Ayoade does for me in the IT Crowd.

There's also the Marx Brothers, who are best known for their movies but who do have a collection of TV appearances available.

I'd also recommend Taxi

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air


Abbot and Costello.
posted by windykites at 2:30 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]

It's only one season, but you might like No Tomorrow.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:42 PM on June 15

I heart a whole lot Lady Dynamite, mentioned above, but please note it has some moments when it can get pretty strange, and other moments when it can be painfully honest. Maybe not exactly dark and twisted, but touching that line. Still definitely worth watching.
posted by ovvl at 4:15 PM on June 15

On Netflix: Lovesick. Also, Borderline. Both are light and fun with great characters.
posted by dreamphone at 6:45 PM on June 15

Seconding Jane the Virgin. It's a sort of screwball take on an American version of a telenovela - so there's lots of drama but it's done with the lightest of touches, and the family at the center is a beacon of light and good in the world.

Also seconding Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Can get a little dark occasionally, because it deals with mental illness, but again, it's done with a light touch and it's so kind to all its characters.

Or you could just do what I do and endlessly re-watch Parks and Rec!
posted by lunasol at 7:50 AM on June 16

WKRP in Cincinnati is another really nice (and legendary) workplace sitcom.
posted by Guy Smiley at 8:54 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]

FYI about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the premise is that the main character was kidnapped and trapped in a bunker for 15 years, so bear in mind there is some Not Light subject matter, even (especially?) if it's treated as comedy. I found some aspects of how it's dealt with refreshing, others... less so.

It also is less kindhearted in its approach than Parks & Rec or B99.

I enjoy and dislike almost the exact same shows as you and I would recommend Steven Universe. It's a sweet and fun cartoon with a storyline that does get intense at times. Very kindhearted in spirit.
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:00 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]

Thanks guys, this was really helpful. I marked best answer to the ones that most appeal and that I can easily access.
posted by pandabort at 5:06 AM on June 28

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