Help me TV again
December 29, 2017 2:11 PM   Subscribe

With everything going on in the world, lately I just haven’t had the spoons available to get emotionally invested in a new TV show. I get all wrapped up in the plots and worried about the characters, and usually that’s what makes the TV show engaging, but I’m completely worried-out with everything going on in reality. But I miss TV! Please help me find shows to watch that don’t stress me out. Examples inside.

I recently watched the first season of Riverdale on Netflix, and it was incredibly watchable. I think because it’s stylized and the plots are SO out there, so it didn’t trigger my empathy and stress me out worrying about the characters.

Another example of the sort of thing I’m looking for was Pushing Daisies. Same sort of stylized design, irreverent plotlines, and the general sense that everything will work out okay.

Are there other TV shows like these? I don’t have cable, so things on Netflix are ideal. I’ve seen most of the USA network-style shows (Burn Notice, Leverage, etc) and I liked them, but they don’t have that sane sylized aesthetic that seems to help me detach. Thanks!
posted by Weeping_angel to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
If you liked Pushing Daisies, you'll probably love The Good Place.
posted by castlebravo at 2:16 PM on December 29, 2017 [25 favorites]

Jane the Virgin does this for me. It is light and funny but compelling.
posted by k8t at 2:20 PM on December 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

Detectorists. It's a slow-moving comedy about two guys in rural England who like to search the ground for Romans and Saxons using their metal detectors. They have real-life relationships that bring some drama, but their reaction to that is shaped by their drive to go outside and wave an electrified wand over the ground for hours. The third series/season just finished.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:20 PM on December 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:21 PM on December 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

Wonderfalls. Better off Ted. Veronica Mars.
Those are all really different, but give off a similar vibe as Pushing Daisies, albeit in different ways.
posted by anoirmarie at 2:28 PM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

The Good Place.
posted by matildaben at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

On top of Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I recommend rounding out the Michael Schur oeuvre with Parks and Recreation if you haven't seen it.
posted by General Malaise at 2:36 PM on December 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

The Great British Bakeoff is what I watch when I'm too stressed out for regular tv shows.
posted by ilovewinter at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2017 [19 favorites]

Schitts Creek on Netflix is about a lot of inconsequential stuff. Watch one episode, you may hate it or like it. (It hit that USA network fun but not stressful for me and has a weirder aesthetic.)
posted by typecloud at 2:42 PM on December 29, 2017 [5 favorites]

Gotham is available on Netflix, and is the closest tv show match I can think of for Riverdale, in terms of style and crazy plotlines that enjoyably divorce me from my empathy.

I think the comedy suggestions above are great as well, if half hour comedies scratch that itch for you.

I love Veronica Mars, but, despite some very silly plot lines, I don't think it's the kind of show where you won't worry about the characters.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:46 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed iZombie recently. It's a police procedural, but very funny with great characters.
posted by Calzephyr at 2:51 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) was, well, marvelous!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:54 PM on December 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Try Gossip Girl, streaming on Netflix. Lots of beautiful art/decor/clothes to look at (rich kids in manhattan) and plots that I found eminently watchable but hard to imagine as being realistic in my own life (rich kids in manhattan) although the overarching themes of friendship, love, growth are universal. There are six seasons or so; watch the first few episodes and see what you think. I should also note that in general although there are some dark themes, the show writers (same people as The O.C.) don’t seem interested in unhappy endings and the characters that we as viewers end up caring about all end up okay!
posted by stellaluna at 2:56 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Possibly the Middleman? I don't know that The Librarians has the particular style that you want, but you can't really match it for pure, dumb fun, and you never have to worry about any of the characters. They'll all be just fine by the end of the hour.
posted by backwards compatible at 3:00 PM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

Another vote for The Good Place!
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:02 PM on December 29, 2017

This is (tragically, inexplicably) not on Netflix, but if you ever happen to see the DVDs in a thrift store or whatnot, I bet you'd enjoy Northern Exposure. Is there an episode where a piano is launched skyward via trebuchet to the delight of all the townsfolk? Yes there is. Case closed.
posted by DingoMutt at 4:36 PM on December 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

YouTube has a channel called Encore - Due South is available on it, and Little Mosque on the Prairie. ( and other Canadian shows)
posted by Enid Lareg at 5:44 PM on December 29, 2017

Detectorists, Great British Bake Off (on U.S. Netflix as Great British Baking Show), High Maintenance on HBO. British panel shows are also a big go-to for me when I just want to laugh and not think about the hellscape that is 2017. They're often found on YouTube because they're not hot enough properties for the Beeb to sic takedowns on everyone. Look for QI and Would I Lie To You. (QI also had a few seasons on Hulu.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:06 PM on December 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

How about Lovesick?
posted by merejane at 7:11 PM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Parks and Rec, it's perfect for this. Also maybe Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries? It's a detective show, but it's set in Melbourne in the 1920s, so it's got that remove aspect. And nothing bad ultimately happens to anyone we care about, although the first season does have a bit of a suspense aspect. It's episodic though, do you could skip to the second season is your really wanted. Mostly though it's an awesome lady with great clothes diving mysteries while bantering with the police detective (but without being a damsel in distress, mostly).
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 8:52 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
posted by willnot at 10:06 PM on December 29, 2017

I recommend Shinya Shokudo/Midnight Diner to everyone. It's a 30-minute dramedy about the customers of a late-night diner in Tokyo. The show is unique-looking, because you spend most of each episode in the woody, warmly-lit little restaurant. It often has a food-related theme based on what the master has on the menu (or what people choose to order, since you can order anything), and they give you a recipe at the end. It's a gentle, attractive show that is far from stressful.

There's a season streaming on Netflix, and if you like it, several more that aired in Japan plus a couple of movies that you can buy on disc.
posted by heatvision at 5:03 AM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

heatvision's suggestion reminded me of Samurai Gourmet, another Japanese food-themed Netflix show. It's very sweet and relaxing, if a little repetitive in plot. I've been watching episodes here and there when I want some distraction that doesn't agitate me in any way.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:21 PM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

A recent post here on the Green turned me on to "Secret Healer" on Netflix and I absolutely love it. Set in maybe 1600s Korea it has magicians, witches, ghosts, amazing costumes, a hint of romance, and comedy. The music is excellent too. I'm on Episode 11 of 20 and not happy that I'm approaching the end. (Possible deal breaker is that it's in Korean with subtitles.)

Oh, and nthing iZombie.
posted by Moxx of Balhoon at 1:42 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a similar question about a year ago—perhaps there are a few more suggestions to add to the stellar answers you’re getting here.
iZombie is terrific and sounds perfect for you.
Middleman is short but sweet—I have no idea where you can see it, and I’d like to know.
Give Schitt’s Creek a while. It took a minute to get under my skin, but it really hit the spot once I was invested.
Detectorists is the gold standard.
Finally, I have watched Fraiser repeatedly and it never fails to calm me.
posted by thebrokedown at 1:44 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Middleman is now available for purchase on Amazon Video.
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:06 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

The answer to this problem, and, in fact, almost all problems in life, is this: Rockford Files re-runs.
posted by KazamaSmokers at 3:21 PM on December 30, 2017

I'm in the same situation and New Girl has done the trick for me. It's silly and the characters are really sweet. It has helped quite a bit to have something to make me laugh again.
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:36 PM on December 31, 2017

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