Watching the Tele
September 4, 2019 8:12 AM   Subscribe

What are some good shows or movies that have a cosy, charming feel?

I've run out of Derry Girls.

I'm looking for stories about small town life or stories about people and their immediate circles. No blockbusters. No heavy fantasy. No science-fiction. I've seen all of the Mike Leigh films. I've seen all of the Austen adaptations. Subtitles okay. Bonus for charming or cozy.

I don't want darkness, murder, or violence (even though I like shows like Luther) at the moment unless it's something like Miss Marple.

Examples that meet this need: A Merry War, Muriel's Wedding, Heartburn, Downton Abbey. Even more dramatic things like Whale Rider fits.

I have Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Please feel free to mention anything because I might be able to find or purchase or put it on my watchlist. Thank you very much.
posted by loveandhappiness to Media & Arts (48 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2019 [14 favorites]

posted by missrachael at 8:16 AM on September 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

2nding Detectorists, and also recommending Sex Education.
posted by Grither at 8:17 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Schitt’s Creek!
posted by aka burlap at 8:24 AM on September 4, 2019 [15 favorites]

Kim's Convenience
Vicar of Dibley
The Fosters
Drop Dead Diva
posted by Ftsqg at 8:25 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Northern Exposure, though as this article notes, it's one of the best shows not available to stream, so you'd have to get the DVDs.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:27 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

A Little Princess (1986)
Driving Miss Daisy
Steel Magnolias
posted by Melismata at 8:33 AM on September 4, 2019

Call the Midwife
When Calls the Heart
The Good Place
Great British Baking Show
posted by snowysoul at 8:35 AM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

Gilmore Girls
posted by Automocar at 8:38 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Jane the Virgin & Great British Baking Show are my go-to cheerful, warm shows.
posted by sprezzy at 8:39 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is Midsomer Murders too ... murdery?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:43 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

2nding Kim's convenience, though it takes place in a large city, so it's not too "cozy", but the humor and quaintness and good family vibes are similar to Derry Girls
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:45 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding Northern Exposure if you can find it. There's an episode which ends with a scene which I still consider one of the best things I've ever seen on television in my life.

Or the 1980s miniseries adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders fit that "cosy mystery" category. I'd add Death in Paradise, which is a small island instead of a small town. (Slightly better scenery!)
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:47 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thirtysomething and (produced by one of the stars of Thirtysomething) This Is Us.
posted by essexjan at 8:49 AM on September 4, 2019

Corner Gas on Prime
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:52 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Picket Fences and Northern Exposure, if you want to go back to the 90s.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:55 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

All of these are 30 minute shows, 6 eps:
Back To Life
Don't Forget The Driver
This Way Up
posted by Webbster at 8:57 AM on September 4, 2019

Friday night lights fits your criteria! It's very much about American small town life, and is pretty cosy. It has its flaws but in other ways is brilliant, especially in some of its depictions of relationships.
posted by DTMFA at 9:19 AM on September 4, 2019 [7 favorites]

Two very different Scottish shows; Monarch of the Glen and Still Game. Probably the former fits better than the latter...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:21 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

The Durrells in Corfu
posted by silence down below at 9:54 AM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is technically a murder-mystery show, but it's really a "glorious middle-age flapper runs around looking fabulous and sleeping with a variety of handsome men while still having an on-going romance with a charming police detective" show.

It does attempt to tackle Serious Subjects (TM) every now and then, but again, balanced with fabulous outfits.
posted by damayanti at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency adaptation was nicely done. I only wish there were more episodes. The books are also great, btw.
posted by jquinby at 10:36 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding Gilmore Girls! It couldn't be more cozy or charming. It's set in a picturesque New England town; centers on the family/social life of a mom and daughter; and is simultaneously smart, funny, and heartwarming.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2019

I love Hart of Dixie for this.
posted by aaanastasia at 10:59 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for suggestions so far. I have seen many of your suggestions and I agree --The Durrell's in Corfu, Anne of Green Gables that was on PBS in the 1980s (amazing), Amelie, Gilmore Girls, Ms. Maisel, Miss Fisher, and of course The Great British Baking Show -- I am waiting for Friday for a new episode. Thank you all. There are many I have not seen and will watch. I am rewatching the Detectorists now since I have only seen season one and refreshing my memory so I can watch the next season.
posted by loveandhappiness at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2019

Grace & Frankie mostly feels cozy to me.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

On Hulu- Lie to Me, Librarians, Golden Girls, Veronica Mars, Boston Legal, nthing Friday Night Lights
On Netflix- Call the Midwife, Great British Baking Show, Land Girls
Amazon- Dead Like Me, Leverage, All Saints (Australian hospital drama), William and Mary, Monroe, Nothing Trivial (New Zealand)
Monarch of the Glen is fun
Movies - Best Marigold Hotel and the 2nd one
posted by theora55 at 11:17 AM on September 4, 2019

There are a number of old British sitcoms that might fit the bill, but I have no idea whether you could actually get them - The Good Life, To the Manor Born, The Vicar of Dibley. Perhaps Ever Decreasing Circles. Definitely not One Foot in the Grave.

I assume you've seen the Fry and Laurie Jeeves and Wooster, yes? Best before they go to America, I think.

Or perhaps The Darling Buds of May - 90s adaptation of H.E. Bates' story, starring David Jason and a very young Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Ancient black and white movies? The better Powell & Pressburger have, if not cosiness, then a kind of generosity - I Know Where I'm Going, possibly A Canterbury Tale, A Matter of Life and Death (cw for moderate war, mild fantasy), jump off before you get to Black Narcissus, excellent though it is - or old British comedies -The Happiest Days of Your Life, Passport to Pimlico, The Lavender Hill Mob, Whiskey Galore, Hue and Cry, .

Some Bill Forsyth - That Sinking Feeling, Gregory's Girl and Local Hero (prewarning that it doesn't go well for the rabbit, but otherwise hugely charming). While most of his films centre around groups of bewildered men, he also made the film version of Housekeeping, an almost entirely female film, which is beautiful and melancholy, definitely "about small town life or stories about people and their immediate circles", though at the bleaker end of cosy. I think it's his best film.

Dean Spanley? Slightly fantastical, but charming and ragged and then, suddenly, deeply moving.

I always recommend Koreeda Hirokazu's After Life, even if it's not appropriate, because it's a wonderful film that I think should be seen more widely, and might fit, who knows? Some of his other films might work for you, too, as they tend to be about families and family dynamics.

The ultimate in cosiness would be Paddington and Paddington 2. Ignore the fact that they're ostensibly made for children. Although, it's a CGI talking bear, obviously, so heavier on the fantasy here.

As I say, I have no idea whether you could get any of them, particularly the older movies.
posted by Grangousier at 11:30 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I guess it doesn't meet the "small-town feel" criterion, but I feel duty-bound to mention the Granada Television adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes oeuvre, because its cosiness is off the CHARTS, man. Jeremy Brett is perfect as Holmes, and even the darker episodes involve copious period imagery, bluff old gentlemen, plucky young women in hats, pipes, teapots, all the classics. At the end you feel that God's in his heaven, etc. A lot of episodes are available on YouTube.
Seriously that shit is my Xanax

Designing Women might also fit the bill--it takes place in Atlanta but the action rarely leaves their graciously appointed home/office.
posted by peakes at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Doc Martin and the IT Crowd
posted by cross_impact at 12:25 PM on September 4, 2019

I enjoy watching certain Korean dramas for this reason. I would suggest the ones that are more romantic than dramatic. Love the settings, the clothes, the homes, the families, the food! Also in the same vein, I love a Korean reality show called Hyori's Bed and Breakfast. Hyori Lee is a well known Korean celebrity and she and her adorable husband host various groups in their own home. Very cozy stuff.

Other random shows I would recommend would be Brothers and Sisters and Father Brown Mysteries.
posted by jraz at 12:39 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Lark Rise to Candleford fits your brief.
posted by janell at 12:49 PM on September 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

Waking Ned
posted by ErWenn at 1:26 PM on September 4, 2019

I can’t believe no one’s mentioned All Creatures Great and Small. I know it’s really old but it’s the classic of what you’re after.
posted by Jubey at 2:27 PM on September 4, 2019 [7 favorites]

Call the Midwife.
posted by jgirl at 2:51 PM on September 4, 2019

A New Zealand show - on Amazon I believe - 800 Words.
posted by gudrun at 4:05 PM on September 4, 2019

The Heights is an Australian soap based around a high rise low income apartment block. It's lovely, if you can find it. The Dish is worth a look too.
posted by kjs4 at 4:20 PM on September 4, 2019

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, absolutely lovely vignettes centered around a late-night ramen place in Tokyo. Sadly only one season (c'mon, Netflix!!)
Monty Don! The gentle king of British gardening has a couple of different things on Netflix: Big Dreams, Small Spaces, is an episodic show featuring different small area gardening challenges. Then there are the 2 special collections, Monty Don Italian Gardens, and French Gardens-- more history info with some personal /small holding spaces. He has boundless enthusiasm and love for gardens, and appreciation for a wide aesthetic.
Father Ted is silly gentle fun about Catholicism, Ireland, and in one glorious episode, Eurovision Song Contest.
The reboot of One Day At A Time on Netflix has some drama but not so much it gets hard. I am so happy to see a show that mentions Portos Bakery, I will never in my life get enough guava pastries, so there you go.
posted by twentyfeetof tacos at 5:06 PM on September 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Last Tango in Halifax
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:27 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Father Ted Father Ted!

- The theme song composed by The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon is one of the sweetest, gentlest, coziest melodies. Just a simple little guitar instrumental that later manifests itself in The Divine Comedy's Songs of Love.

- You'll recognize 1) a younger Ardal O'Hanlon (from one of the Derry Girl s2 episodes) as the sweet but dim Father Dougal McGuire, and 2) a familiar combination of dark eyebrows and white hair on Father Ted Crilly's actor, Dermot Morgan (R.I.P.).

- The plots are so absurd yet comfortingly slice-of-life. Eurovision episode is a must, as is the episode where Dougal ends up having to drive a milk van (slowly) through their little island's streets and Ted (also somewhat slowly) helps carry off a pile of boxes in the van's way. (And the one episode I can recall tackling something a little less, uh, cozy - Father Ted doing PR to dissuade gossip that he's a racist - handles it surprisingly well for a super white UK comedy.)

- "I'm not a fascist, I'm a priest! Fascists dress in black and tell people what to do, whereas... priests............."(trails off and proceeds to go on a face journey)
posted by rather be jorting at 6:22 PM on September 4, 2019

The mention of Whale Rider and Muriel's Wedding reminds me of a couple other antipodes-region films I like:

Boy and What We Do In the Shadows (both directed by New Zealand's Taika Waititi) are two other charming, mostly slice-of-life films you might enjoy. The former's a little more on the bittersweet side but both are fairly light-hearted and funny.

Oh, that reminds me - if you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords, it's about two New Zealand indie folk musicians trying to make it in New York City. Also charming and funny, with dips into the surreal (mostly for the music sequences). Plots include issues arising from things like Bret purchasing a new cup, or having Bowie appear to him in a dream to reassure him about his body issues.
posted by rather be jorting at 6:30 PM on September 4, 2019

Letterkenny - People in small town Ontario have issues - big on wordplay, dad puns, and friends helping friends. To be fair (To be faaaiiirr), there is some scrapping, but it never comes on the property. 6 seasons on Hulu.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:44 PM on September 4, 2019

Samurai Gourmet, especially episode 7: Umbrellas at the Dinner Counter.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:29 PM on September 4, 2019

Can't believe no one's mentioned This Country! it is lovely.

Also, Gavin and Stacey always gets mentioned in this kind of thread, with good reason.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:39 AM on September 5, 2019

Boy and What We Do In the Shadows

And Hunt for the Wilderpeople .
posted by Grangousier at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2019

Hart of Dixie is exactly, exactly, exactly what you are looking for.

Also nthing Eureka, Gavin & Stacey, and Schitt's Creek, as well as (in a slightly different vein) Lovesick.
posted by Gadarene at 9:09 AM on September 9, 2019

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