Prestige tv with no violence and no death??
April 25, 2020 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Both of my parents recently had big health scares, though are now doing well. But now my dad, at least temporarily, can't watch a little bit of tv every day, which he really loved to do, because it's too triggering.

Is there sort of long-form, season-length arc narrative tv, with really good production values, that has no violence and no death? Sort of slice of life, but with a little bit of action? He likes drama/action shows, doesn't mind science fiction "if it's not too silly", but doesn't like fantasy and "high fantasy."

We were sorting of un-creatively brainstorming, and we thought there was a very slight chance Bosch might work, because even though it can be SUPER DARK, it still has a sort of very cozy predictability, if you've already seen a few seasons. But it was not-too-surprisingly just as triggering as everything else.

Stranger Things might have worked, if he hadn't already seen it, even though it's fantasy, because of the pretty high production values. But he notes the "kids in peril" might have made it a non-starter.

Can anyone think of anything?? I'm wondering if there's a whole category of tv that I wouldn't otherwise think of, just in case.

(Side note: He has good psychological self-care, and he may also talk to a therapist. Things are still just sort of fresh, and it'd be great if he could throw a little escapism into the mix.)
posted by zeek321 to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Would he like The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel? Or would it not have enough action? Otherwise, it might fit: high production values, season length narrative arcs.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:53 AM on April 25, 2020 [13 favorites]

Best answer: I might recommend “Mr. Selfridge,” streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a fun to watch period drama and doesn’t have death or violence.
posted by holborne at 12:00 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Morning Show (AppleTV+)
posted by yawper at 12:16 PM on April 25, 2020

Best answer: Can you give us a few examples of things he does like?

What about Mad Men? It's not happy, but it's not violent or full of death.

I also thought of The Hour, which is a British series (available on Amazon, though not free) about a weekly news show in the '50s ('60s?). It's quite exciting, but very much workplace drama.
posted by gideonfrog at 12:35 PM on April 25, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I think most seasons of Parenthood would be okay (skip the Christina cancer season). Or Friday Night Lights (just avoid the stupid episode where Landry kills the creepy dude).
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:44 PM on April 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Mad Men and The Hour might work! I'm passing these along right now.

Can you give us a few examples of things he does like?

In the recent past, on Netflix, he's liked Ozark, Homeland, "Money Heist," Lost in Space ("simple but fun"). On Amazon Prime, he's watched a few prime originals above like 8.0 on imdb. Pretty basic, easily-accessible fare, but, arguably, some of the best of that. But almost all of that isn't doable right now.
posted by zeek321 at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2020

Best answer: The Crown, on DVD (first 2 seasons) and Neflix (all 3 seasons). It is a drama about Queen Elizabeth II and her family in the 1950s and 1960s, with flashbacks to the 1930s (but not the war years in the 1940s, surprisingly) with lots about events in recent British history (and, tangentially, a few in US history). I am not especially interested in the British royal family, but I find it gripping. I am an American who grew up in the 1950s and 60s and it is interesting to see the show's take on events I vaguely remember from the news then.
posted by JonJacky at 12:47 PM on April 25, 2020 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Brooklyn99 is very innocent, very fun TV in my opinion.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2020 [18 favorites]

Best answer: schitt's creek has no action and the only drama is relationship/family drama but it is so good. SO GOOD. the goodest.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:06 PM on April 25, 2020 [26 favorites]

posted by cooker girl at 1:07 PM on April 25, 2020 [19 favorites]

Gilmore Girls would probably fit the bill, particularly if he likes Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. There's some serialization, but it's mostly episodic. The first 4–5 seasons are delightful (the last two are just... fine.)

Jane the Virgin might also work, with a few caveats. It's super bright and cheery, and heavily serialized; it's effectively an English-language telenovela, and self-consciously so. The primary focus is on the slice-of-life interactions of the main family. There's also some crime drama, business intrigue, and action folded in as well. But there is some violence (there's an incident in the first episode that is probably as violent as the show gets), and there are many points where the main characters are in peril, with one main character dying midway through the show.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:08 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

(Worth noting: season 3, episode 6 of Mad Men does have a bloody scene but it's from an accident. I don't know if that falls into the "violence" category here or not. It's an episode people like; however, you don't lose much -- if any -- plot by skipping over it.)
posted by darksong at 2:09 PM on April 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Good Place might work. It is funny more than dramatic, but because of the philosophical core and emotional content, it feels deeper than a half hour sitcom would normally be. Good development over the season arcs. Helpfully, everyone in it is already dead.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:14 PM on April 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

It's worth mentioning that Mad Men isn't entirely without violence and death. In addition to the episode that darksong mentioned, there's also a sexual assault pretty early on, and a suicide in one of the later seasons.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:21 PM on April 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

Yeah, that suicide in Mad Men is very explicit too, they are not shy about showing the aftermath.
posted by schroedinger at 3:40 PM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I stayed away from Schitt's Creek for a long time because of the name, but that turned out to be a good thing because it's exactly the wholesome show I needed to keep my spirits up during the pandemic. I binged the whole series in a week and a half, then turned around and started it again. The production quality is good and detailed-oriented (much like The Good Place, the crew paid great attention to the props and setting).

It has no action, though. Episodes are largely self-contained, but there are season-long goals the characters work towards and lots of character growth (so not the old-school sitcom style where everything resets to zero at the end of the episode). Early episodes rely a bit on "rich people laugh at clueless poor people" tropes but it quickly fleshes out beyond that. Bonus points for its endlessly gif-able moments, which has helped give my friends/family and I a shared language to stay connected right now.

It's say it's TV-siblings with The Good Place, and cousins with Brooklyn 99 and Parks & Rec.
posted by lilac girl at 3:45 PM on April 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

Just to note that The Crown season 3, episode 3 is about the Aberfan mining disaster, in which many lost their lives, including a number of children. It’s quite a harrowing episode.

I would second Detectorists.
posted by JJZByBffqU at 4:46 PM on April 25, 2020

Mad Men has a suicide in the first season, episode eleven.
Schitt's Creek seems like a good option.
posted by PussKillian at 4:48 PM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mad Men is a great show with a very dark tone. Although most of it is workplace drama without explicit violence, it often has an atmosphere of dread -- you're often expecting something terrible to happen to one of the characters, even if it doesn't. There are occasional references to cancer, mental illness, and death. There are also a few moments of explicit death and violence (several more than just the suicide listed above).
List of Mad Men death/violence spoilers
Season 1, Episode 10 - a character has a heart attack
Season 1, Episode 11 - a character commits suicide, a character has a second heart attack
Season 1, Episode 12 - a character dies in war
Season 2, Episode 12 - a character is raped
Season 3, Episode 6 - gory lawnmower accident
Season 3, Episode 7 - a character is punched
Season 3, Episode 8 - a character is raped
Season 4, Episode 9 - a character dies at the office (played for comedy)
Season 5, Episode 12 - a character commits suicide
Season 6, Episode 9 - a character is accidentally stabbed (played for comedy)

posted by ourobouros at 5:00 AM on April 26, 2020

Try travel shows - English TV does a fabulous range - The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rod Brydon

Slow TV - SBS (Australia) - the Chocolate Factory, the Indian Pacific, the Ghan
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 5:42 AM on April 26, 2020

If he wants to watch The Good Place, please advise him to avoid the episode called The Trolley Problem. Pretty severe bloody violence, played for laughs.
posted by cats are weird at 8:38 PM on April 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Would your dad like older prestige TV? Aaron Sorkin shows get a lot of buzz when they air (though that prestige usually fades over time). But if your dad hasn't seen them, Sports Night was SO GOOD and The Newsroom has the prestige-y buzz but has definitely aged. The only action is the patented Sorkin walk-and-talk, but also nobody dies and there's no random violence.
posted by lilac girl at 9:16 PM on April 26, 2020

- Masters of Sex s1-2 (3 and 4 might be safe as well but I haven’t seen them)
- Anne with an E

(ETA: my bad, apparently someone does die in Anne s3, I incorrectly assumed I’d have been spoiled for it already but just googled to double check! First two seasons are fine though, and hold up excellently on their own.)
posted by bettafish at 10:14 PM on April 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Hallmark Movies.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:42 PM on April 26, 2020

Honestly, he should try Malcolm in the Middle. I'd argue it falls under "slice of life" and it's hilarious and predictable (but not too predictable) and there are some narrative arcs. It also features the brilliant Bryan Cranston.

I second the suggestions for Sports Night, Schitt's Creek and Brooklyn 99.

Travel shows are a good idea too--perhaps Long Way Round and Long Way Down. Ewan McGregor, his buddy Charley Boorman, and a crew travel around and across the world on motor bikes. It's entertaining, occasionally grueling and really interesting. Not many people in the world could ever do what they did, which makes it more interesting than your average travel show if you ask me.

Also seconding the caution that Mad Men is really dark and depressing.
posted by purple_bird at 9:11 AM on April 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

the thing about the good place is that the first few seasons are really excellent but, for about half the people i know who watched it, the final season was Not Great - altho it may have been series-finale-specific - in terms of issues dealing with death and mortality in general. the people who did like it found it extremely uplifting and validating, though, so it's very much a ymmv situation.

nb i did not watch it, i just read spoilers and reaction posts from people who were upset by it, and decided it was not for me. i loved the rest of the series.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:59 AM on April 27, 2020

The Hour has two deaths in the first episode. (I watched it after seeing the recommendation in this thread, since I also prefer to watch TV shows without a lot of gore, violence, or death.)
posted by acridrabbit at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2020

posted by *s at 10:59 AM on April 28, 2020

> The Morning Show
has content warnings before the 8th and 9th episodes about sexual assault & self-harm
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 10:40 AM on August 4, 2020

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