Find me gentle, fictional, happy ending TV
April 26, 2022 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I am sick, and often am not able to concentrate enough to read. We have also been managing a sick pet. Please suggest lower-stakes, less-murdery, less-intense, less-loud, not-vet-related fictional TV shows that will work for me. What I've tried so far: Worked: Bridgerton S2. Didn't work: The Great, Peacemaker (usually love them but both are too loud and violent and angry rn). Considering: Leverage.

The last thread about this was largely reality shows and mostly animal-related reality shows, which are not something I can handle right now.
posted by rednikki to Media & Arts (60 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Abbott Elementary, The Good Place, The Babysitter’s Club, The Gilded Age, Somebody Somewhere
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:55 AM on April 26, 2022 [13 favorites]

Best answer: "Only Murders in the Building" (Hulu) is about people being bad at making a podcast about their bumbling attempts to investigate a murder, and not actually about murder in a police procedural way. So don't let the title scare you off.

"Abbott Elementary" (ABC and Hulu) is as great as everyone says it is.

We really like the "Bob's Burgers" adjacent "The Great North" (Fox) and "Central Park" (Apple TV+). My wife was never actually interested in "Bob's Burgers" but she seems like she might be warming up to the idea now because of the other two.

I'd recommend "Nailed It" on Netflix but it does get loud. It's a joyful sort of loud, but it's loud all the same.
posted by fedward at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2022 [6 favorites]

Detectorists? It's a sweet and quietly amusing show.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2022 [25 favorites]

It might require too much concentration because of the subtitles, but my favourite thing on Netflix right now is Old Enough, which is a Japanese TV show in which impossibly tiny Japanese children run errands around their home towns that they would definitely not be allowed to do by 99.999% of North American parents. The show is immensely adorable and gentle and uplifting and funny and emotional. I deeply love it and I encourage everyone who has Netflix to try watching it.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2022 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Bob's Burgers. Also Superstore (some animal-related plot lines but they're in one or two episodes), a great, smart sitcom about working in a big box retail store, which is on Netflix.
posted by fight or flight at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

+1 Detectorists
posted by Crystalinne at 11:07 AM on April 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

I find rewatching films and TV shows I’ve already seen and liked work well when I am sick. Ted Lasso if you get Apple TV. The Gilmore Girls. The Good Place. The Simpsons. The Andy Griffith Show. Also, for me, old rom-coms like Bridget’s Diary, Notting Hill, etc. So sorry you are ill, hope you are healthy soon!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:09 AM on April 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I just noticed Community is on Netflix right now, which I dip back into now and then as background noise and it holds up pretty well, and I remain so impressed by the talent of the cast. I miss that kind of comedy.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, One Day At A Time (newest version), 30 Rock, Grace and Frankie, GLOW.

Netflix also has some Shaun the Sheep, which is one of my favorite wind-down shows.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:25 AM on April 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I was sick yesterday and watched the entirety of Heartstopper on Netflix - extremely cute and very low stakes (there's some bullying, in case that bothers you, but it's pretty mild as these things go). Sweet Magnolias is a very pleasant dramady set in the small town south and is on its second season. Virgin River is also a cute small-town show though it may be more drama than you're looking for right now. Nthing Gilmore Girls, the Good Place, Bob's Burgers (though it can sometimes be loud), Community, Babysitters Club.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 11:28 AM on April 26, 2022

Oh gosh I am here to nth The Good Place. So worthwhile!
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you can find both seasons, I'm a big fan of the very genial Lodge 49, which definitely has a happy ending (the end of the first season is both less conclusive and more of a downer, redeemed by the second).
posted by Grangousier at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: My Name is Earl is a surprisingly feel-good show.
Babysitters' Club.
Corner Gas
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: +1 Detectorists and Bob's Burgers

What We Do in the Shadows is also very comforting to me - feels like a hug.
posted by coffeecat at 11:32 AM on April 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Parks and Rec - starting in season 2.
posted by saturdaymornings at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Our Flag means death has one or two accidental deaths, but for a show about pirates it's one of the sweetest, most wholesome, loving comedies out there. Just a bunch of nice vibes, good folks.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2022 [6 favorites]

Steven Universe
posted by Geameade at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Eureka. It is as formulaic and familiar as a police procedural, but instead of murders it is science experiments gone awry and a bumbling, bemused sheriff trying to wrangle superscientists. There are occasionally deaths, usually accidental and not murders, and the season finales tend to be a bit darker than the comic lightheartedness of the rest of the show. Overall, quite fluffy.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 11:51 AM on April 26, 2022 [8 favorites]

Seconding Abbott Elementary, Parks & Rec, Bob's Burgers, The Good Place, and Detectorists. I also recently finished a Star Trek TNG rewatch and it was delightful and light versus newer prestige TV. (Only Murders in the Building is good and light, but does feature the death of an animal so be forewarned.)
posted by little king trashmouth at 11:53 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Death In Paradise. Murder mysteries, but mostly light-hearted and no violence to speak of. Good Caribbean background music. Pretty formulaic.
posted by SemiSalt at 11:57 AM on April 26, 2022 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Larkrise to Candleford
posted by manageyourexpectations at 12:01 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hart of Dixie, The Great North
posted by Sassyfras at 12:07 PM on April 26, 2022

Kim's Convenience is our go-to.
posted by thirteenthletter at 12:10 PM on April 26, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is great. It's a Japanese anthology series in which we see/learn the stories of the patrons of a late night Shinjuku diner as they eat and are prepared delicious looking food. The stories often have realism and depth and even conflict as the overall tone is lighthearted and breezy. It's like a low stakes one act play about empathy every time.

This review has more.
The beauty of Midnight Diner lies in its empathy towards people, their difficult circumstances and towards us, the audience. All are safe and content upon entering the diner. The Master knows when to stop and listen, but also when to leave the troubled customer alone.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:15 PM on April 26, 2022 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Joe Pera Talks With You (3 seasons of wholesome stories and sensibilities). The Good Place. What we do in the Shadows (if you are OK with funny/creepy/vampire stories.) The companion show to WWDITS is Wellington Paranormal. I've watched All Creatures Great and Small (the newest one) several times and it feels like a hug. Our Flag Means Death.
posted by gemmy at 12:35 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Adding my voice to the chorus for Detectorists. Sweet, gentle, low-stakes. And if you've ever been part of a small club or other group interested in a very niche hobby that tends to attract eccentrics, you will find the characters instantly familiar.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Last Tango in Halifax
posted by BibiRose at 12:51 PM on April 26, 2022 [4 favorites]

The gentlest shows I’ve watched recently are, indeed, Detectorists and Midnight Diner. I was really sad when they were finished.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:07 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I just finished Better Things, which was a nice escape for me.
posted by mirthe at 1:07 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Durrells in Corfu, PBS or PBS Masterpiece Streaming service. Semi-fictional but still great.

There are animals in the show but none of them get sick.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:08 PM on April 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

Queer Eye (the Netflix reboot), especially the most recent season (Austin)
posted by blue suede stockings at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2022

Recent Ask.Me may be of interest. I recommended The Good Place, Firefly, Lie to Me, Catastrophe, Boston Legal, Brooklyn 99(some crime, but it's really funny. Transplant(hulu) is a doctor show about a refugee doc in Canada; I loved it. Virgin River is soap-opera-ish, but pleasant. Cheers, St. Elsewhere, Becker.
posted by theora55 at 1:21 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is Us!! On Hulu.
posted by reksb at 1:24 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: Netflix - the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kimmy escaped a cult and is learning to live in NYC with her eccentric roommate, who often steals the show. Kimmy is relentlessly positive.

Great News! -very close to a traditional sitcom about a cable news team.
Space Force.
Merry Happy Whatever, with Dennis Quaid as a burly dad whose youngest daughter brought a boyfriend home for the holidays.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: When I’m sick Columbo is always soothing.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:09 PM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Gentle, non-murdery low-stakes TV is where I'm a gentle, non-murdery Viking!

One of my favorite go-to shows for the past couple of years that always makes me feel like the world is just maybe an ok place is Call the Midwife (Netflix). It's billed as a drama but the drama elements are not that tense, and there's a lot of humor and extremely likeable characters. Plus, it just released its 10th season so even though they are short 8-10 episode British seasons, there's like nearly 100 episodes to watch by now. I've been watching bit by by for 2 years now and am still only on season 8.

Some other recent releases in that category that may not be on your radar and that I've enjoyed (unfortunately, a lot of these have only 1-2 seasons):
Somebody Somewhere (HBOMax)
Derry Girls (Netflix)
As We See It (Amazon Prime)
Everything's Gonna Be Okay (Hulu)
posted by drlith at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Bob's Burgers is great, but skip the first season (and especially the pilot episode) and jump straight to season 2. The show started to find its groove midway through the first season, but it's better to come back to those early episodes once you have a better handle on the characters; the season 2 premiere is fully formed.

Julia on HBO Max, about the first season of the French Chef, deals with some weighty things but is mostly a delight with some excellent shots of food (and has David Hyde Pierce as Paul Child).
posted by thecaddy at 2:31 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: All creatures great and small
posted by sulaine at 2:55 PM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Lovely people to hang around with:
Schitt's Creek (Netflix)
Steven Universe
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)
Marvelous Mrs Maisel (Prime Video)
Star Trek: Lower Decks (Prime Video, if you ever loved 1960s/1990s Trek, the junior staff of a mid-tier ship really do too)
posted by k3ninho at 3:16 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: I loved Anne of Green Gables and Call the Midwife
posted by maloon at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: Ghosts, if it's available (referring to the BBC version).
posted by Grangousier at 4:04 PM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you can deal with subtitles, I found the Korean drama Hospital Playlist to be very gentle. It’s about a group of childhood friends who all become doctors in the same hospital… and they play in a band.

Although some sad medical situations happen on the show, it manages to feel light and relaxing, enough so that I’d put it on while sitting up in bed and would start to nod off after only a few minutes every night.
posted by wondermouse at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2022

I have a very real soft spot for incredibly talented people making incredibly artistic things. Blown away and baking impossible were two favorites
posted by Jacen at 7:51 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: Jane the Virgin is perfect for something like this.
posted by itesser at 8:35 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: The US version of Ghosts is quite funny. We also just finished watching Starstruck, which is charming as hell and has the advantage of being very short (12 approximately 20ish minute eps total, over two seasons). Never Have I Ever is well worth checking out as well.
posted by pdb at 9:00 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We Are Lady Parts
posted by pompomtom at 11:13 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding wuzandfuz's suggestion of Heartstopper. I've also been feeling under the weather and binged it over the past two days and it was the perfect restorative balm for my sick, crotchety soul.
posted by doomsyrup at 1:02 AM on April 27, 2022

Best answer: It's not telly, but the two Paddington movies are tailor-made for times when you're feeling a little fragile and in need of comfort.

Also, I'd suggest Jeeves & Wooster and (if you can find it) the BBC's Blandings. Both based on the books of PG Wodehouse, both reliably gentle & sunny, and both with top-notch casts.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:49 AM on April 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

gemmy and I are 100% in sync.

I have especially loved Joe Pera Talks to You, which is just a terrific and gentle and loving show.
posted by AgentRocket at 11:15 AM on April 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Detectorists, The Good Place, Midnight Diner are great recommendations. I've also enjoyed The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBO max(like the Great British Baking show), and Afterlife on Netflix. Afterlife may seem unlikely because it's about a man contemplating suicide after losing his wife but I find it warm and life affirming with great characters.
posted by ShakeyJake at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2022

Ted Lasso - especially season 1 - seems to be perfect for your needs.
posted by Thistledown at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Since you're considering Leverage, you might also check out White Collar. It's another of those not-too-serious crime comedy/dramas. It has the occasional serious story, but no violence that I recall, and I love it for the relationships.
posted by daikon at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bluey. It may be marketed as a kid's show but it's a lot more than that.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 8:37 PM on April 27, 2022 [3 favorites]

I really love Midnight Diner, Tokyo Stories a lot, but the very first episode involves someone dying from a chronic illness with a focus on "how other people are affected" rather than the person with the illness. YMMV, especially if you are dealing with health issues.
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2022

The Good Place
posted by Jacqueline at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2022

Also suggesting Steven Universe.
posted by JHarris at 2:44 PM on April 28, 2022

Also recommending Call the Midwife. I feel uplifted and hopeful after watching each episode. Also usually a bit teary.
posted by apartment dweller at 10:01 PM on April 28, 2022

It looks like you’re receptive to Kdramas and subtitles, which for me have been a great alternative to reading when I'm too distracted to focus on a book. Netflix has a large supply of Kdramas to choose from and many viewers say they got into them with a particular show: Crash Landing on You. It has romance (but not sex), some comedy, a lot of culture, and a bit of action. Also consider Our Beloved Summer, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (well, it does have a murder and a haunted vibe, but it's not too intense), and Hometown Cha Cha Cha or Business Proposal (both a bit silly and very tropey but fun to watch).
posted by kbar1 at 1:27 PM on April 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Call the Midwife is the best thing on TV.

Start from the beginning (Netflix) so you can enjoy Sister Evangelina, and everyone’s favorite, Chummy.
posted by jgirl at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2022

Oh, yeah, Spaced, if you can find it.
posted by pompomtom at 7:48 AM on May 2, 2022

Ted Lasso! A nice man is nice to people. Interspersed with soccer but you don't have to remotely like sports (I don't!) because it's about the people, not the soccer.

And yes, seconding that Bluey is delightful. The episode called "The Weekend" puts everything great about childhood into one perfect episode.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:32 AM on May 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

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