21 Lighthearted TV Shows to Stream to Take the Edge Off a Bad Week
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21 Lighthearted TV Shows to Stream to Take the Edge Off a Bad Week

You deserve it.

Lighthearted TV shows are often written off as frothy or frivolous, but they have more power than people realize. Picture it: It’s been a tough week at work, and you’re exhausted. Finally it’s time to relax. You settle into your couch and start browsing for something to watch. Do you pick a three-hour war drama that won a bunch of awards? A heartbreaking but informative documentary? A stressful, gory horror movie? No, you want a feel-good show because nothing turns a mood around like watching nice people in comfortable settings.

Life is hard—don’t make it any more complicated for yourself by scrolling endlessly through the streaming services. We went ahead and put together 21 lighthearted TV shows that will leave you feeling energized and a little more hopeful about the world. Some are comfort classics you’ve seen before; others might be new to you. What they all share in common: Everyone in these shows is (mostly) well intentioned. Just a bunch of good-hearted people doing their best. Kind of like you, no?

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Ted Lasso

It doesn't get much more wholesome than Ted Lasso, a show about a faltering soccer team that rallies around a “Believe” sign posted above Coach Ted’s office door. Each character is flawed, sure, but the show goes to painstaking detail to prove everyone’s just trying their best. As Ted Lasso himself would say, “You say impossible, but all I hear is ‘I’m possible.’” Stream it now.

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Parks and Recreation

While this beloved sitcom is undeniably hilarious, it’s the love and respect between all the employees of the Pawnee Parks & Rec Department that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. If you need a quick cheering up, just watch the episode in which the crew try to navigate walking across a slippery ice skating rink as Gloria Estefan’s “Get on Your Feet” plays in the background. You have no choice but to laugh. Stream it now.

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The Mindy Project

A romantic comedy better than most big-screen options, played out over the course of six seasons. While the chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina is the main draw here, the best laughs come from the supporting performances by Adam Pally, Ike Barinholtz, Zosha Roquemore, and more. Stream it now.

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Sister, Sister

Tia and Tamera Mowry star as identical twins who were separated at birth and later reunited as teens in this beloved ’90s sitcom. The zippy one-liners from Jackée Harry, who plays adoptive mother Lisa, alone would cheer anyone up after a tough day. Stream it now.

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Sex and the City

Unwind by entering a world of pure fantasy—a place where the stakes are never that high (or at least resolved in under 30 minutes) and the characters have seemingly endless clothing budgets. Just stop before you get to the sequel series, And Just Like That…; Che Diaz, agent of chaos, is not what you need right now. Stream it now.

Emily in Paris

Instead of And Just Like That…, turn on Emily in Paris. All the things you love about Sex and the City are here, plus you get the added benefit of hot people with French accents. Stream it now.

The Good Place

A show that debates some of life’s toughest philosophical questions may not seem lighthearted on the surface. But! The lengths these main characters—played by Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, and Ted Danson—go to in order to help each other become better, more ethical people will warm your heart. Stream it now.

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Gilmore Girls

Set in an idyllic town full of zany characters and perfectly curated seasonal decor, Gilmore Girls is comfort TV at its finest. Best viewed with a mug of coffee and your softest sweater. Stream it now.

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The Great British Baking Show

A group of amateur bakers face off—but, like, in a kind and respectful way—in this popular reality competition show. With its lovely English garden setting and endless roster of yummy-looking treats, The Great British Baking Show is as cozy as it gets. Stream it now.

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Nailed It!

Another baking competition show I promise you’ll love. In this one, a group of bakers somehow even more amateur than the British Baking Show crowd attempt to make complicated masterpieces. And they usually fail! But it’s all done in good fun. No matter how inedible a dish is, cohosts and judges Nicole Byer and Jacques Torres find something positive to say about it. Stream it now.

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Kim’s Convenience

About a Korean Canadian family that runs a Toronto convenience store, this sweet and hopeful sitcom became a global favorite after it was picked up for redistribution. Critics were on board too, with The New York Times calling it “quietly revolutionary,” while Vanity Fair described the show as “an oasis.” Stream it now.

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New Girl

The fact that the main character is named Jessica Day should tell you all you need to know about New Girl’s lightheartedness. “I wanted the character to be this indefatigable optimist,” creator Liz Meriwether said in an interview with Glamour. And throughout the show’s seven seasons, Jess Day never loses that quality—so much so that it’s hard not to feel a little more optimistic yourself after watching. Stream it now.

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Abbott Elementary

As Glamour senior West Coast editor Jessica Radloff has raved before, “[Stars] Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Tyler James Williams, and Chris Perfetti have taken the workplace comedy and made it must-see TV—not so easy in today’s oversaturated television landscape. Thanks to lovable and absurd characters, witty dialogue, and sharp writing, and an ensemble cast that clicked from the start, the series…made Brunson (nominated for three Emmys) a household name.” Stream it now.

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The Nanny

She had style, she had flair, she was there! From the catchy theme song to the over-the-top looks modeled by Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) each episode, there’s much to love about this popular ’90s sitcom that’s held up better than most from that era. Stream it now.

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Chewing Gum

Michaela Coel created and wrote this British sitcom, in which she stars as Tracey, a 24-year-old virgin who is very ready to go all the way. The one bad thing? There are only two seasons. Stream it now.


Heartstopper is the kind of show that makes you feel young and vibrant again, taking you back to those times when even the slightest glance from your crush would send your heart racing. The budding romance between Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor) is so precious and pure it’ll have you looking at your own relationships in a new, brighter light. Stream it now.

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Only Murders in the Building

Comedy legends Martin Short and Steve Martin partnered with global superstar Selena Gomez for this show about a trio of true-crime-obsessed podcast wannabes who become embroiled in their own mystery. “Murder” may be in the title, but the show never gets truly violent. It’s all about the likable characters and witty dialogue here. Plus, legends Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd will appear in the upcoming season three! Stream it now.

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Happy Endings

Happy Endings is basically Friends but better written. Okay, maybe that was too spicy of a take, but you will be absolutely entertained by this group of 30-somethings and their misadventures around Chicago. Stream it now.


There’s a reason this historical romance series is so wildly popular. Sometimes people just want to know they’re getting a guaranteed happy ending with a lot of smoochin’ along the way. Stream it now.

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Schitt’s Creek

The Roses, a formerly wealthy family who have been forced to move to a small town after they lose their fortune, are totally insufferable when we first meet them. But over the course of six seasons, the inherent goodness of the Schitt’s Creek townsfolk can’t help but make an impact. Stream it now.

Sex Education

The premise of Sex Education is built around the awkward sexual dilemmas of the students (and sometimes their parents) at the fictional Moordale Secondary School, but it’s the show’s no-judgment approach to these topics that makes it feel so special to watch. Each character is treated with care, the tone is earnest without being cheesy, and you may even walk away learning a thing or two. Stream it now.