10 Feel-Good Shows to Binge for an Escape (PHOTOS)

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Tyler Golden/The CW, Netflix, John P. Fleenor/Fox/Universal Television
parenthood
NBC

Parenthood

Before This Is Us came this underrated family dramedy about four adult siblings navigating the perplexing, maddening, and wonderful experience that is parenthood. With Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Mae Whitman, and a number of familiar faces from Friday Night Lights, this is an impeccable cast who shares a chemistry that feels true and lived in. Yes, you might weep, but the tears have a perverse happy-feel to them. Because above all else, Parenthood is about a family that tries its best.

Available on Netflix.

Chapter Eighty
Tyler Golden/The CW

Jane the Virgin

This telenovela makes one feel many different things — butterflies, amusement, second-hand embarrassment, and deep and unabridged joy. Jane, who juggles motherhood, her career, and her family, is played flawlessly by Gina Rodriguez. It’s not only cleverly-written but also downright hilarious and enjoyable to watch. You’ll be grinning ear-to-ear throughout this show.

Available on Netflix.

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Netflix

Anne With an E

One overlooked treasure in Netflix’s ever-growing collection is the quiet and humble Anne With an E, a Canadian show based on the beloved novel, Anne of Green Gables. This iteration about a child orphan who ends up in the care of two older siblings is imbued with realism. While the show has disturbing elements to it — it is helmed by Moira Walley-Beckett who previously wrote for Breaking Bad, after all — it manages to preserve the childlike wonder, wild imagination, and heartfelt tone that made it a classic. It is also a fantastic period piece that transports you to the pastoral beauty of Prince Edward Island.

Available on Netflix.

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Netflix

The Great British Baking Show

What’s so appealing about watching a bunch of amateur bakers make dessert? People trying their best at pies and pastries is a welcome contrast to the brash, hyper-competitive nature of American cooking shows. This show is light and airy, just like cake should be.

Available on Netflix.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, Kyle Chandler, Zach Gilford, 2006-2011,  ©NBC / Courtesy Everett Collections
NBC/Everett Collections

Friday Night Lights

The earnest drama is about more than just high school football — it’s about growing up, finding a place in the world, and life’s little, irreplaceable moments. Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler), Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford), Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), and Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) — just to name a few — are characters who will make you feel seen and make you feel safe. If you’ve never given Friday Night Lights a try, you should. It’ll move you.

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Parks and Recreation - Season 7
Chris Haston/NBC

Parks and Recreation

There isn’t a show that can fix a poor mood better than this comedy about local government antics in a small town. Witty and delightful and endless funny, Parks and Rec is just one of those shows you can rely on to make you belly-laugh. Amy Poehler is a gift, and the entire ensemble cast riffs off one another without missing a beat. It’s irreverent but has a lot of heart.

Available on Netflix.

Gilmore Girls
Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Gilmore Girls

In truth, there are few life experiences as comforting as curling up on your couch with your favorite treats and visiting the quirky New England world of Stars Hollow. Lorelei (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) feel like close friends who pull you into their dreamy lives. Gilmore Girls may be nearly two decades old, but watching it now still makes you feel like you’re a member of this eccentric, warm, and charming town.

Available on Netflix.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season 5

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A comedy set in a police precinct might pique your interest at first glance, but this show is chock-full of good-natured and goofy humor. Its commitment to a diverse cast — including some of the funniest comic actors on TV — and ability to make each character endearing in their own way, makes it one of the most gratifying comedies airing right now.

Available on Hulu.

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Netflix

Queer Eye

For a good time, look no further than this show about the Fab Five — a group of lifestyle experts — helping people make over their lives. It’s sweet, funny, and it hooks you instantly. What makes it especially lovable is the group of men at its center, with their individual personalities and a shared chemistry.

Available on Netflix.

Superstore - Season 3
Colleen Hayes/NBC

Superstore

In this workplace comedy, viewers meet a group of misfits trying to make ends meet at a department store. You’ll be surprised by how smart and inclusive this show is, with its timely storylines and astute commentary on America. Superstore’s honesty is refreshing, and it never takes away from the lighthearted mood of the show.

Available on Hulu.

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These days, it seems impossible to avoid the relentlessly-grim news cycle. To make matters worse, when you’re looking for escape by via entertainment, you’re inundated with dark and violent shows that only increase your already-high stress level.

But when you want something comforting on a rainy day or something relaxing after a taxing work week or just something fun to lift your spirits, there are some shows that will do the trick.

Click through the gallery above for our recommended feel-good series now available to binge. Warning: These programs may provide hearty laughs, good vibes, and immeasurable warmth.

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