'The Good Place,' 'Schitt's Creek' & More Feel Good TV (PHOTOS)

arrow - left
arrow - right
feel good tv
Pop TV, Colleen Hayes/NBC & Michael Yarish/CBS
The Good Place - Season 2
Colleen Hayes/NBC

The Good Place

Series creator Michael Schur is a master at making smart, insightful comedies that are also surprisingly optimistic (see Parks and Recreation). With The Good Place, what started as the story of four flawed people navigating a less-than-perfect afterlife has morphed into a study of what it means to be a good person and live ethically. Kristen BelI, who plays lovable misanthrope Eleanor, is laugh-out-loud funny, as are her castmates, who include Ted Danson as a demon with a heart of gold. But it’s the show’s faith in humanity’s capacity for kindness that provides a beacon of hope when I’m feeling a little too cynical. —John Russell

Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, NBC

schitt's creek
Pop TV

Schitt’s Creek

Never mind the naughty title. This comedy about an entitled family — the Roses — making do in a backwater burg after going broke is so insidiously positive, you can’t help but root for them. That’s because the joke is on the outsiders as they struggle to make sense of oddball locals who find joy in neighborly connections rather than bundles of cash. Like the four Roses, Creek has slowly developed a softer side (while remaining bitingly funny), as proven by Season 4’s romantic “Open Mic” episode, in which the town swoons as son David (Dan Levy) is serenaded by his boyfriend, Patrick (Noah Reid). We love that kind of Schitt. —Damian Holbrook

Seasons 1–4, Netflix; Christmas special, Wednesday, December 19, 10/9c, Pop

The Big Bang Theory
Michael Yarish/CBS

The Big Bang Theory

You don’t need to be a genius to figure out why viewers still can’t get enough of the nerd-tastic sitcom, which comes to an end in May. For 12 seasons, TV’s No. 1 comedy has never not made us laugh. Remember Leonard (Johnny Galecki), dressed as Lord of the Rings’ Frodo, kissing now-wife Penny (Kaley Cuoco) for the first time? A starstruck Sheldon (Jim Parsons) meeting his idol, Stephen Hawking? And Bang only cements our love by incorporating life’s milestones: Last season’s wedding of Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialik) didn’t leave a dry eye. —Jim Halterman

Thursdays, 8/7c, CBS

One Day At A Time
Netflix

One Day at a Time

The infectious salsa beat of Gloria Estefan’s version of the “This Is It” theme song sets the jubilant tone for a proudly relevant reinvention of Norman Lear’s classic comedy, now focused on a Cuban-American family. I love rooting for single mom/military vet Penelope (Justina Machado), tackling one issue at a time as she raises two kids. And grandma Lydia, played to the flamboyant hilt by Rita Moreno, steals the show with her zest for life. “It’s called passion!” she crows when urged to tone it down. We share that passion, happily. —MR

Seasons 1–2, Netflix; Season 3 premieres 2019

QUEER EYE
Nteflix

Queer Eye

How do I love Queer Eye? For starters, it’s rare that a reboot surpasses the original, but the quintet (including Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown and Tan France) from Netflix’s makeover series wins (sorry, Bravo!), packing hope, humor and pathos into every episode. Plus, they bring awww-inspiring manscaping moments to Georgia rather than New York or California, where straight dudes have enough resources. Finally, there’s the little thrill I get each time the guys gleefully unveil another “French tuck.” Their enthusiasm for this once-little-known method of styling a shirt is nothing short of contagious. —Ingela Ratledge

Seasons 1–2, Netflix; Season 3 premieres 2019

Ellen DeGeneres
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Ellen

Ellen DeGeneres kicks off each episode of her talk show with an endorphins rush, getting her audience dancing. Throughout the hour of interviews, games and comedy, the host infuses the show with kindness. DeGeneres knows how to make big stars like Nicole Kidman and Blake Shelton open up, displaying her deadpan humor along the way. But it’s her everyday-people segments — like the one with assistant school principal Ranesa Shipman, who helps students with her “secret” credit card — that make us fired up to pay it forward too. Plus, she uses savvy and sensitivity to discuss topical issues such as gay conversion therapy (dramatized in the film Boy Erased), reaching hearts and minds everywhere. —Michael Maloney

Weekdays, check local listings

GOD FRIENDED ME
David Giesbrecht/CBS

God Friended Me

This dramedy about atheist podcaster Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall), whose life is turned upside down by a social media user claiming to be God, is less concerned with whether the man upstairs really exists than it is with how each individual can help his or her fellow man. As the “God account” guides him to people who need assistance — in one episode, Miles reveals a stressed-out mom’s impact on her young autistic son — he learns what it means to be the change you want to see in the world. Miles and his friends’ stories are always sure to lift the spirit. —John Russell

Sundays, 8/7c, CBS

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

When I was a kid, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson gave me serious FOMO (fear of missing out). While I was supposed to be asleep, my parents were in the living room yukking it up. So it’s no wonder I take such pleasure in watching Jimmy Fallon at the helm of the late-night institution. Like Johnny, he’s great company. Plus, he’s got all these pals who come over and do cool stuff (like Shawn Mendes), which sends me to bed with a smile and the satisfaction that I made it to the party. —Ingela Ratledge

Weeknights, 11:35/10:35c, NBC

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT - MICHAEL CUDLITZ, MARY MCCORMACK, SAM STRALEY, SAWYER BARTH, CALEB FOOTE, CHRISTOPHER PAUL RICHARDS, JACK GORE, ANDY WALKEN, SANTINO BARNARD
Craig Sjodin/ABC

The Kids Are Alright

It didn’t take long for the Clearys, a rambunctious 1970s clan of eight boys and two tough-loving parents, to make themselves at home. I feel like part of the family as Kids basks in a glow of wry nostalgia for a simpler time I remember all too well, as young lads clamored to glimpse a Barbara Eden wardrobe malfunction on a Bob Hope special (an urban legend). When dad Mike (Michael Cudlitz) proudly introduces a prototype microwave, mom Peggy (Mary McCormack) snaps, “You had a chance to cut my cooking time in half four kids ago.” Just all right? This family is a hoot. — Matt Roush

Tuesdays, 8:30/7:30c, ABC

1 of

Sometimes you just need a good laugh. Thankfully, there are plenty of TV shows to whet your appetite.

In the gallery above, TV Guide Magazine and TV Insider's staff reveals which picks are on their lists right now, from The Good Place to The Big Bang Theory and many more. Between streaming and network TV, there's something for every taste.

12 TV Characters Who Make You Feel Good About YourselfSee Also

12 TV Characters Who Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Love to hate TV characters? Check out these 12 deplorable characters.