The world feels like a heavy place right now, and often, we seek solace and escapism in a book or TV show – a privilege we know are lucky to have. Normally, we’re all over a gripping crime drama, but whilst watching the latest series of Baptiste, we found ourselves WhatsApp’ing each other saying how harrowing and hard going we found it. A quick Insta poll revealed that you’re feeling the same when it comes to anything heavy-hitting (after all, the news is providing enough of that right now) so we thought we’d share our go-to lighthearted TV shows to give you a little easy-going viewing inspo.
Here are some of our all-time faves…
“I started watching this a few months ago when Netflix’s ‘Play Something’ option got the better of me. My older brother had been recommending it to me for years and I always smiled and replied “ooh yeah, definitely” whilst knowing that it absolutely wasn’t for me – I’d caught five minutes here or there on TV before and didn’t quite get the filming style. Long story short: I am now obsessed and have watched over 100 episodes. It follows an extended blended family living in LA, is incredibly easy to watch (or scroll through your phone through), makes me laugh out loud, and always makes me feel good. Each episode is under 30 mins too, which is always a bonus.” Hannah.
Watch on Netflix.
“I discovered this Netflix gem during my first maternity leave and devoured it in one go. In a glorious stroke of serendipity, the latest fifth series landed five weeks into maternity leave with my second child. The Canadian sitcom follows a group of thirty-something mums who met at a mother-and-baby group as they navigate the end of maternity leave and the tricky balance that is raising children and maintaining a job (including being a full-time mother). I love it because it portrays motherhood in all its messy, complicated, multi-faceted glory. The main character Kate Foster, a high-flying PR played by the show’s creator Catherine Reitman, and her gang don’t love everything about being a mother, and that’s ok. The humour is brilliantly dry and the storylines run the gamut from the serious – maternal mental health, abortion, adultery – to the ridiculous – Kate hooking up with her much younger employee and letting him drink her breastmilk. Whether it’s postnatal body image or the monotony of life with a newborn, Workin’ Moms isn’t afraid to tackle the subjects no one talks about (but everyone is thinking). Validation, but make it funny.” Gemma.
Watch on Netflix.
“Everything about this show sounds awful. It’s a reality TV show which follows yachting staff during a ‘season’ on the seas, and the early seasons are mostly set in the late noughties, but wow, it’s everything you never knew you needed. So good in fact, that I payed for a Hulu subscription so I could watch the newest episodes. The staff switch each season, with favourites faces popping up again in later shows – with a mix of American, British, South African and Australian crew on the yachts. Your mind will be blown by some of the demands from the rich guests, but equally so from the relationships (or feuds) between the crew. Binge-TV at its finest. There’s also a Below Deck Mediterranean spin-off to enjoy too.” Hannah.
Watch early seasons on Netflix and later ones on Hulu.
The Kominsky Method
“Starring the dream team that is Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, this brilliant comedy is filling the Grace & Frankie-shaped hole in my life right now. What can I say, I love a programme about old people. Douglas plays the eponymous Sandy Kominsky, a flash-in-the-pan actor turned acting coach while Arkin plays his best friend, successful Hollywood agent Norman Newlander. Over three seasons, the 30-minute episodes follow Kominsky and Newlander as they tackle the curveballs that getting older throws at them, from the former dealing with a prostate problem to the latter losing his beloved wife. I’m only on season one and already there have been cameos from Danny DeVito (as Kominsky’s urologist), Patti LaBelle and Jay Leno. The show’s dry humour is old-school – gentle and sardonic – and the premise heartfelt. My 70-something-year-old in-laws love it as much as I do, and there’s something about that fact that’s as heart-warming as the show itself.” Gemma.
Watch on Netflix.
Jane The Virgin
“After so many people raving about this over on Instagram I decided to finally bite the bullet even if initially it didn’t seem like my usual cup of tea. The story focuses on Jane, a religious Latina virgin who happens to accidentally fall pregnant during a routine cervical screening (she’s given someone else’s artificial insemination). It sounds a bit bonkers, and truly it is. But once you’ve got through the first few episodes it’s such an easy, joyful, heart-warming watch. I adored all six seasons and found the simple romantic charm combined with the glorious magic of a close-knit family the best kind of TV after a long day.” Hannah.
Watch on Netflix.
“Before you roll your eyes at me recommending another parenting show, hear me out. A friend (who doesn’t have children) recently raved about Motherland in our WhatsApp group, saying, “I never thought a series about the school run would be for me but holy shit it’s funny!”. And it really bloody is. From Pulling to Catastrophe (another lighthearted must-watch), anything Sharon Horgan touches turns to gold, and her BBC series poking fun at middle-class motherhood is no exception. The show follows protagonist Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin in a role that couldn’t be further from Line of Duty’s icy Chief Superintendent Carmichael) and her motley crew of school mums (and hapless stay-at-home dad Kevin) through the trials and tribulations of parenthood, from school-run showdowns to nit infestations and chaotic kids parties, all while trying to get in with queen bee and alpha-mum Amanda. Motherland is laugh-out-loud funny – so much so that it was my show of choice during labour in the hope that all those happy hormones might get things moving – acerbic and, much like Workin’ Moms, refreshingly depicts parenthood for the wild (in the good and bad sense) ride that it really is.” Gemma.
Watch it on Netflix and BBC iPlayer.