‘There are times when explanations, no matter how reasonable, just don’t seem to help.’ – Mister Rodgers
To complement this list of feelgood movie recommendations, here’s 23 picks of binge-worthy TV.
Pose (1st season on Netflix, 2nd on BBC iplayer – 18 episodes total)
While New York witnesses the evolution of the ball culture and the rise of the Trump-era, an LGBTQ ball fixture, Blanca, starts her own house and turns mother to a gifted dancer and a sex worker.
Uncle (3 seasons – 19 episodes)
Andy (Nick Helm) is an out-of-work musician who is down on his luck. With not much good in his life, Andy is on the verge of committing suicide. Then he gets a call from his sister, Sam, that changes his life. Sam begs Andy to help care for her preteen son, Errol, which he reluctantly agrees to. As the uncle and nephew start to spend more time together, the boy – who is older before his time – helps his uncle be less of a 30-something man-child and transform into more of a responsible adult.
Lovesick (3 seasons – 22 episodes)
Dylan (Johnny Flynn), a 20-something romantic, has been intimate with a long list of women during his quest for true love. When he discovers that he has a sexually transmitted disease, Dylan must go back and contact everyone he has slept with to tell them about his diagnosis. Each time Dylan seeks out a different person from his contact list, the show flashes back to a defining moment in a relationship that he would prefer to forget. Friends Evie and Luke, who have been with Dylan through it all over the last decade, travel down memory lane with him. (Hilariously the first series of the show was called ‘Scrotal Recall’. Understandably it had a bit of a re-branding…)
BoJack Horseman (6 seasons – 77 episodes)
A humanoid horse, BoJack Horseman — lost in a sea of self-loathing and booze — decides it’s time for a comeback. Once the star of a ’90s sitcom, in which he was the adoptive father of three orphaned kids (two girls and a boy). The show was the hottest thing around, then suddenly, was canceled. Now 18 years later, BoJack wants to regain his dignity. With the aid of a human sidekick and a feline ex-girlfriend who is his agent, he sets out to make it happen. But Hollywood is vastly different from those days, and getting used to stuff like Twitter may take some time.
Cheer (1 season – 6 episodes)
The six-episode documentary series (from the team behind another favourite, Last Chance U) takes you inside the world of competitive cheer-leading at Navarro College, a small junior college in Corsicana, Texas.
RuPaul’s Drag Race (12 seasons – 146 episodes)
The contestants compete in a series of elimination challenges that culminate with one player winning $100,000, a lifetime supply of cosmetics, a headline spot on Logo’s “Drag Race” tour, and a one-of-a-kind trip. (Yes, season 1 and 2 are weirdly blurry. Well worth sticking with, or skip to season 3 if you really can’t bare it!)
Grace and Frankie (6 seasons – 78 episodes)
For as long as they can recall, Grace and Frankie have been rivals. Their one-upmanship comes crashing to a halt, however, when they learn that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and want to get married. As everything around the ladies is coming apart, the only thing they can really rely on is each other.
Dirty John (1 season – 8 episodes)
Debra Newell has a perfect life — from the outside — she’s successful, beautiful and lives in Newport Beach, one of California’s most desirable coastal cities. The only thing missing from her life is love, so when she meets the charismatic, handsome and charming Dr. John Meehan, she is swept off her feet in a whirlwind romance. Her daughters, Terra and Veronic, set out to prove that he’s just a conman after they are displeased at the fast-tracked relationship and decide to investigate their mother’s new beau for themselves. As Debra gets drawn deeper into his lies, the psychological manipulation has consequences for the entire family.
On My Block (3 seasons – 28 episodes)
“On My Block” follows a quartet of bright, street-savvy friends who are navigating their way through high school, including all the of the triumph, pain and newness they experience along the way. Lifelong friendships are tested as Monse, Ruby, Jamal and Cesar confront the challenges of adolescence and life in their predominantly Hispanic and black neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles in this coming-of-age comedy series.
Mindhunter (2 seasons – 19 episodes)
Catching a criminal often requires the authorities to get inside the villain’s mind to figure out how he thinks. That’s the job of FBI agents Holden Ford and Bill Tench. They attempt to understand and catch serial killers by studying their damaged psyches. Along the way, the agents pioneer the development of modern serial-killer profiling.
Atypical (3 seasons – 28 episodes)
This heartfelt comedy follows Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who has decided he is ready for romance. In order to start dating — and hopefully find love — Sam will need to be more independent, which also sends his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on her own life-changing path. She and the rest of Sam’s family, including a scrappy sister and a father seeking a better understanding of his son, must adjust to change and explore what it means to be “normal.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (4 seasons – 62 episodes)
Rebecca Bunch is a Yale- and Harvard-educated real-estate lawyer who works for a top New York City law firm. When offered a promotion to junior partner, she panics, flees the building, and happens to encounter Josh Chan, her boyfriend from summer camp, who she hasn’t seen since her teenage years. Josh tells her that he has found life in New York City does not suit him, and he is moving back to his hometown of West Covina, California (“Just two hours from the beach, four hours in traffic”). Rebecca decides to follow Josh to West Covina in search of happiness, while telling herself that Josh had little to do with her decision to move.
How I Met Your Mother (9 seasons – 208 episodes)
Ted Mosby, an architect, recounts to his children the events that led him to meet their mother. His journey is made more eventful by the presence of his friends Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney.
Dickensian (1 season – 20 episodes)
A drama series inspired by the writings of Charles Dickens, where the author’s fictional characters are reworked into another storyline that fuses them together in 19th-century London.
The Trip (4 seasons – 18 episodes)
In an effort to impress his gourmet girlfriend, Mischa (Margo Stilley), actor Steve Coogan accepts a commission from The Observer to go on a restaurant tour of the north of England. When Mischa insists they take a break from their relationship, Steve invites colleague and friend-of-sorts Rob Brydon. On the trip, Coogan has a number of one-night stands, but is miserable professionally and personally, despite being the bigger star; Brydon, with his young family, is more content and laid-back. The two argue and attempt to outdo and humiliate each other with their impersonations of famous figures including Michael Caine and Sean Connery.
Horrible Histories (5 seasons – 105 episodes)
Based on a series of books by Terry Deary, `Horrible Histories’ informs kids of historical events while being stuffed full of blood, battles and black humour. Each episode features sketches representing a selection of different eras and civilisations throughout history.
Sons Of Anarchy (7 seasons – 92 episodes)
Jax Teller, a man in his early 30s, struggles to find a balance in his life between being a new dad and his involvement in a motorcycle gang.
Call The Midwife (7 seasons – 66 episodes)
Adapted by Heidi Thomas from the best-selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth, this drama series is a moving, funny, colorful look at midwifery and family in 1950s East End London. It follows newly qualified midwife Jenny, who joins an eccentric, lovable community of nuns who are nurses at Nonnatus House. Jenny is surprised to find herself at a convent — she thought she was being sent to a small private hospital — and is initially daunted by her surroundings, most notably the formidable Sister Evangelina and the unconventional Sister Monica Joan.
The People vs O.J. Simpson (1 season – 10 episodes)
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a limited series that takes you inside the O.J. Simpson trial with a riveting look at the legal teams battling to convict or acquit the football legend of double homicide. Based on the book The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, it explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.
The Frankenstein Chronicles (2 seasons – 12 episodes)
John Marlott (Sean Bean), a talented investigator who discovers what at first glance appears to be the body of a dead child, but on further examination proves to be a crude assembly of body parts arranged in a grotesque parody of a human form.
Fresh Meat (4 seasons – 20 episodes)
The plot revolves around the lives of six students — Vod, Oregon, Josie, Kingsley, JP and Howard — who are freshers (with the exception of Howard) at the fictional Manchester Medlock University (loosely based on the University of Manchester). They live in a shared house off-campus in Rusholme rather than university halls of residence, due to their late application.
Gavin & Stacey (3 seasons – 21 episodes)
Gavin and Stacey have been continuing their romance on-line and on the telephone for the last six months. Now they want to be together but will their friends and family let them?
Power (6 seasons – 63 episodes)
It appears James “Ghost” St. Patrick has it all — a drop-dead gorgeous wife, a stunning Manhattan penthouse, and the power and success that come with owning hot new nightclub Truth. But a closer look reveals a man living a double life. When Ghost isn’t tending to his Fortune 500 business, he’s catering to clients of another operation: a drug empire that serves only the rich and influential. While loyal sidekick Tommy protects the cash-cow narcotics venture at all costs, Ghost’s new reality is using Truth as more than a front to launder money. It’s a way out of the drug game and into a legitimate life with his family, even if everything he loves becomes unknowingly threatened.