16 Feel-Good TV Shows to Kick Off 2019 With a Little Hope

Listen, we all know queer women love a good TV show about serial killing or Satan worship or ghosts — but did you know sometimes it feels good to just feel good? And did you also know that feeling good can lower your blood pressure, reset your stress-addled mind and body, and even soothe your anxiety? It’s true! A professor at UNC Chapel Hill who studies anxiety showed test subjects various one-minute film clips and the ones who saw videos of people laughing or ocean waves gently crashing or puppies playing had quicker physical and emotional recovery times after being subjected to stressful events.

2018 was so hard for so many people for so many reasons, so I thought, hey, what about a list of feel-good TV shows you can stream right the heck now to kick off 2019 with a little hope? Here are 16 of them!


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Samin Nosrat’s four-part docuseries based on her best-selling book will have you happy crying alongside her over cheese. Also 100% guaranteed you will fall in love with her, but that’s just a bonus.

Stream on: Netflix

The Good Place

If you want to watch a show to help you believe people can change for the better and form their own families, while also laughing your forking socks off, The Good Place is for you.

Stream on: Netflix // Hulu // Amazon

Parks and Recreation

No show has ever balanced pathos and humor as brilliantly as Parks and Recreation. Season one leans into the cynicism, but once you get past that it’s nothing but earnest optimism and tomfoolery.

Stream on: Netflix // Hulu // Amazon

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

One of the most consistently hilarious shows on TV, about found family at its heart, now with 100% more bisexual Stephanie Beatriz and Rosa Diaz.

Stream on: Netflix // Hulu // Amazon

Steven Universe

It’s the sweetest and smartest thing you could possibly choose to watch. It’s not just for kids!

Stream on: Hulu // Amazon

Great British Bake Off

You get a few seasons with Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry, and then you get a few seasons with another lesbian legend, Sandi Toksvig. All of them are wonderful in their own way. You’ll fall in love with the new crew watching them fall in love with the contestants.

Stream on: Netflix

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

The gayest thing on this list, hands-down.

Stream on: Netflix

Legends of Tomorrow

It’s the era of dark and brooding superheroes, but Legend of Tomorrow bucks that trend with bright, whimsical, sometimes nonsensical weekly adventures and a whole lot of laughter and love to complement the kickassery.

Stream on: Netflix // Hulu

The Golden Girls

Has any show ever held up as well as The Golden Girls? Probably not. It’s just as hysterical and socially resonant as it was 30 years ago.

Stream on: Hulu // Amazon

Fresh Off the Boat

The best part of Fresh Off the Boat is getting to appreciate how good Constance Wu is at everything she does. Also Nicole’s coming out and her friendship with Eddie will make your heart smile.

Stream on: Netflix // Hulu // Amazon

black-ish

You should never deny yourself the pleasure of watching every single thing Tracee Ellis Ross decides to do.

Stream on: Hulu // Amazon

Jane the Virgin

Not only will Jane the Virgin provide you with plenty of opportunities to guffaw and swoon; it will also give you a chance for some intensely cathartic cries. (After which it will heal your heart like a little tender rabbit, don’t worry.)

Stream on: Netflix // Amazon

Grace and Frankie

You could pair it with 9 to 5 (which is available on HBO Go) and get a good three weeks of feminist empowerment and giggles out of your time with legends Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

Stream on: Netflix

Superstore

One of the most underrated comedies on television is also one of the funniest, kindest, and most genuinely diverse.

Stream on: Hulu // Amazon

Living Single

The greatest show ever made about friends making it as family in New York City, don’t @ me. You’ll sit down to watch one episode and be so instantly transported back to the ’90s you’ll emerge from a contented haze hours later.

Stream on: Hulu

Derry Girls

Please, I am begging you, just watch this show.

Stream on: Netflix

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1719 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. The Golden Girls! :)

    I know I’m in the minority here but I can’t watch heavy, dark shows and I’ll always pick a sitcom, even if it’s a rerun from 30+ years ago.

  2. She-Ra and the Princesses Of Power

    Don’t know if these are streaming but I’d include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

  3. The Great Canadian Baking Show is also a delight, and the hosts – Julia Chan and Dan Levy – are adorable and fun. :D

    I uh, I have never seen Golden Girls. I definitely will! It seems like a lot of fun, it’s just when I was younger I was more like ‘meh, a show about women that age isn’t gonna be fun for me’ xD But now I’m like, bring it on! So it’s on my to-watch-asap list. ^^

    I kinda think Schitt’s Creek fits on this list, altho it it’s more of a salty-sweet kinda feel-good show. Idk, I’m just making up descriptions here. The m/m relationship certainly is the cutest fluffiest thing though. I think it’s probably my favorite relationship on any show. Or at least one of the very top ones. It is soooo well written. (Also, I keep hearing seeing stuff from the creators, saying there is no homophobia or hate in Schitt’s Creek, which… yes? I didn’t even really realise that until I read it. It’s really nice though. :D)
    (sorry for gushing! I just; I love it a lot, it unexpectedly became a favorite of mine real quick ^^)

    Also, Hilda! Super cute, very sort of comfy. :D

    • I agree about Schitt’s Creek! I’ve watched the fourth season like five times this month to stave off the winter blues. They’re dysfunctional people without being a dysfunctional family, I think? They love each other and I love them (and Patrick. And Stevie, obvs).

    • Wait, I didn’t even notice that in Schitt’s Creek, I think I might be a few episodes behind but wow, you’re right. I second that suggestion btw! I love that show

  4. My life is so much better since the only things I watch are Doctor Who S11, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Derry Girls. When my GF is here the TV is on constantly and it’s mostly political yelling matches or crime dramas neither of which bring me even an ounce of joy.

    There are several on this list I want to watch, but don’t have access to at the moment. Bookmarking it for sure! Thanks, Heather.

  5. On it!
    Fat,Salt,Acid,Heat really reignited my love for food and cooking. I‘ve already bought „The Good Place“ and will be onto that next.
    I‘d add Queer Eye to the list,but probably only because I’m super late to the party and everyone’s already seen it.

  6. THANK YOU THIS IS THE ARTICLE I’M ALWAYS LOOKING FOR BUT CAN NEVER FIND

    I would also add Tidying up with Marie Kondo. it’s very soothing and tHE PEOPLE ARE SO SWEET.

  7. Let’s just say without Living Single and oddly enough Fox(which aired the show), the other show about a group of Friends in NY wouldn’t have existed.

  8. I would add a few more to the list.

    “Nailed It” – I feel like it is one of the few American cooking/baking shows that is not cutthroat. It also makes me feel better about my non-existent baking abilities.

    “A Different World” – if only for a young Jada Pickett

    “Frankie Drake Mysteries” – This is a Canadian show and basically entertaining mystery show. The cast is majority women and they are competent at their jobs. Unfortunately, so far they are all straight.

    I am a big fan or quirky comedies, so even though there is nothing queer in these, I really liked “People of Earth” and “Trial & Error.” The second featured Kristin Chenoweth.

    I binged watched “Pushing Daisies” (I am still salty about this cancellation and it has been almost 10 years) and the only season of “Go On” over the holidays. (Go On deserved better)

    Thanks for giving Superstore some love. I really like that quirky show.

    • Oooh, Frankie Drake sounds great! I’m always on the lookout for mystery shows that aren’t too grim. Thanks!

      (Also ditto on Pushing Daisies, I never really recovered from its cancellation)

    • Go On and Pushing Daisies definitely deserved better and I’m thinking there’s a musical actress conspiracy here first Kristin Chenoweth then Laura Benanti? I feel like Sutton Foster is the only one (off the top of my head) who has kept a show on for longer than a couple of seasons (but then again, Bunheads didn’t make it long either)

      Go On was one of my favorites! We watched it as a family and it was really helping us talk more about mental health and stuff, really wish it was still around

  9. LOVE THIS! am starting to write down in my planner when all of my feel-good shows are starting up again in Jan 2019.

    also: one day at a time! (!!!!!!!!)

  10. Sadness: Fresh Off The Boat does not appear to be on Netflix at this time.

    Erika Alexander is the real real thing with her black, moisturized and hilarious self on Living Single. Lotta folks (of the caucasian persuasion) slept on that show. She was wholly worthy of an Emmy. At least a nomination.

  11. The Golden Girls was a good suggestion! I was unaware that it was on Hulu and I am now very happily watching it. Thanks!

  12. as i prepare for one day at a time (which is somehow always premiering *right* when i need it) i’m loving this list!

    “You should never deny yourself the pleasure of watching every single thing Tracee Ellis Ross decides to do.” ABSOLUTELY and your first sentence about living single????? i love everything about this post

    • also throwing out there that i fall asleep to bob’s burgers every night/my family and i talk to each other mostly in bob’s burgers quotes

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