Nothing beats comfort TV. It’s why rewatching The Golden Girls always feels like home. I bet this isn’t the first of these articles you darling readers will see and it certainly won’t be the last. We’re here to give you some of our current favorites, older favorites, and shows that’ll essentially keep you busy. We all make a list throughout the years, but never get through it right? Well, now’s the time! I’ve broken it down into two simple categories: dramas and comedies and some dark comedies, too. If there are any specific genre recommendations, feel free to reach out to us. Without further ado, here are some Social Distancing TV shows.
- Sanditon (2019–Present)
Network: Masterpiece PBS
Sanditon has been a loud presence here at Marvelous Geeks since October and we’re not mad about it. It’s the show everyone and their mothers should be watching especially those into period dramas. But in all seriousness, I made my mother watch it, too. (And she loved it. There’s only one other show she’s loved entirely, too.) Sanditon is the story of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel following heroine Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) to a small resort town where she finds love, friendship, and to quote “the greatest adventure of her life.” It is a stunning love story that involves an impeccably kind but jaded man and an incredibly brave resourceful woman navigating through their clashing vigor only to realize that they’re each other’s perfect match. “It’s the compelling story of humanity and how we operate amidst judgements and mistreatment. It’s the love stories between polar opposites that found laughter with each other and kindred spirits who’ve healed each other of all darkness within. It’s colorfully complex characters arguing over money, regattas, and pineapples. It’s the period drama you won’t want to miss because unlike ones that have come before it, it’s deliciously enticing and even in the midst of the quiet serenity, there’s gorgeous storytelling happening. There are a plethora of reasons why Sanditon is a show I’d recommend to anyone, here’s an entirely separate list of 10 reasons why you should give it a go.”
2. The Expanse (2015–Present)
Network: Amazon Prime
I don’t know where this show’s been my entire life and how I’ve gone all this time without it. (Watch me write a 10 Reasons Why You Should Watch The Expanse list, too.) It has filled the void left in my heart by the utter lack of compelling dramas so quickly that after I finished binge-watching all four seasons on Amazon Prime, I immediately started a re-watch, then decided I’m going to read the books, too. If you’re into science fiction, this is the show for you. It’s the most captivating series in its genre I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll even go as far as saying that I’m not the biggest fan of some of the series that have come before it because what they lacked in remarkable teamwork, The Expanse surpasses in. There’s nothing I love more when it comes to a series than a band of misfits navigating through life together and fighting for one another. It’s ensemble cast is full of remarkably talented women of color and the men in their circle are pretty darn great, too. The Expanse targets the survival of humanity, societal diversity, and the wars that’ve followed their colonization of the Solar System. In all honesty, I have no idea how each episode passes so quickly, but I suppose that’s a testament to how well its written. And don’t get me started on the show’s main romantic relationship — quickly becoming the “OTP” dreams are made of.
(Note: The Expanse isn’t for the faint-hearted, while the series isn’t too dark or gritty like Game of Thrones or even The Americans for instance, it can at times be gory. So, approach with caution, you’ll know what’s coming before it does, which will allow you the time to look away if necessary.)
3. Agent Carter (2015–2016)
Network: ABC | Disney+
When I often recommend a series to someone, I make sure it’s something they’re bound to like, especially when they follow a particular genre. And whether you’ve followed the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not, Agent Carter is the one series I’d almost urge any woman to watch. (Men, too.)“We’ve got espionage, badass females, genius performances, heart, humor, history, and outstanding writing.” It’s yet another show I’ve compiled a 10 Reasons Why You Should Watch list. Agent Carter follows Marvel’s Peggy Carter to a world where she’s consistently undermined by her male coworkers despite being the better spy and the woman who’s been Captain Steve Rogers’ anchor throughout his journey as the First Avenger. It’s a series that allows us to watch a woman navigate through everyday obstacles and learn the importance of her value in the midst of it despite the opinions of others. It’s vulnerable, it’s authentic, it’s unbelievably badass and a whole lot of fun, too. It’ll always be my favorite show that I’ve ever gotten to review.
4. The Americans (2013–2018)
Network: FX | Amazon Prime
I know so many people that would adore The Americans, but time just hasn’t permitted them the opportunity to watch the espionage-filled series that’s full of the strongest TV performances to date. But now’s that time, friends. I don’t know when another drama of this sort will come along that’ll make me clench my jaw and hold onto all that I’ve got watching Keri Russell silently sit in a car or watch Matthew Rhys tearfully explain himself in an empty garage. I don’t know when I’ll ever be rendered speechless the way I ceaselessly was during this show’s five year run. The Americans is single-handedly unmatched where performances are concerned and while the series seems to center around Russian spies living in America lying through their teeth, its strength comes from the marriage between Elizabeth and Philip Jennings. At its core, The Americans is a love story — it’s the compelling reassurance of what it means to fall in love with someone, fall out of love, bend and break, and reach ultimate solace. The level of profound intimacy that’s present in the series has floored me from beginning to end showcasing what it’s really like to be someone’s partner through the good, bad, and ugly. It’s a story of family and friendship and what lengths we’ll go to protect what we believe in. Plus, “Start” is without question, the greatest, most memorable series finale I’ve ever watched — the series ends as poignantly as it begins with a gripping middle that never once feels like a filler.
(Note: The Americans is the darkest series on this list. It can be immensely heavy and at times super gory. I’ve had to turn away from the screen multiple times so if this isn’t something you’re willing to watch right now, save it for another day. It’s worth the watch but be cautious and make sure you’re in the right headspace for it.)
5. Timeless (2016–2018)
Network: NBC | Hulu
“If there was ever a series today more appropriately titled to convey its value, it’s Timeless because that’s what this show has been from its very first episode, which is a rare treat in and of itself. I expected to like Timeless sure, but sixteen episodes later I didn’t expect to call it the best thing on network television. I didn’t expect to rally everyone I know to watch it because it’s that great and worthy of such praise. But here I am, I’ve done my part to tell everyone I know in person, and I’m now here to convince you, internet. Also, I can vouch not every TV show I watch, no matter how great is for everyone, but sometimes, just sometimes, if you could find at least three reasons to cling onto something then who knows what it could do for you.” Is this another series I’ve already written a 10 Reasons Why for as well? Why yes, yes, I did. Timeless has history, it’s got fantasy, realism, love, friendship, and some amazing costumes all throughout. It was a short-lived gem that thankfully got a movie companion to go with it, but damn is it worth it. I’ll always miss this show but I’m glad it was given the run that it had, and it’s certainly something I feel almost everyone that follows us will enjoy.
- Chuck (2007–2012)
Network: NBC | Amazon Prime
You know how mentioned above that there’s only one other show my mother has seen in its entirety? NBC’s Chuck is that show. Chuck is everything and perhaps the series I miss most on this list. I suppose it makes sense that I rewatch it every summer now. It’s pure bliss — the best drama-comedy on network television, and a series that was seriously ahead of its time. Chuck follows nerdy assistant store supervisor/lead Chuck Bartowski on missions he didn’t ask for and a love story he never imagined. It’s a series about family, friends that’d do anything for each other, and some of the most amazing characters on television. And dare I say, it’s got the best soundtrack to date. There’s only one other show I can think of that could potentially compare in how well done the soundtrack is. If you’re looking for something fun, tropey, and emotionally moving at the same time, Chuck is the show for you. It’s got plenty of twists and turns that feel both grounded and authentic.
2. Schitt’s Creek (2015-2020)
Network: PopTV | Netflix
At this point, I feel it’s safe to assume we all know about Schitt’s Creek and the Rose family, but in case you’re still on the fence and wondering if it’s worth the hype, I’ll be frank, IT IS. I have a full-season rule on 30-minute comedies because most of them take time to gain momentum, and while I personally got into Schitt’s Creek right now, for those who don’t, give it the full season before ruling it out. The character growth on Schitt’s Creek is perhaps my favorite thing on TV right now because I didn’t think it’d happen. I was fine watching a ridiculous comedy that’d showcase accurately hilarious sibling dynamics and the woes of fallen riches. I was fine watching the Rose family navigate through the loss of all their assets, but the growth we’ve seen in each character has been a result of some of the strongest writing on TV. I’ve never laughed harder than when I do watching this gem and simultaneously, I’ve cried a lot, too. A winner combo in my book that’s witty, surprising, inclusive, and so effortlessly quotable. You’ll love this journey for yourself! Take a selfish, friends. You deserve it. It’s your turn now.
3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–Present)
Network: NBC | Hulu
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been around for seven years now and it’s still my favorite comedy on air. It’s the smartest, most inclusive, perfectly balanced show that’s on our screens and it never fails in being the light in darkness. (Especially today with all that’s happening in the world.) The show’s “woke” in all the right ways teaching us all a thing or two about what that actually means. If you don’t know the basic premise, Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows New York’s 99th detective precinct in ridiculously well-written, engaging cases and excels in character development in the midst of it. My problem with procedurals or medical dramas is often that in the midst of the cases, they forget about allowing the characters to tell the stories, but on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the characters are at the forefront. The characters are always growing, always learning, and their development always makes sense. Also, another perfectly quotable show: “Everything is garbage. Never love anything.” Big mood, friends. Big mood.
I still can’t put into words what a gem The Good Place has been the past four years and thereby, what a gem it’ll be today while we’ve got plenty of time to think about our actions. Mike Schur knows how to write complex, hilariously moving characters in situations that are bound to inspire viewers. I don’t know how The Good Place has managed to make me cry week after week while simultaneously filling my heart with unmatched joy. It’s cliché to say, but it’s been there in ways I never imagined a TV show could be and “Pandemonium” has been one of the most inspirational TV episodes I’ve ever watched. “Find happiness in the unique insanity of being here now.” I’m trying. And I hope this show inspires all of you, too. It’s brilliantly moving and perfectly balanced. The choice to end the series after its fourth season allowed writers to go off in their own terms was a beautiful choice resulting in what might have been the most evocative series finale ever. I still can’t even think about it without choking up. It’s utterly satisfying and so easily compelling when you reach the end. I’ll be forever grateful for the series.
5. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012–2015)
Network: ACORN TV Subscription
You might be wondering how the heck something with the word murder in its title can be considered a comedy, but hear me out. It’s a dark comedy, but I wouldn’t even call it that dark because I’m extremely fainthearted and have enjoyed ever minute of this ridiculously stunning show. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries takes place in the 20s — need I say more? The costumes alone are worth a watch and Phryne Fisher will be your new icon in every way. It’s like Agent Carter meets Clue. The witty series follows a sexy, fashionable lady detective and a suave, incredibly caring man as they solve crimes and share drinks. (I could say so much more, but I’ll let you go through the wonderfully paced slow burn relationship.). It’s easy to binge, enticing all around, and oddly comforting even when it gets dark. Plus, much like Brooklyn Nine-Nine despite the procedural genre, the series never loses its characters in the cases — they stand at the forefront with their perfect banter and intriguing growth. There’s a movie companion, Miss Fisher and Crypts of Tears coming to Acorn TV March 23. So lucky for any of you just watching, you won’t have to wait long.
What are some shows light hearted comfort shows you’d recommend during this period of social distancing?
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for MovieWeb and Looper.