Film and TV Reviews,  Uncategorized

TV Shows with Heart: My Feel-good Comfort Shows

Today I wanted to diverge a little bit from my typical content. Often on here I primarily focus on books, (and occasionally film adaptions as well), but today I wanted to talk about something else I really love: quality TV programming. The past two years have been difficult ones for all of us and I know that I am far from the only one who has sought solace in snuggling up on my couch under a blanket with a cozy show. There is just something about escaping into a fictional story that is wonderfully relaxing. And though I am as big a fan as any of stirring dramas and impactful stories, something about watching much-loved, lighthearted, stories has the ability to chase away the pandemic blues. So in the spirit of this I wanted to share some of my favorite comfort-watches. I hope one of these will turn into your next favorite!

The Waltons

This show is an oldie but a goodie. Spanning nine seasons in total, this show tells the story of the Walton family and their seven children growing up on Walton’s Mountain Virginia, and in so doing covers two pivotal eras of American history: The Great Depression and World War II. This show has such a timeless appeal I think in no small part because each member of the family’s character is so well developed. When dealing with a large cast of characters this is no small feat, but all of the Walton children are easily distinguishable from each other. The cast members interact and blend with each other so naturally it is often easy to forget they are only an on-screen family and not an actual one. The show also stays very true to its small, mountain-town feel, creating an atmosphere that feels homey, but also ruggedly beautiful. The show doesn’t feel overly romanticized either, and doesn’t portray the difficult years of economic hardship through rose-colored glasses. It is very apparent that the Waltons had to work hard and often went without, but at the same time the appreciation they show for what they did have I think sends a very good message. This appreciation and respect also applies to their treatment of their neighbors and friends, and for the land around them. Since now more than ever the pandemic has encouraged so many of us to explore the natural world, and to slow down and enjoy the little things in life, I feel that The Waltons perfectly exemplifies these values.

Where to Watch: These are a bit harder to find but you can purchase the episodes digitally through Amazon Prime or on DVD.

Heartland

This is another great family show but more current! For anyone who loves horses and has dreamed of leaving it all behind to move to their own Canadian cattle ranch, this show checks all those boxes and so many more! The heart of this show is truly how Lou and Amy, still grieving the sudden death of their mother must depend on their grandfather, Jack, along with their friends and neighbors, to get them through the difficult times ahead. I really loved how much this show focused on Amy’s special connection with horses, especially with her rescue horse, Spartan, a last legacy from her deceased mother, who she is determined to make whole again after his traumatic past. Processing grief and healing from tragedy is a major theme of this show, but it manages to handle this in a gentle way that still nevertheless feels completely real and believable. There are so many good lessons to be learned from this show about forgiveness, love and family, and yet it never feels preachy or distressing despite tackling these heavier themes, making it a great show to pop on when you need a little hope and light in your life. Anyone who is a fan of Hallmark type shows or movies, but is looking for something a tiny but more serious, would love this show.

Where to Watch: Netflix has nearly all of the seasons available right now.

Gilmore Girls

This is truly one of the best comfort shows of all time in my humble opinion. If you haven’t seen it yet, run, don’t walk to your couch and do so! This show is popular in particular with mother’s and daughters since Rory and Lorelai’s bond is the heart of this show, but it truly is something that dads, brothers, and the whole family will love. Filled with quick-witted and quirky humor this show is chock of hilarious pop culture references, romance, and a deep appreciation for coffee and cheese fries. Every time I watch this show it makes me want to go and visit Connecticut, (especially in the autumn), so I can stroll along the beautiful leaf-strewn streets and imagine I am in Stars Hollow on my way to Luke’s Diner. I have so many characters in this show there are too many to name which only proves how amazing the writing is and how real this show truly feels. Gilmore Girls has become an important cultural touchstone in the world of TV because of its focus on its female lead characters, something that unfortunately is still even today far too rare. The show I believe also created positive change by making its heroine shy, bookish, and most importantly, smart, things that in earlier years were not seen as “cool” things for a teenage girl to be. If you are in search of an intelligent but delightful show, look no further.

Where to Watch: Netflix has all seven seasons and the new four-part revival special.

Good Witch

I mentioned Hallmark earlier and that was for a reason! Though many people often poke fun at the improbable amount of happily ever afters and perfection of many of their movies and shows, sometimes something cheerful, and yes, even a bit predictable, is incredibly calming. My family and I have often joked that the world of Hallmark, though idealistic, seems like an awfully nice one to live in some days, and watching a show where the majority of the characters are thoughtful, kind, and ready to help their neighbors, is a pleasure. Enter, Good Witch. A bit reminiscent of the classic television program Bewitched, this show centers around Cassie Nightingale and her daughter Grace, the benevolent owners of Grey House, who have inherited the ancestral Merriwick gift. Though the word “witch” is rarely applied to either of these characters and the magic is understated, the show has a nonetheless whimsical and enchanting vibe. Many of the episodes deal with the charming small town of Middleton and its many residents, including the handsome and new-to-town bachelor, Sam Radford and his troubled son Nick. This is a great show to watch if you want something comforting and even a bit magical.

Where to Watch: Netflix has almost all the seasons available.

Do you watch any of these shows? Are you considering adding any to your watchlist? Feel free to drop me a comment and tell me what you think!

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