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    21 TV Shows To Start That Won't Stress You Out Too Much

    A curated list of sitcoms, reality shows, cartoons, and more light fare to take your mind off of things.

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    Because we're all still practicing social distancing, we're deeply in need of two things: TV shows to watch and a sense of calm. So I've come up with a list of shows to throw on that won't stress you out too much. Just tune in and tune out the world.


    All of these shows are on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or Disney+. Consider subscribing if you haven't yet!

    1. The Great British Baking Show


    According to my calculations, no show has brought viewers more peace than The Great British Baking Show. There has never been a more perfect time to dive into this well of comfort, with its stakes so low you couldn't limbo under them if you tried, and contestants so sweet you'll want them all to be your grandma no matter their age.

    Stream collections 1–7 on Netflix.

    2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Amazon Studios

    In this series, set in New York in 1958, housewife Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) grows weary of her cookie-cutter life and decides to pursue her natural talent for stand-up comedy. With manager and reluctant friend Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) by her side, "Mrs. Maisel" takes her shot at stardom in Amy Sherman-Palladino's (of Gilmore Girls) latest irresistible series.

    Watch seasons 1–3 on Amazon Prime Video.

    3. Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting


    Chill out with the king of calm, Bob Ross, as he paints some happy little trees and fluffy little clouds. If you have some paint lying around, maybe try to follow a few of the paintings yourself! You've got the time.

    Stream seasons 10–31 on Amazon Prime Video, seasons 20–25 on Hulu, and a curated selection of episodes on Netflix.

    4. That's So Raven


    If you're planning on plunging back into some of your favorite shows from when you were a kid, there are few better choices than That's So Raven. For millennials, it's peak Disney Channel, from the outfits to its special effects to its star. I can see your future...and there's a whole lot of That's So Raven in it.

    Stream seasons 1–4 on Disney+.

    5. House Hunters


    It's a tale as old as time: She wants a four-bedroom Craftsman with a big backyard near the beach. He wants a modern loft in the city close to work, which happens to be a two-hour drive from the beach. What are they going to do?! No other television show will make you yell your opinion at the screen while keeping your stress levels somehow at zero. Perfect TV.

    Stream seasons 99–120 on Hulu.

    6. Cheers


    Famously, 🎢"sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name," 🎢 and seasons 1–11 of Cheers are just the place. Hang out with tough but sweet bar owner Sam Malone (Ted Danson), bookish-and-proud waitress Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), and the rest of the gang in Boston's favorite watering hole.

    Stream seasons 1–11 on Netflix or Hulu.

    7. Parks and Recreation


    As TV's most wholesome workplace comedy, Parks and Recreation delivers big laughs and earnest moments, physical gags, and tear-jerking scenes in equal measure. Led by Amy Poehler as the heartfelt public servant Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec thrives because of its talented and in sync ensemble, the signature of creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur.

    Stream seasons 1–7 on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.

    8. Next in Fashion


    Netflix's answer to Project Runway, and part of the streaming service's latest release of amazing reality TV concepts, Next in Fashion is a welcome return to reality competition shows we couldn't get enough of in the mid-aughts. Hosted by delightful duo Tan France and Alexa Chung, the show is a joy to watch as a swath of amazingly talented designers from around the globe put their best onto the runway in hopes of winning $250,000 and the opportunity to launch a collection with Net-a-Porter.

    Stream Season 1 on Netflix.

    9. Adventure Time

    Cartoon Network

    Adventure Time is truly fun for the whole family and has been a cult fave of kids and adults alike for nearly a decade. Follow Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada), Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio), and their friends as they, aptly, ~adventure~ through the land of Ooo. Even if you don't watch the series, at least take five minutes to appreciate this BMO compilation (voiced by Niki Yang).

    Stream seasons 1–10 on Hulu, and watch select episodes free on Cartoon Network.

    10. How I Met Your Mother


    Sit and listen as Ted (Josh Radnor in flashback, Bob Saget in narration) tells his kids the long and winding tale of β€” say it with me β€” how he met their mother. Taking place mostly in flashback, the series follows Ted's tight group of friends as they navigate life and love in New York City. Chock-full of series-long running jokes and impressive story continuity, HIMYM balances light laughs with great character building (even though Barney is trash) and is a nine-season investment well worth making.

    Stream seasons 1–9 on Hulu.

    11. Gilmore Girls

    The WB

    Welcome to the little town of Stars Hollow, where Rory and Lorelai Gilmore (played by Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham respectively) reside, managing school, work, relationships, and family matters β€” all while gulping from a cup of coffee and talking a mile a minute as only a mother and daughter can. Gilmore Girls is the kind of show that pulls you in, makes you feel as if all its inside jokes are your own, and warms you up inside. Escapist dramedy it its best.

    Stream seasons 1–7 on Netflix.

    12. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series


    Get your tickets ahead of time because the students of East High School are putting on their own production of High School Musical: The Musical in this mockumentary series of (almost) the same name. Come for the old songs, but stay for the new.

    Stream Season 1 on Disney+.

    13. Black-ish


    Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson lead one of the most critically acclaimed sitcoms of the decade as Dre and Rainbow Johnson β€” parents of an upper-middle-class black family who are trying to ensure that black culture is intertwined into their children's lives while they're being raised in a white suburban neighborhood. If you love Black-ish, check out its spinoffs, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish!

    Stream seasons 1–6 on Hulu and watch select episodes free on ABC.

    14. Downton Abbey


    Downton Abbey β€” home of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. The series, which begins in 1912 and ends in 1926, is a gentle ride through the ups and downs of British culture across class during the turn of the century β€” with a whole lot of intrigue and romance thrown in for good measure. Yes, it's a historic drama, but because it has a measured cadence and *most* of the drama is "*Gasp!* We forgot to polish the silver!"–level, I officially deem it not stressful.

    Stream seasons 1–6 on Amazon Prime Video.

    15. Say Yes to the Dress


    Go behind the scenes at Kleinfeld's bridal salon as brides of all kinds share their stories and shop for the dress of their dreams. Name a better show to have on in the background as you work from home...I'll wait.

    Stream seasons 14–16 on Hulu.

    16. Glow Up


    If you have a tendency to get pulled into deep, dark YouTube beauty tutorial holes, I cannot recommend Glow Up enough. The looks are incredible, the talent is off the charts, and watching these MUAs compete in creative challenges for a professional contract is equal parts exciting and calming.

    Stream season 1 on Netflix.

    17. Bob's Burgers


    I used to think that cartoons for adults weren't for me, until Bob's Burgers showed me the error of my ways. The Belcher family is a hoot to spend time with. From Tina and her intense love of butts to Linda and her little songs, every episode is a nugget of joy to be savored.

    Stream seasons 1–10 on Hulu and select episodes for free on Fox.

    18. Full House


    Dad is cleaning, Uncle Jesse is practicing guitar licks, Uncle Joey is working out some stand-up material, your sisters are right upstairs, and your dog Comet is taking a nap. All is well in Full House, and despite some high jinks here and there, it's pretty much always that way. Put it on in the background for instant homeyness β€” it's been widely syndicated for years for a reason!

    Stream seasons 1–8 on Hulu.

    19. The Mindy Project


    Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) is an OB-GYN lookin' for love in this heartfelt rom-com series. After loving her as a side character and writer on The Office, fans were delighted to have Mindy front and center as the creator and star, and you will be too.

    Stream seasons 1–6 on Hulu.

    20. Our Planet


    Between the soothing voice of narrator David Attenborough and its gorgeous, sweeping landscape shots, Our Planet will put your weary mind at ease. Equally educational and simply beautiful, this series will inspire you to learn more about Earth's creatures from the forest to the desert to the sea...before taking a long couch nap.

    Stream Season 1 on Netflix.

    21. Portlandia


    I love pretty much everything that's come from the meeting of the minds of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the creators and stars of Portlandia who helped define hipsterdom for the masses with their spot-on sketches about the residents of Portland, Oregon. Recurring characters in bite-size bits make this a fun show to come back to episode after episode, and yes, I see way too much of myself in it.

    Stream seasons 1–8 on Netflix.

    Hope these shows help you de-stress. Drop some of your favorite calming shows in the comments β€” goodness knows we need all we can get!


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