We all know that Thanksgiving is a stressful time of year — maybe you’re stuck in a pressure cooker of familial tension, waiting for your drunk uncle to say something political, or maybe you’re home alone and feeling tempted to eat your feelings. Either way, if you’re looking for a way to escape the drama, the holiday weekend is a perfect time to catch up on all the TV you’ve missed while you were busy watching even more TV.
You probably want to skip the psychological thrillers and true crime mysteries when your fam is already making you homicidal, so we’ve compiled a list of shows as comforting as warm apple pie and candied yams. Here are 8 shows guaranteed to give you a case of the warm fuzzies (and hopefully some laughs), even when real life is making you crazy.
Jane the Virgin (The CW)
The supportive Villanueva clan may give you familial envy, but if there’s one show that feels like the TV equivalent of a hug, it’s The CW’s charming, telenovela-inspired dramedy, now in its fourth season. There’s no show as consistently optimistic, inventive and good-hearted as Jane, which blends relatable real-world issues with whimsical soap opera twists that’ll keep you binging long after the food coma wears off. Basically, every episode will make you want to call your mom. If you need to catch up, the first three seasons are streaming on Netflix, and the current season is available on the CW’s website and app.
ABC has an impressive lineup of comedies (Negruzco, Fresh off the Boat y The Goldbergs are all equally worth your time), but Speechless is particularly refreshing for exploring life in a typical American family with a son who happens to have cerebral palsy, without ever making JJ (played with scene-stealing comedic timing by Micah Fowler, an actor who has CP) into a message instead of a character. More importantly, it’s just really darn funny — the show also includes the comic stylings of international treasure Minnie Driver, so what more could you want? Sadly, you can’t stream Season 1 for free, but Season 2 is available via Hulu, ABC’s site and app.
NBC knows its workplace comedies, so while we’re all freaking out over El buen lugar (which is also one of our favorites), don’t sleep on this underrated gem, currently airing its third season. Set in a big-box store populated by a diverse bunch of quirky weirdos, Superstore is particularly comforting for the fact that, living up to its name, it’s pretty self-contained, with all of the shenanigans taking place inside a fictional chain store. There’s no complicated mythology to follow, and the cast is so delightful, it’s impossible to stop at just one 22-minute episode. You can catch up with the series in its entirety on Hulu, NBC’s website and app.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)
A spiritual successor to perhaps the most comforting TV show of all time, Parks and Recreation (which makes sense, since both series were co-created by Michael Schur), Brooklyn takes all the tropes of the cop show genre and subverts them in riotously unexpected ways. The show’s secret weapon is Andre Braugher, whose deadpan delivery frequently steals every scene he’s in, but much like Parks and Rec, this squad is a family you’ll never want to leave. All five seasons are available on Hulu, with Season 5 also available on Fox’s site and app.
The Great British Baking Show (PBS/Netflix)
If there’s anything more soothing than the combination of British accents and baking, we don’t know it. This televisual confection is ideal to watch post-Thanksgiving feast, when you’re so stuffed it won’t make you hungry, plus, everyone’s so polite, even the competitive aspects of the show won’t stress you out. All four seasons are currently available to stream via Netflix o PBS.org.
Samurai Gourmet (Netflix)
There’s no way to do this bonkers show justice in a summary, but we’ll attempt it: A Japanese retiree tries to get in touch with his inner samurai by indulging his foodie passions — which means a lot of delectable dishes interspersed with fantastical interludes of warrior wisdom. Every episode is around 24 minutes long, which makes it a perfect bite-sized treat when you want to turn your brain off after a tryptophan overdose. All 12 episodes are available on Netflix.
High Maintenance (HBO)
Based on a hit web series, HBO’s addictive (but surprisingly mellow) comedy follows a Brooklyn weed dealer known only as “The Guy” as he drops in and out of his clients’ lives, exploring their hilarious and sometimes surprisingly affecting stories. Both the original 19-episode webseries (with episode lengths ranging from seven to 21 minutes) and the HBO season (around 30 minutes) can be streamed on HBO Go and HBO Now.
Everwood (CW Seed)
If you’re looking for a show with all the family drama of Somos nosotros without the lingering mystery or infuriating twist endings, our throwback pick is The WB’s Everwood, which recently began streaming in its entirety for the first time via CW Seed. Earnest, optimistic and full of familiar faces from before they were famous (babyfaced Chris Pratt!), it’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and, with 89 hourlong episodes, give you plenty of distraction.