If there’s one sector that’s not experiencing big losses during the time of social distancing, it’s streaming services like Netflix. Even if you were reluctant to sign up for a monthly subscription before the pandemic, you’ve probably caved by now in order to find something to do with all of those hours at home.
The good thing about TV shows is that they give us lots of time to get to know characters and get invested in them. For example, you get to follow the life of Rory Gilmore from the time she starts high school all the way to her college graduation, or enjoy all of the hilarious twists and turns as Leslie Knope navigates life, love, and career in Pawnee, Indiana.
Characters like these have the power to uplift us during these strange and uncertain times. Here are six inspiring and entertaining TV shows to binge on Netflix during this period of social distancing.
1. Parks and Recreation
The story of Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation is as uplifting as it is hilarious. Conversations between Leslie and Ron, who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, are a great reminder of our common humanity and that it is possible to disagree within friendships.
As Pawnee’s Parks and Rec department navigates through a wide range of issues, viewers can’t help but have a more optimistic look at life after watching. As a bonus, the cast just announced that they are reuniting in character over Zoom to give us another episode set in the time of social distancing. This episode will air on April 30 on NBC and will be posted on the network’s streaming service the next day. There’s no time like the present to get caught up on this show!
2. Schitt’s Creek
Schitt’s Creek seems to be everybody’s new favorite binge, and for good reason. This Canadian sitcom follows the story of a wealthy family who loses everything and moves to the town of Schitt’s Creek. This riches-to-rags story is sure to get the laughter rolling, which is something we all could use more of right now. The perspective this family gains from losing everything may just be the encouragement you need to appreciate your own quarantine-mates.
3. The Good Place
While a story about the afterlife may seem a bit morbid at a time like this, the show’s excellent writing and laugh-out-loud moments are sure to suck you in and transport you to a different world. This show does an excellent job of provoking viewers to think about the meaning of life and the meaning of their choices, which may be the perfect respite from our current day-to-day monotony at home.
4. The West Wing
If you’re looking for more of a long-running drama for your social distance binge, The West Wing is perfect for you. It follows the story of president-elect Jed Bartlett and his exceptional White House staff. The alternate-reality setting is the perfect escape from everything going on in the world right now, and the way the characters overcome obstacles and alleviate fictional world crises provides a much needed window of hope in these uncertain times.
5. New Girl
New Girl’s Jess is the perfect example of a character who makes the absolute best of a horrible situation, and brings us all along for the laughs (and a few feel-good tears here and there). After being cheated on by her longtime boyfriend in the series pilot, Jess takes a leap of faith and moves into a loft with three guys for roommates. Her exploits will make you laugh and her triumphs will remind you that good things often happen to us when we least expect them.
6. Queer Eye
If reality TV is more your speed and you’re still looking for something inspiring, Queer Eye is just the ticket. A reboot of a classic favorite, there’s a reason that Netflix has ordered six seasons of this show in only two years. As the Fab 5 meet and improve the lives of a new person each episode, you’ll also be inspired by the self love the cast promotes. Plus, with five seasons already loaded and a sixth on the way, it should keep you busy for a while.
Times might be tough right now, but at least we have time to dive into some new shows. Whether you’re working from home or furloughed due to the coronavirus, we hope that watching these shows will provide some much-needed inspiration and perhaps a few laughs as you adjust to this new normal. If there’s anything that can bring people together, it’s the power of storytelling, especially in times of crisis. Someday soon, you’ll be bingeing TV shows together with your friends and family once more!
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.