ENTERTAINMENT

9 feel-good TV shows to binge watch right now

Need a hit of dopamine? We've got you covered.
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Want to hide under the blankets and watch a true crime doco? Have an existential crisis while you binge on Black Mirror? Watch Grey’s Anatomy for hours on end until you’re screaming “somebody sedate me!” like Cristina Yang herself? Cool. We don’t. Well, we don’t always want that.

WATCH: Nakkiah Lui talks about her new show Preppers

We especially don’t want that right now. We want to laugh, to smile like an idiot while we watch our tiny screen after a long working day of staring at our big screen. We want to feel like we’re living in a precedented time and the world isn’t always on fire someplace and we don’t have insomnia – that’s a personal problem, but you get it. We. Want. The. JOY.

And while there seems to be a surplus of soul-crushing moody dramas to watch at any given moment, it’s sometimes a little harder to find a show that’s binge-worthy and uplifting. But fret not. It’s literally our job to watch TV (sometimes) and if anyone can recommend a new show for that hit of sparkly dopamine, it’s us.

From streaming services like Netflix and Binge, to free network services like ABC iView and SBS on Demand, there’s no shortage of shows to watch that will leave you feeling joyful.

Here are our top picks for binge-worthy comedy TV shows…

starstruck
Jessie and Tom’s chance encounter in Starstruck. (Credit: ABC)

Starstruck, ABC

New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo scores her own sitcom-esque comedy series thanks to the BBC.

With the series set in London, Jessie (Matafeo) is a late 20s girl after your own heart, stumbling around her life with two dead-end jobs and a chaotic single life. When she accidentally has a one night stand with a famous actor Tom (Nikesh Patel), Jessie finds her life intertwined with his.

With just six episodes, it’s incredibly bingeable and worth a spot on your watch list – especially since it’s been renewed for another season by HBO Max.

ted lasso
Ted Lasso makes the move to the UK for the Premier League. (Credit: Apple TV)

Ted Lasso, Apple TV

After winning a bunch of awards at the Emmys, it’s fair to say Ted Lasso has the hype right now. And like 9/10 times the hype will leave you feeling underwhelmed (hello Bridesmaids, A Star Is Born, Game of Thrones). But not when it comes to Ted Lasso. It’s the exception, the 1/10.

What’s so great about Ted Lasso? Played by a mustachioed Jason Sudeikis, Ted is a hyper-positive coach who gives up his career in America for the chance to coach a Premier League football team in the United Kingdom. Even though he has no idea how to play “soccer.” And while an upbeat Ned Flanders-esque character could easily become tiresome, Ted’s heart and charm simply make him super loveable. 

Created by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) and written in part by many of the show’s stars – Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt – it’s filled with complex characters. Each unique oddball of the AFC Richmond crew comes together for what we will, somewhat prematurely but confidently, call the feel-good comedy of the decade.

superstore
Superstore is your next Office-esque sitcom to watch. (Credit: Netflix)

Superstore, Netflix + BINGE

If you love an NBC sitcom like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation or The Office, chances are you’ll find yourself heavily addicted to Superstore in no time.

Created by Justin Spitzer (whose credits include The Office and Scrubs), it follows the daily lives of a bunch of oddballs as they work in a big-box store in the United States.

With a main focus on Amy (America Ferrera), Jonah (Ben Feldman) and the fan-favourite Dina (Lauren Ash), the series will have you in stitches as they argue, develop untimely crushes on each other, and generally engage in unhinged shenanigans.

the family law
The Family Law is an uplifting family comedy. (Credit: SBS)

The Family Law, SBS on Demand

Written by Benjamin Law (and based on his memoir of the same name), The Family Law has three seasons to stream on SBS on Demand and will have you laughing one minute, tearing up the next.

The Family Law follows a Chinese-Australian family living in Queensland, with the story told through the eyes of Ben (played by Trystan Go). As Ben strives for stardom, viewers get to know his loving, hilarious – and sometimes chaotic – family.

derry girls
Derry Girls is pure comedy gold. (Credit: Netflix)

Derry Girls, Netflix

Even in the midst of political conflict, a teenage girl is still a teenage girl. That’s the premise of Derry Girls, set against the backdrop of The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

Attending a Catholic Girl’s School in Derry, Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), her cousin Orla (Louisa Harland), their friends Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and Michelle’s English cousin James (Dylan Llewellyn) face regular teenage challenges like going to concerts without their parents knowing or kissing boys. But the series doesn’t shy away from reality either, as it shines a light on life in Derry during the time.

There are two seasons on Netflix, with a third and final due to premiere in 2022.

netflix
Lovesick follows the lives of a group of roommates in their 20s. (Credit: Netflix)

Lovesick, Netflix

Let’s preface this by saying, this show is much more than its premise. But here we go.

Dylan (Johnny Flynn) finds out he has chlamydia and has no idea who gave it to him, meaning he needs to track down every girl he’s slept with and tell her the news. Dylan lives with his friends Evie (Antonia Thomas) and Luke (Daniel Ings), and together the trio are navigating the messy single years of their late 20s in London.

The show flits back and forth between different timelines as Dylan works through his list of exes, pulling all the different strings together to reveal heartache, crushes, missed opportunities and love stories along the way.

pen15
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle as teens in Pen15. (Credit: Stan)

Pen15, Stan

Described as cringe-comedy, Pen15 is about two teenage outcasts navigating the school hallways in the early 2000s – with Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle playing teen versions of themselves.

It might take you an episode or two to sink in that these 30-somethings are supposed to be teenagers, but it’s honestly what makes the show so funny that it works WAY better than if they’d actually cast tweens.

Whether it’s a Spice Girls-themed school project, or trying beer for the first time, the series will have you cackling. Unfortunately, there are only two seasons so you better savour it.

preppers
Preppers is the latest Aussie comedy to love. (Credit: ABC)

Preppers, ABC iView

Nakkiah Lui – creator, writer and star of the show – tells WHO that Preppers is “a heartfelt, warm comedy about people coming together at the end of the world.”

Escaping the fallout of her own personal, cataclysmic event, Charlie (Nakkiah) finds herself at the centre of a mismatched community of doomsday preppers.

Starring a whole host of incredible Australian actors including Ursula Yovich, Jack Charles, Luke Arnold, Meyne Wyatt and more, Preppers is an easy one to watch that will have you giggling in your seat.

the sex lives of college girls
Everybody say “Thank you, Mindy Kaling” for this masterpiece. (Credit: BINGE)

The Sex Lives of College Girls, BINGE

Mindy Kaling, you’ve done it again. After writing for and acting in The Office, she went on to lead her own sitcom, The Mindy Project, and recently backed it up with teen comedy Never Have I Ever on Netflix. Along with A LOT of other projects. And while we’d recommend them all, the new Sex Lives of College Girls is our top pick to stream right now.

The Sex Lives of College Girls follows four wildly different roommates in their first year at a prestigious college. There’s Leighton Murray (Reneé Rapp), the rich and preppy “mean girl”; Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott), a star soccer player and politician’s daughter; Bela Malhotra (Amrit Kaur), an aspiring comedy writer; and Kimberly Finkle (Pauline Chalamet), the book nerd on a scholarship.

And while the show is filled with classic American college moments, the lead characters still manage to subvert archetypes and – most importantly – make us cringe and cackle non-stop.

Stream it now on BINGE, live and on demand with a 14-day free trial.

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