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Ten Heartwarming Sitcoms You Can Stream Right Now That'll Just Keep Adding Joy to Your Day

Spend your couch time getting a warm hug from these gloriously kind-hearted TV comedies.
By Sarah Ward
March 07, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
March 07, 2022
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Everyone has one, or several: a TV show you just keep going back to no matter how many times you've seen it before. Whatever series that is for you, you're probably always at some stage of rewatching it — and when you finish it this time, you'll start working your way through it again because of course you will.

These are our soul-replenishing comfort shows, and they usually share a few traits. Sitcoms are particularly easy to rewatch over and over. Comedies with not only a big sense of humour but also a big heart are, too. Is your go-to series filled with characters supporting each other, overcoming everyday obstacles and helping each other be their absolute best selves? Then that fits the bill as well.

Basically, the shows we keep gravitating back towards are the ones Marie Kondo would approve of. Yes, they definitely spark joy, and do so again and again. Watching them feels like catching up with old friends, they always brighten your day and they're there for you when times are tough. Here are our ten picks for sitcoms that feel like the warmest of hug — and that you can stream right now.

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SCHITT'S CREEK

The idea behind Schitt's Creek is immensely straightforward, and also incredibly obvious. If one of the obscenely wealthy families that monopolises all those trashy reality TV shows was suddenly forced to live without their money, like the rest of us, how would they cope? If you're thinking "not well", you're right. If you're certain that seeing the results would be amusing, you're on the money again. As envisaged by father-son duo — and the program's stars — Eugene and Daniel Levy, that's the scenario the Rose crew finds itself in, including moving to the titular town that it happens to own as a last resort.

Yes, as the name gives away, they're in a sticky situation. The adjustment process isn't easy, but it is very, very funny, immensely feel-good and ridiculously quotable, and remained that way for the show's entire six-season run before wrapping up in 2020. And, although plenty of other credits on her resume have made this plain (such as Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, Waiting for Guffman and For Your Consideration, all also with Eugene Levy), the great Catherine O'Hara is an absolute comedy powerhouse as the Rose family matriarch. She deservedly has both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance here — and for her glorious accent work — too.

All six seasons of Schitt's Creek are available to stream via Netflix.

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PARKS AND RECREATION

She's the government worker we all wish could be in charge of, well, absolutely everything — and she's the fictional Indiana city of Pawnee's most devoted employee and biggest fan. We're talking, of course, about Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler's super-passionate, waffle-loving character in iconic sitcom Parks and Recreation. Willing to work hard in any situation and always ready to lean upon her friends and co-workers, Leslie knows how to handle almost anything. In one particular fifth-season episode of the Nick Offerman, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott and Rob Lowe-costarring series, that also includes grappling with a pandemic.

Created by The Office's Greg Daniels and Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation may have only come to the end of its seven-season run back in 2015, but the sitcom has been an instant classic from the get-go for one reason: focusing on relatable characters, the minutiae of their lives and the time working in local government, workplace-based comedy has never felt more kind-hearted, or — thanks to the show's penchant for letting its main players talk directly to the camera — so inclusive.

All seven seasons of Parks and Recreation are available to stream via Netflix and Neon.

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TED LASSO

A sports-centric sitcom that's been like a big warm hug from the get-go, Ted Lasso is the current cheerleader for comedies that focus on nice and caring people doing nice and caring things. Like the other shows on this list, it celebrates folks supporting and being there for each other, and the bonds that spring between them — and not just to an entertaining but to a soul-replenishing degree. As played by Jason Sudeikis (Booksmart), the series' namesake is all positivity, all the time. And, he keeps that up in the face of quite the challenges. A small-time US college football coach, he scored an unlikely job as manager of British soccer team AFC Richmond in the show's first season, a job that came with struggles.

Instantly, the ravenous media wrote him off. The club was also hardly doing its best, owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham, Sex Education) had just taken over the organisation as part of her divorce settlement, and veteran champion Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein, Uncle) and reigning hotshot Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster, Judy) refused to get along. Ted's upbeat attitude does wonders, though, in the best sitcom that's currently in production. You definitely don't need to love soccer or even sport to fall for this show's ongoing charms, to adore its heartwarming determination to value banding together and looking on the bright side, and to love its depiction of both male tenderness and supportive female friendships.

The first two seasons of Ted Lasso are available to stream via Apple TV+. Read our full review of season two.

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WELLINGTON PARANORMAL

Three of the best comedic actors currently on TV all star in homegrown sitcom Wellington Paranormal. Playing Officer O'Leary, Officer Minogue and Sergeant Maaka, Karen O'Leary, Mike Minogue and Maaka Pohatu spit out devastatingly hilarious deadpan line readings. They need to in this mockumentary series, which follows a squad of Wellington cops who investigate the supernatural — as the show's title so succinctly explains — but every episode of the series so far has demonstrated just how perfect these three actors are for their job.

That includes the current fourth season of the program, which once again sees the team tackle cases of the paranormal variety (and, yes, of the often silly and always amusing kind as well). Whatever is coming this crew's way, hearty laughs always ensue. A spinoff from  Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's excellent 2014 movie What We Do in the Shadows — well, one of the film's spinoffs, given that the very funny US TV series also called What We Do in the Shadows also exists — Wellington Paranormal aces its concept again and again. It's basically a low-key, comedic, New Zealand-based version of The X-Files, it's glorious, and Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford has even made an appearance.

The first three seasons of Wellington Paranormal, plus new episodes dropping weekly from season four, are available to stream via TVNZ.

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THE OFFICE

You're working. It's an ordinary day. You've been doing your usual tasks and, in a completely unremarkable incident, you happen to notice a stapler — whether you're in the office or doing the nine-to-five grind at home. If your first thought is "hmmm, I bet I could set that in a bowl of jelly", then you're obviously a fan of The Office. One of the rare instances where a TV remake is better than the original — it is based on the UK series of the same name, after all — this sitcom about paper company employees is far more amusing than it really has any right to be. In fact, it's downright side-splitting; it nails workplace relationships and minutiae in such a precise, knowing and relatable way that it sometimes feels uncanny (every office has a Creed, after all); and it's immensely easy to just keep rewatching.

But that's what you get when you round up Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, Ellie Kemper and Craig Robinson in the same show, and let all of them break out their comedic best. After a few years where actually being in an office has become a bit of a novelty, The Office now comes with a different kind of nostalgia layered on top as well.

All nine seasons of The Office are available to stream via NetflixPrime Video and Neon.

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STARSTRUCK

Sure, Notting Hill got there first, but Rose Matafeo's rom-com sitcom Starstruck is here to make you fall head over heels for watching someone date a famous actor all over again. With the NZ talent (Baby Done) playing Jessie, who has a New Year's Eve one-night stand with actor Tom (Nikesh Patel, Four Weddings and a Funeral), this British-made comedy gives the whole concept a thoroughly 21st-century spin — and, across two seasons so far, it's a 12-episode gem. First, its central pair navigated an awkward will-they-won't-they dance around every time they ran into each other in London, which was surprisingly often. But in its second season, the show dives deeper. What happens once you've enjoyed the wild meet-cute, ridden the courtship rollercoaster and been bowled over by a grand romantic gesture? That's what's on the agenda, too.

This gem of a show is light but also deep, a screwball delight while also sharp and relatable, and always filled with smart, knowing but never overdone references to fellow romantic comedies. And, as well as showcasing Matafeo at her best, it remains a rom-com that's as aware of what relationships in the 2020s are really alike as it is about how romance is typically portrayed in its genre.

Starstruck's first and second seasons are available to stream via TVNZ. Read our full reviews of season one and season two.

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DETECTORISTS

Watching two men amble around grassy fields in Britain with metal detectors in their hands mightn't instantly sound like a compelling idea for a sitcom. Yes, much of Detectorists does indeed involve its two main characters — forklift driver Lance (Toby Jones, First Cow) and archaeologist-in-training Andy (Mackenzie Crook, from the original UK version of The Office) — simply walking, talking and scanning the earth for buried treasures. There's a peacefulness to this three-season gem, however, that gives it an enthralling and calming atmosphere. It makes you feel as blissful as you would if you really were just moseying through a field with few cares in the world, enjoying the scenery and leisurely hanging out with your best pal.

The show's key duo isn't just biding their time, though; in northern Essex, they're looking for historic finds from centuries ago, and they're there for each other through all the near misses, possible discoveries, and personal and professional ups and downs. Both Jones and Crook turn in layered, lived-in performances, too, in what's clearly a labour of love for the latter given that he also created Detectorists, and wrote and directed each of its 19 episodes.

The first two seasons of Detectorists are available to stream via Netflix.

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BROOKLYN NINE-NINE

Long-running shows become a comforting part of our routines, giving us something to look forward to with each new episode — and in the case of supremely warm-hearted comedies, giving us all plenty of feel-good laughs as well. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one such series. It came to an end just last year with its eighth season, but it'll always live on in streaming queues. Heart and laughs: that's been a noice, toit and cool cool cool formula for the Andy Samberg-starring cop-focused sitcom over the years. "Title of your sex tape" jokes, Die Hard nods and Halloween heists have all worked well, too.

And so have the multi-layered, always-supportive bonds between Jake Peralta (Samberg), his best friend and fellow detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), and their other colleagues Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz),  Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) and Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) — and the bumbling but always-affable Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller). In its final season, as it geared up to say goodbye, Brooklyn Nine-Nine also found a smart and still amusing way to reckon with being a comedy about police officers in America today.

The first seven seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are available to stream via Neon.

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BOB'S BURGERS

We've all grown up watching animated sitcoms about families, because The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, American Dad and Rick and Morty all exist. Bob's Burgers has been on the list as well for over a decade now, and it does what plenty of its counterparts also do — focusing on a family and their usual ebbs and flows, mainly — while also finding a tone that's sweet, goofy, cute, funny and filled with top-notch food puns.

An animated TV series can definitely make you feel hungry, as this show manages all the time. It also enjoys exploring the eclectic and eccentric personalities of the Belcher clan, including burger-cooking father Bob (voiced H Jon Benjamin, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later), his wife Linda (John Roberts, Gravity Falls), and children Tina (Dan Mintz, Adventure Time), Gene (Eugene Mirman, Aqua Teen Hunger Force) and Louise (Kristen Schaal, Flight of the Conchords). You do have to come to terms with the fact that Bob's voice is also Archer's voice — if you also watch fellow animated series Archer, that is — but you'll also get to enjoy the series' fabulous musical numbers, and the warmth that stems from more than just cooking up patties in a burger joint. Plus, a big-screen outing is also on its way.

The first 12 seasons of Bob's Burgers are available to stream via Disney+.

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THE GOOD PLACE

Some shows are just so engaging and entertaining — so smart and heartfelt and hilarious all at the same time, too — that they just make you exclaim "holy forking shirtballs!" The Good Place achieves all of that, and easily. It's the show that found plenty of jokes around the kind of swearing you're forced to do in its titular spot, given that busting out the real versions of those words isn't really heaven's vibe.

Because nothing in this life lasts forever, including beloved sitcoms about the afterlife stretching on into eternity, the existential comedy only ran for four seasons. They all followed the adventures of the very dead Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto), plus demon Michael (Ted Danson) and "not a person" Janet (D'Arcy Carden), and they all kept throwing delightful surprises our way. One of the spectacular things about rewatching this clever, creative and side-splitting mix of humour, philosophy and people actively trying to embrace their best rather than worst impulses is picking up all the breadcrumbs left along the way — and its all-round warm and wise approach thanks to Parks and Recreation, The Office and Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Michael Schur (yes, him again), of course.

All four seasons of The Good Place are available to stream via Netflix.

Published on March 07, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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