Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means Christmas is just a few weeks away. For many, this time is about family, food and good times, but if some of those dinners are more than a little awkward, or you’re looking to escape some family you’d like to avoid, there’s always television as an escape.
For those lucky enough to get time off at Thanksgiving and Christmas and/or New Years, there’s time to watch some longer series that are compelling stories, or even just a little fun, here are some of my favorite series that always make me smile.
The West Wing – In a fictitious United States, we meet the staff of Josiah “Jed” Bartlett’s White House, who are only slightly dysfunctional as they work for the betterment of this US. The show mixes both the political and the personal, and if everything of the last few weeks has you sour, this political look might restore some of your faith in humanity.
Currently you can watch all seven seasons on Netflix steaming, or buy the DVDs.
Battlestar Galactica – There are two versions of this show, but that one that I finally watched was from 2005. Again, there are political undertones, but it’s rooted in science fiction. Who doesn’t want to watch a battle between humans and robots with people who are far from perfect?
The 2005 series is only available on DVD, though the 1978 version can be streamed on Netflix.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel – Joss Whedon’s first two genre shows, filled with all manner of things that go bump in the night and want to kill you. So one Slayer to kill all the Vampires, a Vampire with a Soul and friends who try to make the time bearable. At times silly, at times heartbreaking, but usually somewhere in between, the shows try to understand humanity, life and the challenges of being in high school and college when the world rests on your shoulders.
Also, maybe Cleveland isn’t where you want to go in the end?
Both series are available on Netflix streaming and DVD.
Daria – This one is from my early adolescence, but it shaped me in ways that I still find today. A misanthropic high schooler struggles with life surrounded by people she can’t stand sounds boring, but her classmates are mostly clueless that it feels as if she’s always speaking to someone about some false ideal of high school (be it romance, academics, cliques).
The show is the high of ‘90s MTV animation, but even years later the show’s truth shines through.
The Complete Series is available on DVD, and includes two movies that aired between seasons.
Firefly – Another Joss Whedon show, but this one is perfect for the person with limited time on their lands. One season of a space western with our heroes battling against an oppressive government might not sound appealing, but the show pulls you in and makes you care about the state of Serenity and her crew.
The show is available on DVD and streaming on Netflix (in its preferred order).
Leverage – Con men are the good guys in this series where a team works each week to bring down someone who wants to harm “the little guy”. Part heist show and part social commentary on the haves vs the have nots, this show makes you care about people who are doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
The show is available on DVD and streams on Netflix.
Of course this isn’t in any way a complete list. Mostly these are some of my comfort shows in times of crisis.