45 Lighthearted TV Shows to Watch Right Now

Updated October 27, 2023 • Staff

Sometimes, all you need is a dose of pure joy and laughter to brighten your day. These TV shows are the perfect remedy, offering delightful escapism and feel-good moments that will leave you with a warm, contagious smile. So, sit back, relax, and let these shows be your ultimate source of comfort, providing much-needed respite from the everyday hustle. So here's to the joyous side of television and the best lighthearted TV shows that are guaranteed to brighten your day.

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45.

Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock

As classic children's TV done in the same style as The Muppets, this reboot of Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock manages to thread together wacky adventures, an environmental message, lots of music, and light satire about human behavior in less-than-30-minute chunks. This show is firmly for kids first, with the carefree, somewhat naive subterranean Fraggles meant to be childlike in nature as they learn how to accept others' differences and their own complicated feelings through kindness and community. But parents who are at all interested in colorful variety shows should still find lots to enjoy, be it in the intricate craft of puppetry across various species of creatures, or in the genuinely catchy songs that range from innocent earworms to beautifully composed anthems straight out of the musical theater tradition.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Kids, Music
Actor: Dave Goelz, Donna Kimball, Karen Prell, Lili Cooper
44.

Play It Cool, Guys

There’s a classic male character trope of stoic guys that don’t seem to be fazed by anything. Play It Cool, Guys has an ensemble cast of four of these cool characters, but they aren’t quite put together as others might think. While on the outside, they seemingly handle setbacks easily, the show’s short vignettes and corresponding internal monologues reveal their relatable day-to-day clumsiness. The contrast makes these characters feel so endearing, more so as they get to know each other. As the show progresses with their friendship, the series feels like kind reassurance for all clumsy people out there.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Actor: Chiaki Kobayashi, Haruka Shiraishi, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Kengo Takanashi, Kohei Amasaki, Koki Uchiyama, Satomi Sato, Seiichiro Yamashita, Shoya Chiba, Taku Yashiro, You Taichi, Yuuichirou Umehara
43.

Replacing Chef Chico

Viewers are familiar with cuisines around the world such as the food from France, Italy and Japan, but now it’s Filipino cuisine that takes the spotlight. Replacing Chef Chico portrays different Filipino dishes in each of its eight episodes, but these meals are great side dishes to sous chef Ella’s journey in managing the Hain fine dining restaurant. Alongside this journey of self-discovery comes heartwarming stories from the Hain restaurant’s customers, the receptionist’s cheeky commentary, and sweet tracks from Leanne & Naara. They all mix into a lighthearted, if a tad bit familiar, cooking drama series, and it does so with the breezy and calm attitude of lead character sous chef Ella.

Our staff rating: 7.3/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Alessandra de Rossi, Joel Saracho, Piolo Pascual, Sam Milby, Yesh Anne Burce
Director: Dan Villegas
Rating: TV-MA
42.

Girls5Eva

What can you expect from a series about a former girl group that comes together for a second chance at pop success? At the hands of co-executive producer Tina Fey (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), it can only be razor-sharp and absurdly funny. 

Girls5Eva, both the show and the group it names, are rife with nostalgia and comic observations about the middle-age condition. Throwbacks to the early aughts, when Girls5Eva first found fame, highlight the silliness of the era, while commentaries about their 40-something lives give the show a realistic edge. The series also has a lot to say about the sexism that continues to haunt female pop stardom. 

Has the music industry learned from its mistakes and is it now better primed for Girls5Eva's more honest and mature work? That's the question the show tries to answer throughout its run, and it does so in endlessly entertaining and thoughtful ways.

Our staff rating: 7.4/10
Genre: Comedy, Music
Actor: Busy Philipps, Paula Pell, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sara Bareilles
Rating: TV-MA
41.

Cunk on Earth

Cunk on Earth is a five-episode mockumentary that takes the piss out of every single historical documentary you’ve seen. The host, Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan), asks actual experts stupid but funny questions about world history, which will often leave them stunned and speechless. 

That’s part of where the brilliance of this show lies really—in the reaction of the intellectuals who take Cunk’s questions seriously without ever breaking. A much bigger part relies on Morgan’s deft impression of a daft host. It’s all idiotic good fun, and it's a breeze to binge if you’re looking for something lighthearted to put on the screen.

Our staff rating: 7.4/10
Genre: Mockumentary
Actor: Diane Morgan
Director: Christian Watt
Rating: TV-MA
40.

The Last Man on Earth

From Sweet Tooth to The Last of Us, there’s no shortage nowadays of post-pandemic shows speculating about a virus-stricken and human-deficient world. But back in 2015, those were few and far between, making The Last Man on Earth a uniquely weird dramedy that was as existential as it was entertaining. 

But even as its novelty wore off over the years, The Last Man on Earth stands the test of time thanks to its deft balance of sadness and silliness. You could be laughing about a poop joke one moment and ruminating about the purpose of life the next—and it never feels jarring. The ensemble cast is also a notable strength of the show, with each cast member becoming more sympathetic and fleshed out every season. Even the latest additions to the crew, like Kristen Wiig’s Pamela, become fast favorites. 

If you're looking for quick laughs, you can put this show on, but expect some heartache in between as well.

Our staff rating: 7.4/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Cleopatra Coleman, January Jones, Keith L. Williams, Kristen Schaal, Mary Steenburgen, Mel Rodriguez, Will Forte
Rating: TV-14
39.

At the Moment

With the worldwide pandemic, there were less and less opportunities for a potential meet-cute when everyone was encouraged to stay home. At the Moment finds those rare moments where love was still able to bloom. It plays with so many of the familiar cheesy romantic tropes, but always with a twist, never playing the tropes straight out. Being an anthology, it doesn’t stick with one couple, so it doesn’t develop really in-depth dynamics, but each episode feels self-contained yet part and parcel of the quarantine experience. Ultimately, At the Moment feels like a little sweet treat for romance fans after a long period of self-isolation.

Our staff rating: 7.4/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Austin Lin, Berant Zhu, Derek Chang, Esther Liu, Gingle Wang, JC Lin, Jing-Hua Tseng, Johnny Yang, Puff Kuo, Shiou Chieh Kai, Terrance Lau, Vivian Sung
Director: Lien Yi-Chi, Norris Wong, Pin-Chuan Kao, Ray Wu, Remii Huang
Rating: TV-MA
38.

Starstruck

New Zealand comic Rose Matafeo directs, writes, and stars in this charming series about a regular woman who unwittingly spends the night with a film star. What was supposed to be a one-night stand hilariously evolves into something quite serious, with both leads learning to navigate the messy contours of modern love (think Notting Hill but with the roles reversed). 

With only six episodes per season, each running at less than 30 minutes, this British romantic comedy series is a sweet and easy gulp; you'll find yourself alternating between sobs and chuckles throughout the inevitable binge. 

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Actor: Emma Sidi, Nikesh Patel, Rose Matafeo
Rating: TV-MA
37.

Mo

Mo is the semi-autobiographical tale of creator and star Mo Amer, whose tricky bouts with immigration, interfaith relationships, and growing up Arab-American all figure in the show. It's a bittersweet series that brings the Palestinian and immigrant experience to the forefront—a tricky act that's dealt with deft ease here. The series may be rife with social, cultural, and political issues, but there's a big and heartfelt message at the center of it, and Amer tells it with genuine warmth and humor without ever being too self-serious and preachy, making Mo a breezy but meaningful watch.

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Mo Amer, Teresa Ruiz
Rating: TV-MA
36.

Party Down

Despite featuring a sharp script and solid performances, Party Down struggled to rake in views when it premiered in 2009, and sadly had to quit after just two seasons in. But since then, its small cast had gone on to become TV luminaries and its sardonic humor garnered newfound appreciation among the younger crowd. Even the show’s hustle culture premise, which was quite novel then, can be found in almost every show now. 

So it’s not a stretch to call Party Down a pioneering comedy. It’s simple and efficient, with each episode taking place at a different event, but it’s also deeply funny and keenly aware of the ironies and hypocrisies of the industry it’s a part of. People, myself included, were afraid that it might lose some of its underdog edge when it was rebooted in 2023, but rest assured, it remains as knife-sharp and hilarious as ever.  

Our staff rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, Ken Marino, Martin Starr, Megan Mullally, Ryan Hansen, Tyrel Jackson Williams, Zoë Chao
Rating: TV-14

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