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Feel-good series to dispel the gloom

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With all the negativity in the world these days, feel-good series are the rise CONTANTINOS PSILLIDES has some suggestions to lift the mood


Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+)

Schmigadoon! tells the story of doctors Melissa and Josh, a couple looking to rekindle the dying flame of their relationship, when they accidentally find themselves trapped in the town of Schmigadoon. The town and surrounding area look like they came out from an old-time musical, full of colourful scenery, choreography and, of course, lots and lots of singing! While initially thinking that this is somehow a tourist attraction, the couple soon learns that the only way to leave Schmigadoon is if they find true love.

Fun, corny and with many catchy tunes inspired by musicals of the era (mainly Oklahoma! and Sound of Music), Schmigadoon! delivers on all fronts if what you were looking for is some good, clean fun with some uplifting tunes. Keegan-Michael Key and SNL veteran Cecily Strong shine as the stranded couple, while Broadway heavy-hitters Kristin Chenoweth and Aaron Tveit lend the series some serious musical theatre credibility.

Following the show’s success, Schmigadoon! returns for a second season, now called Schmicago, set in a much, much darker place and taking its inspiration from later, gritty musicals, such as, of course, Chicago.


Queer Eye (Netflix)

There’s no other way to put it: this show is the textbook definition of adorable. Queer Eye is a reality show where five gay men – known collectively as the Fab 5 – go around the US to do makeovers for people. Each member of the Fab5 specialises in a specific area, such as grooming, fashion, or cooking.

While this sounds superficial and the kind of trash TLC shamelessly calls content, the Fab5 do much, much more than that. Their presence is a never-ending ray of sunshine, an avalanche of positivity given freely to people who are struggling, finding a level of acceptance most of them thought to be impossible. The Fab5’s ability to find empathy and show genuine kindness to people – while being funny and entertaining at the same time- is simply unmatched.


Shrinking (Apple TV+)

Shrinking tells the story of Jimmy, a therapist trying to find himself again while grieving the loss of his wife.

Side note here: we really, REALLY need to move away from the dead wife/girlfriend/daughter trope to give motive to our male protagonist. It has been done ad nauseam.

Jimmy has a daughter, Alice, who he has been systematically neglecting for a year and is practically raised by his neighbour, Liz. At work, Jimmy tries to cope with his pain by adopting a more hands-on approach to therapy, much to the chagrin of his colleague Paul, an elderly therapist suffering from Parkinsons and his younger colleague Gaby.

Shrinking has all the ingredients to be a great series: it is a dramedy created by the team behind the massively successful Ted Lasso with top-tier casting. Harrison Ford’s portrayal of elderly Paul, a man trying to get to grips with the future is both moving and hilarious. Ford simply dominates every single scene he is in, elevating the series. You would expect an A-list, 80-year-old movie star would phone in a role in a TV series, but you could not be more wrong.

Jessica Williams, a former Daily Show correspondent, is great as Gaby, while long-time Bill Lawrence collaborator Christa Miller delivers a great performance as Liz, the neighbour with empty nest issues.

All these great performances bring us to the root of the problem: star Jason Segel. While he created the show, he should have gone with a different leading man, as he can’t stand next to his fellow performers. He is undeniably likable but putting him next to Harrison Ford is simply unfair. Despite this drawback, the series is still great and was just renewed for a second season.


Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

At this point, Jason Sudeikis’ mega-hit needs no introduction. The moustachioed, good-natured figure of Ted Lasso is globally instantly recognisable, to the point he is made into a character in a video game or even visits the White House in character to talk with the US President. Ted Lasso returns for the third and possibly final season, to deliver its signature folksy charm, feel-good vibes and impeccable writing. When looking for a series to make you feel better, Ted Lasso is it.


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