The modern world is a stressful place; we move at a mile a minute, information and news is forever at our fingertips, social media demands our attention, and even when we try to tune out with balancing rituals, the dread creeps in. Sometimes, pulling the duvet over your head, grabbing the remote, and disappearing into visual fiction is the only way to calm those jangling nerves. Forget the high intensity of Game of Thrones or the nail-biting binges of True Crime, we have a handful of soul-soothing shows for effortless escapism.
Fast, witty and wonderful – whenever you are feeling that bleak black cloud of dread, a trip to everyone’s favourite small town will wash that away. Following mother and daughter through their ups and downs, Gilmore Girls has the perfect storm of sarcastic humour, deep-set feminist roots, and Alexis Bledel. That’s not to say that turbulent times don’t happen in Stars Hollow, but when you have humour, resilience, and killer comebacks, you can be sure to make it through.
Parks and Recreation
Ladies twitching in your seats let us introduce you to Leslie Knope. No matter how crappy you are feeling, Parks and Rec has the power to make you crack a smile. Set in fictional Pawnee Indiana, it follows Amy Poehler as she plays a mid-level city councillor trying her best to put Pawnee on the map. Not only is Parks and Rec downright hilarious, but also pulls in female-driven passion, endless inspiration, and boundless joy – not to mention celebrating all that is awesome about female friendships.
Yes, Ross gives us the rage, Joey turns into an absurd caricature and representation isn’t great, but a quick thirty-minute blast of Friends when you are feeling shaky on the inside is sure to bring you back to the ground. Or to fictional New York. Following a group of six friends, as they navigate life and love, Friends is full of instantly recognizable one-liners and utter silliness, even when things get serious its served with the lightness of whipped cream.
Neil deGrasse Tyson knows how to tantalize with the universe, but there’s something super soothing about the seventies and Carl Sagan. The original Cosmos invites you to climb aboard the spaceship of your imagination and question the mysteries of the universe. While it may sound like an existential nightmare, Sagan’s spiritual approach, poetic script, and the soft colour schemes make for perfect bedtime bingeing.
The Great British Bake Off
Sifting sugar, creating cakes, and mishaps in the kitchen. The worst thing you will witness on Bake Off is someone’s Victoria Sponge refusing to rise. This isn’t your usual knock out kitchen show with Gordon Ramsey screaming abuse and throwing pans, instead, you get a wholesome bowl of kindness, tinkering laughter, and light humour to see you on your way. It’s the perfect antidote to rising levels of stress and anxiety and comes with the added bonus of nudging you into the kitchen to get creative with some scones.
The Power of Myth
Another session with the seventies. Joseph Campbell meets Bill Myers on George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and together they talk about how mythology has shaped humanity. What’s not to love? Not only does Campbell's ingenious presence soothe the soul immediately, but he truly takes some of the worlds big ideas and theories and reduces them beautifully into soft and easily digestible messages. There’s some beautiful animation, plenty of Star Wars references, and it’s a great antidote for those who feel anxious but want a little more substance when it comes to escapism.
Share your favourite episodes and shows in the comments, together we can create a binge-worthy list of absolute bliss.