Binge-Worthy Series On Netflix to Lift Your Spirits (+ How to Have a Watch Party)

woman holding remote while sitting on a couch with popcorn in her lap

I have a feeling that a lot of us have been turning to Netflix these last few weeks of social distancing as a way to decompress and for a source of entertainment. Working from home, plus homeschooling, plus taking care of all the normal household tasks is exhausting. I don’t want to watch anything that requires me to pay close attention to the plot. I also don’t want to watch anything scary or disturbing (that’s what the news is for). 

Instead, I want to binge-watch shows that make me laugh and smile. During this isolating time, I want to turn to old “friends” – shows from my younger years. There are also great new series out on Netflix too! I hope you are able to enjoy some of these shows while we all spend A LOT of extra time at home.

Bonus – How to Have a Watch Party

Now you can watch a show on Netflix at the same time as your friends and family in different locations. The show is completely synchronized so if you need to go to the bathroom you can pause it for everyone at the same time! Plus, there is even a group chat feature. 

Everyone must have Netflix but there is a free 30-day trial for new subscribers. Follow the directions below to start a Netflix Watch Party of your own. 

      1. Install Netflix Party 
      2. You’ll be redirected to the Google Chrome store page to download the extension. Click Add to Chrome.
      3. A pop-up box will open. Select Add Extension. You’ll now see a gray NP icon in your browser toolbar. 
      4. Log in to Netflix and select the show you want to watch and press play.
      5. Now the NP icon in your browser toolbar will be red – click it. 
      6. Decide if you want to have the only control for pausing while watching or if anyone can. Check the box if you want to be solely in control. Click “Start the Party”.
      7. Copy the URL and share it with those you want to watch with you.  To be automatically added to the party, guests will need to click on the red NP icon to join the watch party after clicking on your invite link.

Now you can socialize while still social distancing!

Comedies

We all need a few laughs these days. Check out these great comedies, both old and new, available on Netflix. 

  • Schitt’s Creek – The type of humor in this show isn’t for everyone, but it may help give some perspective on our current situation of being “stuck” with our family members. The storyline is that a wealthy family finds themselves suddenly broke and living in a run-down town the father once purchased as a joke.
  • New Girl – A young woman becomes roommates with three guys and a lot of shenanigans ensue over their love lives, careers, friendships, etc.
  • Kim’s Convenience (new season coming in April!) – A Korean-Canadian family runs their convenience store together. Culture, parent-child relationships, and generational differences all take place in this show.
  • The Office – I can watch this show again and again and never get sick of it. A paper company has a cringe-worthy boss and everyday scenarios are made hilarious.
  • Parks and Recreation – Similar to The Office, another workplace comedy is set in a Parks and Rec Department of a small town in Indiana. 
  • Grace and Frankie – Two older women’s husbands leave them for each other and now the female friends/rivals become roommates and business partners.
  • Workin’ Moms – Career women go through the trials of working mom life (pumping, childcare, spouse issues, society’s judgment, etc).
  • The Letdown – A new mom is struggling with motherhood so she joins a support group.

Comedy Specials

Netflix has some wonderful comedy specials. My husband and I often watch them together for a “date night in” especially now that all date nights are in. I’m sticking to female comics because they provide the exact type of relatable laughs I need right now. 

Ali Wong 

Fortune Feimster

Ellen DeGeneres

Leslie Jones

Amy Schumer 

Katherine Ryan

person watching tv holding remote with feet propped up on coffee table

Dramas

I understand this guide is supposed to be about cheering you up but some of these dramas have many comedic moments too! Others on the list are just great shows to binge.

  • Self Made – This biopic series is about the ultimate boss lady, Madam C. J. Walker. She was the first black, female, millionaire made wealthy by her black hair care empire. I’ve only watched the first episode today and I’m hooked!
  • Virgin River – If you’re a fan of Hallmark movies with predictable plots and less than stellar acting, then this show might be for you. To be honest, predictable plot lines sound kind of great in a very unpredictable world right now. The premise is a nurse practitioner moves from LA to a small and isolated town to help out the aging local doctor.
  • Gilmore Girls – When I’m in the dumps I always turn to Gilmore Girls. The show is about the close bond and friendship between a mom and her teen daughter. Storylines involve both of their love lives, educations, careers, friendships, etc.
  • Outlander – I am obsessed with this period drama about a woman who time travels in Scotland and falls in love (there are some great sex scenes!). Warning to those who are squeamish, some scenes can get a little gory at times.
  • Hart of Dixie – Another show in which a big city girl comes to a small southern town but this time to work as a doctor in a medical practice she inherits. Obviously, there are love triangles.
  • The Crown – Yes, this show is about politics but it’s British history and sooooo good.
  • Shameless – Watching this completely dysfunctional family will make you feel fantastic about your own parenting skills. The show is full of drugs, sex, bad language, and it’s addictive but maybe not a great choice for a Netflix Watch Party.
  • Reign – Can you tell I love history? This series tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots. There’s a lot of romance, backstabbing, violence, plotting, etc.

Reality Shows

I had to throw a few reality shows on this list. I kept them mostly to competition shows because I can’t stand any type of series that tries to match up men and women. If that is what you are looking for there are a number of shows on Netflix for you.

  • Cheer – This series features a small Texas college that has ruled cheerleading for years.  The show covers the season leading up to Nationals and features the background stories of a few of the team’s members. Warning, some of the background stories do contain heavy issues like child abandonment and suicide.
  • The Great British Baking Show – A food competition show in which the contestants are polite and the food looks absolutely delicious. No stressful music playing in the background or flashing lights.
  • Yummy Mummies – It’s terrible . . . I watched both seasons. Super wealthy Australian moms are pregnant together and go overboard on push presents, baby showers, and overall daily life.
  • Instant Hotel – Another Australian “reality” show. People compete by judging each other’s homes that they’ve turned into vacation rentals. It can get catty but seeing all the different themes and locations is really fun.
  • Stay Here – Along a similar vein, Stay Here has two professionals come in and offer suggestions as well as update people’s home vacation rentals to make more money.
  • Tidying Up with Marie Kondo – Yes, there was a lot of hype and people went crazy folding for a couple of weeks but this show is super interesting to watch as Marie takes couples and families through the decluttering process.

Want even more recommendations? Here are 10 more binge-worthy Netflix shows.

If you are looking for movies to watch, on my personal blog I occasionally post movie guides. Here are some of my favorites; 

Movies to Watch When You’re Stressed

Family Classics

Romantic Movies

Summer Movies

Movies to Watch with Your Mom (Have a watch party!)

 

What are you currently watching? I’d love to know in the comment section below.

woman holding coffee mug watching TV

Mehgan recently moved back to Wisconsin and is taking advantage of all Madison has to offer! She graduated from UW-Madison in Family and Consumer Science Education and taught high school for five years before becoming a bridal store manager/wedding planner. Currently mom to her extremely active toddler Cora (March 2017), sweet baby Autumn (September 2018), and large Goldendoodle Benny (January 2010), Mehgan is relishing the opportunity to stay at home for the moment. Reading and blogging on her personal blog (www.PlanningForKeeps.com) takes up any spare moments she can steal during naptime. Mehgan can't wait for summer when camping, zoo outings, and trips to Door County will be on the agenda.

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