Coronavirus: Feel-good TV shows and films to watch when you’re self-isolating or working from home

As the global pandemic continues to affect everyday life, we've compiled a list of films and TV shows to bring some well-needed cheer during these difficult times

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Ghibli My Neighbour Totoro screengrab from trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92a7Hj0ijLs

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take hold around the world, nearly every aspect of our lives is becoming affected.

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And with government advice informing all those with symptoms such as a persistent cough or a high temperature to self-isolate, more people working from home than ever before, and potentially more social distancing measures on the near horizon – an increasing proportion of the population will be staying indoors in the coming weeks and months.

With that in mind – and given the quite natural anxiety that many in society will be feeling – we’ve compiled a list of some of the best feel-good TV shows and films to watch while you’re at home to bring a little cheer during these difficult times…

Netflix

When Harry Met Sally Frequently regarded as one of the best rom-coms of all time, Rob Reiner’s film (with a script from Nora Ephron) stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as the eponymous couple. Also available on DVD here.

La La Land Damien Chazelle’s 2016 musical remains a toe-tapping treat – with excellent performances from Ryan Gosling and the Oscar-winning Emma Stone. Also available on DVD here.

Matilda You can’t go too far wrong when adapting the work of Roald Dahl but few have done a better job than Danny De Vito did here, with child star Mara Wilson excellent in the title role. Also available on DVD here.

My Neighbor Totoro Netflix recently added a glut of titles from Studio Ghibli to its catalogue and this is one of the best – a delightful and heartwarming tale packed with a gentle sort of magic. Also available on DVD here.

Lady Bird Greta Gerwig’s full directorial debut was a huge hit and was rightly lauded by critics – with Saoirse Ronan in spectacular form as the moody but always relatable teenaged central character. Also available on DVD here.

Queer Eye The premise of Queer Eye is relatively simple, five gay men restore someone’s confidence with tips on subjects ranging from grooming to cooking – and it’s proven a monumental hit for Netflix since it was launched in 2017. Also available on DVD here.

QUEER EYE
Netflix

The Great British Bake Off Bake Off is still going as strong as ever, but if you long for the days of Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry then Netflix has got you covered – all the early series are available

Gilmore Girls This early ’00s drama series has long been a staple of any feel-good lists, focusing mainly on a relationship between a mother and daughter. The complete series is available on DVD here.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Another simple premise – Jerry Seinfeld meets a comedian in a vintage car and they go for coffee – but this show features frequently excellent interviews with the likes of Jim Carrey, Ricky Gervais and Kristen Wiig

Friends If ever there was a show that was the ultimate feel-good series it’s mega hit sitcom Friends – which remains as warm as ever more than 15 years after the final episode. The complete series is available on DVD here.

Amazon Prime

Wild Rose This independent film from 2019 stars Jessie Buckley as a Glaswegian woman desperate to make it as a country singer – and was a huge hit with critics and audiences. Also available on DVD here.

Stan & Ollie Laurel and Hardy are two of the most legendary comedians of all time – but excellent performances from John C Reilly and Steve Coogan ensure there’s an emotional heft to this film as well as laughs. Also available on DVD here.

Booksmart Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever star in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut – a raucous coming-of-age comedy set in the final week of high school. Also available on DVD here.

Booksmart - On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years into one night.
Booksmart

She’s The Man This modern re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night stars Amanda Bynes in the lead role and was a smash hit with audiences upon release in 2006. Also available on DVD here.

Paterson A gentle, meditative film from independent cinema master Jim Jarmusch, Adam Driver stars as a bus driver who writes poetry as a hobby – it’s largely plotless but undoubtedly heart-warming. Also available on DVD here.

Good Omens The long-awaited adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s hit novel might have an apocalyptic premise but it’s extremely funny and includes superb performances from David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Also available on DVD here.

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel Amazon Studios’ original comedy drama about a recently separated woman beginning a stand-up career in early ’60s New York is frequently hilarious and always entertaining

Parks and Recreation The hit sitcom starring Amy Poehler as the good-nature politics obsessive Leslie Knope is available in its entirety on Prime. The complete series is available on DVD here.

Modern Family Another hugely popular US sitcom, Modern Family explores the quirky goings on of the Dunphy clan, often with hilarious consequences. Also available on DVD: seasons 1 – 6, season 7, season 8, season 9 and season 10.

Downton Abbey One of the most successful shows of the last decade, Julian Fellowes’  Downton Abbey is available to watch from beginning to end on Prime. The complete collection is available on DVD here.

BritBox

Absolutely Fabulous The travails of middle-aged pair Edina and Patsy are told in this raucous ’90s sitcom starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. The complete collection is available on DVD here.

Fawlty Towers Regarded as one of the best British sitcoms of all time, Fawlty Towers might only have run for 12 episodes but its legacy remains alive today. The complete collection is available on DVD here.

Gavin and Stacey The sitcom creator by James Corden and Ruth Jones returned with a bang for a 2019 Christmas special – and the original series remain a real treat for fans of UK comedy. The complete collection is available on DVD here.

Gavin and Stacey
Gavin and Stacey (BBC)

Only Fools and Horses Another classic British comedy, the exploits of Del Boy and Trotter was a monumental hin in the ’80s and remains much-loved to this day. The complete series is available on DVD here.

Shakespeare and Hathaway A light-hearted daytime murder mystery series that debuted in 2018, with Jo Joyner and Mark Benton as the eponymous detectives. Also available on DVD: series 1, series 2, series 3.

All4

Derry Girls One of the most acclaimed sitcoms of recent years, Derry Girls explore the everyday going on of four teenage girls – and one English boy –  in Troubles era Northern Ireland

Father Ted Beloved sitcom focused on three priests living on Craggy Island, a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, starring Dermot Morgan and Ardal O’Hanlon. The complete box set is available on DVD here.

Friday Night Dinner A huge hit for channel 4, this sitcom revolves around the exploits of the Goodman family, whose two adult sons return to their parent’s house every Friday evening for a family meal. Series 1 – 5 is available on DVD here.

Seinfeld One of the biggest shows of all time, this ’90s sitcom – famously a show about nothing – stars Jerry Seinfeld as a fictionalised version of himself as he navigates his friendships with George, Kramer and Elaine. The complete series is available on DVD here.

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8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown No one could have predicted the success of the mash-up between comedy panel show 8 Out of Ten Cats and long-running daytime game show Countdown – but it has proven a tremendous success for Channel 4. Also available on DVD here.