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10 Cozy Netflix Shows to Binge This Winter

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10 Cozy Netflix Shows to Binge This Winter

These 10 stress-free shows are the perfect way to decompress and boost the happy chemicals in your brain this winter.

I like cozy, stress-free comfort TV to soothe my wired nervous system when the weather gets dark and the holiday season gets stressful. These 10 cozy Netflix shows are all about people being nice to each other and experiencing lots of joy, the perfect antidote to uncomfortable family gatherings and seasonal sadness.

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

In this docuseries, actor Zac Efron and author Darin Olien explore different parts of the world, seeking lessons on how to live a more sustainable life. That may sound kind of heavy, but it’s actually a really hopeful and inspiring look at how we can live more harmoniously with the people and nature around us.

Zac and Darin learn how Paris provides free still and sparkling water to every single person in the city, how the people of Sardinia are living well past 100 years old, and how the wisdom of Indigenous people around the world can help us slow and even reverse the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, Zac and Darin soak up as much knowledge as they can with curiosity, humility, and respect for the people and the cultures who take the time to educate them. If holiday family gatherings have you feeling a little pessimistic about the future of our world, watch Down to Earth for a healthy dose of optimism.

Atypical

The Netflix original comedy-drama series Atypical follows Sam, an autistic teenager, as he navigates high school, relationships, family drama, and eventually, college. Throughout the four seasons of the show, Sam deals with a variety of minor miscommunication struggles and majorly disorienting life events with the help of his authentically supportive friends.

But Atypical is about a lot more than Sam’s struggles. Every character in the series is beautifully flawed, and they all learn from Sam as much as he does from them. It’s a heartwarming story about ordinary people doing their best to be a little better to each other every day.

Every episode of Atypical feels like a warm hug from a good friend on a hard day. Check it out if you wish your family was a little less critical and a little more encouraging.

Somebody Feed Phil

Phil Rosenthal, better known as the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” may not be the first person you would expect to host a culinary show. He’s a delightfully awkward middle-aged Jewish man (by his own admission), and I’m not sure if he even knows how to cook at all. But one thing Phil knows very well is how to enjoy food.

The unscripted Netflix original docuseries Somebody Feed Phil isn’t your average food show. Yes, Phil travels the world with his friends and family, sampling cuisine from all different regions and cultures. But Phil’s joy is the star of the show, hands down. Every time he takes his first bite of something, for a fraction of a second, he looks like he might hit someone, like it’s so good he’s almost angry about it. Then his eyes go wide, and he starts dancing and giggling with glee. His excitement is so infectious you can’t help but smile along with him.

Have you ever gotten stuck watching videos of laughing babies on YouTube for longer than you’re willing to admit? Somebody Feed Phil is a lot like that – pure, unadulterated, vicarious joy. If the winter weather has you feeling a little low, watch this show for a quick dopamine hit.

Old Enough!

The first time I watched Old Enough, I was having a pretty rough day and looking for something soothing for my nervous system. I came across the preview for Old Enough, which made me smile so hard that I watched it three more times before I decided to play the whole series. My family came home an hour later and asked, “What the heck is this?” And two hours later, we were all still watching it.

Old Enough is a reality series that follows young Japanese children as they run their first errand, a cultural coming-of-age tradition. Watching them navigate their communities by themselves is sweet and heartwarming, making Old Enough the perfect antidote to stress and drama.

It’s in Japanese with English subtitles, but even my two youngest kids are obsessed with this show, and they can’t even read the captions. It’s an unexpectedly engaging reality show that’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. There’s no official trailer, so you’ll just have to trust me and go check out all 20 episodes on Netflix now.

Nailed It!

Nailed It is the friendliest baking competition show you’ve ever seen. Amateur home cooks take on Pinterest-perfect baking tasks that almost always turn out disastrously. But what could have been a mean-spirited competition show is actually a perfect example of people being authentically kind to each other.

Some competition shows crush the hearts of their contestants, but the Nailed It judges are endlessly supportive and encouraging, even when the results are just plain bad. They look for the bright side of every single dish, even when it’s hard to find, which is a rare thing to see on reality television.

If you’ve got a cantankerous uncle, grumpy granny, or anyone in your life who’s overly critical and harsh, you need Nailed It in your life.

Bill Nye Saves the World

If you’re as old as I am, then you may remember the collective excitement of seeing your science teacher rolling in the TV cart to watch “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” He made science fun in a way that middle school teachers never could – and sent us all home demanding that our parents start recycling because the planet was warming and only we could save it!

But our parents didn’t take it seriously, and now, here we are 20 years later, arguing with them at the dinner table over whether climate change is real. But guess what? Bill Nye still has the answers, and he’s here to give them to you in a grownup-friendly series that’s just as heartwarming as the original.

And the best part is that we don’t have to convince our parents to care anymore. We’re the adults now, so we’re in charge! Hooray! No pressure or anything.

Never Have I Ever

Raise your hand if you were one of the “gifted kids” in school. Still dealing with extreme perfectionism, generalized anxiety, and a feeling of never quite being good enough? Hey, me too! High five!

The Netflix original YA series Never Have I Ever is the antidote to that. Devi is an Indian-American teenager constantly trying to live up to other people’s expectations. She wants to be a perfect daughter, model student, popular girl, sexy girlfriend, and encouraging friend – but she always seems to get it wrong.

That’s okay, though, because Devi’s surrounded by people who love and support her anyway. Her friends, family, and teachers show her that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be loveable. It’s a cringy yet sweet coming-of-age series that reminds us all that our flaws make us who we are.

The Good Place

The Good Place is a sitcom series that’s technically about what happens when we die. Yes, that sounds dark, but at the heart of The Good Place is a story about people trying to be incrementally better all the time just because.

Eleanor is dead, and she made it to The Good Place. There’s only one problem – she’s not supposed to be there. But if she gets caught, she’ll be tortured forever in The Bad Place, so she has to learn to be a good person, and her soulmate, Chidi, is the only person who can help her… if he’s willing, that is. But does saving a bad person by helping them deceive others make Chidi a better or worse person?

Stick around for the plot twist at the end of the first season, and you’ll see why The Good Place proves that everyone – even a literal demon – can become a good person. It’ll restore your faith in humanity.

Chef’s Table: Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s always delicious, satisfying, and open – which is a huge plus if you’re still hungry after trying to scarf down yet another dry hunk of holiday turkey.

Chef’s Table: Pizza celebrates chefs worldwide who are putting their own spins on this culinary staple by using unconventional ingredients and preparation methods. It’s about more than just the food – it’s about the passion of the people who make it and what makes them tick.

If you love listening to people go off on miles-long tangents about the things they love, then Chef’s Table is for you. Its colorful visuals, relaxing energy, and passionate perspective are like a warm blanket on a cold day. My gluten-intolerant partner even loves this show, and that’s saying something.

Kim’s Convenience

Mr. and Mrs. Kim came to Canada and opened a convenience store in Toronto to create a better life for their children, Janet and Jung. But what the Kims want for their children and what their children want for themselves are sometimes very different things.

Kim’s Convenience is a show about loving the people in our lives for who they are and not for who we want them to be. Mr. Kim is an old-school dad who has to learn how to let his children make their own life choices. Mrs. Kim wants Janet to marry a nice Korean Christian boy, but Janet isn’t interested in that. Mr. Kim and Jung had a falling out that left them estranged, but Mrs. Kim continues to see her son in secret.

The conflicts that play out in Kim’s Convenience are common in families worldwide, but the Kims wrap them up by the end of each episode. If you’re tired of the unending drama in your family, watch Kim’s Convenience for a taste of the conflict resolution you’ve been craving.

Looking for more shows and movies to add to your watch list? There’s plenty more to watch, including the entire Twilight Saga, a holiday rom-com starring Lindsey Lohan, and two incredible Sherlock Holmes movies where the legendary detective takes a back seat to his little sister, Enola.

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