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The antidote for all those feel-bad shows

Nicholas Ralph as veterinarian James Herriot in PBS's "All Creatures Great and Small."Helen Williams / Playground Entertainment

Q. I like your reviews, but I’m tired of hearing about dark shows with violent crimes and apocalypses. I will not watch “The Last of Us,” even though you had much praise for it. There’s enough going on in the world to bring me down. Don’t you care for feel-good shows? I don’t mean silly sitcoms, but shows that have a positive and not a cynical message.


A. You are not the first person to ask for some happier shows. And I hear you, although I’m one of those freakish people who often find pleasure and even uplift from dark dramas — when they give us portraits of spiritual survival in hard times, for instance, or when they remind us that grief is natural. They can offer a bittersweet kind of comfort.


But yeah, I understand the desire for shows that can provide good feelings, shows that aren’t straight-up sitcoms but that don’t ask you to dig into difficult issues or watch violent interactions. “Ted Lasso” is usually the first series that I think of when someone asks for affirmation but not frivolousness in a TV show. It can get silly at moments, but the broader tone is hopeful about life and about human relationships. Even when there is conflict, it’s resolved in a way that ennobles those characters.

Apple TV+ seems to appreciate the value of feel-good shows, beyond its “Ted Lasso.” The streamer has “Schmigadoon!,” a buoyant spoof of Broadway musicals starring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key as a couple trapped in a cheerful town where everyone sings. Fred Armisen, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, and Jane Krakowski are just a few of the performers on the show, which left me smiling. “Loot,” too, is an Apple TV+ series starring a “Saturday Night Live” alum — Maya Rudolph — that gives us a warm ensemble cast. Rudolph is a super-rich divorcee looking to do some good works, and her coworkers are there for her.


Lee Jung-Eun (left) and Ki Hong Lee in "Little America." APPLE TV+

And the anthology series “Little America” is an Apple TV+ treat that, while it shows some hard times, is a celebration of America as a melting pot. Each half-hour zeroes in on one immigrant to tell an entirely discrete story about his or her experiences in this country, in coming here, or in having to adjust to our ways. It’s heartwarming.

I liked a lot about “Julia” on HBO Max, particularly Sarah Lancashire’s big performance as Julia Child. It’s a lighthearted, affectionate dramedy about the famous chef. Like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the show gives us a female entertainer starting out in the early 1960s who overcomes plenty of resistance, much of it from men. HBO Max’s “Hacks,” too, has a positive gist, as Jean Smart’s old-school comic forms an unexpected bond with a younger writer played by Hannah Einbinder. It has an amusing and upbeat sense of intergenerational peace.

PBS’s “All Creatures Great and Small” may be the exact series you’re looking for. About a trio of veterinarians in 1930s England, it depicts some difficult moments regarding some of the animals. Plus, war is brewing in the background. But it’s really about the beauty of nature, and having compassion for others, and all kinds of nice impulses in human nature. If you haven’t seen it yet, get to it, stat.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.