14 Feel-Good TV Shows Available on HBO Max

hbo max shows

From new favorites to old classics, these HBO Max original and acquired shows will put a smile on your face.

Need a sweet escape this summer? Well, look no further than your own couch. We’ve rounded up a selection of 14 HBO Max shows that will suck you right into their well-formed worlds. HBO Max isn’t just a forum to host HBO’s original content — similar to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, they’ve got a huge catalog of popular TV shows from a variety of networks. From your favorite sitcoms of yesteryear to new, more experimental mood-boosting fare, we’ve rounded up 14 feel-good shows on HBO Max to watch when you just need a little escape from the day. 

Feel-Good Shows on HBO Max


One of the newer offerings on HBO Max, Starstruck follows Jesse, a very funny young New Zealander living in London (played by a pitch-perfect Rose Matafeo, who also co-wrote the series), who has a one night stand on New Year’s Eve only to find out afterward that the man she slept with is action movie star Tom Kapoor. Over the course of six episodes that span a year, Tom weaves in and out of Jesse’s life, upending things when she least expects it, and leading her on a path to discover her own self-worth. It’s a show that will make you laugh out loud, and leave you wanting way more than the six short episodes Matafeo has gifted us with. 

Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens 

Awkwafina first burst onto the Hollywood stage in 2018 for her scene-stealing role as Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians (which garnered both adoration and criticism) and her star hasn’t stopped rising since. Her energy and humor reserves seem virtually limitless, and her performance in Nora from Queens is no exception. She stars in this series loosely based on her life about a young woman who still lives at home with her family trying to navigate young adulthood. At times Nora From Queens feels like a run-of-the-mill sitcom — albeit an above-average one — but at other times the show hits a new level of funny…particularly in the scenes between Nora and her feisty grandmother.

Joe Pera Talks With You

Joe Pera Talks With You is both completely strange and delightfully disarming. It’s a short-form series about a gentle, kind, quiet teacher from Michigan who speaks directly to the viewer about the seemingly boring things in life that bring him joy. Joe loves lighthouses. He enjoys short-distance travel and community meals. He can’t wait to watch the bean arch in his garden grow. Some people might say Joe Pera Talks With You is boring, but that’s the point. Joe’s appreciation for the mundane is his gift, and he wants to share it with you. This show will comfort you. It will make you feel calm and safe. And it will remind you to look for the magic in everything and the good in everyone. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Whether you’re old enough to remember all the lyrics to the catchy theme song or young enough to ask “what’s the Carlton dance,” The Fresh Prince is a show that is sure to make you laugh…and not just at the cast’s killer ‘90s wardrobe. There’s a wonderful nostalgia in revisiting the wealthy and fabulous Banks family and their transplant nephew from west-Philly, played by the one and only Will Smith — they were the pinnacle of success in a pre-cellphone world. While some of the more sexist parts of Fresh Prince are cringe-worthy through a post #MeToo lens, the show was actually pretty ahead of its time when it came to tackling the issue of race and identity in America. As a whole, it has stood the test of time pretty well as a wholesome, funny, family-friendly sitcom that just might teach you a lesson or two.

The Nanny

Fran Drescher as The Nanny’s Fran Fine was the woman that every woman wanted to be and every man wanted to be with in the mid-’90s. Fran was sexy, she was silly, she was confident…and she had the most memorable laugh on television. Curious as to what the show’s about? Well just like The Fresh Prince, The Nanny was born in that golden age of television when the theme song told you exactly what the show was about: a woman from Flushing, Queens in need of a job ends up nannying for a rich Upper East Side family, and in the process starts an unlikely romance with the widowed father: “​​She had style! She had flair! She was there! That’s how she became the Nanny!”

Flight of the Conchords 

If you’re looking for something highbrow and intellectually stimulating, then Flight of the Conchords is not for you. This show is goofy for the sake of being goofy and is great for those days when you want to just turn off your brain and have a laugh. It follows two mostly unsuccessful musicians and BFFs from New Zealand, played by comedic duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, as they try to make it big in New York City. The series is scattered with ridiculously silly original songs like Pencils in the Wind, Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros, and Albi the Racist Dragon. When Jemaine delivers lines like “There is only one kind of dance: the robot,” in a completely deadpan New Zealand accent, you’ll be in stitches. 

Sex and the City 

Before And Just Like That… finally graces our television screens later this year, you might as well rewatch the entire Sex and the City series for the 1000th time. If you’ve never seen SATC before, the show which premiered in 1998 doesn’t quite stand the test of time when it comes to its portrayal of women. But if you’re willing to forgive some of the more dated references, it’s still a ball to watch Sarah Jessica Parker traipse around New York City in its prime while wearing some absolutely fabulous — and sometimes outrageous — outfits. 

Pushing Daisies

This short-lived comedy/mystery/magical realism series follows a young man who possesses a wild gift — he can bring the dead back to life just by touching them. Unfortunately, the gift comes with a price — if he touches anyone living he immediately kills them, and cannot bring them back a second time. So what’s a guy who can’t touch anyone but can speak to the dead supposed to do? Why help solve crimes, of course! Pushing Daisies is whimsical, original, and genuinely entertaining. No wonder it was named as one of TV Guide’s “series that were canceled too soon.” 

The O.C.

Before The Real Housewives or Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The O.C. offered a fascinating and dramatic peek at how the other half lives. It was a scripted series, of course, but for those of us who weren’t living life on the California Coast, The O.C. provided plenty of fodder for daydreaming about how both life and love might look with a view from a seaside mansion. The acting is absolutely terrible and the plotlines are spectacularly soapy, but once you start, you’ll want to devour this show like it’s a smoothie from the Orange Julius next to the Wet Seal at the mall in 2003. 

Bored to Death

When Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, and Jason Schwartzman star in a TV show together, you know you’re in for some fun. Bored to Death follows a young writer (played by Schwartzman) who decides to moonlight as a private detective, finding his clients on Craig’s List. His best friend (played by Galifianakis) and boss (played by Danson) start tagging along on these missions, which range from reclaiming a child’s stolen skateboard from neighborhood bullies to tracking down a recently-released felon’s lost love. Hijinks ensue. 


You’ve seen reality competitions about cooking, about modeling, about singing…but how about voguing? The world of underground ball culture, which are competitions involving dancing, lip-syncing, and modeling made popular by queer communities of color in the ‘80s, is finally finding its way into the mainstream, along with all of the pageantry and posing that comes with it. If you’re a fan of Drag Race, if you loved Paris is Burning or Pose, or if you’re simply someone who loves to watch talented, good-looking people steal the spotlight, then Legendary is for you. 

A World of Calm

At a time when the world often feels the opposite of calm, we couldn’t make a list of feel-good TV shows without including A World of Calm. This HBO Max Original was created in partnership with the Calm app, so you know it’s bound to lower your heart rate. Each episode is basically like a soothing ASMR bedtime story meant to melt your troubles away. It’s as if Planet Earth cut out anything too fast-paced or upsetting, added a gentle, sleepy soundtrack, and got a celebrity with a buttery voice to narrate each episode. Let the sweet sounds of ocean waves, gentle gongs, and Keanu Reeves (or Kate Winslet, or Idris Elba, or any of the other celebrity narrators) lull you into A World of Calm

The Great Pottery Throw Down

If we learned anything from The Great British Baking Show it’s that British people know how to compete with each other while still maintaining an adorable level of polite decorum. The Great Pottery Throw Down is a British competition show that follows some of the country’s most talented pottery makers as they compete to become the UK’s Top Potter. If the idea of watching someone sculpt a satisfyingly symmetrical vase on a pottery wheel and then paint it with a gorgeous array of bright and beautiful colors sounds soothing, then you won’t want to miss this one. 

The Dog House: UK

A show about adorable British shelter dogs getting rescued and capturing the hearts of their owners and viewers alike? Doggone it! How was this not made 20 years ago? If you’re looking for some heartwarming fare that will have you squealing with delight at some of the cutest puppies on TV, then you’ll love The Dog House: UK. When things get a little ruff or you’re feeling like everything is im-paw-sible, this show is sure to give you a new leash on life. It might even inspire you to go and rescue a new puppy pal of your own!