The holiday season is upon us, which can only mean one thing: Only television can save the day. Family can be great and all, but you know what can be greater? Television, drowning out said family and maybe even distracting them for a few hours so they don’t ask you when you’re going to give up on this whole writing thing and go to law school. Or something like that.

Here are five(-ish) shows — all “family-friendly,” while still pretty darn high in genuine quality — that are actually perfect for getting through the holiday season and worth being thankful for.

20th Century Fox

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
Currently Streaming on Hulu

Either show is a binge-watching jackpot, especially if you put extra effort into this and curate a playlist of specific Buffy and/or Angel episodes to watch. For example, “Bite Me, I’m Irish” (which would be a playlist of Buffy/Angel episodes with flashbacks featuring David Boreanaz and his “Irish” accent) or ... Really, I got really giddy about the title for the hypothetical Angel flashback playlist, and that’s really the only one I came up with. But seriously, you can start either show from the beginning, or can pick an old favorite season.

Just make sure, whatever you do, do not play any Buffy Season Six besides maybe “Life Serial,” “Once More With Feeling,” and/or “Tabula Rasa.” Because remember, this is a family situation and you don’t want to watch a season of deep depression and structural-damaging sex with your family. I learned that the hard way. (Don’t play any of Buffy Season Seven while you’re at it; if you’re spending time with family you can barely stand, the Potentials kicking Buffy out of her own house might set something off.)


Netflix / Eike Schroter

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Currently Streaming on Netflix

This is the most family-friendly show on the list, but don’t worry, it’s about orphans whose lives are continually let down by the world around them, so it’s not that much of a “kid show.” Based on the young adult novels of the same name — and righting the wrongs of that very disappointing feature film that made the choice to focus on the barrel of laughs known as the orphan-abusing, child-marrying, con-artist Count Olaf, because he was played by Jim Carrey—Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is both aesthetically-pleasing and narratively-fulfilling. So this Thanksgiving, you and your family can all be thankful you are not one of the Baudelaire orphans ... or any of their caretakers who wind up dead because of Count Olaf.


Fox

3. The O.C.
Currently Streaming on Hulu

Some say the answer to all of life’s problems can be found within The O.C. At the very least, if you put on the first season of The O.C. during your Thanksgiving (and beyond, honestly, for the rest of 2018), you’ll be more invested in Ryan Atwood making good choices, Seth Cohen somehow always making poor choices (some also say Summer and Anna really should’ve just ridden off in the sunset together, leaving Cohen alone with Captain Oats and his Rooney poster), and Sandy Cohen’s eyebrows to think of anything else. And with The O.C. (and its killer soundtrack) as your soundtrack this holiday season, you might even get to bond with your family members come Season Three, when you all agree that Johnny Harper was the worst character to ever be part of the series.

Also: It gave us Chrismukkah, you guys.


NBC

4. Friends
Currently Streaming on Netflix

Ah yes, Friends — the old standby of holiday binge-watching. Really, of any type of binge-watching, since it’s probably playing for hours on TBS or something right now. (As is Coupling, if you’re in for something a little more “risque” to watch with your family — I also know from experience it works as an all-day Thanksgiving binge.) Just the 10 Thanksgiving episodes of the series alone are enough of a distraction from your real family — yes, let the friends from Friends be your family for the day. Unless you’re watching a couple of old episodes of Growing Pains, you’re probably not going to see Brad Pitt on TV anywhere else this holiday season. (Just to be clear, you should only do this if you know you won’t get into arguments about the stuff in Friends that doesn’t quite hold up, like the fat jokes and the gay jokes and them not just all excommunicating Ross.)


BBC

5. Doctor Who
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Seriously, just pick a season and let your chosen version of The Doctor do the rest.

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