(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

During this insane time of year, we all find comfort in our favorite things. There’s a whole song about it! I wanted to keep that in mind with first Small-Screen Stream of 2020. This isn’t a “top” list of the year, or even the decade. It’s just a bunch of shows that make my heart warm or offer an escape when it’s needed most. There’s a whole lot of women, plenty of spooky stuff, and just about as many superhero shows as you’d expect on a list written by me. I hope they can be there for you when you need them most, much like they were for me! 

Agent Carter (Disney+)

Years have passed and I still haven’t stopped being salty over this show’s cancellation. Firefly Is a part of my twitter handle and if I had to choose between which one I got to resurrect, it’d be Agent Carter without a moment’s hesitation. Margaret “Peggy” Carter isn’t just the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic universe, she’s also the hero that so many women needed at the time of her show’s debut. Its two short seasons are filled with iconic moment after iconic moment. It also happens to introduce us to one Edwin Jarvis, the only character in the MCU to start on one of the shows and eventually be brought into the films. “The Iron Ceiling” (episode 1.05) also happens to be my favorite episode of television in existence. 

Veronica Mars (Hulu)

Veronica and her band of marshmallows came into my life later than some other folks. This is probably a good thing, because I don’t know what the world would have done with my snarky self if I had V to play off of when I was younger. Teen noir will forever be extremely my jam (looking at you too, Riverdale), and if I ever stop buying into shows with sassy female leads, you can take that as a signal of me being in grave danger. Neptune may not ever be “saved”, but it’ll always be a great gift getting to watch Veronica and her crew try. 

Supergirl (Netflix)

One of the biggest complaints I hear about Supergirl is how hard it leans into the girl power aspect of the show. Some folks don’t care for the fact that there’s zero subtlety in what it’s going for. However, that’s one of the reasons that I cherish it so much. Since it’s aired, it’s tackled current political issues, the idea that there’s no “right” way to be a woman, trans rights, and so much more. It’s gone at every single one of those areas with all of its heart and as loud as it can, and I will forever love it for that. Girls should have a show that makes them feel like they don’t need to be quiet about what they believe in, and this is absolutely it.

Supernatural (Netflix)

It’s weird to think that fifteen years of my life have been spent with these boys. Like, that’s half of the of time I’ve been alive. That’s nonsense! Carrying on against all odds is kind of Supernatural’s whole schtick, though. It hasn’t all been perfect, and there’ve been plenty of narrative choices worthy of the raised eyebrows they were given. That aside, this show has been there whether I needed some spooky silly fun, or a reminder of just what the word “family” is supposed to mean. Carry on my wayward sons indeed! It’ll be devastating to see the show finally end. The good news is, a re-watch will take long enough that I’ll probably eventually get over it. 

Parks and Recreation (Netflix)

Leslie Knope is a balm. Her unwavering earnesty, determination, and belief in all of her friends is are a much-needed refreshment in a desert of cynicism and snark. Characters like her bring hope when there is none. A hope which is only strengthened by the traits of the rest of the killer Parks and Recreation ensemble. No matter which character you identify with most, it’s impossible to deny how much this perfect, politically poignant, hilarious sitcom matters.

Legends of Tomorrow (Netflix)

Gods bless this mess. Legends of Tomorrow stopped taking itself seriously after season one. The result was (and is) one of the best series in the Arrowverse’s family. Every single moment on this nonsense machine is ridiculous. Then, without warning, it immediately switches over to something heartfelt and poignant. It takes an incredible amount of talent to create something this insane while still maintaining a certain level of excellence. The Legends of Tomorrow writers are some of the best in television right now, and they don’t receive nearly enough praise for what they’ve built with their little show that could.

Schitts Creek (Netflix)

I binged the first three seasons of this incredible show on fellow /Film contributor Meredith Borders’ couch. If you follow either of us on social media, you know that we have some vague kind of friendship. This show being incredibly important to her is definitely what brought me in. But what kept me around is just how utterly exceptional this sitcom is every single season. There are no slumps. It just continually gets better and better. The show’s premise could lead to something bitter and cruel, but instead we spend the entire runtime watching the Rose family learn empathy as they adapt to their precarious situation. Everything about Schitts Creek is simply the best. 

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

Believe it or not, I really didn’t care for the first season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I wanted to, but splitting up what was supposed to be their first season into two really messed with their narrative in my eyes. With that said, the moment season two was released I was immediately back on board in a big enough way for it to be included on this list. It’s every bit as witchy as it should be, including the politics that are inherent within that adjective. Not to mention the fact that it’s just absolutely gorgeous, even if you consider that obnoxious fishbowl effect (don’t worry, it goes away eventually).

Letterkenny (Hulu)

There’s a fine line between puns and clever wordplay. Letterkenny doesn’t solely exist on one side of that line or the other, and as a fervent pun-hater there are definitely times where I find myself rolling my eyes. Even with that in mind, it’s clever enough to find its way onto a list of shows that make me smile. There’s a fun balance between Canadian hicks doing hick things and timely social commentary that keeps this easy-binge noteworthy. It also just has a lot of heart? There’ll be a brawl one moment, and something that’s making you tear up the very next. We stan a small town that defends its own without being racist or otherwise awful! 

Queer Eye (Netflix) 

We don’t deserve the Queer Eye reboot, but man am I ever happy it came along. The Fab Five (Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Tan France and Karamo Brown) do things a little bit differently in the Netflix original, focusing on all genders and sexualities throughout the series. Every single episode is warm, kind, and absolutely fierce. The Five manage to deliver even the toughest of love with the gentlest of touches, even with their largely different personalities. This show came along right when we needed it, and I hope it runs forever.  

The Good Place (Netflix)

Kristen Bell’s soft characters are always fun, but I live for her sassy roles. Eleanor Shellstrop and her merry band of hellians are the perfect characters for the latter half of this decade. Everyone’s doing their best in a rigged game, but that doesn’t mean we just give up. There’s rarely an episode that isn’t laugh out loud funny for the majority of its forking infuriatingly pure runtime. It’s a show that gives you hope while making you cry laugh. Bad Place Adam Scott ain’t to bad, either. 

The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix)

What a beautiful, spooky surprise The Haunting of Hill House ended up being. The entire show is horrifying poetry. The smartest thing Mike Flanagan did was make you fall utterly in love with each member of the Crain family. In doing so, their horrors became your horrors. Their fears your fears. Every beautifully terrifying moment builds on the last, while tugging at your heart every step of the way. It also features what I believe to be the most exceptional jump scare in history. Shout out to the poor dog, who may have been traumatized for life from the volume and length of my scream. 

The Night Manager (Amazon Prime)

We stan a reluctant spy. The series is classy and bright and brimming with unbelievable performances from its whole cast. The fact that this is the only time Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie have gotten to play against each other is criminal. Every single member of the cast has an absurd amount of chemistry. Couple that with impeccable writing and you’ve got one of the most exceptional shows of the decade. 

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