Eight TV shows sure to bring you joy when the news can’t

From left, Jenifer Lewis as Patricia, Vanessa Bayer as Joanna and Molly Shannon as Jackie in “I Love That For You.” (Nicole Wilder/Showtime)

Repeat after us: There is nothing wrong with taking a brief respite from the unrelenting news cycle (read: life) and watching a show that will make you laugh or otherwise bring you joy. Here are some new and returning shows we’ll be turning to when the summertime sadness hits.

‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’

Robin Thede, an alum of “The Larry Wilmore Show” and her own short-lived late-night show, is the creator of this beloved sketch comedy series, which returned in April for its third season and was recently renewed for a fourth. The current season begins with “Product Purge,” an annual event where Black women have exactly 12 minutes to return hair-care items “that did not have the desired results” (if you know, you know) and get their money back. Other gems include “What Up I’m Three,” which features Thede as a very large, cigarette-smoking toddler, and a weather forecast tailored to Black women and their hair.

Most of the sketches feature some mix of Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis and newcomer Skye Townsend (yes, daughter of Robert). All three installments are worth a watch if you’re new to ABLSS, especially since the first season sets up a surreal apocalyptic theme that continues — though never the way you’d expect — through subsequent episodes. The show, known for its revolving cast of celebrity guests, doesn’t disappoint in Season 3, which features cameos from Holly Robinson Peete, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Kel Mitchell, Michael Ealy, Ava DuVernay and many more. (Streams on HBO)

Robin Thede, sketch comedy savant, is breaking barriers and paving roads


The second season of Meredith Scardino’s musical series comes together like the fine harmonies of the reunited Girls5eva crew — Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Philipps), Gloria (Paula Pell) and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry) — as they set out to make a new album. Washington Post TV critic Inkoo Kang wrote that “the deeply satisfying character development of each Girls5eva member — and the greater poignancy of their sisterhood in their later years, as the concept matures from Spice Girls-esque marketing hook to genuine affection and respect for one another” is reason enough to keep watching. (Streams on Peacock)

‘The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder’

“The Proud Family” creator Bruce W. Smith teamed up with “Moesha” co-creator Ralph Farquhar for this fun and hilarious revival of Disney Channel’s groundbreaking animated series about Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) and her family, including dad Oscar (Tommy Davidson), mom Trudy (Paula Jai Parker) and hip grandmother Suga Mama (Jo Marie Payton). “Louder and Prouder” is the perfect description for the update, which reflects the generational advances we’ve made since the original premiered in 2001, from social media and influencer culture to Lizzo as reigning pop star.

The show makes excellent use of its guest stars, including CeeLo Green as a soul-singing panda named Shuggie, Debbie Allen as Suga Mama’s cousin and Al Roker returning to cause trouble as a deliciously villainous version of himself. Rapper Tone Loc also makes an unexpected (and utterly delightful) voice cameo. (Streams on Disney Plus)


Jean Smart returns to her Emmy-winning role as a pioneering comic embarking on her second act with the help of a young comedy writer (Hannah Einbinder). The show, which made Kang’s list of the best TV of 2021, received another rave review for its second outing, which premiered last month. “The writing is funnier and more poignant, the ensemble has gelled and … with Smart never better,” the series is “firing on all cylinders,” Kang wrote. “It’s exactly what you’d hope from any sophomore season.” (Streams on HBO)

‘I Love That for You’

Former “Saturday Night Live” MVP Vanessa Bayer plays Joanna Gold, a woman who decides to go after a dream she’s had since battling leukemia as a teenager: hosting on a home shopping network. When Joanna lets her awkwardness get the best of her while live on the air, she taps into her traumatic childhood experience to chaotic results. The comedy series, created by Bayer and former SNL writer Jeremy Beiler, gets a boost from fellow SNL alum Molly Shannon, who plays Joanna’s idol-turned-mentor, and perpetual scene-stealer Jenifer Lewis (whom, while we’re on the subject, we wouldn’t mind seeing in her own “Hacks”-esque starring role) as the network boss. (Streams on Showtime)

‘I Love That for You’ stars use ‘great tragedy’ to find comedic joy


Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s comedy about a distinctively talented hit man who pivots to the dramatic life of an actor has been a delight to watch since its very first season. It seems likely that Hader, who won the best-actor Emmy in consecutive years for the first two installments, will again be an awards contender: The third season, which finds Barry’s double lives more tangled than ever, recently returned to rave reviews after a multiyear pandemic delay. (Streams on HBO)

‘Moon Knight’

Oscar Isaac plays a superhero with dissociative identity disorder who investigates a mystery involving Egyptian gods in this refreshingly oddball Marvel origin story. Isaac “is sometimes a shy Brit named Steven Grant, other times a lethal mercenary named Marc Spector. A multiverse of his mind’s own making leaves this show’s hero unsure of who he’ll be when he wakes up each morning, causing him to sometimes not want to sleep at all,” wrote The Post’s David Betancourt. (Streams on Disney Plus)

Oscar Isaac finally rises to the Marvel A-list with ‘Moon Knight’

‘Spy x Family’

This charming and funny anime, based on the manga by Tatsuya Endo, follows Agent Twilight, a spy who recruits a telepathic orphan and an assassin to pose as his family while he attempts to intercept an elusive criminal. (Streams on Crunchyroll)