With such an array of both TV shows and movies available to stream instantly, it’s hard to pick what’s worth spending your time with. ‘Tis the season to give thanks, and in this round-up, I’m sharing the TV shows and movies I’m thankful for this year.

There’s a lot to choose from to watch out there, but hopefully this list can provide a good starting point. Whether they surprised me, exhilarated me or made me feel something, these collection of titles made me definitely thankful they came into my life, and in their own little ways, fit in with the spirit of Thanksgiving.

‘Bojack Horseman,’ season 5

While every season of Bojack Horseman is virtually perfect to me, season 4 is actually my least favorite (even though, yes, it’s still great). And so I was absolutely elated when season 5 punched me right in the gut. For this show, about an animated alcoholic half-horse half-man celebrity of all things, I gauge its success on how much it somehow at the same time rips out and then fills up my soul. The show is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, and this season ranks among the show’s very best. Available now on Netflix.

‘Private Life’

After an 11-year wait, writer/director Tamara Jenkins returned with this Netflix original film starring Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti that was well worth the wait, and then some. A stunning portrait of warmth, sacrifice and empathy, this film will make you feel thankful not only for its existence but for the loved ones in your life and the unexpected families that get formed when you’re least expecting it.

Family is what you make of it, especially around the holidays, and the most important thing is forming your own, sometimes on your own terms. There’s also a pivotal scene in the movie that involves a Thanksgiving dinner, so it doesn’t get much more fitting for the season than that. Check out my review here if you’d like to read me gushing about how much I love this movie. Available now on Netflix.

‘Paddington 2’

The sequel to the endlessly charming Paddington has a 100% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and for great reason. This follow-up from writer/director Paul King somehow improves upon the already rather flawless original. With a totally surprising and winning performance from Hugh Grant as the cherry on top, this tale of the cuddly bear from Dark Peru touches on the current political climate with unexpected weight and emotional clarity. The lessons of simply being kind to your neighbor and trying your best to do right by everyone is also the perfect lesson to carry with you into Thanksgiving weekend. Now available on VOD.

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Perhaps one of the most unexpected delights of 2018 is this minor biopic from director Marielle Heller and writer Nicole Holofcener. It stars Melissa McCarthy as author Lee Israel, whose claim to fame was forging hundreds of literary letters by famous authors. The joy of this movie is how unabashedly queer it is, which was not revealed in the early trailer and promotion for the movie. Richard E. Grant chews up the scenery as McCarthy’s friend and confidant, and the two of them romp through the autumnal tones of a ’90s-era New York. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch. Take your family to see this one. Now in theaters nationwide.

‘Forever’

Another pleasant surprise in the TV market this year is this eclectic and singularly unique offering from Master of None alum Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard. The dark comedy stars Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph as a married couple, and that’s about all I will say plot-wise without venturing into any spoiler territory. The show twists and turns, with all of the eight episodes in the first season offering something new, rich with humor and pathos. The sixth episode is the season’s highlight. This is another series that will make you thankful for those loved ones in your life and will remind you to hold on to them close. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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