Grief on Television: Six Shows We’re Watching
General : Litsa/
Sometimes, on those particularly bad days when practicing gratitude feels especially tough, I think to myself “at least we’re living in the Golden Age of television”. Yes, television can turn into a mindless avoidance. But the right television, in the right quantities, it can actually be pretty helpful. Though we’ve certainly complained about Hollywood getting death and grief all wrong, there are also plenty of instances when they get it . . . .not so wrong.
Sometimes, unexpectedly, seeing grief on television can be a strange sort of comfort. It’s counterintuitive to think that seeing sad things on TV when we’re sad can have an appeal, but it can. Grief can be so isolating. Knowing that someone has captured some part of it, large or small, can be a reminder that we are not as alone as we feel. Though our grief is deeply unique, there is some solace in seeing aspects that are shared.
We asked the WYG community on Instagram to share the shows that have been most helpful to them in their grief lately, or that have had accurate portrayals of grief. No surprise, a few came up again and again. So to get you through these last weeks of winter, these are some of the best grief shows of the last few years, as nominated by the WYG community.
Now, if you’re a Marvel person you’ve probably already seen this show. And if you’re not, it might not be your thing. But if you are even a little bit a Marvel fan and you’ve just put this one off, cue it up. I’m going to leave it at that for risk of spoilers.
Sorry For Your Loss
I promise not all of the shows on this list have Elizabeth Olsen. But Sorry For Your Loss was a show released in 2018 that follows Olsen, a young widow, and her family. Though it only ran for two seasons on Facebook Watch, we immediately started hearing good things from grievers about the show.
Probably the most well-known grief show on televsion over the last few years was Afterlife, written by and starring Ricky Gervais. I’ver heard more than one griever refer to the show as “required viewing” for anyone grieving and anyone trying to support someone grieving. It’s a show that doesn’t shy away from the angriest sides of grief, but with many laughs along the way.
Euphoria is an HBO show based on an Israeli TV miniseries by the same name. It’s a teen drama known for lots of sex and drugs and it isn’t going to be for everyone. But season two just came out last month and if you’ve heard anything about this season it probably involves some of the impactful grief and addiction themes. All grief shows can be a lot depending on how it intersects with your own experience. But if you have a history with substance use and trauma, proceed with caution. This one could hit especially close to home and definitely bring up a lot.
Never Have I Ever
Keeping us in high school, Never Have I Ever is a Netflix about a 15 year old who is coping with her dad’s death. The weird thing about this show is that you definitely don’t it coming that it’s a grief show, which is honestly one of the great things about it. It tackles grief avoidance and family dynamics after a loss, but all wrapped in a charming teen comedy. Not sold on the impact a teen grief show can have on people? Check out this Paste article about how the show helped one person better understand herself and her own grief.
Okay, this show is a fair bit older than others on the list – season 1 came out in 2016 and season 2 in 2019. But I’m including it here because it is a personal favorite and I was pretty happy to see it still turning up in many people’s suggestions. This was originally a one woman stage show by Phoebe Waller-Bridge turned into a series.
A few other runners up:
We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.
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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
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5 Comments on "Grief on Television: Six Shows We’re Watching"Click here to leave a Comment
Hope W August 18, 2022 at 5:26 pm
Yes, 6 Feet Under is one of my favorite shows. It was so cathartic and deeply moving after my mom died. It also had the best series finale of any show I’ve ever seen.
Arlene March 2, 2022 at 10:47 am
What about what makes it worse?
I consider myself a very strong woman, however, since Russia’s invasion in the Ukraine I have found myself very insecure. With my husband around I always felt safe. All he had to do was give me a kiss and hug. My sister and friend give me a hug but don’t realize it’s just not the same.
Jody Kromrey March 2, 2022 at 10:20 am
Sorry For Your Loss should have never ended. That series was fantastic, and any network that decides to pick it up will be successful.
Becca March 1, 2022 at 11:43 am
I was surprised that the series “Six Feet Under” did not make the television grieving list. It’s not new, but it was recommended to me early on in my grief and I found it strangely (and comically) comforting.
Litsa March 2, 2022 at 1:37 am
Hi Becca – I was compiling recent shows specifcally, but I totally agree about Six Feet Under – I absolutely loved that show!