8 TV Shows that Focus on Grief and Loss

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on March 10, 2020

When we watch a television show, we build relationships with the characters and become invested in their lives. The hours we essentially spend with them create emotions unlike those that any short-form piece of media, like a movie or live show, can.

In the past decade, television has exploded in popularity—last year more shows were released than any year in history. With more options, the opportunity to tell new stories, even difficult ones, are growing.

For those of us who are currently working through grief, TV can provide both an outlet for our emotions and even help us work through them.

Below, we share some of our favorite titles for TV shows that tackle grief, along with brief plot descriptions, and a link to the networks on which you can watch or stream them.


1. “This Is Us” (NBC—TV-14)

Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. "This Is Us" chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack and Rebecca as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids, Kevin, Kate and Randall, searching for love and fulfillment in the present day.

This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.



2. "A Million Little Things" (ABC—TV 14)

It has been said that friendship isn't one big thing, it's a million little things. That is certainly true for a group of friends from Boston who renew their friendship and bond when a friend tragically passes away.

Though it hinges on a tragedy, the message of the show persists to be that everything happens for a reason.



3. “Kidding” (Showtime—TV-MA)

"Kidding" follows Jeff Pickles, a man who is iconic in children's television. Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, is a pillar of kindness and wisdom to the impressionable minds of America's youth and to the parents who grew up with him. When Mr. Pickles' family begins to implode, his life starts to take a downward spiral. He must put the fables and puppets aside to get through this newest crisis in life.

Through the eyes of Jeff and the other characters, the show explores the depth and nuance of mourning. It is different and unique, and not always clear on the surface.



4. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Netflix—TV-PG)

This series follows the tragic tale of three orphans­—Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire—who are investigating their parents' mysterious death. The siblings are saddled with an evil guardian named Count, who will do whatever it takes to get his hands on the children’s inheritance.

Though made primarily for children, the premise centers on tragedy. One article in Mashable said this about it: “The writer's willingness to be honest with that young audience about what happens after someone dies makes it one of the bravest and most important stories in modern pop culture.”



5. “Go On” (NBC—TV-PG)

After taking some time to deal with the death of his wife, sportscaster Ryan King is ready to push his feelings down and get back to work. However, Ryan's boss, refuses to let him back on air until he gets counseling to work through his grief.

Reluctantly, Ryan joins a support group, where his lack of interest in healing not only makes therapy interesting but also may just serve as the breath of fresh air needed to get his fellow group members back on track to health.

It’s an uplifting portrayal, where the main character’s denial and persistence on getting back to normal is challenged by those grieving around him.



6. “Six Feet Under” (HBO—TV-14)

Laced with irony and dark situational humor, the show approaches the subject of death through the eyes of the Fisher family, who owns and operates a funeral home in Los Angeles. Peter Krause stars as Nate, who reluctantly becomes a partner in the funeral home after his father's death.

Each episode shows a different family planning their services at Fisher and Son Funeral Home. This setup reinforces that death is a part of life, and that each person and family deals with it differently.



7. “Dead to Me” (Netflix—TV-MA)

Jen's husband recently died in a hit-and-run accident, and she is determined to solve the crime. Optimistic, free spirit Judy has recently suffered a tragic loss of her own. The two ladies meet at a support group, and despite their polar-opposite personalities, become unlikely friends.

This dark comedy presents the peculiar humor that can come with grief, loss and forgiveness.



8. “Sorry for Your Loss” (Facebook Watch—TV-14)

The series follows a young widow and her family as they struggle to cope with the unexpected death of her husband.

The show highlights how an unexpected death transforms every relationship in the main character’s life.



Interested in Additional Resources?

There are a number of ways to cope with grief. If you or a loved one wants more information on dealing with topics like loss, subscribe to our blog.



Topics: Grief

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