7 Mildly Interesting TV Shows to Watch While Working From Home

When working from home, you have to find a solid balance between silence and distraction.

I work best in a solo, relatively interruption-free bubble, yet sometimes (actually a lot of the time), I need a little bit of a distraction to keep myself from falling asleep. Even with my little dog who acts as my shadow, my house tends to get just a little too quiet, and I start to lose some of my creative juices and enthusiasm.

One of the best ways I’ve found to remedy that is to play a mildly interesting show in the background. It can’t be too interesting, otherwise I’ll quit doing work altogether, but it can’t be too boring either, because I’ll just get annoyed. Here are seven of the best forms of somewhat interesting stimuli that keep my brain in check, but also at least a little entertained.

1. Top Chef

Where to watch: Hulu

I’m not a huge reality TV show fan because most of the time they end up being trashy, poorly scripted “scenes” that bear no semblance to reality, but cooking competitions seem to be an exception for the most part. Top Chef is perfect (and is actually what I have on right now!) because you can zone in and watch a chef make perfect sous vide short ribs for five minutes, then go back to your work and simply listen for the next 15 minutes without missing a beat.

This show has upbeat music, which works wonders for my mood, and just enough drama to keep things lighthearted (even when I’m writing about mold removal or home constipation remedies).

 2. New Girl

Where to watch: Netflix, Hulu

This is definitely my go-to, feel-good show. I mean, you can’t watch the adventures of sweet, naive Jess, and her buds, Schmidt, Nick, Winston, and Cece, and not feel your heart warm up inside. Because their shenanigans are usually contained to the loft or Nick’s bar, there’s a good chance that nothing too dramatic or attention-grabbing will happen – besides Schmidt finding new and outrageous ways to land himself in trouble with the girls and with his bank account when he has to contribute to the “douchebag jar.”

For watching when you’re not trying to work, check out our New Girl drinking game.

3. The Voice

Where to watch: Hulu

This singing competition has everything that American Idol does not: compelling judges, an intriguing format, and most of all: raw talent. I love having this show on in the background because it’s almost just like having Spotify radio on, but there’s some humor and high stakes thrown in the mix as well.

I would watch the Voice for Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s bromance alone, but if that isn’t enough of a draw for you, you should watch a clip or two of some of the contestants. It’s unreal. I’m convinced that the last couple winners of American Idol wouldn’t even make it through the first round of this show!

4. Last Man on Earth

Where to watch: Hulu

I have to be honest. I really did not care for this show when Phil (the last man on Earth) was the sole character in the show. But I pushed through the first couple of episodes, and now that the show has really gotten into its stride, it’s pretty damn good! The show goes at a decently slow pace, so even if you zone out for an entire episode, you won’t be too lost.

I mean, besides petty, interpersonal drama about foraging for food and who likes who, how much can happen in a post-apocalyptic world?

 5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Where to watch: Hulu

This is only a good TV show to keep on in the background if you’ve watched it at least once before. Otherwise it’s far too interesting. But after one or two watches, it’s perfect because you can focus on your work and still pick up on a new joke or two simply from listening. This show is pure comedic genius, and quite frankly, there’s probably something wrong with your sense of humor if you don’t like it.

Between the likes of Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Andre Braugher, and Joe Lo Truglio, you will find yourself literally rolling on the floor if you don’t watch yourself. Plus, all of the quips and one-liners can drag you out of the worst of moods.

6. Project Runway

Where to watch: Hulu

If you still need your trashy reality show fix, I recommend Project Runway. It’s overflowing with drama, kooky contestants, and best of all, smoking-hot clothing designs. I love the competitive nature and the fast-paced environment of the show because it usually unconsciously makes me work more quickly, and the creative vibes are always inspiring. Plus, it’s Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. I could watch them all day and be entertained.

7. The League

Where to watch: Netflix, Hulu

We’ll finish with the show that is the epitome of mildly interesting. It’s not the type of show I could just sit and binge-watch because I’d get bored with the jokes, but I love it for when I’m working. I can enjoy it without getting too involved because The League is full of lighthearted humor and quirky characters that pair nicely with the rather bland premise of a group of guys playing Fantasy Football year after year.

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