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R29ers Share The TV Shows That Changed Their Lives

We’re living in an age of truly great TV — there’s no shortage of binge-worthy true-crime docuseries to fill a hungover Sunday afternoon or exquisitely mindless reality shows to serve as the antidote to a stressful workday. But for many of us, there are certain shows that go well beyond being an addictive watch; they’re the shows that almost feel like part of us, the ones that uncannily tap into the most granular details of our lives or give us a new perspective on the world we live in.

That’s why, together with Philo, a new live- and on-demand-TV platform, we got Refinery29 staff to share the shows that have made a major impact on them — whether it’s a nature program that helps you feel grounded in reality when the world feels out of control or a home-improvement show that ignites creativity. Click ahead to find out which shows continue to have a lasting impression on us, then check them out for yourself on Philo.

Ancient Aliens(Airs on the History Channel)

“I have an old man’s taste in television, but until fairly recently, my only ‘encounter’ with this program was the meme of Giorgio A. Tsoukalos that made the rounds a few years ago (you know the one: “ALIENS”). But on a fellow old man’s recommendation (my dad’s), I gave it a shot — and now, I’m a believer, kind of. Though the evidence presented by the show is at times dubious, the larger message — that we are all connected, perhaps thanks to a benevolent higher power that shows itself in mysterious ways (until it gets tired of us as playthings) — is super interesting to think about. And, if anything, Ancient Aliens has expanded my mind on many a Saturday afternoon, when I can contemplate the infinite universe, space, and time without leaving my apartment.” —Chelsea Peng, Fashion Editor

Designed by Vero Romero.

Broad City(Airs on Comedy Central)

“There are countless shows set in New York City, but Broad City was the first one that felt like a true reflection of my experience here, arriving fresh out of college: the weird real estate agents trying to sell you shoebox apartments, the faulty AC units during the hottest of summers, the hilarious everyday moments that typically aren’t granted a plot line. And at the end of the day — at the heart of the show — the most significant relationship is not the fleeting romantic flings but the deep love and friendship between Abbi and Ilana. Watching reruns with my roommate (who happens to be my best friend of 10 years) never ceases to make me feel thankful for living in this crazy city. The guttural laughs don’t hurt, either.” —Jennifer Mulrow, Fashion & Beauty Writer

Designed by Vero Romero.

Planet Earth (Reruns on BBC America)

“We live in a seriously crazy world, which most of us — no matter how well traveled — have seen very little of. Planet Earth offers a fascinating look at its most unbelievable wonders on scales large and small. While I’ll never make it to the majority of the featured locales IRL (we’re talking deep into the jungle, the Arctic, the Sahara), this show has inspired me to choose more remote, more nature-centric travel destinations. It’s introduced me to wildlife and phenomenon that blow my mind — giving me so much respect for nature. And on a broader level, it’s instilled in me an understanding that Earth is not ours to trample. Not to mention, the photography is wild.” —Cate Seiser, Senior Content Editor

Designed by Vero Romero.

Barefoot Contessa(Airs on Food Network)

“My mom was the person who first introduced me to Barefoot Contessa. Growing up, I would always watch it with her on weekend mornings and then we’d pore over Ina Garten’s cookbooks and decide which of her recipes looked the best. To this day, if I’m stressed out and need to relax, I watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa. Something about watching her pour out ingredients and create beautiful food is so meditative.” —Anabel Pasarow, Work & Money Production Assistant

Designed by Vero Romero.

Trading Spaces(Airs on TLC)

” Trading Spaces was such an important part of growing up. It was the one show that everyone in my family loved, so we would all sit down and watch it together, picking sides and playfully fighting over whose design was best. But aside from the camaraderie the show provided me and my family, it was also the first show I watched that tapped my creative side and got me interested in following a creative career path. Even now, with the reboot of the show, I get the same feeling of inspiration and creative motivation (yes, even from Hildi’s wildest designs).” —Jen Anderson, Lifestyle Writer

Designed by Vero Romero.

Chopped(Airs on Food Network)

“Growing up, my French mother taught me the cooking basics — like how to make a solid batch of crepes and a simple-yet-delish salad dressing — but it wasn’t until I went off to college that I realized how much I loved the art of cooking. This show gave me so much inspiration and helped me foster my new skills, learning a new technique or interesting food combination every time I watched it.” —Claire Fontanetta, Senior Beauty Editor

Designed by Vero Romero.

Portlandia(Reruns on IFC)

“I watched Portlandia with my mom and sister while my mom was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. We knew that no matter the case, we could count on the show to make us laugh. Watching it now, I’m reminded that during times of hardship, it’s important to surround yourself with things that make you happy, and this show gave that to my family.” —Cassidy Turner, Photo Editor

Designed by Vero Romero.

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