Love can happen at age 19 or 90. Though stories of young love are overflowing on your favorite streaming platforms, there are some gems out there that honor and acknowledge the love that can happen at any time in life. There is a certain nostalgic warmth and spark of possibility to love stories that transcend the timeline that life expects from us. Here are some TV shows about people finding love in retirement.
Last Tango in Halifax
We meet Celia and Alan (both widowed) as they reconnect in their 70s and learn that their teenage romance was sabotaged by an intercepted letter. It’s a beautiful and seemingly too-good-to-be-true story of love and reconnection, but like every other love story, there are some complications, speed bumps and, well, chaos. When Celia and Alan spend more and more time getting to know each other, so, too, do their families. This is when things get complicated, because their respective daughters have a less-than-great first introduction and they live very different lifestyles that often clash. But don’t get me wrong: There are moments of celebration and forgiveness and transformative love as well. If you time your viewing just right, perhaps you’ll catch the holiday special on a perfect snowy day. Watch on: Netflix
As Time Goes By
When you begin each episode of As Time Goes By, you’re greeted by the sound of the titular song popularized by Dooley Wilson as Sam in Casablanca. This love story begins with Jean Pargetter (Judi Dench) and Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer) falling in love before Lionel is sent away for military service. Due to the miscommunication caused by a lost letter, they both think the other has lost interest. This love story picks back up again nearly four decades later. Now divorced, Lionel is writing a book. Now widowed, Jean owns a secretarial agency. When Lionel reaches out to find a typist, they fall back into their romance (with the requisite stumbles and tumbles, of course). When you cozy up on the couch each night for your viewing, you can greet your TV set the same way Ilsa greets Sam in Casablanca: “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’” Watch on: Amazon with BritBox subscription
Grace and Frankie
This Netflix Original stars four tremendous talents: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are Grace and Frankie, married, respectively, to characters played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, Robert and Sol. The show begins with a momentous double-date dinner at which Robert and Sol reveal that they are not just business partners, but that they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Though Grace and Frankie are polar opposites, they are now bound by mutual shock, anger and grief. The show is a comedy, but there are a lot of heartwarming moments in which we see Robert and Sol grow into a couple now that they are not carrying the weight of their secret. Arguably the focus of the entire show, it is beautiful to see a different sort of love blossom on screen: the love between friends. Watch on: Netflix
The Golden Bachelor
While there has been an absurd number of shows in The Bachelor franchise over the years, this fall saw the beginning of a new and exciting version: The Golden Bachelor, featuring a 71-year-old bachelor and contestants that are in their 60s and 70s. Their conversations have depth, but are punctuated with playfulness. The show acknowledges the reality of the contestants’ ages: They talk about hearing aids, their grief after losing a spouse and having to put their kids first. While a lot of the shows on this list are about landing in love accidentally, this show affirms that it is OK to land in love on purpose, no matter your age. Watch on: Hulu
This Apple Original follows the life and troubles of Jimmy (Jason Segel), a cognitive behavioral therapist who, it can be argued, is struggling a whole lot more than his patients. His life, his relationship with his daughter and his professional life are falling apart because of the death of his wife. However, he has the support of some tough-love-giving co-workers: Paul (Harrison Ford) and Gaby (Jessica Williams). Though Jimmy is the focus of the series, there is a special storyline with Paul. With a Parkinson’s diagnosis, he receives support from his co-workers and family, and finds love with an unexpected character. It is an important reminder for all that love transcends both age and medical conditions. Watch on: Apple TV+
Main image: iStockphoto.com/simonkr.