Even though we've been working on watching less TV, it doesn't mean that we're doing away with it all together. I love having subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu to allow us to watch the TV that we want as needed. When we have sick days or resting days, I love good TV series for binging with the family. Here are thirty great options for viewing with your family!
TV Series About the Family
1. 7th Heaven - Hulu, 11 Seasons, TV-PG
I loved this series when I was younger. A pastor, his wife, and their seven kids make up this idyllic yet problem ridden family. Watching it again as an adult can sometimes feel like a classic "after school special" hitting on a culturally hot topic in each episode. With this in mind, you might want to restrict viewing to kids 10 and up.
2. Full House - Hulu, 8 Seasons, TV-G
This was a classic family favorite in my home. While I don't love the modern spin-off, the classic show is full of laughs for kids of all ages.
3. Family Matters - Hulu, 9 Seasons, TV-G
I think every kid needs to meet Urkle. He's awkward, embarrassing, and completely comfortable with himself. I love how the neighbor families work together and learn about friendship and relationships.
4. Malcolm in the Middle - Hulu, 7 Seasons, TV-PG
While this one might not be appropriate for younger viewers, Malcolm is a quirky middle child that is wrestling with his dysfunctional family and troubled relationships with his siblings. It is unpredictable and follows the genius Malcolm and his struggle with just wanting to be normal.
5. Step-by-Step - Hulu, 7 Seasons, TV-G
This 1990s version of the Brady Bunch was one of my favorites as a kid. The family dynamics of blended families offer a variety of entertaining scenarios great for the whole family.
6. Boy Meets World - Hulu, 7 Seasons, TV-G
This tween sitcom follows the life of a young man in junior high through his college years. As the boy matures, so do the issues he struggles with. Watch this one with your 10 and up crowd.
7. Home Improvement - Hulu, 8 Seasons, TV-G
If you're looking for a good laugh, Tim Allen delivers in this classic, family-friendly series. They are just a fun family to follow as they struggle with typical family troubles.
TV Series For Animal Lovers
8. Free Rein - Netflix, 1 Season, TV-G
This Netflix Original made it to the top of our favorites quickly. Two sisters travel to the English countryside with their mother and discover the glory of country life. Zoe, the main character, connects with a rouge stallion and their connection helps her as she works to make the best of a tough situation.
9. Heartland - Netflix, 9 Seasons, TV-PG
Heartland won our hearts from the first episode. While it starts off extremely sad, the show provides a sweet and beautiful story line to follow dealing with issues surrounding family, courage, and the importance of having a home.
TV Series Based on Books
10. Anne with an E - Netflix, 1 Season, TV-PG
This series was well made and beautiful, but it lacks the sweetness and innocence of the Anne of Green Gables series. Watch out for episode 3 in the first season, or just plan on watching this series with your 13 and up kids. Even though it wasn't my favorite, it's worth a watch.
11. A Series of Unfortunate Events - Netflix, 1 Season, TV-PG
This dark series was fantastic. It's sufficiently creepy, endlessly cleever, and totally addicting. While our family hasn't read the books, we could appreciate the excellent storytelling and strange cinematography. Neil Patrick Harris is a perfect bad guy. We can't wait until more seasons come out! Beware - each story is two episodes, so they're really like movies than TV episodes. You won't be able to stop in the middle.
12. When Calls the Heart - Netflix, 4 Seasons, TV-G
If you're looking for a lighter, love story, you'll love When Calls the Heart. There's something romantic about leaving the easy life behind and moving to the wild west to become a school teacher against all odds. This small town story has beautiful scenery, admirable characters, and great storytelling. I grew up reading all of Janette Oke's writings. No one wrote Christian romance better!
TV Series That Are Supernatural
13. The Thundermans - Hulu, 3 Seasons, TV-G
This quirky family sitcom follows the story of a family of "supers" that have moved to the suburbs to try to live like normal people. It has a taste of The Incredibles but light and airy in thirty minute segments that are safe for the whole family.
14. Good Witch - Netflix, 2 Seasons, TV-PG
We were hesitant at first to watch this one due to the title that seems to go against our belief system. However, I gave it a chance and our family fell in love. At Cassie, the Good Witch's store, she sells oils but mainly offers a listening ear and sound advice.
14. The Flash - Netflix, 3 Seasons, TV-14
My son and I started watching this series, and while he's still enjoying it, I got a bit worn out on the plot twisting and turning in unexpected directions. Regardless, I love Tom Cavanagh in this series. As far as superhero series go, this one isn't as dark as many of it's other counterparts. It's really a great option for fans of DC comics.
16. Stranger Things - Netflix, 2 Seasons, TV-14
Um...this show is incredible. First of all, warnings: (1) the first two episodes focus on a teenage girl making out with her captain-of-the-football-team boyfriend, (2) language...this show cusses like an 80s movie, and (3) this is a thriller...younger audiences might just have nightmares after this one. If you can find a way to make it past those issues, the story is brilliant. The makers have done a masterful job of representing life in the 80s and the depth of friendships that developed when you could play outside, and TV wasn't as big of a part of your life. I watched through the whole series first so that I could help my kids navigate the issues I mentioned, and my youngest didn't join us. It's more spooky than gory, and I loved it.
17. Supergirl - Netflix, 2 Seasons, TV-14
This one is a little bit cheesy, but a fun spin-off from the classic Superman series. Like most of these types of shows, as the series continues the villains get scarier as the show goes on. Watch as much as you can handle, and then feel free to walk away!
18. Smallville - Hulu, 10 Seasons, TV-PG
Um...I don't know about TV-PG, but your teens will really enjoy it. Following the early years of Superman, this series deals with the struggles of a young high schooler finding out that there's more to his back story than he knows. Some of the bad guys are really gross and scary in this version, so if you have any that have a delicate stomach, you might steer clear of this one. However, it's 10 seasons of story provide a great story background for one of our favorite heroes.
TV Series For Problem Solvers
19. KC Undercover - Hulu, 2 Seasons, TV-Y7
Younger audiences will love this Disney spy show. While the episodes will seem a little predictable to older audiences, parents of younger kids who are ready for something a little more grown up will enjoy a break from the animation with this series.
20. White Collar - Netflix, 6 Seasons, TV-PG
White Collar is a USA production that follows a notorious art thief who is caught and then uses his expertise for good as he helps the FBI catch bad guys. Neil Caffrey is such a fascinating character, and your older kids will love watching this series develop over time. The side characters are some of my favorites!
21. MacGyuver - Hulu, 1 Season, TV-PG
I think every young person needs to see a hero like MacGyuver using his smarts rather than violence to solve problems under pressure.
22. Quantum Leap - Hulu, 5 Seasons, TV-PG
Although a bit dated, this sci-fi series jumps through time to tackle problems that humans face. It's another classic that should be brought back to another generation of teens and tweens to enjoy.
Reality TV Series
23. Fixer Upper - Hulu, 3 Seasons, TV-G
My girls and I are in love with this series—who isn't?! It's so great to watch visionaries take something that seems less than perfect and transform it into something beautiful. Chip and Jo's creativity is inspiring, but I love watching how they relate more than anything. Not too serious, and always a safe bet!
While I'm not a fan of watching people stress over cooking (maybe it hits too close to home), my kids love these shows! I am very impressed with the creativity and execution of the youngest chefs featured on the show. I don't know how they do it!
25. Cupcake Wars - Hulu, 3 Seasons, TV-G
Another semi-stressful cooking competition, yet these sweet treats are so fun to watch come together. I'm always amazed at what can be done with sugar!
TV Series for The Kid At Heart
26. Animaniacs - Hulu, 5 Seasons, TV-Y7
I know that you might be tired of cartoons, but Animaniacs is one of those smart cartoons that even adults can appreciate. You can laugh together at these crazy characters.
27. Pinky and the Brain - Hulu, 3 Seasons, TV-Y
My college roommate and I used to joke that she was Pinky and I was the Brain...only because she loved the color pink and I loved school. We never really tried to take over the world, but it was fun to pretend! This cartoon is also a fun classic to introduce to your kids.
28. Saved By The Bell - Hulu, 5 Seasons, TV-PG
Oh I loved this show when I was younger. It's so cheesy, but I know my girls would love it. Apparently you can also watch Saved By the Bell: The College Years, Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style, and Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.
29. Pink Panther - Hulu, 124 Episodes, TV-G
While there are tons of episodes, these shows are short. This is a great option for watching a quick show in a pinch that will satisfy the TV itch in under ten minutes. The Pink Panther is a classic.
30. Mr. Bean - Hulu, 15 Episodes, TV-G
This guy—seriously he is crazy! Kids love the silly antics of Mr. Bean and all of his misadventures. He is totally awkward, but that is what makes it so fun to watch.
So there are thirty options for binging with the family.
What are some of your family's favorite TV shows?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.