I am always looking for movies and TV shows that I can watch with the kids that are appropriate for their age level. If you have kids ranging from 10-16, here are some suggestions that you might want to try. I don’t know if it’s because Disney owns ABC, but ABC has done a great job of producing good quality family shows.
Malcolm in the Middle. Originally aired from 2000 to 2006. I didn’t watch it then but now the Disney Family Channel has started running it in syndication. The show stars Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), an intelligent young teen who is smarter than his parents, Hal (Bryan Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek). It was one of Bryan Cranston’s first roles and I have a new found respect for his acting after seeing him in Breaking Bad (one of my favourite shows). My wife and I have commented on the great chemistry between Hal and Lois in the show.
The Middle. Has been airing on TV since 2009. This is one of my kids’ favourite shows. The show is about a middle-class American family trying to eek their way through life. They are a dysfunctional family and the parents, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and Mike (Neil Flynn), show you how not to parent. The kids, Sue (Eden Sher), Axl (Charlie McDermott) and Brick (Atticus Shafer) are great comedic talents. In our family we quite often quote characters from this show, “What would Sue Heck do?” or “you just pulled an Axl”. The kids know what we mean when we say this. There are some episodes where you just shake your head at the laziness of the parents. The thing I really like about the show is that Frankie and Mike usually realize what they did wrong and have some sort of learning/moral that makes you appreciate family.
Fresh Off The Boat. This show is only in its second season and I really liked the characters off the start. This show is based on a book by Eddie Huang, an Asian-American whose family moved to Orlando Florida to pursue the “American Dream”. Eddie is played in the show by Hudson Yang, who is a great little actor. Again, I find it’s the parents that really add the humour to the show. Eddie’s mother, Jessica (Constance Wu) is hilarious and a little obsessive compulsive and likes to take control of everything. Jessica and her husband Louis’ (Randall Park) personalities offset each other well (one is uptight, the other not so much). Grandma Huang (Lucille Soong) lives with them and doesn’t speak a word of English. Grandma is great for the one-liners. This show also has the key “a-ha” moment at the end of the show.
Black-ish. Now in its second season, the show has some great humour and some of it goes over the kids heads (makes for a good learning moment when they don’t understand). It’s a show about a black family raising kids in a predominately white upper-class neighborhood. Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) are parents trying to teach their children about black culture and history. The kids, Andre (Marcus Scribner), Zoe (Yari Shahidi), Jack (Miles Brown) and Diane (Marsai Martin) create the learning moments for the parents. Very well written and my kids just love the kids on the show. I think it’s hilarious to name your kids Jack and Diane.
The Goldbergs. This was my genre! The show is in its fourth season and based on real home videos that the writer Adam Goldberg filmed growing up in the 80’s. Murray (Jeff Garlin) is married to Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and they have three children, Adam (Sean Giambroni), Barry (Troy Gentile) and Erica (Hayley Orrantia). The show is narrated by Patton Oswalt (he ties in the moral of the story) and George Segal is the grandfather. The cast is amazing. The show centers around Adam and his trials and tribulations of growing up in a household with older siblings.
Looking for some older movies to watch with the kids? Here are a few suggestions of movies that my kids have liked. I’ve linked them to imdb.com which is my online resource when I want to find out anything about the movie or show. It lists any movie or TV show that an actor has stared in. It will list trivia about the movie, year it was released, viewer ratings, filming locations and you can also find out if there’s any content that is inappropriate for the kids.
- Uncle Buck
- The Great Outdoors
- Cool Runnings
- Home Alone
- Indiana Jones
- Star Wars (my kids surprisingly liked the newer ones better – I think it’s the CGI)
- Ferris Beuller’s Day Off
- Back to the Future
- Ghostbusters (the original)
- The Sandlot
- Hook (I miss Robin Williams…)
- Mrs. Doubtfire
- Cheaper by the Dozen (2 movies in the series and both were great)
- I loved The NeverEnding Story…the kids found it lame and boring…
Here are some other websites that list movies suitable to watch with your kids:
- parenting.com – 20 Best Movies for Families
- timeout.com – The 50 Best Kids Movies to Watch as a Family
- commonsensemedia.org – 50 Movies all Kids Should See Before They Are 12
- gearpatrol.com – 50 Best Family Movies
I hope that one of these TV shows or movies can serve as entertainment for your next family fun night. Please share any of your suggestions you’ve enjoyed with your family!
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