When I was a kid, it seemed like every night of the week there was at least one TV show our whole family could sit down and watch together. Times have changed, right? While there are so many shows available now, it’s much harder to find ones that are clean enough to watch as a family. Kid shows are usually better content-wise, but many of them are boring or just plain obnoxious. What I really want is a show that’s clean enough for my kids to watch AND interesting enough for the grownups to want to watch too. I’ve done a little research to bring you is a list of 28 family friendly shows that you can watch with your kids.
photo of girls above: (c) Can Stock Photo / monkeybusiness
NOTE: We all have a little bit different idea of what constitutes “clean” TV or what is appropriate for certain ages, so not all of these shows may be a good fit for your family. You’re the best judge of what’s right for your children. All of these TV shows have a TV-PG or TV-G rating and are cleaner than the average show on TV in 2017, but some may still not be a good idea for very young kids. I’ve done my best with this list to recommend family friendly shows that would generally be considered ok for kids 6 and up (and noted a few that I consider better suited for 13+), but if you’re unsure about a specific show you should preview it alone before watching with your kids. Thanks!
Also, I’ve linked to where each show is currently available online, whether it be Netflix, Amazon Prime, or a network site. However, since all these sites rotate what shows are available, some of these links may be out of date by the time you’re reading this post.
And lastly, please leave a comment telling us all what YOUR favorite family friendly TV show is so we can share even more ideas!
FANTASTIC KID SHOWS THAT EVEN ADULTS WILL ENJOY:
Just Add Magic Kelly and her friends love to cook, so when they find an old cookbook belong to Kelly’s grandmother, they decide to start trying out recipes. Little do they know that when they make the recipes, they are actually stirring up a magic spell with unintended consequences. Good writing, solid acting, and character who are a fresh change from the obnoxious smart alecks in many of today kids’ shows. (TV-Y, 2 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street A clean, quirky coming-of-age show that features kids who are actually nice most of the time along with a fair bit of mystery and adventure. Each episode shares a life lesson without being preachy. (TV-G, 3 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime.
Phineas and Ferb Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just another obnoxious cartoon with terribly drawn kids and lots of bordering-on-crude humor. It’s not. Phineas and Ferb is actually the smartest and funniest kid’s show I’ve ever seen. Kids will love watching the crazy antics the boys get up to while their older sister desperately tries to get them in trouble, and adults will appreciate the angst of the not-so-evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. (TV-G, 4 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Granite Flats Strange things are happening in a small town in 1960’s Colorado, and it’s the kids who begin investigating everything from fake ghosts to real Communist Spies (TV-G, 3 seasons, absolutely spankin’ clean) Available on Netflix.
White Collar An FBI agent in the white collar crimes division needs help on a case, so he turns to the expert: convicted art thief Neil Caffrey. The two work together to solve crimes and become friends, but will Caffrey return to his criminal ways? (TV-PG, 6 seasons, an occasional episode may have content that pushes the line but the vast majority do not) Available on Netflix.
Monk Monk is a brilliant detective who has had to take time off due to the abnormal fears of germs, cars, heights, crowds and virtually everything else that plague him since the death of his wife. He’s now back as a police consultant, solving crimes no one else can. Funny & entertaining. (TV-PG, 8 seasons, some mildly violent crime scenes) Not currently available to watch free online, but the first season is about $13 on Amazon, which is just over $1 per episode.
Leverage A team of 5 former criminals (hackers, theives, and con artists) become modern day Robin Hoods when they decide to steal from the rich and corrupt and give back to the little guy. (TV-PG, 5 seasons, some non-graphic violence) Available on Netflix.
Designated Survivor When the Capitol building is bombed during the state of the union address, a low-level cabinet member named Tom Kirkman ends up as the President of the United States. He has to try to rebuild the government, get the public on his side, and figure out if another attack is coming. (TV-PG, currently in it’s first season) Current episodes available on ABC.com
Studio C This completely clean (and actually funny!) sketch comedy show started as a student produced program at Brigham Young University and has turned into a Youtube sensation with over 1 million subscribers. Recent episodes available online at BYUtv, almost all the individual sketches available on YouTube
Frasier This charming, witty, and generally hilarious 90’s sit-com centers around the antics of Frasier, a radio psychiatrist, his brother (also a psychiatrist) and his dad (retired cop). Some slightly racy comedic moments mean this show is better for ages 13+, but it’s still quite tame compared to many current sitcoms. (Rated TV-PG, 11 seasons) Available on Netflix.
A Series of Unfortunate Events This remake of the first few Lemony Snicket books is absolute genius. The story was aimed at children, but this show is funny, quirky, and witty, with plenty for adults to enjoy, including a hilarious performance by Neil Patrick Harris as evil Count Olaf. (Rated TV-PG, 1 season so far with more to come) Available on Netflix.
The Paradise Smart but down-on-her-luck shopgirl Denise moves to London to live with her uncle and find a better life. When her uncle doesn’t have enough work to support her, she gets a job next door at The Paradise, Britain’s first department store, and falls for the store’s dashing owner. (TV-PG, 2 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Lark Rise to Candleford Set in the nineteenth century, Laura has just moved from her tiny British hamlet of Lark Rise to the larger town of Candleford to start working in the post office. This show is based on real-life memoirs and is very sweet while also giving a realistic picture of the difficulties of life lived in rural poverty. A bit like a British Little House on the Prairie (but better!) (TV-PG, 4 seasons) Available on Amazon Prime
Home Fires As World War II descends on England, the women in a rural community mobilize to do their part. The program focuses on their interpersonal relationships and the difficults of life on the homefront while most of the men are away. (TV-PG, 1 season; there are some more adult thematic elements such as an abusive husband and a same-sex relationship which may make it more appropriate for 13+, although most of these elements are tastefully handled and will go over younger kids’ heads) Available on Amazon Prime.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot Agatha Christie’s most popular detective comes to life in tale after tale of of great sleuthing. Full of 1930’s charm. (NR, 13 seasons, appropriate for all ages but younger kids may be bored) Available on Netflix.
Merlin Before King Arthur was king he was the prince, and before Merlin was a great sorcerer he was just the prince’s servant, in a land where magic was punishable by death. This show has knights of the roundtable, spells and sorcery, princesses and witches and all sorts of other fun stuff that kids will love, and it’s pretty enjoyable for adults too (give it a few episodes – it get better the further into it you get). (TV-PG, 5 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Robin Hood The classic tale of Robin Hood comes to life in this version from the BBC. All the familiar characters are here, including those we love (Maid Marian, Little John), and the ones we love to hate (the Sheriff of Nottingham is especially fun as a villain. The series really picks up after the first few episodes, and is much better than the movie adaptations of the story. (TV-PG, 3 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Once Upon a Time When Emma moves to Storybrooke, Maine, she begins to wonder if the residents are actually characters out of fairy tales. This modern fairy tale mashup incorporates characters from all the beloved childhood tales and mixes scenes set in modern day in with the fairytales themselves. (TV-PG, 5 seasons, I’ve only watched a few episodes of this one but it may be better suited to ages 13+ due to some violence and dark thematic elements) Available on Netflix.
Property Brothers Twins Jonathan and Drew help couples who can’t afford their dream home find a house that can be transformed into something pretty darn close. (TV-G, 10 seasons) Some episodes available at HGTV.com, sometimes episodes rotate in on Netflix
Flip or Flop Husband and wife team Tarek and Christina buy dilapidated properties in southern California, often sight unseen, and transform them to resell. Will they make a profit, or will their latest flip end up being a flop? (TV-G, 6 seasons) Some episodes available at HGTV.com, sometime episodes are available on Netflix
Fixer Upper Chip and Joanna Gaines help families searching for a new home find the perfect fixer upper, and then fix it up for them. (TV-G, 4 seasons) Some episodes available at HGTV.com, sometime episodes are available on Netflix
Good Eats Alton Brown shows the science behind good food, using puns, props, and puppets as he makes amazing looking versions of the food we love to eat. Shows are fun and interesting for kids and adults alike. (TV-G, tons of seasons) Select episodes available online at foodnetwork.com, episodes often rotate in and out at Netflix so check back
Chopped Four contestants must compete against each other to make an appetizer, main dish, and dessert using ingredients from a mystery basket and see who wins. It’s always fun to see the chefs race against the clock to transform crazy ingredients into a delicious meal.(TV-G, 30 seasons) Select episodes available online at foodnetwork.com, episodes often rotate in and out at Netflix so check back
The Great British Baking Show Contestants must make three different baked goods each episode to see who will advance to the next show and who will be eliminated. The contestants are so much more polite than contestants on most US competition shows! Plus the baking challenges are intricate and amazing. (TV-PG, 3 seasons) Select episodes available online at PBS.org, episodes often rotate in and out at Netflix so check back
Mythbusters Two special effects experts team up to test out myths and urban legends, proving which ones are true and which ones are simply myths. Lots of science and explosions means most kids will love this show and it’s interesting enough for adults, too. (TV-PG, 19 seasons, a few episodes involve myths about more adult subject matter, so just check the synopsis before watching with kids). Available on Hulu.
America’s Funniest Home Videos You probably don’t need a synopsis of this one, and I’ll tell you truthfully it’s not my favorite show, but kids LOVE it. And amidst the inevitable someone-takes-it-in-the-crotch videos, there are usually a few cute and genuinely funny clips. Plus listening to your own kids laugh is the best part. (TV-PG, multiple seasons) Available on Netflix.
Star Trek The Next Generation Ok, this show is kind of old and it’s occasionally cheesy, but it’s not as dated as the original series and is actually pretty entertaining. Patrick Stewart does a great job as Captain Picard, who travels the galaxy with his crew, meeting new species and running into all sorts of galactic trouble. Most of the content is mild enough for even younger kids, who will probably think it’s lots of fun. (Rated TV-PG, 7 seasons) Available on Netflix.
Shark Tank Entrepreneurs get a chance to pitch their business idea in front of 5 business capitalists (the sharks) who then decide if it’s worth taking a chance and investing in the business. Some of the ideas are amazing and some are completely whack-a-doodle but you’re always rooting for the entrepreneur to get a deal. Really entertaining. (Rated TV-PG, 8 seasons) Current season available at ABC.com