John Hanlon Reviews


5 great family-friendly shows you should be watching

Posted in: General, Must-Read Lists  |  By: John Hanlon  |  April 11th, 2016
5 Great Family-Friendly Shows

It’s not easy to find family-friend fare on television today. With so many procedurals about crime on television, there sometimes it feels like shows that the whole family can watch are a rare breed. Fortunately though, more about there are still some strong shows– both comedies and dramas– on television (and Netflix) that are still wholesome enough for you to watch even with younger children. With that in mind, I composed a list of 5 great family-friendly shows.

For this list, I only included programs that are currently on the air (or Netflix). There are plenty of classic family shows (including beloved classics like The Brady Bunch and The Waltons) that are available on DVD but I wanted to focus on shows that are still offering new episodes today.

Dancing with the Stars: This long-running ABC competition is now in its 22nd season but it’s still a lot of fun. Each season features celebrities (this year includes actress Jodie Sweetin, football superstar Doug Flutie and reporter Geraldo Rivera) who are paired up with professional dancers. Each week, dancing couple is eliminated leading to the grand finale where one couple walks away with the beloved Mirror Ball. The premise has stayed the same but the show often livens the proceedings with new dances and fun theme nights.

Fuller HouseThe original Full House offered audiences a loving story about a widowed father raising his three daughters with the help of his two male best friends. The highly-anticipated spinoff show offers a similar approach with Candace Cameron-Bure taking on the role of D.J. Tanner once again. Now, D.J. is the widow who is tasked with raising her three young boys. Her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and her best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber) are along for the ride in this funny and uplifting tribute show that stands out on its own.

Click here for our review.

Girl Meets WorldIn the 90s, Boy Meets World told the story of a young student name Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) who was growing up alongside his best friend Shawn (Rider Strong), a rebel from the wrong side of the tracks, and Topanga (Danielle Fishel), a quirky classmate whose strange personality always made her stand out in this class. In this sequel series, Cory and Topanga are all grown up and married and their daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard) is learning a lot growing up alongside her best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter), a rebel from the wrong side of the tracks.

Like Fuller House, Girl Meets World stands on its own but it’s also an endearing and warm-hearted tribute to the show it was spun off from.

Click here for our review.

The Middle: This long-running ABC comedy proves the traditional family sitcom is alive and well. Starring Patricia Heaton as Frankie Heck, the anxiety-prone mother of two boys and a girl, the show focuses on the family’s life in the heartland of Indiana.

With an oldest son who is constantly causing her headaches, a middle daughter who is overzealous about nearly everything in her life and an eccentric youngest child who always stands out, Frankie and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn) are constantly being peppered with new situations to deal with. The show is consistently funny and down-to-Earth and is always great at finding the humor in everyday life.

The Flash: In an era where superhero stories are often dark and grim affairs, CW’s The Flash stands out as being one of the most uplifting stories in the genre. The show tells the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), a young crime scene investigator, who is struck by lightning and given the ability to travel at an extraordinary speed. Instead of being glum about it, Allen becomes a classic comic book hero saving the lives of his friends and his city each week as he faces off against villains, who are using their supernatural powers for evil.

This is the rare superhero program that you can watch with your families. It’s a show that celebrates heroism and positive values.

Click here for our review.