Viewing guide for your geek-in-training
Are you eager to share your geeky side with your offspring by showing her some of your favorite sci-fi, fantasy or comic book-inspired TV shows or films?
There are plenty of good choices — even for the younger set. But there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before pressing “play.”
What geeky shows or movies do you love? Are you excited to expose your kids to your favorites? Here are some of our faves and a few suggestions about how to tailor your choices to your child’s personality and maturity.
Watch first, if you can
Even if you saw the television show or movie when you were a youngster, it’s a good idea to check it out again with “parent vision” before you get the popcorn ready for a showing with your kids. Your new perspective can help, but it’s also important to remember how you felt after watching it when you were a kid. “I remember watching The Dark Crystal when I was a kid and being freaked out by the Skeksis, so I waited until my kids were much older before I showed it to them,” shared Beth, mom of two.
Check out reviews
Another good way to check out if there is anything potentially inappropriate in something you’d like to show your child is to get input from other parents or visit online databases to find out more information on the show’s content. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has a really cool feature for each movie that has expanded parental guides for each title (usually found under the ratings information), such as this one from the original Star Wars movie. It rates each movie or television show for content such as sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking and frightening or intense scenes.
Here are some of our favorites for you and your kiddos to check out.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation was a TV series in the Star Trek franchise that ran from 1987 to 1994. Many moms and dads remember watching the show when they were younger, and it gets a big thumbs-up for kids of many different ages. “There is so much to be taught in each episode,” shared Amanda, mom of one. “Logic, reason and acceptance of all kinds is a main reason I will continue to expose Phineas to these shows.”
The six (and counting) Star Wars films are a favorite of many parents and kids alike. Many grew up watching the original trilogy and really want to share that experience with their children. Most parents agree that even little ones can handle the stories and the scenes, although some things may be frightening or disturbing. “We introduced Star Wars when Ben was about 3 and Maddie was 5,” Erin from Indiana shared. “We are a total geek and gamer family and want our kids to be the same.”
These classic movies from the 80s are beloved by many, but there are a few weird or odd scenes you’ll want to check out first and decide if your child can handle them — including a melting face and a heart being ripped out of someone’s chest. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the darkest of the three (and would likely merit a PG-13 rating if made today), so consider saving that one until your kiddo is a bit older.
This science fiction television show from the UK is gaining fans by leaps and bounds as it gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary.Doctor Who is popular with young and old alike. Although the show is light-hearted, hilarious and endearing, it also has some dark and frightening scenes that may scare a young child. In the revived series (2005 and later), “Blink” in season three is a good one to avoid if you’re watching with a sensitive little one, as well as “Midnight” in season four — some adults even got the creeps from them. Other episodes parents reported as being a bit much for their kids were "Tooth and Claw" in season two and the two-part episode series "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" in season one.
The eight movies that make up the Harry Potter films are cherished everywhere, but keep in mind that the movies tend to grow darker the older the kids in the film get. The first three are rated PG, but Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are rated PG-13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince goes back to PG, and then the final two films — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One and Part Two — are both rated PG-13. None are terribly light-hearted overall (they show kids in trouble), but the appeal of the magic and wizardry is so alluring and cool that they are totally worth a viewing. Jo, mom of two, has let her 9-year-old son watch them all. “My only rule was he had to read each book first,” she told us.
No matter what age you start your kids out on your favorite geeky films and shows, you have a lot to look forward to as you introduce your favorites. One of the best parts of having kids is sharing your life with them — and that goes for being geeky, too.