These days there are plenty of shows created just for kids and many others that aren’t suitable for young ones. But there aren’t too many that bridge the generation gap quite like old-school family shows from years past. We share some of our favourites.
Long before this cute sitcom shot Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to fame, it was entertaining adults and children alike with its wholesome family vibe. When Danny Tanner’s wife passes away, he, his brother-in-law Jesse and his long-time friend Joey work together to raise his three girls. Every episode is filled with humour as the three men struggle to give D.J., Stephanie and Michelle everything they need. A new moral or lesson is always shared at the end as the characters learn more about themselves and how they work as a family unit.
Get the first season at amazon.com for $14.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
This well-written, beautifully acted and brilliantly produced show is enjoyable for children and adults alike. It tells the story of Dr. Michaela Quinn, a female doctor who opens up a medical practice in a small Western town by the name of Colorado Springs in the late 1800s. The town is filled with interesting, colourful characters, and Dr. Mike is always presented with captivating medical scenarios. Her determination to do the correct thing and stand up for human rights make her a great role model for kids, while her deep romantic connection with the strong-willed and mysterious Sully gives adults something to sink their teeth into. The historical context and medical scenarios also add educational elements that parents and kids both will learn from and enjoy.
Get the complete series at amazon.com for $96.
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Party of Five
If any family-friendly show can be considered the voice of the teen generation in the ’90s, Party of Five might very well be it. When the parents of the five Salinger children are killed in a car accident, the kids must work through their grief and other life struggles together. They vary widely in age, so all sorts of coming-of-age issues are addressed in a warm and relatable way. The show does have the occasional dark edge, but with one another’s help, the Salingers always manage to make everything work out.
Get the first season at amazon.com for $7.
The title gives you a good idea of what this family-focused show is all about. The Pryors are a family of six living in the ever-changing ’60s. The show deals with some of the challenges of the era, such as the Vietnam War and civil rights, but also celebrates some of the happier moments, such as American Bandstand and family strength. Kids will be able to identify with the family’s children — JJ, Meg, Patty and Will — who are all working to find their places in the world, and you’ll have fun picking up some historical tidbits along the way.
Buy the first season at amazon.com for $11.
The Brady Bunch
Where many shows of the ’70s focus in on a typical mom, pop and a couple of kids scenario, this hit broke away from the millionaire family format and showcased the fact that a family doesn’t have to follow a certain formula to be happy. When Carol and Mike fall in love, they merge their respective families of three girls and three boys to form a rambunctious family of eight Bradys. Throughout the course of the show, both the adults and the kids make it through their own trials and tribulations with the family’s support. Plenty of morals and family values are explored in The Brady Bunch, but it’s all delivered with a healthy dose of comedy that keeps it from straying into preachy.
Get the complete series at amazon.com for $88.