Dinner conversation, what's that? Family Friendly TV suggestions.
August 10, 2014 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Every night my 9 year old daughter asks to watch a movie while we eat dinner. We are big movie people, rarely ever watch commercial TV and don't have the Aussie version of cable, but we like to buy DVD TV series' or stream them. Some nights dinner is the perfect 'eat on the couch' meal, but a movie is too long if it's during the week. I am looking for some suggestions of shows we could all enjoy that are 30 minutes, or an hour.

Miss 9 loves movies and TV shows but can be a bit hesitant to watch things that are scary or too emotional (Frankenweenie was a disaster!) She loves anything fantasy and superhero related.

My partner and I would prefer something live action rather than animated, and if it has some good characters and a half decent plot then that's a bonus.

Currently we are reading Harry Potter which is a big hit and she is a huge fan of spy and mystery books.

Any ideas? What do your kids like to watch?
posted by Youremyworld to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
9 is about the perfect time to start watching Star Trek, in my opinion - probably start with TNG (but SKIP the season finale!).

It's animated, but have you watched Adventure Time? I think that's a cartoon that's bound to please people of any age.
posted by Think_Long at 5:43 PM on August 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Do you know about the 8 1/2 Foundation?
posted by pomegranate at 5:44 PM on August 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I believe Avatar: the Last Airbender is the perfect choice, even for those in the family who would prefer live action.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:12 PM on August 10, 2014 [11 favorites]

Wizards of Waverly Place, Jessie, and Clarissa Explains It All are pretty awesome. You could also do Boy Meets World/Girl Meets World, because it's kinda interesting to see the series retread the same ground but approach the topics differently.
posted by spunweb at 6:49 PM on August 10, 2014

For movies, how about the Star Wars trilogy (there were only three movies in that saga, as far as I know)? For TV shows, how about Cosmos? It's non-fiction, but I hear the plot is excellent.
posted by learnsome at 6:50 PM on August 10, 2014

I really want to rave about Avatar. My 8yo and 5yo love it, and its a sweet story that I love as well. I streamed it for free from Amazon.
posted by hollyanderbody at 7:06 PM on August 10, 2014

I would talk to the children's librarian at the local library for suggestions.

The 8 1/2 foundation link is great! I noted they list Norman MacLaren's animation and I agree. He did many great films with Canada's National Film Board, You might enjoy their YouTube children's movie collection

The sweater is a classic, seen by most Canadians when growing up.

I also recommend the following Canadian classics:

Road to Avonlea, which has the bonus of having a young Sarah Polley as its star.

And the classic TV mini series from the excellent books:

Anne of Green Gables.

My son an I also enjoyed the Last Airbender, and we both thought the Sarah Jane Adventures were fun.
posted by chapps at 7:20 PM on August 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Episodes of Mythbusters!
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:30 PM on August 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

(Disclaimer that as a USian, I don't know which of these you can get, but they've all been out long enough it seems likely you can find them)

Avatar: The Last Airbender for sure (do NOT watch the live-action Airbender movie. So bad). Why are we all so crazy for it? It has WONDERFUL female characters, who are powerful and equal (some villains!). It is funny! It has a great storyline! Beautiful animation! Seriously: so good. It made me feel 9 again to watch it, and be sad it wasn't around when I was that age.

We also like the Clone Wars animated series, which, unlike the Star Wars movies, is also chockablock with excellent female characters.

Live-action, I would say she is exactly the right age for Anne of Green Gables, which I now realize I need to buy and watch again.

Not much in the way of female-led live-action. If you don't mind silliness, there's always Power Rangers. Beakman's World is a late-90s kids-science show that's actually lots of fun and well-done, and it's on Netflix, at least in the States.

There is also Wishbone, which seems and is ridiculous as a concept (real-life tiny dog acts out fictional people in costume!), but utterly endearing to watch. And will introduce her to Sherlock Holmes, Poe, Shakespeare, and historical figures like Joan of Arc.
posted by emjaybee at 8:03 PM on August 10, 2014

Oh my god, The Muppet Show was made for this. As in, my family watched The Muppet Show in reruns over dinner when I was 9 and I loved it.
posted by town of cats at 8:12 PM on August 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would second Avatar: The Last Airbender. My eight-year-old loves it (as I do, actually). There are three seasons, and a spin-off series that is currently in seasons three as well. For not being live-action, it is really done in a compelling way. Great characterization, too. Also, Clone Wars is great.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:17 PM on August 10, 2014

Muppet Show is a good call.

Xena Warrior Princess (I never watched this, so not sure how G-rated or how emotional)?

Depends on your and her sensibility, but the Jeeves and Wooster series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie might be a good fit (first episode features Jeeves giving Wooster a hangover cure after a heavy night of drinking, but otherwise it's pretty G-rated).

If you enjoy sort of cornball Saturday-morning type shows, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, or Jack of All Trades? (Some innuendo in these IIRC)

The cartoon (and the odd, short-lived live-action show) of The Tick was a goofy parody of superheroes, which might be fun. I can't remember if either has anything inappropriate.

Might Agatha Christie detective shows work? There are a million of those to mine.

There are TV movies (made by ITV) of a few Terry Pratchett Discworld novels, which are fun. They might be a bit scary for her (?) although if she is hanging in there with Harry Potter, she may be just fine.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:29 PM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

My 9 year old really enjoyed Cosmos. She likes the Pokemon cartoons/movies as well.
posted by Ostara at 9:44 PM on August 10, 2014

QI? I know that some children I teach enjoy it but they are a little older than your child. Maybe 9 is too young? But fun for you and generally pretty tame. It streams on iView.
posted by jojobobo at 11:04 PM on August 10, 2014

If she likes science at all, she might like Alton Brown's Good Eats. The science of cooking! Bonus is that at 9 she's just about the right age to reproduce (with help) some of the recipes. Very kid friendly, but I like it too!

If she/you go for Clarissa Explains It All you might also like the Adventures of Pete and Pete... Often sort of mystery based plots, and definitely... Odd. I loved it at that age!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:13 AM on August 11, 2014

Episodes of The Muppet Show.
posted by Hypatia at 5:07 AM on August 11, 2014

Gilmore Girls might be a bit early, but maybe it's a nice idea for a two or three years down the road.

You said live-action is preferred, but I guarantee you that The Penguins of Madagascar will makes you, the adults, laugh more than your daughter.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 7:26 AM on August 11, 2014

Get Smart was my obsession at that age, even though I'd never seen the Bond movies it parodied.
posted by SandiBeech at 10:18 AM on August 11, 2014

Cosmos is good and is now on Netflix in the US, anyway. 9 might be a tad on the young side to watch Doctor Who but maybe in a year or so? There is some gripping action at times, but overall it's pretty feel-good and there are hours and hours and hours of it if you go back a few seasons (the original one is not so worth it).

Not sure what your streaming access might be but we watch a BBC show called Supersizers on our US streaming-TV site (Hulu) where two goofy comedian/journalist types try out food and lifestyle aspects of a decade of the past. There's some light cursing probably but it's not too bad.

A lot of the Pixar movies are somewhat on the shorter side (like 90-100 min) so might be more doable for after dinner - Up, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Toy Story are all loved by both kids and adults in my experience. The Incredibles is great for the superhero lover too.
posted by bluedeans at 7:25 AM on August 12, 2014

Wallace and Gromit
posted by scorpia22 at 8:37 PM on August 13, 2014

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