TV Show recommendations to watch with my daughter?
June 17, 2015 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking for TV Show recommendations (sci-fi, adventure, mystery) to watch with my 9 year old daughter who is currently a big Dr. Who fan.

My daughter and I watched a lot Doctor Who (the newest series), and she really loves it. I'm looking for something else we can watch together. My happiness is of course second to my daughter's on this, but I'd love it if I could find something that wouldn't bore me tears.

She does seem to be inclined to sci fi, but not strictly, she says she likes Dr. Who because "it's sci fi and mystery and adventure and you learn about history stuff". She likes nature shows as well. Open to animation (we tried Legend of Korra, but she did not take to it).

Star Trek: TNG would seem like an obvious choice I guess, although I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy going back to that. Farscape? Maybe some history/adventure BBC show I don't know about?

Bonus if it's available on streaming. Thanks in advance!
posted by malphigian to Media & Arts (49 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Wolfblood? Streams on Netflix but a much smaller palate than Who -- still, has family-friendly werewolves with sharp writing and humour. Season 1 and 2 are the best.
posted by Mogur at 3:48 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe The Musketeers. It is from BBC, and a bit more sex and violence than Dr Who, but still pretty tame / PG overall. The first season was great, but the villain in season two is pretty terrible. History and adventure are there, although no Sci-Fi of course.
posted by ridogi at 3:52 PM on June 17, 2015

It's a different format (11-minute, relatively silly animated episodes) but in terms of sci-fi and adventure and (totally fake) history, I can't recommend Steven Universe more. It's really really good. A good chunk is streaming on Hulu.

ST:TNG isn't a bad choice but it tends to be pretty slow, especially compared to Doctor Who.

Have you looked at Avatar: the Last Airbender? It's a lot easier to get into than Korra. And funnier. Again, it's animated.

Another option that I remember really liking at that age was the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I've also heard really good things about Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.
posted by sleeping bear at 3:54 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh man, Twilight Zone. The original ones from the 60s. They are so good. I watched them with my mom when I was a kid. (The experience was enhanced by the fact that she had grown up with all of them, with her seeing them for the first time on TV when she was the same age I was watching them with her.) They're great little morality plays and will give you plenty to talk about after each episode. They're black and white and some of the episodes have aged very poorly, so it might be hit or miss on holding her interest, but for me personally it was a great show to watch with my mom.
posted by phunniemee at 3:57 PM on June 17, 2015 [8 favorites]

Oh, and Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey may be of interest.
posted by ridogi at 3:58 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Twilight Zone sounds good.

Some of the Star Trek TNG eps with really strong hooks could be good, esp where not much knowledge about the backstories is necessary. Like Cause and Effect, where the ship explodes and they keep repeating the events that lead up to it. If you decide to get into the series as a whole, season 3 is generally regarded as the best starting point.

Maybe some of the lighter, less scary episodes of the X-Files.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:17 PM on June 17, 2015

The new BBC adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which is about English wizards during the Napoleonic War. The screenwriter and director are both Doctor Who veterans.
posted by chrisulonic at 4:18 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Strongly seconding Steven Universe! Its mythology is very interesting and it feels feminist and diverse to me (Estelle voices Amethyst, one of the Gems). Autostraddle agrees.
posted by Devika at 4:21 PM on June 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just came in to say Steven Universe!!!!!!!!!! With that many exclamation points, because it's really awesome. I wish my daughter were old enough to enjoy it as much as I do.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:30 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Twilight Zone scared the ever loving crap out of me when I was your daughter's age.

If she likes mysteries, maybe Psych? My daughter started watching it with me when she was about 11, and it's fun.
posted by cooker girl at 4:34 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Warehouse 13!
posted by Lemmy Caution at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

posted by DarlingBri at 4:36 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Young Indiana Jones did history and adventure pretty well.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2015

Buffy? 9 might be a little young though. My daughter binged watched it at 12 or 13.
posted by COD at 4:39 PM on June 17, 2015

Xena: Warrior Princess? I loved it at that age, though obviously there real history to be had there. You can have some fun pointing out where Xena is gleefully ignoring actual history and mythology though! Not sure how it holds up for the youths watching for the first time without the rosy glasses of nostalgia though. It's all on Netflix last I checked.

I also watched Highlander at that age, which features a lot of heads being chopped off and some slightly racy scenes, but also a lot of historical events/flashbacks. Fair warning, it is aggressively 90s, and I don't know if kids these days are into that. I think the whole series is on Netflix and Hulu.

Oh, and not a TV show per se, but the Sky network in the UK did a few Discworld TV movie/miniseries adaptations which are tremendous fun.
posted by yasaman at 4:41 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Farscape is a bit mature for her, I think: it has blood and vomit and sex and genocide in it. It's fab, but I think better for a 12-year-old.

Eureka might work: it's pretty lighthearted and often very funny, and sci-fi-ish without being full of aliens or magic.

I won't claim Primeval is objectively good, but it has its appeal, if you like dinosaurs. I second the suggestion for Avatar: the Last Airbender; it's really wonderful.
posted by suelac at 4:52 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

H2O (the original three seasons; not the later day ones). The Elephant Princess (season one; don't bother with season two). The comedic Xena episodes are good for kids, but the serious Xena episodes are too sexy and violent. Also, I don't think Farscape is kid safe, IMHO. Voyager is okay if you stick to the "best episodes" lists you can find on the internet; Captain Janeway + Seven of Nine are two strong female characters.
posted by jabah at 4:55 PM on June 17, 2015

The Librarians.
posted by Shanda at 5:07 PM on June 17, 2015 [6 favorites]

Everybody knocks Star Trek: Voyager, but I loved it and if I was raising a kid you can bet I'd be watching it with them. A lot of strong, intelligent women in that show, women who are leaders and scientists and butt-kickers. If your daughter grows up with Kathryn Janeway as a role model, she'll do just fine. I mean, Janeway is a starship captain, and for fun she goes to hang out with Leonardo Da Vinci in the holodeck. That sounds like the kind of lady your kid would want to get to know!

It can get a little dark or sexy sometimes, but I don't think there's much in there that'd be too much for kids. It is a Star Trek show after all, and they knew when they were making it that plenty of kids would be watching.

How about the original Doctor Who? It's a very different experience from the new series, but there's the same DNA in there. Sit her down with one of the better Tom Baker stories and see if she digs it. It could be fun for her to see Sarah Jane's old adventures, then follow that up with The Sarah Jane Adventures.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:09 PM on June 17, 2015

posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:18 PM on June 17, 2015

Adventure Time!
posted by bleep at 5:51 PM on June 17, 2015

I'm also living with a 9-year-old girl who love Doctor Who...She will watch some of the other shows mentioned, but doesn't love them in the same way. Her other favorites are mostly sitcoms--Parks and Rec, Malcolm in the Middle, Bobs Burgers and Raising Hope.
posted by bubonicpeg at 5:58 PM on June 17, 2015

Seconding Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell. Although there have only been 4 episodes so far and, I believe it will top out a 7. Still-- it's great!

Do you have Netflix Streaming? I loved Sense 8. You should preview it to make an assessment regarding age-appropriate sex and gender subject matter. But it's wonderful in the sense of being filled with wonder. It's certainly a great way to start some conversations.

Try both the BBC Sherlock and the U. S. Elementary. If she likes mysteries then opening the Sherlock Holmes door is a must.

My niece really liked The Sarah Connor Chronicles when she was around that age. Well, maybe 10.
posted by cleroy at 6:07 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not sure if the special effects would go over well with a young audience but maybe the old (1981) BBC version of Hitchhiker's Guide would be fun?
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:55 PM on June 17, 2015

The CW Flash maybe?

Probably not Arrow, but Flash is lighter, more about how cool it is to have superpowers. Not available for free streaming at this point, but is out on Amazon streaming. Will probably be on Netflix before too long. (They have the first two seasons of Arrow.)
posted by Naberius at 7:25 PM on June 17, 2015

I'm 32, so maybe kids today would find it dated, but watching TNG with my parents each week is honestly one of my fondest memories from that age. I say that as someone who had a very happy childhood with very wonderful parents.
posted by gatorae at 7:47 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

My nine year old girl was obsessed with Psych-she's watched eight billion seasons. She loves the humor and witty banter and trying to solve the mysteries. She also loves Once
posted by purenitrous at 8:11 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Middleman. Just 1 season, unfortunately. It's about a 20-something woman who stumbles into a mad-scientist related event, and based on how she remains fearless in the face of very strange peril, she's recruited by an odd superhero called The Middleman. He works for an agency is a bit like a more-cartoony Men In Black, and he considers her a candidate for being the next Middleman. Funny, charming, and IIRC family-friendly.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:07 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

my 8yo daughter also loves Dr. Who.

Try Avatar! Better then Legend of Kora, and I love love loved it too. We also enjoyed Terra Nova (one of the early episodes had some innuendo I was worried about, but after that it was very family friendly.)

But seriously: Star Trek Voyager. My daughter loved it and its a great show. You don't need a "list of best episodes"; there are only a few duds. I also don't understand why people bash it. Closet chauvinists I guess. We're now on Deep Space Nine.
posted by hollyanderbody at 9:07 PM on June 17, 2015

My daughter and I bonded while watching Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls (not sci-fi but quirky and fun), Gilmore Girls, and Miyazaki films like Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro. Sadly, only GG is streaming.
posted by kbar1 at 9:12 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Sarah Jane Adventures features Sarah Jane from Doctor Who and a bunch of young teens, having adventures on Earth that involve aliens and spooky doings. Could be right up her alley.

Some plots that were originally conceived for Sarah Jane Adventures were used in Wizards vs. Aliens, another BBC show starring teens. It is...exactly what it says. Wizards vs. Aliens. Imagine Doctor Who meets Harry Potter. With Gwendoline Christie as one of the aliens of the title.
posted by rednikki at 10:19 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe Quantum Leap. There may not be enough action for her, but it seemed to have held up surprisingly well when I rewatched it a few years ago.
posted by willnot at 10:25 PM on June 17, 2015

She might enjoy Sliders
posted by willnot at 10:27 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

> I loved Sense 8. You should preview it to make an assessment regarding age-appropriate sex and gender subject matter. But it's wonderful in the sense of being filled with wonder. It's certainly a great way to start some conversations.

FWIW, we (adult lesbian couple) watched the first ep this weekend and it was so incredibly, graphically violent that I completely forgot there was even a (very nice, quite tame) lesbian sex scene in it.

Eureka, maybe. Science-y, fiction-y, kind of goofy and fun.
posted by rtha at 10:30 PM on June 17, 2015

Older shows, light and fun, with deliberately corny action in historical settings and some sci-fi elements: Adventures of Brisco County Jr and then the similar-in-tone Jack of All Trades?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:25 PM on June 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Steven Universe, Gravity Falls, and the recently departed, much-missed Phineas and Ferb.
posted by jbickers at 4:26 AM on June 18, 2015

I also don't understand why people bash (Voyager). Closet chauvinists I guess.

I suspect that's often the case, but I think it's become a geek shibboleth that the show was a trainwreck and now even people who might normally love it just automatically dismiss it. That show is really overdue for a reappraisal. DS9 got one, and that's awesome, but Voyager is way better than its rep suggests.

I remember an early episode where Janeway and Torres were rushing around in engineering, trying to suss out some big problem before the warp core exploded, and it hit me that this was a scene of two brainy women doing fiddly scientific work of life-saving consequence... and it wasn't even some big special moment, it was just a totally natural part of the show! Love me some Voyager.

Oh, and seconding (or thirding, or whatever) Adventure Time. EVERYBODY should be watching Adventure Time.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ooo, 90s 'kids' show, Eerie, Indiana.

Very Dr Who, or a less relentlessly depressing Twilight Zone, and fully suburban weird.

It is good from the very first episode, so give that one a shot to see if you like it.
It has been a long time since I saw the series.

(Spoilers for first episode:
New kid in town thinks there is something weird about wholesome 'Eerie, Indiana'. His Mom gets encouraged to buy a Tupperware competitor, called "Foreverware", which really DOES keep things fresh forever, and really DOES sell things in 'Family Sized'... Dun dun duuun!)
posted by Elysum at 8:08 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Episodes are online. Guess what I've been doing for the last half hour? Oops.
posted by Elysum at 8:39 AM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Eerie, Indiana. I was 12 when that show came out and I absolutely loved it. And thanks to Elysum's link above, I'll be revisiting it very soon!

BBC's Sherlock might be a good choice too. Although it does deal with violent crimes, the content is pretty tame and age appropriate.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:03 AM on June 18, 2015

She might like "Sliders."

Alt-reality twists on the history she picks up, with the science. Tame enough for a 9 year old, I think.
posted by Thistledown at 9:09 AM on June 18, 2015

Oh Eureka is a great suggestion! (Less so Quantum Leap IMHO as it fails the Bechdale Test and I kind of feel like all the instances where he leaps into the body of a woman are played for laughs in a way that is unpleasant in 2015. It's of its time but I think there are better options.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:37 AM on June 18, 2015

You might give Radio Free Roscoe a try. Not sf or mystery, but a good show. Link to first episode on youtube so you can check it out.
posted by gudrun at 11:32 AM on June 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're on point with TNG. I loved TNG at that age (and still love it now).

Seconding Radio Free Roscoe.
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Quantum Leap
Poirot (old english mysteries on the BBC I think. I used to LOVE them! Plus, hilarious moustache!)
Murder She Wrote (I loved it at that age, and the violence is pretty tame by today's standards)
Matlock (see Murder She Wrote)

Sherlock (the new ones with Benedict Cumberbatch)
Lost? (Might be a bit heavy for a 9 year old)
Xena? (butt kicking and fighting and violence, but pretty tame all considered)
Alias? (I'd mind the guns and killing at that age, probably too mature for that age)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:04 PM on June 18, 2015

You guys might enjoy Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. There are some mature themes, so it may or may not be appropriate. But its a great sci-fi concept with some badass women leads, which I always loved.
posted by bluloo at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2015

My nine-year-old daughter and I currently watch The Simpsons most nights -- her choice (but she looooved Korra, so our daughters might have different tastes). A huge number of the episodes are cynical or weird about sex in a way that I don't think is age appropriate, but other than that it's all fine. We also both love Whose Line is it Anyway.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:29 PM on June 18, 2015

Pre-screen either Sherlock or Elementary; both have some pretty gruesome crimes and stuff.

In the detective line, what about Columbo?
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:23 PM on June 18, 2015

Came back to add Special Unit 2 (only one season unfortunately).

(I would also pre-screen Dollhouse.)
posted by gudrun at 4:17 AM on June 20, 2015

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