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Family watching TV
Get the popcorn ready, it's time for a TV marathon
posted in: Family
by Kristin Smith

Turn TV time into family time

Binge-watch, v.: (informal) watch multiple episodes of (a television program) in rapid succession[1]

In 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word binge-watch to its pages. With the advent of streaming devices and digital video recorders (DVRs), this word deserves to be a part of the lexicon, but is it something you can do as a family? We think so. We did some digging and found some family friendly shows that you can start watching with your kids without feeling guilty.

Make it a competition

These shows will have you all rooting for your favorite team or contestant while keeping you entertained.

  • The Amazing Race (CBS) – Teams race around the world for a chance to win cash.      
  • The Voice (NBC) – Four coaches select teams of vocalists during blind auditions. Singers compete to progress to the live performance shows where America votes for the winner. They’re hoping to win a recording contract, while the winning coach gets bragging rights.
  • Dancing with the Stars (ABC) – celebrities unite with professionals dancers to compete
    for audience votes.
  • So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) – Dancers master a specific dance style each week. The winner is selected by viewers and earns the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer.”       
  • MasterChef Junior (FOX) – Think of this as MasterChef light. Children compete against each other to earn the title of MasterChef Junior.

Inspire new interests

Watch these shows to motivate your kids to try something new or indulge in something they are already passionate about.        

  • Mythbusters (Discovery Channel) – Scientists test the legitimacy of myths and legends to see what holds up.    
  • SciGirls (PBS) – Have kids that love science, technology, engineering, and math? This is the show for them! Don’t let the name fool you, boys and girls will both enjoy this show.
  • Who Do You Think You Are (NBC/TLC) – Celebrities research their family history. The celebs will draw you in and the history lessons will keep you watching.
  • Game Changers (CBS) – This show focuses on sports stars that use their fame to effect positive change in the world.        
  • All in with Laila Ali (CBS) – Laila travels the world to find extraordinary stories about people who have gone all in on their dreams.      
  • Cosmos (FOX/National Geographic Channel) - Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts this thrilling exploration of the universe.

Be dramatic together

Catch these shows to get your drama fix.       

  • The Librarians (TNT) – A group of “librarians” with special skills are charged with protecting mystical artifacts.
  • Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street (Amazon) – Gortimer and his two best friends live on a street called “Normal” that is anything but.        
  • Good Witch (Hallmark Channel) – A Mom and her daughter have good hearts and special powers that make their neighbors suspicious.      
  • Star Wars Rebels (Disney XD) – Based on the popular movies, this animated series keeps the story going.        
  • Once Upon a Time (NBC) – The daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming finds herself in a town called Storybrooke, where fairy tale legends and the real world crash into each other.
  • Meet the Smiths (TBS) -  A reality show that follows NBA star Kenny Smith, his wife, Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith, and their five kids. This show is unscripted, blended family fun.

Share some belly laughs

There's nothing like laughing until your stomach hurts. These shows will activate everyone's funny bone.

  • Full House and Fuller House (Netflix) – Start your kids off with the old school version and keep the fun going with the revival.
  • The Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney) – Follow three young wizards as they try to master their powers while facing the trials of being teenagers.        
  • Animaniacs (Netflix) – This animated variety show featuring Yakko, Wakko, and Dot provides laughter for all ages.        
  • We Bare Bears (Cartoon Network) – Three brother bears trying to acclimate to civilized society in the San Francisco Bay area struggle in a tech-driven world.      
  • The Muppets (Amazon) – Who doesn’t love the Muppets? Watch old or new versions of this show and fall in love with the characters.

We’ve laid it out for you, now you just have to choose. So pick a show, pop some popcorn, and get comfortable. The family that binge-watches together, stays together.

Have shows to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

[1] "binge-watch, v". OED Online. October 2016. Oxford University Press. (accessed October 12, 2016).

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