In my last review where I reviewed the new Netflix series “GLOW,” I realized that there so many binge-worthy shows available on various platforms … and so many of them with little hitches —from partial nudity to gore — that make them unwatchable with parents and kids at the same time.
I’ve also mentioned previously that I don’t have kids, so I don’t know at what age it’s appropriate for children to hear the abundance of sex jokes and references on shows like “Friends.” It seems like a tame, classic sitcom, except for the fact that they are obsessed with sex – and I never really noticed that until I started watching this show more with my mom – and the fact their cast lacks diversity.
I also don’t know at what age it’s appropriate for a kid to watch Drew Barrymore eat Nathan Fillion’s face off on Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet.” Drew Barrymore becomes a zombie, which is awesome, and Nathan Fillion has a brief guest appearance on it as the human equivalent of a barf bag, which wasn’t so awesome, but I’ve already spoiled that his character dies, so it’s not all bad for Fillion.
What I can tell you are these are my top five shows that I would be comfortable forcing my parents to watch with me:
1) “Stranger Things”
Platform: Netflix original series
Right off the bat with the scary one (it’s scary for me, but my boyfriend laughs when I say this), but it’s an awesome, genre-crossing series that incorporates elements of horror, the supernatural, science fiction, and mystery. Set in small town Hawkins, Ind. in the 1980s, “Stranger Things” follows what happens when 12-year-old Will Byers goes missing. Will wasn’t a popular boy in school – far from it, including his older, high school-aged brother Jonathan – and his mother Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) worked odd hours and was a single mother.
After Will’s disappearance, the 10-episode series goes back and forth between following Wills’ closest friends, his mother, the investigating sheriff, Will’s brother, and the family of Will’s friend Mike. A series of strange events unfold, including the appearance of a random, young girl with psychokinetic abilities and a strong unwillingness to talk; a mysterious government agency; another mysterious disappearance; and so many more spoilers.
The mystery of his disappearance is addicting, the appearance of the young girl is intriguing, and the pace of the whole show builds until it becomes explosive with more and more supernatural events.
Now is also a good time to give this show a try if you haven’t already since the second season of it is set to be released in October.
2) “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
This is one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, and as soon as I started watching it, I immediately harassed my friends into watching it, too, and pretty much held some of them hostage until they did (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, they were at my apartment willingly, and I fed them free pizza, but I still made them watch “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”).
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” follows the detectives of a fictional police precinct in Brooklyn, and the show begins right as the precinct is getting a new captain, Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher). The detectives, along with an administrative assistant (Gina Linetti, played by Chelsea Peretti) are a slew of hilarious characters with particularly strong personality traits.
Andy Samberg is Detective Jake Peralta and one of my personal heroes (only partially joking). His character is basically that kid in class who never tries, never does the homework, and still aces the tests because he’s clever. Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) is the nerd to the extreme, who is all about her goals and ambition to the point that she is a little high-strung and insecure. Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) is the loveable giant; Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) is the epitome of badassery; Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) is every straight guy who has been in a hardcore bromance and bro-worshipped his best friend (who is Peralta); and so on. The combination of these characters and their jobs is hilarious and fun.
3) “Parks and Recreation”
Platforms: Netflix, Hulu
Speaking of hilarious and fun, I’m not sure if there will be anything quite like the hilarity of “Parks and Recreation” again. “Parks and Recreation” follows a fictional Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Ind. The show is made in a fake documentary style with the characters occasionally speaking to the camera and follows the employees of this department along with the career of the main character, Deputy Director Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler).
Knope is incredibly positive and enthusiastic about her job along with being wildly awkward at being a regular person. The other characters also have very strong personalities, each one being loveable in their own way. It’s one of the shows that can sort of exceed its sitcom status by being inspiring and adding some emotional touches.
4) “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Platforms: Netflix, Hulu
Marvel fans going through withdrawal in between movies will find a good relief with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It is set in the same universe and shares continuity with the films, focusing on the character Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) as the story continues for S.H.I.E.L.D., Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division. The show portrays how the secret government agency deals with enemies like Hydra and the uncovering of “Inhumans.” It’s full of action interspersed with the comedic, witty breaks that audiences have come to expect with the Marvel movies.
5) “30 Rock”
Another sitcom, this follows a fictional live sketch comedy show “The Girlie Show,” which is loosely based on Tina Fey’s experiences on “Saturday Night Live.” It’s a show of comedians portraying even more ridiculous comedians and writers, revolving around the hapless Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) as she deals with an increasingly senseless but confident Network Executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and demanding, hilariously self-centered stars Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). It’s a fun show full of very meme-worthy moments that are still relatable even after the show ended in 2013.
Reach Sam Wildow at email@example.com or (937) 451-3336