Let’s face it: Children don’t usually have the same taste as adults. In fact, they can have downright horrible taste in TV programs and movies. Depending on age, kids don’t even recognize bad acting or bad dialogue (not even painful, wince-inducing dialogue)! If you’re currently sharing space with kids, you might be wishing for some streaming ideas they will like that you might also enjoy. From the weird and wonderful to the tried and true, we’ve got some recommendations for you.
Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street—age 7+
Normal Street is a little weird, to be frank, and that’s what makes this half-hour family show so much fun. The three main characters—Gortimer, Ranger, and Mel—are curious without being hopelessly brilliant, ethical without being annoyingly perfect, and silly without being needlessly gross. The trio solve odd mysteries and go on unusual adventures. Good for anyone who might enjoy scary frogs, magical tattoos, runaway horses, and time capsules.
Just Add Magic—age 6+
This half-hour show follows three middle school-aged girls named Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah, who find a magical cookbook in Kelly’s attic. Every recipe includes a riddle, and the girls soon discover that the recipes, although powerful, always come with a downside. Their little town of Saffron Falls is as much a character as all of the residents. The main characters are all female, which is unusual in a kid’s show, so that’s a nice perk.
The Librarians—age 10+
An inventive, if somewhat improbable (there’s little attempt at scientific plausibility—it’s not Star Trek), hour-long program that follows librarians and their guardian (a woman, by the way). The librarians are Renaissance men and women with various intellectual and practical talents who are in charge of protecting a secret library holding history’s magical artifacts. Perfect for families who appreciate Indiana Jones-type adventures, fencing, and time travel. It does have lots of action-y violence.
Belle and Sebastian—age 10+
During the Nazi occupation of France in WWII, a brave little boy living in the French Alps befriends a wild dog. There are lots of quiet scenes with picturesque beauty, including when Sebastian goes swimming with the dog (and discovers she’s a girl, so he names her Belle). Sebastian lives with a grandfather figure who drinks too much. The movie has some intense topics, including hunting and death, but does not have gratuitous violence. There is a subplot involving smuggling Jews across the Alps to Switzerland.
Mia and the White Lion—age 10+
Mia is a very unhappy preteen. Her family abruptly left London to run a lion farm in South Africa. While her brother is an animal lover (with a pet meerkat), she is not. However, an obstinate white lion cub named Charlie adopts her, and they become best friends. There is some violence related to trophy hunting, and Mia gets herself into some dangerous situations to try to get Charlie to a wild animal sanctuary. The lion is gorgeous, and the scenes where he plays with Mia are amazing to watch.
Troop Zero—age 8+
Set in 1977 Georgia, this movie is an underdog comedy with great casting, wonderful costumes, and retro set design. Christmas, the main character, wants to start a Birdie Scout troop in order to participate in their annual jamboree. The prize for the winning troop is to record a message to be taken to space by astronauts on their next mission. The space-loving Christmas, who lives in a trailer park with her well-intentioned attorney single dad (played hilariously by Jim Gaffigan), must gather a troop quickly. She recruits outsiders, gets a “scout mother” (played by Viola Davis), and plans for the talent show. But can they beat the prim and proper troop headed by Miss Massey (Allison Janney)?