May I be frank for a minute? The idea of family game nights make me want to slit my wrists with the dagger from Clue. It’s not that I don’t like my family. It has everything to do with the fact that I don’t love playing games. It’s a jerk mom move to not have family game nights with your kids. But let’s face it, sometimes kids are hard. They like to make up their own rules and the last thing I want to do during a fun family night activity is have to be bad cop and enforce rules. I am SO grateful for Netflix family programming becoming a priority of the service this year. As a lifelong TV lover, that’s something I can totally get behind. It’s the perfect family night idea. All you need is Netflix, a few snacks and your loved ones.
This post is created in partnership with Netflix. As part of their #StreamTeam panel, I get to watch a lot of television and let you know what my favorites are and what you can look forward to on the service. It’s pretty rad.
I brought up the arrival of family content on Netflix in my Fuller House review post but I’m pretty dang excited about it. Growing up, my sister and I would climb up on my mom’s bed to watch our “shows.” This was at the height of the family sitcom era and we couldn’t wait for the one or two nights each week when we could see the new episodes and our favorite characters. My mom was always there watching and laughing right along with us. Before Fuller House, it was either kids programming that they love but I can’t stand (except Phineas and Ferb because that is so smartly written and humorous) or the programs I love (trashy reality shows or super heavy dramas) that I can’t watch if my kids are in the house because of the mature content. So where does that leave our family TV nights? Netflix to the rescue! We had a chance to speak with Brian Wright, a senior VP in charge of family programming for Netflix at the TCA event. There are tons of awesome family shows coming our way. Netflix recently announced that they are focusing hard on family entertainment. Realizing that not all families are the same, there will be shows aimed at families with small children while others will try to reach those with older kids. With deals in place to develop shows with the Dr. Seuss estate and Warner Bros., you can guess at the quality of shows we can expect. Not all of the programming will be done in the half hour sitcom format but there will certainly be something to appeal to most families. Some shows are still in the dealmaking phase while others are a done deal and headed for production.
One such show is the first ever scripted show, based on a YouTube star, called Haters Back Off based on Miranda Sings. Also on the horizon is a show from Jim Henson’s company called Word Party, a show about teenage musicians trying to see where music can take them in life called Lost and Found Music Studios, an animated update of the King Kong series called Kong: King of the Apes, and starting this summer, is the much-anticipated series, The Get Down, about how rap music came to be that will appeal to adults and tweens. Degrassi: Next Class is currently streaming on the site and is perfect for high school aged teens and their parents. With a plan to roll out 20 new family shows this year, there is sure to be something your family will want to watch together. So put away those board games and get comfy on the couch. You’ve got some television to watch, together.There are some challenges in trying to appeal to adults and kids at the same time, and also in finding a range of whats appropriate for kids at different ages. We also had the opportunity to talk to Jeff Franklin, creator and producer of Full House and Fuller House, at our TCA round table. He says it always has been a balancing act with trying to appeal to all age groups and even more so now since boundaries have been stretched far beyond what they were in 1987. Because of that, Fuller House feels a little more adult than the original show. But it will still appeal to kids, as well, thanks to story lines of the Fuller children.
As a parent, it’s important for me to watch programs with my kids so I know exactly what they are being exposed to. And just like Jodie, Cameron and Andrea used to do on set, kids will sometimes laugh at things (along with adults) that they don’t really understand. This is something family TV has always dealt with. Might I remind you of a Growing Pains character named Richard “Boner” Stabone…I had NO idea that was not the most appropriate character name for a show that appealed to kids. It will be our job, as adults, to find the shows amongst the new content, that are right for our family members. I’m just SO glad we will finally have more options to watch together! Keep an eye out for new Netflix family programming being added to the site!
In the meantime, here are some fun collections of family shows on Netflix inspired by Fuller House! (Did you hear? Dave Coulier announced on Kathie Lee and Hoda that Fuller House has been picked up for season 2 already!)