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ASK MATTHEW

10 reader-approved TV shows for parents and tweens

From left: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Ted Danson, and D'Arcy Carden in "The Good Place."
From left: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Ted Danson, and D'Arcy Carden in "The Good Place."NBC/Colleen Hayes/NBC

Last week, I got an email from a parent asking me to recommend TV series to watch with tween children. I don’t have kids, and my sense of what is appropriate for them may be totally off; so I invited Globe readers to basically do my job. They were willing.

One reader noticed that sitcoms have been “the most successful whole-family shows with my 13- and 16-year-olds,” and, indeed, the bulk of suggestions I received were of comedies or light-hearted dramas. Here are some of the titles. Remember, proceed with caution, or do some advance sampling; parents’ standards of what is suitable for children vary.

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Martin Freeman (left) as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock."
Martin Freeman (left) as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock." Robert Viglasky

“Sherlock” This reader’s family is “loving the Benedict Cumberbatch ‘Sherlock.’ ” Yes, it’s about murders, but “it’s not gory,” focusing instead on “Sherlock’s smarts.” The filming techniques also appeal, “with the editing effects zooming in on crumbs and tan lines and worn hems to add up to Sherlock’s deductions.” Netflix

“Doctor Who” This beloved British sci-fi series about time travel has featured 13 different actors playing the Doctor during its long run. The reader specified “the David Tennant and Matt Smith years,” which are 2005-13. HBO Max

“Galavant” “Our whole family immensely enjoyed this musical sitcom set in the Middle Ages,” the reader said. “The music is truly fantastic and keeps the silly plot moving along quickly. The hard part about watching this show is knowing it was canceled after the second season and we never get to know what happened in the end. It’s also really nice to see some racial inclusiveness in the casting.” No longer streaming on Netflix, it is available for purchase on a number of services, including Amazon.

“Anne With an E” A reader says this series, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables,” is “perfect for parent and tweens to watch together,” adding, “I absolutely loved it.” Netflix

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“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” “There are bits that get slightly adult for kids,” a reader says about this endearing ensemble sitcom starring Andy Samberg, “but the relationships and fun in this show are well worth it.” Various seasons streaming on Hulu and Peacock

Alex Newell as Mo and Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke in  "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist."
Alex Newell as Mo and Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke in "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist."NBC/Sergei Backlakov/NBC

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” Currently in its second season, this dramedy is about a heroine who sees and hears people expressing their feelings through pop songs. “The relationships, the music, the fantasy,” a reader wrote. “This appeals to our musicals-loving family.” NBC and Peacock

Old-school sitcoms This reader’s family has been enjoying old episodes of “Green Acres” and “The Addams Family” (some seasons of both are on the Roku channel) with “elementary-age kids, and the content is neither too baby-ish nor too mature.” Also noted: “Gilligan’s Island” (for sale on Amazon), “The Brady Bunch” (Hulu), and “Happy Days” (CBS All Access).

“My So-Called Life” One reader called this one-season wonder starring Claire Danes “an excellent depiction of teen angst” and “a great conversation starter” for parents and their children. Another praised the way the characters on the show “felt so palpably real.” ABC.com

K. Todd Freeman (left), Louis Hynes, and Malina Weissman in Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events."
K. Todd Freeman (left), Louis Hynes, and Malina Weissman in Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events."Joe Lederer / Netflix

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” A reader joined me in recommending it, adding, “My niece and nephew would read a book in the series and then watch the corresponding episode. Then, they would read the next book in the series, etc. They love both the books and the series!” Netflix

“The Good Place” As the reader noted about this thought-provoking sitcom starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, “Any sitcom that gets a 12-year-old to start reading philosophy books on her own, for fun, has something really special going on.” Netflix

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A number of people sent in titles only, with little or no commentary. They included “The Middle” (HBO Max), “The Goldbergs” (Hulu), “Monk” (Peacock, Amazon), “The Wonder Years” (Hulu), “Psych” (Peacock, Amazon), “Diary of a Future President” (Disney+), and the wonderful “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), but, according to the reader, only “if families can handle some adult language.”



Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.