Awesome Kids TV
I have a kid now, which means the kind of media floating around in my home has changed since my child-free days. Sure, we still find time to watch The Witcher and The Wheel of Time, and I still love The Expanse when I'm on my own (Christina doesn't care for it because she's a savage), but for the most part, if the TV is on these days, it's playing something kid-friendly because you can't have people getting their heads chopped off in front of a 3-year-old.
As you might have guessed though, the quality of children's programming is all over the place. From the brain-rotting Cocomelon, to the formulaic and ear-wormy Octonauts there's a lot of options out there that can make any adult forced to watch a little bit crazy.
So, I thought I'd make this (short) list of shows that I've been watching recently that I'd consider "kid and adult friendly". If you've got kids, or just enjoy exciting kid-friendly stories, you might wanna check these out.
Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts
I love this show. Kipo is an inspirational character abound with wonderful human qualities. She has a way of seeing the world -- her wild and fantastical world -- that just makes you want to be a better person.
The supportive characters (heroes and villains) are interesting, complex characters with their own backstories and development, the art is fantastic and the music is brilliant. By the second season I was literally punching the air at the opening credits of every episode! It's so good!
At Anna's age (3), I don't think she gets all that much out of it. The characters are cute & funny and the music is fun to dance to. I don't think she's really grasping the plot or anything like that just yet, but I imagine that this show would be enjoyable for pretty much anyone.
The show had a fixed run of 3 seasons, all of which have been released.
- Available on: Cartoon Network, HBO Max
- Published by: Cartoon Network Studios
- Ages: 8+
- Links: Wikipedia, IMDB
I don't think Anna's ready for this just yet, but if your kids are older, it's a great thing to sit down and watch with them.
With each episode running at just 11 minutes, each 10-episode season of Infinity Train follows a different "passenger" as they traverse the train and learn how to sort out their life before they're permitted to return home. Our heroes meet new and interesting characters as they pass through car after car after car after car, learning about themselves and growing as people. Each car is different and more bizarre than the one before it, and the characters we meet along the way are fun, interesting, and sometimes voiced by awesome people like Kate Mulgrew (squee!)
For the most part, I'd say that this is safe for really young kids, but there are a few problematic scenes for younger kids that mean you probably want to avoid it for the young ones. In season 3 a character dies somewhat graphically (no blood, but it's still scary), and in season 1 a character is turned into a sort of shadow monster.
- Available on: Netflix
- Published by: Silvergate Media and Mercury Filmworks
- Ages: 2+
- Links: Wikipedia, IMDB
Anna loves this show and has for a long time. I originally picked it up because my friend Robin worked on season 1 and he sent me a link. I loved it within the first few minutes so I made sure to inject it into Anna's diet in place of some of the dumber stuff.
Hilda is a great character, full of adventure and courage, with a strong sense of justice. She lives in a fantasy world loosely built around Scandinavian folklore, with giants, elves, thunderbirds, and dear foxes, and because Hilda is "a friend to all animals and spirits", she gets along well with (almost) all of them.
The stories are largely self-contained with long-running character development but not much in the way of the "season arcs" you tend to see in some other shows. I think what I love most about the show (aside from Hilda herself) is her relationship with her (single) mother who is objectively a fantastic role model for her kid. Oh and Alfur. He's fantastic too. And Twig! And Woodman!
You should watch this show.
The three above are lesser-knowns, so I wanted to give them special treatment, but there's a few more that're worth covering if you've not heard of them yet:
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Age: 10+
- Publisher: Nickleodeon
- The Legend of Korra:
- Age: 10+
- Publisher: Nickelodeon
- Adventure Time
- Age: 10+
- Publisher: Cartoon Network Studios