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April 29, 2022 22:43 +0100  |  Media 0

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

  • Available on: Netflix
  • Published by: Dreamworks
  • Ages: 3+
  • Links: Wikipedia, IMDB

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.

Infinity Train

  • 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.

Hilda

  • 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.

Honourable Mentions

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:

April 15, 2009 02:03 +0100  |  Culture Media Nifty Links 3

Cat sent this link to me some time ago and I've been meaning to post it here. Now that I have a few minutes, I'll take that time to share it with you.

Essentially, the whole piece is about how modern media is slowly replacing the novel, and more importantly, why it should. Here are a few good snippets:

A novel is not a grab bag of political opinions unless the author is a grab bag of political opinions. If you deduce a political message from a novel, it's because the author has been effective at showing you the consequences of a political position that he or she doesn't like very much.
...modern storytelling has incorporated every trick that once made the novel king of the sand heaps. Look at the collected works of Joss Whedon: continuity is lovingly maintained; wry character relationships are established and undermined with plenty of twists and turns; the fourth wall is broken; a mixture of serious emotional directness and all-embracing "comedy" is strived for. If you actually read the Harry Potter books as opposed to hating on principle those who actually read the Harry Potter books, you'll see that what's addictive about them usually isn't the escapist allure of being a boy-wizard, but the fact that J.K. Rowling is abnormally good at not telegraphing her plot points and at maintaining a strong sense of suspense.

If you fancy an interesting read, here it is: In College You Learn That There Are Vampires (or Why Johnny Can't Read Ulysses).

February 13, 2009 05:00 +0000  |  Copyright Media 12

Dear Joss,

I'm hoping you can help me with an ethical problem I'm having: I'm about to download the premiere of Dollhouse by way of bittorrent free of charge, but I'd still like to have a way to thank you and the rest of the cast & crew financially.

You see, I don't have cable. I stopped subscribing when they cancelled your last show because frankly, there wasn't anything good on TV anymore. Turns out you can get all the shows you want for free online anyway and then only watch the stuff you want, when you want. It all kinda makes cable look... well pointless really.

But now that you're about to release your new (undoubtably brilliant) show, I find myself wanting to support you all in your quest to make good stories and you know, eat. However my desire to re-sign with a cable company for one show that only runs at an inconvenient fixed time feels just as silly as it did months ago so I'd like to find a way to just flat-out give you money.

I'll mail you a cheque, or I can use PayPal, or some other e-friendly payment method it doesn't matter -- I'm happy to jump through that hoop for you guys. I just wanna say "thank you" and I'm sorry, but I'm busy Friday night so I can't say thank you by paying $40 to a cable company, skipping my plans and enduring all of those insipid commercials. How 'bout I just give you some cash? Sound good? How much do you think my fractional portion of the advertising revenues is worth? Whatever it is, I'm sure I can afford to pay double that.

I eagerly await your reply with directions to your tip jar.

Thanks so much,

Daniel Quinn
Vancouver, Canada

I want to send this to him, but apparently, Joss doesn't have a fan mail address (who can blame him, it'd probably be rammed in a few hours). Fox's Dollhouse site seems to be a collection of one-way communication aside from a pretty useless login-protected forum. I may just have to wait until the show's cancelled so I can buy it on DVD... just like Buffy, Angel and Firefly. How sad.

January 28, 2009 21:40 +0000  |  Media Science and Nature 4

The Discovery Channel commissioned this commercial from a company called 72 and Sunny and it's been bouncing around the internet lately. I thought I'd share 'cause it's pretty cool. However, since their embed code seems insistent on forcing an annoying autoplay "feature", I've taken it off my site. Here's a link if you're interested :-)

July 11, 2008 16:57 +0100  |  Communism Media 1

I found this this morning while looking for more information on the latest DNS exploit. Pure brilliance it is:

GORBACHOV: THE MUSIC VIDEO - BIGGER AND RUSSIANER from Tom Stern on Vimeo.

July 11, 2008 05:49 +0100  |  Culture Media 6

Discovered via K's blog, Doctor Horrible's sheer brilliance was immediately evident. A Joss Whedon creation, Doctor Horrible will be a miniseries broadcast online ONLY and only between the 15th and the 20th of July. I'll let Joss explain it all in his typical style:

Once upon a time, all the writers in the forest got very mad with the Forest Kings and declared a work-stoppage. The forest creatures were all sad; the mushrooms did not dance, the elderberries gave no juice for the festival wines, and the Teamsters were kinda pissed. (They were very polite about it, though.) During this work-stoppage, many writers tried to form partnerships for outside funding to create new work that circumvented the Forest King system.

Frustrated with the lack of movement on that front, I finally decided to do something very ambitious, very exciting, very mid-life-crisisy. Aided only by everyone I had worked with, was related to or had ever met, I single-handedly created this unique little epic. A supervillain musical, of which, as we all know, there are far too few.

The idea was to make it on the fly, on the cheap – but to make it. To turn out a really thrilling, professionalish piece of entertainment specifically for the internet. To show how much could be done with very little. To show the world there is another way. To give the public (and in particular you guys) something for all your support and patience. And to make a lot of silly jokes. Actually, that sentence probably should have come first.

I will of course be watching. Or more likely, downloading the stream to watch later. If it's any good (how can it not? It's got Neil Patrick Harris AND Nathan Fillion!), I'll probably buy the DVD. Big kudos to Joss and friends for pushing the envelope in media composition and distribution!