Recommend TV series on DVD (family friendly)

We have to make a 600-mile trip (by car) to take my MIL for follow-up appointments with a cancer specialist. We usually take the kids (my son and his cousins, ages 8 to 14) with us and make it a little “vacation”. Trouble is, there are certain stretches of I-10 (notably between Van Horn, TX and Junction, TX) where watching paint dry would be more exciting.

Fortunately, Saturn makes a minivan with a DVD player as standard equipment, so the folks in the back can watch something more interesting than mile markers. So I’m looking for TV series recommendations.

We’ve already done “Little House on the Prairie”, “The Waltons”, “Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries”, and “Ironsides” and “Perry Mason” (my MIL’s choices). So we’re looking for other family-friendly series. My son likes “MacGyver” and “Walker, Texas Ranger” and Nana will put up with some action as long as the women stay covered up, the language is clean, people aren’t openly living in sin, and the violence is minimal.

There’s my criteria. I know there are a lot of older series, like “Andy Griffith”, “Bonanza”, etc. but it’s the newer series I think the kids might like, but even then I have to be careful (for instance, “The Cosby Show” seems like a great bet, but in the very first season, like the second or third episode, Claire is trying to decide whether to have another baby or not and they make it sound like it’s just going to ruin their lives if she does… even her mother tries to dissuade her.)

So throw your ideas at me, tell me what’s good, what might be problematic (my MIL has VERY high standards, as some of you know from other postings) and I appreciate all the suggestions!

Far be it for me to override the children’s decisions, but maybe you’d like to go to and read the synopses of storylines before playing them. That way you can invest in something like “The Cosby Show”, and if a storyline doesn’t appeal to you, you can just skip over it, or use it as a discussion starter.

I haven’t seen it, but I would assume that some miniseries might be a very good investment. Lonesome Dove (and its sequels/prequels). North and South. Maybe The Civil War and The War miniseries documentaries.

Also, perhaps an epic audiobook is a good investment. Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon series (incl Taleison, Merlin, and Arthur) have been written with a Christian perspective. C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series is available in audio as well, as is J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I am a big fan of audio biographies, and I got Mother Angelica’s audiobiography as a Christmas present… maybe there’s some great historical hero that they may want to learn about. These can eat away at time in record speed.


Do you mean the miniseries based on the books by John Jakes? Yikes! :eek: My husband and I actually like this series (I got it for him for his birthday a couple years ago) but there’s an awful lot of sex going on, an abortion, spousal abuse, etc. My MIL would come unglued!

Thanks for the tip on I’ll check it out! :thumbsup:

Eyeballing some of the new TV-on-DVD out there, it appears that:

  1. The Twilight Zone (entire series) is being sold at a very reasonable rate (off
  2. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones has just came out
  3. Superfriends!!
  4. Gunsmoke
  5. My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks seem to have a very strong cult following, but I’m not certain as to how clean they are. Perhaps others on this board will share.
  6. Waltons season 6 is out.
  7. Moonlighting has a LOT of fun, but avoid the season 2 season finale.
  8. From the Earth to the Moon (vastly encheapened)
  9. Though not a fan of the Bob Newhart TV shows, I assume that they’re clean.
  10. Mission Impossible
  11. DickVanDyke Show
  12. The Wild Wild West
  13. Star Trek (orig series)
  14. The A-Team

Does this help?

My bad. But you won’t get that with Ken Burns’ documentary (whether they’ll go for it or not is another story altogether).

Thanks for the tip on I’ll check it out! :thumbsup:

That’s – the internet movie database.

As much as I love Freaks and Geeks, it wouldn’t be appropriate for the younger kids. There is drug use and a bit of sex, nothing to graphic that I remember though, and a fair amount of drinking.

As much as I like Star Trek, I don’t remember it always being clean. But I second your recommendation for the DickVanDyke Show.

bluerose, my recommendations may be a little girly, but I’ll give it a go:

  1. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (I do not recommend “The Continuing Story” for a variety of reasons).
  2. Avonlea (I remember really liking this TV series, based on stories by the author who wrote Anne)
  3. A Little Princess (the version with Amelia Shankley is well-acted, faithful to the book and nearly three hours long).


My bad. Frisky fingers typing too fast!

bluerose, my recommendations may be a little girly, but I’ll give it a go:

  1. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (I do not recommend “The Continuing Story” for a variety of reasons).
  2. Avonlea (I remember really liking this TV series, based on stories by the author who wrote Anne)
  3. A Little Princess (the version with Amelia Shankley is well-acted, faithful to the book and nearly three hours long).

I think the kids have seen these when younger (it’s one girl and three boys, and the older the boys get, the less “girly” they tolerate!)

I’ve been wondering about “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, “Touched by an Angel”, “Smallville”, etc. I never watched much TV (I am a reader) so I don’t know much about them except that they seem like good stories.

The boys will probably not like Dr Quinn, nor Touched, nor Hallmark-based productions (Sarah Plain and Tall), nor . Joan of Arcadia has good elements, but there were compromises to the show to make it more acceptable to a postmodern demographic–you may not appreciate that, or you may want to use those as discussion starters.

I’ve not watched Smallville, but reading the plot synopsis’ of episodes on imdb, it’s clear that the writers have incorporated a little bit more sex-based storylines in the show that you may not appreciate.

Eureka! (A Town Called Eureka)
Arrested Development
3rd Rock from the Sun
Northern Exposure

Thats all I got as “family friendly” from my collection

Eureka! is brilliant and i belive it is now out on dvd, Season 1. Also completely inoffensive, no violence, no swearing. Check out a synopsis for it…

Firefly is also probably THE best show ever made. But it depends on the age of your children and there is violence and the themes can be rather complex, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone under 16. A

How about Full House…

My So-Called Life ROCKS but totally inappropriate.

Full House would be a good one. Maybe Seventh Heaven? And How about Life Goes On? It’s an oldie I remember watching when I was a kid - it might not be on DVD.

I loved “Life Goes On” and it will be coming out soon, but there were a few problematic episodes (towards the end of the series)–Rebecca poses nude for her HIV-positive boyfriend, Mom wonders if she should terminate her pregnancy if the baby shows signs of birth defects (kind of ironic, no?) and then when the baby is baptized, the priest lets Mom’s Jewish boss be a godparent.

I think the first season was probably the best.

Wow! I don’t remember any of that! :eek:


I can’t believe that you all missed The Muppet Show! At least 2 seasons are on DVD. And I believe the BBC or PBS and entire series on The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Oh, how about Schoolhouse Rock? They are really short, but entertaining. I still like singing them.**

:thumbsup: Already have all three… AND I still know ALL the words to the Preamble to the Constitution by heart!

That one is my favorite as well!!**

I’m a HUGE fan of Smallville and I can tell you that, based on what your mother-in-law will tolerate, Smallville won’t sit well with her at all. It follows the life of Clark Kent from when he was a freshman in a public high school… and that’s definitely an age where most males go through a sexual awakening, so you can expect some elements of sex. Season 2 even has an episode where Clark stumbles upon heat vision for the first time, triggered by looking at his new, attractive teacher (played by Krista Allen).

Plus, Lex Luthor’s in the series, so you can expect a degree of violence as well. It’s a shame about the high standards of your mother-in-law only because Clark’s adoptive parents (played by John Schneider and Annette O’Toole) provide excellent examples of how good parents should be. Alas, I love the series, but the occasional violent or sexual theme doesn’t really rattle my cage all that much.

Thanks for the info, but I rather think it’s a shame the producers feel they have to insert that kind of stuff into an otherwise good family show.

Besides, if you check my OP, I’m talking about content suitable for a kid as young as EIGHT… for that age, ANY sexual themes rattle my cage!

What about Animaniacs or Bugs Bunny cartoons?

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