Usually I try to suggest activities that will keep your kids away from screens for a couple hours, but today has not been my best day. So instead of great fun activities for your kids, today I am going to share some of my favorite shows for grownups that I can watch when my kids are awake without resorting to the old “Who wants to watch the iPad in their bedroom?” trick. (That can be an effective trick if you really really can’t wait to watch the new episode of Westworld or something, but use it sparingly.) If you need a break from the 30 millionth viewing of the Boss Baby series on Netflix (seriously, my kids have watched every episode at least 12,000 times), commandeer the TV and put on one of these series
Competitive reality shows are a really good option if you enjoy them. LEGO Masters is the first that comes to mind, which is definitely a family show in my book, but it doesn’t show up in a kids’ profile on Hulu, so it counts. Top Chef All-Stars just started back up, is on Hulu, and the language isn’t anything worse than my kids hear when I am driving. All seasons of Top Chef are on Hulu, actually. In the cooking genre, well, really any cooking show you like is probably ok, so go ahead and throw on a Chopped (or Chopped Junior or Chopped Sweets) marathon (all on Hulu). Also consider: Chef’s Table (Netflix), The Final Table (Netflix), Ugly Delicious (Netflix), Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix), or The Chef Show (Netflix). Obviously, I don’t have to tell you just inject the Great British Baking Show into your veins.
Documentary or informational series are also great ways to neglect your children. Nico loves watching Grand Designs with his dad. The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes is similar, but not as good. They are both on Netflix. That Jeff Goldblum show on Disney+ is also great, but I am not going to take the time to look up the actual title. How It’s Made is strangely comforting in an uncertain world.
Almost any period piece is going to be appropriate. Nico has gotten really squeamish about blood recently, so he objects to my watching The Musketeers (Hulu) in his presence, but when he was younger that was a great action adventure show to watch together. I am also a huge fan of the somewhat cheesy BBC Robin Hood series from the early aughts that starred Richard Armitage as a guyliner and leather pants-wearing Guy of Gisbourne. The English Game is a new Netflix show about the dawn of professional soccer that I enjoyed, and The Durrels in Corfu is funny and charming (Amazon Prime).
Finally, and possibly most relevant to GeekTyrant’s interests, is old-timey sci-fi! Star Trek: The Original Series and its attendant spinoff/sequel series — Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and The Next Generation — are available on Hulu and Prime Video, and even the episode where Riker sends Picard on a vacation to Swinger Island Planet (not its real name) is tame enough to watch with your kids around. Smallville is TV PG and is on Hulu, and so is Firefly. (Those aren’t exactly “old-timey” but they aired on network television before we achieved Peak TV, so the standards were tighter.) Amazon Prime also has a collection of Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from the 1940s that are probably technically not for grownups but are not as grating as most of the shows your kids watch.
None of that will help you if you are at your limit and only an episode of The Witcher will calm your nerves (please do not watch The Witcher with your children), but it’s a start. What are your favorite child-safe shows for adults?