Hey! We're in a pandemic!
Or at least we were. Or sort of still are. Whatever.
Now that we got that breaking news out of the way...
The main thing we learned over the last 18 or so months is that not doing stuff outside of your house sucks. On the other hand, not leaving the house is pretty great – unless you have little ones stuck in the house with you. I mean, we all love our kids, but things really got ridiculous.
Never fear! With the endless amount of streaming content available, there are lots of shows that parents and kids can both tolerate just enough to stream until things are fully reopened and we can get back to letting our children exchange boogers on the playground while we look at our phones. Or, hey, maybe even in a post-pandemic world you'll want to spend time with your kids (LOL!).
Here are the top five TV shows to stream with your kids, pandemic or nah:
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts flew a bit under the radar, but this animated series from Dreamworks really delivers, with a great soundtrack, lovable characters, and an immortal mutant bug (yep, you read that right).
The content is never too scary and there's a thread of optimism and positivity that runs through it without it coming off as cheesy. The humor is clever enough to appease adults while the action sequences and dialogue are entertaining for the kiddos. Sadly, it's only 3 seasons, so you'll burn through it quickly, but it will be a fun few weeks for the fam.
Unlike many kids shows on Netflix, it features a compelling story where each episode ends with a cliffhanger, ala Netflix's many adult binge-worthy shows.
Kipo is streaming on Netflix.
Star Wars: Rebels
One of Disney's first courageous acts of saving the Star Wars franchise was this gem of a TV show. As one of my friends who is among the most avid Star Wars fans I've ever met in person or otherwise (he spent $5,000 on a Han Solo in carbonite coffee table...) put it: "It's actually really good."
Rebels features a lovable, ragtag bunch of characters, enough Star Wars lore and mystery to feed your inner Jedi, some really great animation, and an engrossing tale of how the Rebel Alliance came into existence.
And it features a bunch of tie-ins for fans of The Mandalorian, which is reason enough to watch all 4 seasons.
One word of warning: There are a few episodes that could be a bit too scary for kids under 8. Watch for the ones where they're visiting Jedi temples in particular – they can be full of visions and one even shows the dead bodies of Jedi masters who permanently await the return of their apprentices.
You can stream Rebels on Disney+.
If you're like me, you mostly remember Nickelodeon for sliming innocent children and for mentally scarring you with Ren & Stimpy.
So it was a bit of a surprise when they launched a Ron Howard backed live action sci-fi show that features a complex narrative arc and impressive production quality.
The Astronauts is shades of the '80s title SpaceCamp, kid adventure movies like Goonies, and Ron Howard space adoration, all wrapped up into one.
It can get a little too complex for the youngin's — my 7 year old had a hard time following some of the more subtle plot points — but all in all the entire family will quickly become invested in this show. Here's hoping Ron is willing to shell out the budget for a few more seasons.
You can catch The Astronauts streaming on demand with your cable provider, including YouTube TV, and watch the first episode for free on Nickelodeon's website.
Dragons: Race to the Edge
I don't give a damn who you are or what you believe, when Hiccup first gently touched Toothless' nose in the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, you were crying.
The How to Train Your Dragon universe is so rich and vivid, who wouldn't want to explore it more fully? While Defenders of Berk is fine, Race to the Edge is a great series to enjoy with the entire family, providing all the action, dragon discovery, and clever writing you crave from this series.
Telling the story that leads up to the second film installment, Race to the Edge provides your family with six full seasons of episodes to stream. That just might get you to the end of the summer and to that beautiful shot in the arm.
Get your dragon on via Netflix.