Sure The Handmaid’s Tale just got renewed through its fifth season and there are 177 episodes of The Walking Dead to savor. It’s just watching dark dramas before tucking in almost guarantees nightmares, so if you’re hoping to avoid visitations from ghouls and goblins, then check out some TV for girls and boys ––these five kids’ shows even childless adults enjoy (although they might not admit it.)
Show creator and former teen actor Dan Schneider famously hired writers for their comedy talents not their kidvid experience. That means there are lines in the show that will sail over young one’s heads. You’ll likely laugh out loud –– literally.
Besides seeing future superstar Ariana Grande sporting bright red hair as Cat Valentine, nearly every episode features dynamic performances of original songs like the standout and nearly bleepable “Take a Hint” sung by title star Victoria Justice (Tori) and Elizabeth Gillies (Jade).
Even if you have younger ones, watching solo means you won’t have to explain jokes like the one delivered after Leon Tomas III’s character Andre asked how it was possible to go from an A to a D so quickly, to which Jade retorted that she’d already done that in 8th grade. Fans of Victorious can follow Cat’s further adventures in Schneider-created Sam & Cat.
School of Rock
Based on the hit 2003 hit movie, this TV show guarantees giggles thanks to Jack Black sub playing a sub, Tony Cavalero. A longtime member of Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings, he’s adept at both pratfalls and educating straight-laced prep students in the art of rock. Besides rising talents like Jade Pettyjohn and Breanna Yde, the show boasts stand out covers and originals that might make you sing in your sleep.
Despite its sweetness and light, Jessie offers a fair amount of funny thanks to star Debby Ryan’s comedic timing. Adults may want to ignore the obvious question about why a busy, wealthy couple would adopt so many children only to leave them in a nanny’s care for weeks on end. This query does offer unintended amusement since the rich Dad is played by actor Charles Easton, better known as reformed bad boy Deacon Claybourne on Nashville.
Perhaps Jessie’s employer left the life of a rich Upper East Sider behind to become a country star –– which means his ex-wife could probably get spousal support. Despite its giggles, the show is bittersweet due to the untimely passing of young actor Cameron Boyce who played Luke Ross.
The Next Step
Although light on humor, this on-going half-hour drama from Canada follows the lives and loves of the various students at the Next Step dance studio. Besides G-rated romance and occasionally predictable situations, the program sets itself apart by hiring dancers who act (more or less), rather than the other way around. That means you might double your viewing time as you rewind to re-watch some truly awe-inspiring steps.
Each season concludes with several episodes of competition (spoiler: they don’t win every time). A family affair, creator Frank van Keeken employs daughter Chloe van Keeken as a writer on the show, while his granddaughter, Francesca van Keeken, goes from baby ballet in The Next Step to song-belting co-star on van Keeken’s new gymnastic show, My Perfect Landing.
For a bit of older drama that still won’t terrify, the streamers offer a wide variety of nostalgic teen programming. Fan favorite Dawson’s Creek is a new arrival on Netflix, while Josh Schwartz has created shows offering the lifestyles of the rich and ruthless on both coasts thanks to The OC and Gossip Girl (based on a series of books by real-life Upper East Sider Cecily von Ziegesar).
If you decide you want something more edgy, and perhaps nightmare provoking, then track down one of the most twisty, confusing, and scary teen shows of all time, Pretty Little Liars. Just be warned its 160 episodes may cause you to miss some serious slumber.