10 wholesome—and highly entertaining—TV shows to binge-watch as a family

What's more elusive than a single show everyone in your whole family can enjoy together? Each of these shows has been a hit with our family of six, plus plenty of excellent reviews from viewers all over the world, and is ready to stream right now.


1. Make It Big, Make It Small

Make It Big, Make It Small explores big experiences that make kids go wow! We love that kids can learn science and technology while being inspired to create DIY projects and crafts at home.

2. The InBESTigators

From missing turtles to sabotaged dance recitals, this squad of little detectives solves big cases. InBESTigators is a fast-paced Australian mystery series featuring 10 and 11-year-old crime fighters, with the same energy as Enola Holmes and an astounding 100% likeability rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Available on Netflix.

3. Jeopardy

It's bittersweet to watch the past episodes of Jeopardy available on Netflix now but Alex Trebek's legacy lives on in one of the most watchable family gameshows of all time. Kids might shout out a single correct answer per episode but that doesn't slow them down. Expect enthralled viewing, even from elementary-aged students.

4. James May: Oh Cook!

If you've already plowed through Nailed It, Sugar Rush and The Great British Baking Show (all streaming on Netflix), try this refreshing take on a "cookery show" with an unlikely expert at the helm. James May is the host of the UK's wildly popular car series, The Grand Tour. Despite claiming that he "can't cook," May brings a steady if foppish hand to the kitchen, pointing out interesting facts—some historical, some scientific—along the way. All while huffing and puffing just enough about the behind-the-scenes silliness that is making a TV show. Available on Amazon Prime.

5. Anne with an E

Fans of historical fiction will devour this modern take on the beloved series of books. It's a crisper, more vibrant experience than re-watching episodes of Little House on the Prairie (Amazon Prime), thanks to modern production techniques, but just as full of old-timey charm. Expect tough subjects like racism and homophobia to be touched on without being heavy-handed. Instead, the series offers an opening for powerful family conversations; you can pick up where the story leaves off. Available on Netflix.

6. The Pack

A cross between The Amazing Race and The Westminster Dog Show, this is reality TV at its family best. Every competing team is half dog, half besotted human. Competitions take place in incredible locales (Mexico City, Costa Rica, Los Angeles and more), but what's most mesmerizing about this series is how loved the pets are. These dogs are literally men's and women's best friends. And all that teamwork could mean big bucks. The top prize is an incredible $750,000, of which $250,000 goes to the winner's favorite animal charity. Available on Amazon Prime.

7. Pysch

Is he a real physic or just keenly observant? In the tradition of every light-hearted mystery series from Moonlighting to NCIS, you get plenty of funny banter between the main characters alongside a crime being solved in one tidy episode. Occasionally you'll hear an ever-so-slightly racy comment but most topics are entirely family-friendly. Available on Amazon Prime.

8. Queer Eye

To call this series reboot "more than a makeover" is like referring to the ocean as a little wet. In each episode, five incredibly talented men swarm into one deserving man or woman's life, uplifting them—and by association everyone in their orbit—in every possible way. Self-esteem, healing old hurts, and yes, flashy new furniture, hair and clothes. It's all included, every time. To see a complete transformation inside and out? That's a thing of beauty. Available on Netflix.

9. Just Add Magic

This wholesome series is based on the book of the same name where tweens experiment with recipes that have magical consequences on everyone around them. It's a mystery series that's just entertaining enough for adults to enjoy alongside kids of any age. One thing parents rave about is seeing respectful kids onscreen, bucking the trend of sassy littles backtalking their way through each episode. But it's the sweet moments where kids grow personally that make the series so fun to watch all the way through. Available on Amazon Prime.

10. Instant Hotel

In the tradition of home improvement shows like Fixer Upper (HGTV), Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix) and Stay Here (Netflix), Instant Hotel is an Australian-based reality show where homeowners compete to claim the title of best short-term rental. But there's a twist: contestants stay in each other's rental properties throughout the series where their scores combine with the show's two judges'. Filled with total characters (and gorgeous Australian scenery), it's the snarkiest of all our recommendations but still firmly family-friendly. Available on Netflix.

11. A Series of Unfortunate Events

Starting with the sad premise of children who've lost their parents, this series starring Neil Patrick Harris might be best for kids of about eight and up. Fantastical effects are just spooky enough to thrill without any actual violence. But in the end, it's resilient kids who stick together and save each other, that brings this beloved book series to life on the small screen. Available on Netflix.

Charity Curley Mathews is a former executive at Martha Stewart and HGTV who's now a family food writer, blogging at Foodlets.com. That's where you'll find quick & easy recipes (packed with fresh ingredients) plus tried-and-true advice about raising little foodies. She's been featured on Food Network.com, Huffington Post, WHUP radio, ABC 11-TV and more. The author of four cookbooks, including "Super Simple Baking for Kids", she lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family of six, plus their rescue dogs, bunnies, chickens and bees.

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