Child-proof your watchlist: TV shows for parents that won't scar your tiny humans
It’s time to step into a Peppa Pig free watch time
Though the widely accepted definition of ‘Netflix and chill’ has nothing to do with actual TV viewing, it has since taken on different meanings for different interest groups. If you’re single, it could imply devouring a third helping of Gilmore Girls washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. And if you have tiny humans sharing your personal space, it translates to recognising every character in the Coco Melon cast and practicing your British accent with a little help from Peppa Pig. But as one Tweak reader pointed out, there’s a limit to filling your brain with kiddie shows before it threatens to explode. She asked, “Could you suggest a few TV shows for parents that are appropriate to watch around young children?”
We get it, it’s not easy zeroing in on engaging TV shows for parents that stimulate adult minds without scarring your children, should they walk in at the most inopportune time (because they always do). You’re thinking easy humour without a bucketload of cuss words, dramatic plots that don’t rely on gore or nudity to hook the audience. Maybe a love story that leaves something to the imagination. Outlander and Kohrra are definitely off the table.
We dug deep, and found a roster with little to no aggressive language, nudity, sex or gore. With this list of TV shows for parents, you won’t be scrambling for the remote if your kid decides on a quick peek-a-boo.
12 TV shows for parents that pass the child safety test
Indians and Koreans have one mantra in common: if you say something, it’s a problem, if you don’t say something, that’s also a problem. In the show, Mr and Mrs Kim, Appa (father) and Umma (Mother) as they’re called, run a convenience store in Toronto with their daughter Janet and estranged son Jung.
The show revolves around themes of immigrant life and intergenerational conflict as the family tries to balance their Korean culture and faith with their Canadian upbringing. There are several overlaps between Indian and other Asian cultures so you will find yourself relating hard to certain moments, like Janet living at home with her parents or them using food to express emotions. But the show doesn’t fall into the trap of portraying them as a perfect high-achieving family. Instead, they bend towards being more realistic by adding moments of complex conflicts and rifts that are solved gradually as the story unfolds.
Only Murders in the Building
Anything that says murder doesn’t usually make the cut for safe TV show for parents. But with comedy + murder + a stellar cast, Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building is a well-written show that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat with its mystery but also ensure you keep giggling throughout. Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short star as Mabel, Charles and Oliver, three crime-obsessed individuals, living in an upscale complex, The Arconia in New York City. They soon find themselves engulfed in the mysterious murder of a non-resident in the building, producing a podcast in the process to document their investigation.
Even though in each of the three seasons, the trio solves the murder of a different person, the story seamlessly connects the seasons taking the characters from one murder to the next quite smoothly. This is one murder mystery show where you won’t be able to guess whodunit until it’s revealed to you at the very end. There’s negligible bad language, nothing overtly sexual and no gory violence — which given the name, is quite a feat. Only Murders in the Building makes you feel like you’re watching a comic book come to life. And if you’re still not convinced, maybe the season three special guest stars, Meryl Streep and Paul Rudd’s presence will convince you to give it a shot.
A crossover between science fiction, religion and the supernatural, Manifest is a drama series that revolves around Flight 828 and its passengers. After boarding a plane from Jamaica to New York City, flight 828 passengers experience severe turbulence mid-flight. When they finally land, they are surprised to find that they’ve been missing for five and a half years. The series follows the passengers as they try to cope with life and adjust with their loved ones for whom life has moved ahead.
But there’s a lot stranger happening here. The passengers now get something called ‘callings’ in their heads which are puzzles they have to solve to gather good karma. They also have a death date which is when they will likely die unless they figure out the mystery of their disappearance, follow the callings and do what god/ the universe/ the unseen force wants them to do. As you go through the seasons, the theories of what happened with Flight 828 will keep swinging between religion, science, and the supernatural, leaving you with only bits and pieces at a time so you keep coming back for more.
Happy Family: Conditions Apply
This Prime Video original series is covered in Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai and Khichdi nostalgia. Jamnadas Majethia and Aatish Kapadia bring yet another Gujarati family’s story to the screen. Four generations of the Dholakias live together in Mumbai as a dysfunctional, somewhat traditional but trying-to-be-modern family, filled to the brim with a sense of humour.
Each character has a quirky personality and their shenanigans always land them in complex but funny situations. How the Dholakias navigate their interpersonal relationships while adjusting to each other’s peculiarities forms the rest of the plot. The show is helmed by a talented cast, featuring Ratna Pathak Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Raj Babbar, and Ayesha Jhulka among others. This light-hearted slice-of-life comedy guarantees you a bunch of laughter and several relatable moments.
Child-friendly crime content. Four words you never thought could actually come together but have. Another gem from the Hansal Mehta universe of genius, Scoop is a biographical series based on journalist Jigna Vora’s book, Behind Bars in Byculla: My Days in Prison. The show follows Eastern Age journalist and prominent crime reporter Jagruti Pathak who, in a bid to chase a story on Chhota Rajan, becomes the prime suspect in the murder of another journalist. The system that she so carefully tapped into for scoops and exclusives for years slowly turns against her as trusted sources work to portray her as the guilty party.
The story builds up very gradually taking the viewers through Pathak’s daily grind as she goes about talking to stringers, attending press conferences and writing first-page exclusives. As the series progresses, the mystery keeps getting darker and situations start spiralling. The pace can feel slow at times but the building suspense of whether or not Jagruti will get out of the web she’s stuck in will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
Perfect comic timing and a solid storyline are the two floaties that help any TVF series win laps in the giant pool of content. Prime Video’s Panchayat is no different. Abhishek Tripathi is an urban engineering graduate who is forced to take up a low-paying position as a secretary to the gram panchayat in a remote village called Phulera in Uttar Pradesh. Tripathi is highly disinterested in the job initially and often feels out of place. He is alien to the village’s customs and functioning. However, as time passes, he adjusts to his circumstances and starts taking an active interest in the development of the village and the politics.
The series also stars Neena Gupta as Manju Devi who is the local head or pradhan of the village but only on paper. The real power is wielded and exercised by her husband. By the end of the first season, she begins to actively take interest in her role as a female leader. Overall, the show has a thought-provoking storyline supported by quirky characters with eccentric personalities who each have their own set of unique and hilarious issues in the village.
Aani Kay Hava?
Parenting can sometimes suck the romance out of a couple’s life and this light-hearted romedy revolving around a married couple will be the perfect reminder to spend some one-on-one child-free time with your SO. An apt addition to a list of TV shows for parents? We think so. Aani Kay Hava is the married Marathi version of Little Things. Saket and Jui are working professionals in Pune who are in the early stages of being married when the series first begins.
Over the course of three seasons, we see their marriage maturing as they go through different stages and navigate various situations. Their fun banter interspersed with adorable romantic moments makes the story relatable. Just like Dhruv and Kavya won you over with their slice-of-life moments and realities of a long-term relationship, Saket and Jui too will enamour you with their apt display of what a marriage actually looks like – good, bad and ugly.
Modern Love Hyderabad
You’ve heard of books and plays getting screen adaptations, but imagine a newspaper column so good, it got a screen twin, became a podcast and travelled across the globe to inspire several chapters in different corners of the world. Modern Love has become a hit for its heartwarming stories and anthology format. The Hyderabad chapter also explores love in various forms – an estranged mother-daughter duo, a microbiologist trying to find love after a bad breakup, and an ex-factor cropping up in a live-in relationship among others.
All the episodes tie the distinct cultural markers of Hyderabad like the food and architecture into the stories, turning them into distinct characters supporting the central plot in some way. The anthology is funny, emotional and most of all, allows you to temporarily disconnect from your mundane reality.
Before OTT took over, Pakistani dramas stepped in to temporarily save us from having to watch Gopi Bahu do anything more sinister than washing a laptop with detergent. It started with Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, and now we have a platter of shows to choose from.
Suno Chanda, an Eid special show follows the story of Jia and Arsal, first cousins who are being married against their wishes. Their union is set to be formally announced after Ramzan. Determined to get out of it, the duo decide to manipulate their families into breaking up the engagement. But in joining forces, they end up falling in love with each other. The drama is laced with funny moments and perfect comic timing of various other supporting characters that make it a wholesome watch. Especially look out for Arsal’s mother whose Punjabi taunts will have you rolling on the floor, laughing.
An Astrological Guide For Broken Hearts
This Italian Netflix show is based on a book of the same name. Alice Bassi, our central character has nothing going on for her — she works as a production assistant at a small TV network, and her ex is getting married and becoming a father. One day while at work, she accidentally meets Tio, an astrology expert who befriends her and becomes her love guru. The show follows Alice as she begins dating one person from each of the zodiac signs to find her perfect match while also ideating a zodiac-based show for the network.
Interestingly, the episodes are also named after the 12 zodiacs, split between two seasons. There’s romance, there’s comedy, beautiful Italian cityscape and good-looking men. Will the planets help Alice finally find love again?
Extraordinary Attorney Woo
Move over sweeter-than-laddoo Korean love stories, this law firm drama is what you should actually be watching next. The show is centred around Woo-Young Woo, an autistic lawyer who struggles with communication but is extremely intelligent and possesses a photographic memory.
The show progresses as Woo navigates issues at her workplace, and deals with biases while learning the ropes of being a rookie lawyer. Another quirk? She loves talking about whales and marine mammals and often uses their analogy to deal with professional and personal situations. This one is sure to crash land on your heartstrings.
Midnight at the Pera Palace
If you’ve not ventured into the Turkish drama territory yet, it’s time you dive into the unexplored. And you can start with Midnight at the Pera Palace, a time-travel drama series based on a book of the same name. Esra is a young journalist who is writing about the 130th anniversary of the Pera Palace Hotel. While on the visit, she discovers the story of Peride, her doppelganger, who heroically saved the life of Turkey’s first president Mustafa Kemal.
The same night, Esra accidentally goes back in time to 1919 through a time travel portal and gets mistaken for Peride. Suddenly, the course of Turkey’s history and independence is on her shoulders as she must come to terms with this doppelganger switch while also finding a way to save Mustafa Kemal. Will Esra be able to save him in time? Watch to find out.